ACM Washington Update
April 13, 2015
Vol. 19, Issue 3
ACM Washington Update


CONTENTS:


NEWSLETTER HIGHLIGHTS

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. Follow USACM on Twitter and Facebook.

  • ACM named Michael Stonebraker the recipient of the 2014 ACM A.M. Turing Award for his foundational contributions to modern database systems architecture.
  • The National Telecommunications and Information Administration seeks public comment on the multistakeholder process to communicate best practices in privacy, transparency, and accountability for commercial and private drone use.
  • The U.S. Department of Commerce's Internet Policy Task Force seeks public comments on a new multistakeholder process for cybersecurity issues.
  • The U.S. Access Board seeks comments on updated federal accessibility standards and guidelines for information and communications technology.
  • The FTC formed a new Office of Technology Research and Investigation to expand its capacity to assess new technology from a consumer protection perspective.
  • The Senate passed a resolution calling for a national strategy on the Internet of Things.

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MICHAEL STONEBRAKER RECOGNIZED WITH 2014 ACM A.M. TURING AWARD

ACM named Michael Stonebraker, adjunct professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the recipient of the 2014 ACM A.M. Turing Award. He is recognized for his "fundamental contributions to the concepts and practices underlying modern database systems."
 
Stonebreaker is the inventor of many concepts that were crucial to making databases a reality and that are used in almost all modern database systems.
 
"Michael Stonebraker's work is an integral part of how business gets done today," said ACM President Alexander L. Wolf. "Moreover, through practical application of his innovative database management technologies and numerous business start-ups, he has continually demonstrated the role of the research university in driving economic development."
 
Stonebraker is co-founder and co-director of the Intel Science and Technology Center for Big Data at MIT. Prior to joining MIT, Stonebraker was a longtime professor of computer science at the University of California at Berkeley. He will receive the ACM A.M. Turing Award at the ACM Awards Banquet in June. Thanks to financial support from Google, the Award comes with a $1 million award.
 
You can learn more about Dr. Stonebraker and his work at the A.M. Turing Award website.

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NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION SEEKS COMMENTS ON NEW MULTISTAKEHOLDER PROCESS FOR DRONES

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is accepting public comments on a multistakeholder process related to commercial and private use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or drones). The process will develop and communicate best practices in privacy, transparency, and accountability in the use of drones.
 
This multistakeholder process was mandated by the Presidential Memorandum issued in February on domestic use of drones. The memorandum covers policies for government use of drones as well as creation of the multistakeholder process.
 
NTIA seeks comments on possible organizational structures for the multistakeholder process, such as whether to establish working groups, and suggested topics for the group to address. NTIA also invites input on existing codes of conduct and best practices that could be applicable in the drone context.
 
Comments are due by April 20. NTIA plans to hold the first meeting in the Washington D.C. area before June.

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INTERNET POLICY TASK FORCE SEEKS COMMENTS ON NEW MULTISTAKEHOLDER PROCESSES FOR CYBERSECURITY ISSUES

The U.S Department of Commerce's Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) of the Department of Commerce is seeking comment on substantive cybersecurity issues where broad consensus, coordinated action and the development of voluntary guidelines, principles, and best practices could substantially improve security for organizations and customers.
 
The Internet Policy Task Force will coordinate the effort along with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). They plan to facilitate one or more multistakeholder processes around key cybersecurity issues. The processes will focus on discrete cybersecurity challenges, with the intent that the new multistakeholder efforts coordinate with existing initiatives inside and outside of government.
 
The request for comments asks for suggestions on how to structure the process and the scope to ensure broad participation and to help achieve the greatest benefits and consensus in a reasonable timeframe. The Task Force provides a list of possible topics for feedback.
 
Comments are due by May 18.

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U.S. ACCESS BOARD SEEKS COMMENTS ON UPDATED FEDERAL ICT ACCESSIBILITY STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES

The U.S. Access Board is accepting public comments on proposed updated federal accessibility requirements and guidelines for information and communications technology (ICT). This proposed update, known informally as the ICT Refresh and the Section 508 Refresh, applies to accessibility requirements covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act.
 
The new standards and guidelines apply to web and mobile content, information kiosks, software, and other ICT. The rule also proposes expanded interoperability requirements and revisions to accessibility exceptions.
 
The updated requirements embrace a "broad application" of the leading international web accessibility standard, the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), to more than web content. It also would apply to mobile, non-web documents and software.
 
The U.S. Access Board will hold a public hearing in Salt Lake City, Utah on April 29 on the proposed rule.
 
The deadline for public comments is May 28.

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FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION FORMS NEW RESEARCH OFFICE

Ashkan Soltani, the Chief Technologist at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), announced that the Commission has formed the Office of Technology Research and Investigation (OTRI) to expand the FTC's ability to research new technologies in support of its mission.
 
The OTRI is the successor to the FTC's Mobile Technology Unit, formed to highlight consumer protection challenges posed by mobile commerce and mobile technologies. Soltani sees the OTRI examining technology issues across all aspects of the FTC's consumer protection mission. The Commission is hiring to help staff this office and will be expanding its Technology Research Internship Program as well.

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SENATE CALLS FOR NATIONAL STRATEGY ON INTERNET OF THINGS

The Senate passed Resolution 110 on March 24. The bipartisan resolution expresses the sense of the Senate that the United States should develop a national strategy on the development of the Internet of Things (IoT), the collection of networked devices that goes beyond traditional smart phones and computers. According to the resolution, the national strategy should encourage the development of the Internet of Things with an eye toward using IoT to improve government efficiency, foster economic growth, improve social well-being, and empower consumers.
 
Senators Deb Fischer (Nebraska), Cory Booker (New Jersey), Kelly Ayotte (New Hampshire) and Brian Schatz (Hawaii) sponsored the resolution. Last Congress, the four Senators (two Republicans and two Democrats) requested a Senate hearing on the topic. The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee held a hearing on February 11.

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ABOUT

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

About USACM -- The ACM U.S. Public Policy Council (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 (EPC) engages policymakers and the public on public policy issues that relate to computer science and computing-related education, including the importance of high-quality education at all levels to the labor market and the economy.

Views expressed are not necessarily those of ACM. To send comments, please write to acmpo@hq.acm.org.

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