Public Policy

Science-Based Expertise about the Challenges in Developing and Applying Technology

Technology is at the heart of some of the most pressing issues faced by society. Developed and deployed around the globe, new technologies – and our increasing reliance on computing and networks – raise concerns that stretch beyond national borders, going to the heart of how we live, work, and interact with one another.

Drawing on a membership that includes industry pioneers and leading researchers at the forefront of technology, ACM provides expertise and advice to policymakers, the media, and the public.

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USTPC Urges Narrower Definition of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

ACM's US Technology Policy Committee filed a friend of the court brief with the US Supreme Court in the landmark case of Van Buren v. United States—the first time it has reviewed the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a 1986 law that was originally intended to punish hacking. USTPC notes that the questions posed in this case have broad implications for data and computing scientists, as well as other professionals who use the internet and computing technology, particularly to access information posted online.

USTPC Issues Statement on Use of Facial Recognition Technologies

ACM's US Technology Policy Committee has called for “an immediate suspension of the current and future private and governmental use of facial recognition (FR) technologies in all circumstances known or reasonably foreseeable to be prejudicial to established human and legal rights” in its “Statement on Principles and Prerequisites for the Development, Evaluation and Use of Unbiased Facial Recognition Technologies.”

USTPC Issues Statement on Privacy and Security for Virtual Meetings

ACM's US Technology Policy Committee (USTPC) has released a Statement on Security and Privacy Principles for Virtual Meetings in light of changes necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Statement urges urges virtual conferencing platform designers, hosts, and users to adopt eight key security and privacy principles that are intended to greatly heighten the privacy and security not only of conference participants, but also of any transmitted or stored data.

ACM Europe TPC Comments on AI White Paper

ACM’s Europe Technology Policy Committee submitted comments to the European Commission on "Artificial Intelligence—A European approach to excellence and trust," which addresses the future of AI in Europe. The comments, submitted in questionnaire form, asked the Commission to rate priorities based on their perceived importance, such as skills and training; public/private partnerships; and financing for startups.

ACM Europe TPC Comments on Green Deal

ACM’s Europe Technology Policy Committee submitted comments to the Directorate General for Climate Action of the European Commission in support of the comprehensive and ambitious sweep of the Commission’s Green Deal. ACM Europe TPC strongly concurs with the Commission’s premise that realizing true energy efficiencies in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector will be critical to Europe’s success in meeting the Green Deal’s appropriately aggressive climate targets.

ACM Europe TPC Statement on Contact Tracing

ACM’s Europe Technology Policy Committee issued detailed principles and practices for the development and deployment of contact tracing technology intended to track and arrest the spread of COVID-19. Europe TPC's statement calls on governments that adopt such systems to choose "only those which... respect and protect the rights of all individuals; safeguard personal data and privacy to the highest degree technically possible; and are subject to scrutiny by the scientific community and civil society before, during and after deployment." Read the statement in Italian here and in French here.

USTPC Joins Call on Election Officials to Avoid Internet Voting

ACM’s US Technology Policy Committee (USTPC) joined many of the nation’s leading experts in cybersecurity, computing, and science in calling on all governors and state election directors to refrain from using any form of internet voting or voting app system in the 2020 elections. The joint open letter includes a detailed analysis prepared by the AAAS Center for Scientific Evidence in Public Issues which clearly demonstrates that internet voting is not a secure solution for voting in the US.

US Digital Response Call for Tech Volunteers

US Digital Response is a volunteer-run, non-partisan effort to help federal, state, and local government with technology, data, design, operations, communications, project management, and more during the COVID-19 crisis. This initiative is calling for data scientists, front-end/back-end engineers, designers, engineering managers, product managers, user researchers, and others to lend their skills and expertise to the fight against COVID-19.

Applications for 2020-2021 Technology Policy Fellowships in Data Science Due November 1

The 2020-2021 AAAS Fellowships are seeking candidates in data science wishing to use their expertise in areas such as machine learning, data visualization, and causal inference to meet legislative and policymaking challenges. Fellows serve one year in a US federal agency or on the staff of a senator, representative, or congressional committee beginning September 2020. Applications are due November 1, 2020.

Technology Policy Council Chair, Lorraine Kisselburgh

Lorraine Kisselburgh, Fellow at Purdue University's Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS), was appointed Chair of ACM's Technology Policy Council effective July 1, 2019. “Government officials and legislators in nations everywhere are grappling with questions regarding the governance of technology, and the complexity of these technologies demands critical expertise. What ACM brings to the table is a deep bench of technical expertise to better inform policy, both nationally and globally.”

Europe Technology Policy Committee Chair, Oliver Grau

The ACM Europe Technology Policy Committee promotes dialogue and the exchange of ideas on technology and computing policy issues with the European Commission, governmental bodies in Europe, and the informatics and computing communities. Chaired by Oliver Grau of Intel, the Committee engages in policy issues related to the importance of technology in boosting jobs, economic growth, competition, investment, research and development, education, inclusive social development, and innovation.

Image of Oliver Grau, Chair of the ACM Europe Technology Policy Committee

US Technology Policy Committee Chair, Jim Hendler

Chaired by James Hendler of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the ACM US Technology Policy Committee serves as the focal point for ACM's interaction with US government organizations, the computing community, and the US public in all matters of US public policy related to information technology. The Committee addresses issues in innovation, privacy, security, digital governance, intellectual property, accessibility, and e-voting.

Image of James Handler, Chair of the ACM US Technology Policy Committee

Simons Named Chair of US Election Assistance Commission Committee on Election Security

Former ACM President Barbara Simons, who was also a founder of ACM's US Technology Policy Committee, has been appointed Chair of a special committee on election security with the US Election Assistance Commission (EAC). "I am very excited about the opportunity created by the appointment of a new committee of the EAC Board of Advisors on election security," Simons said. "In the policy arena, there’s no more immediate and important topic, and Barbara will lead this effort so well," said Adam Eisgrau, ACM Director of Global Policy and Public Affairs.

Barbara Simons