ACM Washington Update
May 9, 2015
Vol. 19, Issue 4
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. Follow USACM on Twitter and Facebook.

  • USACM submitted comments on the NIST roadmap for usability and accessibility of future voting technologies and systems.
  • Technology and computing inventors will be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame on May 12.
  • Multiple federal agencies seek public input on objectives for a new federal cybersecurity research and development strategic plan.
  • The FCC seeks comments on its "Cybersecurity Risk Management and Best Practices" report.
  • The U.S. Copyright Office will hold public hearings on the 27 proposed DMCA exemptions.
  • The White House will celebrate a "Week of Making" from June 12-18, with a focus on STEM-related learning and innovation.
  • Vint Cerf spoke about the importance of policy to the future of the Internet.

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USACM Comments on NIST Roadmap for Usability and Accessibility of Next Generation Elections

USACM submitted comments on the NIST roadmap for usability and accessibility of future voting technologies and systems. USACM's comments highlight the importance of usable and accessible voting technologies and systems and the need to improve and ensure the right of all voters to cast their votes independently and privately using secure, reliable, usable, and trustworthy computer-based systems.

NIST developed the roadmap in collaboration with the Center for Civic Design. The roadmap reflects input gathered from a wide range of public and private stakeholders at the state and federal levels. NIST also incorporated feedback from multistakeholder symposiums and workshops held in 2014 and 2015.

The roadmap identifies six priority areas and twenty-one objectives for future efforts and research. The six priority areas include:

  1. Supporting the design process
  2. Engaging voters effectively
  3. Addressing the entire voter journey
  4. Supporting evolving technology
  5. Providing useful guidance and standards
  6. Improving testing in design and certification
The roadmap and related materials are available at:

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Technology and Computing Inventors To Be Inducted into National Inventors Hall of Fame

Distinguished technology and computing inventors are among the 2015 Class of Inductees to the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Inductees will be honored at the 43rd Annual Induction Ceremony to held at the Smithsonian on May 12.

Edith Clarke

Edith Clarke (1883-1959), a computing and engineering pioneer, is honored for her early innovation of a graphical calculator in 1925 that "greatly simplified" calculations used in electrical transmission lines. The USPTO approved Patent No. 1,552,113 in 1925, four years after she submitted the application. She earned the first electrical engineering degree ever to be awarded to a woman at MIT.

Jaap Haartsen

Jaap Haartsen is honored for developing "frequency hopping piconets in an uncoordinated wireless multi-user system," better known today as Bluetooth technology, and for playing an important role in obtaining worldwide regulatory approval for Bluetooth technology. The USPTO granted Patent No. 6,590,928 in 2003.

Kristina M. Johnson and Gary D. Sharp

Kristina M. Johnson and Gary D. Sharp co-invented polarization-control technology that introduced a new paradigm for digital displays. Their joint research led to a business venture, ColorLink, focused on transforming innovation in high-resolution displays and imaging technologies into a wide range of pragmatic applications, including television screens, 3-D digital cinema, near-to-eye displays, and medical imaging.

Kristina Johnson, who co-founded the NSF Engineering Research Center for Optoelectronics Computing Systems Center, is being recognized for their co-invention. The USPTO granted Patent No. 5,132,826 on ferroelectric liquid crystal tunable filters and color generation in 1992.

Gary Sharp also is being recognized for his enabling patent for modern display systems. The USPTO granted Patent No. 5,751,384 for polarization-control technology for additive color spectrum along a first axis and its complement along a second axis in 1998.

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Federal Agencies Seek Comments on Federal Cybersecurity Research and Development Strategic Plan

Federal agencies involved in the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) and the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program seek public input on the priorities and objectives to be included in a new cybersecurity research and development strategic plan. Called for by Congress in the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014, the strategic plan will guide the direction of both basic and applied cybersecurity research.

Commentators are encouraged to provide input on the following:

  1. What research goals, for both basic and applied research, could serve as guidance for a federally-funded, multi-agency portfolio of research and development activities?

  2. What innovative, transformational technologies have the potential to enhance the security, reliability, resiliency, and trustworthiness of the digital infrastructure, and to protect consumer privacy?

  3. How the Federal government can foster the rapid transfer of research and development results into new cybersecurity technologies and applications for the timely benefit of society and the national interest?

  4. How can the current research infrastructure for creating, testing, and evaluating the next generation of secure networking and information technology systems be improved? How can access by academic researchers to this infrastructure and related data be improved?

Comments are due by June 19.

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FCC Seeks Comments on Cybersecurity Risk Management and Best Practices Report

The FCC seeks public comments on the report on "Cybersecurity Risk Management and Best Practices" submitted by the FCC Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council. The report involved 100+ cybersecurity professionals in a yearlong, multistakeholder effort to develop the first cybersecurity guidance for the communications sector, which includes the broadcasting, satellite, cable, wireless and wireline industries. The report provides sector-specific implementation guidance for the use and adaption of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.

The FCC particularly would like input on:

  1. How can the FCC better meet the goal of reducing cybersecurity risk to critical infrastructure, enterprises, and consumers?

  2. How should the Commission prepare for and conduct confidential company-specific meetings to ensure that they result in useful information?

  3. What measures should the Communications Sector Annual Report include to provide appropriate levels of visibility about the state of cybersecurity risk management over time?

  4. How should the FCC coordinate with DHS' Critical Infrastructure Cyber Community C3 Voluntary Program?

Comments are due by May 29. Reply comments are due by June 26.

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U.S. Copyright Office to Hold Public Hearings on DMCA Exemptions in May

The U.S. Copyright Office will hold public hearings in May on the proposed exemptions to the prohibitions against circumvention of copyrighted works given in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The public hearings will be held May 19-21 in Los Angeles, California and May 26-29 in Washington, D.C. The final agenda identifies the proposed exemptions and witnesses scheduled for each day.

The hearing on the proposed exemption for software security research is scheduled for May 26 at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Ten witnesses, eight proponents and two opponents, will testify. USACM previously submitted comments in support of the proposed exemption for software security research.

The hearings will provide an opportunity for supporters and opponents to provide factual, legal, and technical evidence before the Copyright Office determines which, if any, of the 27 proposed exemptions to grant for up to a three-year period. Witnesses have the option of demonstrating the technologies involved.

This is part of a triennial rulemaking process that determines exemptions to the circumvention prohibitions for the following three years.

The final round of public comments ended on May 1.

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White House to Celebrate "Week of Making" in June

The White House will celebrate a "Week of Making" June 12-18, with a focus on STEM-related learning and careers. The week is intended to inspire and enable inclusive participation by students in hands-on learning. Students are challenged to engage their ingenuity and creativity to prototype and imagine new products and technologies. The Week celebrates both the students who are developing creative solutions and the educators who are making a positive difference in expanding access to innovative computer science and other STEM-related learning opportunities.

Kicking off the week will be the coinciding National Maker Faire in Washington, D.C. on June 12-13, which brings together innovators, entrepreneurs, industry, and federal agencies for free, interactive activities. Participating agencies include: the Department of Education, National Science Foundation, U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Small Business Administration, Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Institute of Standards and Technology, NASA, Corporation for National and Community Service, Department of Homeland Security, and the Smithsonian.

Schools, educators, businesses, and organizations across the country are encouraged to get involved in the "Week of Making" by hosting activities and events. If you are planning an event, let the White House know by using the online commitment form.

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Vint Cerf Speaks on Internet Policy

Vint Cerf spoke on the growth of Internet-connected devices, IPv6, Internet governance, Internet security, net neutrality, encryption, and societal benefits of the Internet at an event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on May 4. Among his remarks, he highlighted technical issues, voluntary initiatives to promote further growth of the Internet, and policy issues.

Some of the key policy issues included:

  • Implementation of IPv6 by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) is "absolutely vital" to the continued growth of the Internet and the Internet of Things.

  • The IANA transition of Internet governance to the multistakeholder oversight and management model will bring benefits. Such a transfer was envisioned when ICANN was created in 1998.

  • ISPs should be required to adhere to nondiscrimination of lawful Internet traffic.

  • Equal access to performance features preserves consumer choice and is fundamental to the Internet's utility.

  • Privacy and security are "really important," and encryption helps preserve privacy. In discussing the need for policy leaders to address both privacy and security needs, he cautioned that backdoors to encryption are "really, really risky."

  • Governments around the world need public policies that will encourage the development of the Internet and that will help realize the benefits of the Internet for their citizens.

Watch the archived video provided by C-Span.

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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.

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