ACM U.S. Public Policy Council Submits Comments to Presidential Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity

By Renee Dopplick, ACM Director of Public Policy
September 15, 2016

The ACM U.S. Public Policy Council submitted comments to the Presidential Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. The comments address the challenges and possible approaches to strengthening cybersecurity in the digital economy while protecting privacy and enabling innovation. The ACM Education Board and the ACM Joint Task Force on Cybersecurity Education provided expert advice and contributions. The comments will help inform the Commission’s Final Report to the President, which is due by December 1, 2016.

Highlights from the comments include:

Cybersecurity Education and Research
Computing knowledge and skills underpin the education, research, and workforce pipelines necessary for achieving leadership in cybersecurity. ACM strongly supports making computer science and computational thinking an educational policy priority at all levels (K-12, community colleges, and higher education) and growing a strong research community.

Emerging Trends and New Computing Paradigms
Emerging technology trends and innovations will bring about new challenges and benefits that will require equally innovative policy approaches. These emerging trends will have an effect on the global economy and their ramifications extend beyond the digital realm. New computing paradigms will bring about unprecedented risks as well as opportunities. New identifiers, components, devices, and infrastructure will raise issues of computing capability, privacy, security, usability, accessibility, spectrum availability, standards, networks, and interoperability.

Risk Management
The effects these trends will have on cybersecurity will be exponential, and risk management and best practices should be at the forefront of policy discussions. These emerging trends will be characterized by fast-paced evolution, resulting in rapid change in risk environments. As such, it is important to devise approaches that meet the dynamism of operational systems.

Internet of Things – Privacy and Security Challenges
As the networked environment continues to grow, new paradigms in the Internet of Things, cyber physical systems, and smart cities will bring new security and privacy concerns. The pervasiveness of IoT devices and sensors and their high interconnectedness could make it difficult and expensive to retrofit and address issues like security, privacy, and safety. Proactively addressing these issues is important.

International Engagement
Because the digital environment and its security involves cross-border and global issues, international coordination is important for strengthening cybersecurity. The ACM U.S. Public Policy Council supports involvement of the United States in international standards processes.

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About the ACM U.S. Public Policy Council

The ACM U.S. Public Policy Council is chartered as the focal point for ACM’s interaction with the U.S. government, the computing community, and the public in all matters of U.S. public policy related to computing and technology. Its membership reflects a diverse community of computing practitioners, scientists, educators, researchers, and other technology professionals from government, business, academia, and the nonprofit sector. The Council’s contributions to public policy draws from the deep scientific and technical expertise of the computing community. ACM U.S. Public Policy Council statements represent the views of the Council and do not necessarily represent the views of the Association.

About the ACM Education Board

The ACM Education Board promotes computer science education at all levels and in all ways possible. The Board oversees the ACM Education Council and initiates, directs, and manages key ACM educational projects. The Board produces and keeps current curricula recommendations and guidelines in all areas of computing, including cybersecurity. These recommendations and guidelines are used worldwide to standardize and assist in the accreditation of college and university programs.

About the ACM Joint Task Force on Cybersecurity Education

The ACM Joint Task Force on Cybersecurity Education, launched in September 2015, is developing comprehensive curricular guidance in cybersecurity education that will support future program development and associated educational efforts. The Joint Task Force is a collaboration between major international computing societies: ACM, the IEEE Computer Society (IEEE CS), the Association for Information Systems Special Interest Group on Security (AIS SIGSEC), and the International Federation for Information Processing Working Group on Information Security Education (IFIP WG 11.8).