ACM Washington Update
July 8, 2014
Vol. 18, Issue 6
ACM Washington Update



ACM Washington Update recaps ACM’s initiatives in the U.S. technology policy arena monthly.  Please forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues in the computing community.  View more details on each item below, as well as on the blog.

  • The National Institue of Standards and Technology is seeking members for working groups to guide federal policy leaders on the effective adoption of cloud computing
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will hold a workshop on accessible social media on July 17
  • FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler urged commercial networks to assume responsibility for managing cyber risks and network security
  • The United States Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling on cellphone searches by law enforcement
  • USACM member Mark Rasch discusses the Supreme Court's cellphone search decision
  • The Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee held a briefing on the Supreme Court's decision in the Aereo case
  • Herbert Lin discussed the findings of a National Research Council report on cybersecurity and how it intersects with public policy

to the top


The U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is seeking industry, government, and academia representatives for new cloud computing public working groups in cloud services, federated community cloud, and interoperability and portability to address requirements of the U.S. Government Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap. The goal is to provide guidance to federal policy leaders on how to advance the government's effective adoption of cloud computing. Additional working groups are addressing security, accessibility, and standards requirements.
More about working groups at NIST Cloud Computing Collaboration Site is available online.

to the top


The FCC's Accessibility and Innovation Initiative will host a workshop on "Accessing Social Media," on Thursday, July 17, 2014, from 9 am to 4 PM. The workshop will foster discussion on how to make social media apps, tools, and content more accessible to people with disabilities. Bring your ideas, case studies, and list of best practices to share with others. Technology demonstrations will showcase accessible social media initiatives by industry and government entities.
The meeting will be webcast with live captioning for those unable to attend in person. You can tweet questions, suggestions, and ideas in advance and during the event using hashtag: #ACCSocMedia
Registration is available at:"

to the top


In remarks at the American Enterprise Institute on June 12, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler outlined how he sees the Commission addressing cybersecurity. His remarks were consistent with the approach outlined by the Obama Administration in its cybersecurity policies, including the 2013 Executive Order and the Cybersecurity Framework released by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. He exhorted the commercial network ecosystem to assume new responsibility and accountability for managing cyber risks and encouraged attention to network security, resorting to regulation only if increased private sector activity is not successful.

to the top


The U.S. Supreme Court recently unanimously ruled that law enforcement need to obtain a warrant to search a cellphone seized incident to an arrest. The decision addressed two separate warrantless cellphone search cases before the Court - one involving a smartphone and one involving a flip-lid phone. In the new balancing of law enforcement needs and the rights of arrestees, the Court concluded, "Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple - get a warrant."
The Court was not clearly convinced that a warrantless search might be necessary to prevent potential evidence destruction of data on the cellphone by remote wiping, geofencing, or data encryption.
Even though the Court asserts a clear rule with a simple answer, warrantless searches of cellphones could still be lawful in certain circumstances.

to the top


Piracy of devices, storage technologies, and mobile technologies is growing worldwide according to the USTR's annual Special 301 Report on Intellectual Property Rights. The USTR also reports an increase in software and devices to circumvent the protection systems of game consoles.
Mark Rasch, an ACM U.S. Public Policy Council member, discussed the U.S. Supreme Court landmark ruling on cellphone searches on the ACM Public Policy Blog.
In the waning days of its term in June, the Court considered the circumstances under which the police can search the cell phone of a person arrested. Under the doctrine of "search incident to a lawful arrest" the cops wanted the authority to conduct as invasive and detailed a search of an arrestee's cell phone as it could conduct for example of a briefcase in the arrestee's possession. Just because a cell phone might carry more information, well, that's your problem for carrying all that data with you.
The Supreme Court unanimously disagreed. While the Court addressed the purposes and scope of the "search incident" doctrine (to protect the cops, and ensure that evidence is not destroyed, and possibly because people arrested have lower privacy rights) the Court found that cell phones were no ordinary container. In fact, the Court said that it wasn't accurate to call them cell phones - they were really hand-held computers.
You can read the full post online.

to the top


The Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee held a lunch briefing on the U.S. Supreme Court decision in American Broadcasting Cos. v. Aereo, Inc. Aereo has been a $100 million Internet startup service that streams live local TV broadcasts to users over the Internet for a fee. While the design of Aereo's novel and "technologically complex service" struck many as specifically architected to comply with existing U.S. copyright and communications laws, the Supreme Court ruled that it did not.
Many technologists and startups entrepreneurs are finding the Court's decision disquieting. Some legal scholars are calling the decision confusing, baffling, and a threat to innovation. The Chairs of the House Judiciary and Commerce Committees pointed to the decision as evidence of the need for Congress to review copyright and communications law.
Panelists discussed the Court's ruling and what it could mean for industry, regulators, Congress, and the courts. You can read more about the speakers and listen to audio of the briefing online.

to the top


In June, USACM Voting Committee Chair Jeremy Epstein moderated an ACM webinar on "Navigating Cybersecurity and Public Policy: Six Key Issues," with Dr. Herbert Lin of the National Academies. The archived webcast is available on demand. Registration is required. In this emerging era of pervasive computing, cybersecurity is a hot public policy topic. Policy proposals to address emerging cyber threats directed at governments and private businesses and vulnerabilities affecting consumer data and individual privacy have far-reaching implications for the economy, innovation, Internet governance, and global security.
Dr. Lin discussed the findings of a recent National Research Council report on cybersecurity and the 6 key things to know about cybersecurity as it intersects with public policy. The report, At the Nexus of Cybersecurity and Public Policy: Some Basic Concepts and Issues, identifies leading technical and nontechnical approaches to enhancing cybersecurity that are important for making informed public policy choices.
You can watch the archived webinar (free registration is required) online.

to the top


About Washington Update -- ACM Washington Update is produced by the ACM Public Policy Office. It highlights activities of the U.S. Public Policy Council of ACM (USACM), and the ACM Education Policy Committee (EPC) as well as other events in Washington that affect the computing community.

About USACM -- The U.S. Public Policy Council of ACM (USACM) is the focal point for ACM's interactions with U.S. government organizations, the computing community, and the U.S. public in all matters of U.S. public policy related to information technology.

About EPC -- The ACM Education Policy Committee engages policymakers and the public on public policy issues that relate to computing and computer science and the computing field.

Views expressed are not necessarily those of ACM. To send comments, please write to

To subscribe to ACM’s Washington Update newsletter, send an e-mail to with “subscribe WASHINGTON-UPDATE “First Name” “Last Name” (no quotes) in the body of the message.
To unsubscribe, simply include the “SIGNOFF WASHINGTON-UPDATE” command in an email to
As an alternative, enter your email address at: and we’ll remove you.
If in the future you’d like to re-subscribe, please enter your address at
You can also subscribe or unsubscribe by clicking the links on the right-hand column of the web edition of this newsletter.

to the top


Copyright © 2014, ACM, Inc.
All rights reserved



About ACM | About USACM | Contact us | Tech Policy Blog | ACM Membership | ACM Privacy Policy | ACM Code of Ethics

Copyright © 2014, ACM, Inc.