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, the increasing reliance on computing and networks raises 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 policy-makers, the media, and the public.
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.
The ACM Europe Technology Policy Committee promotes dialogue and the exchange of ideas on technology and computing policy issues with the European Commission, member states' governmental bodies, and the informatics and computing communities.
ACM's US Technology Policy Committee submitted a detailed analysis of the EAC's latest Voluntary Voting System Guidelines draft. Its recommendations include a blanket ban on the internet connection capability of any and every voting technology addressed by the VVSG; requirements that elections be fully and robustly auditable; and full interoperability of all internal voting system components.
ACM's US Technology Policy Committee advised the Computing Community Consortium on ethics in artificial intelligence. The Committee's recommendations covered the use of AI in weapons systems and healthcare, algorithmic bias, the disparate impact of AI's application on various classes of individuals, and matters of diversity and inclusion, among other issues.
Lorraine Kisselburgh, Fellow at Purdue University's Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS), has been appointed Chair of ACM's Technology Policy Council, which addresses global technology policy, effective July 1, 2019.
John West and Natalie Enright Jerger Named Co-chairs of ACM Diversity and Inclusion Council
Natalie Enright Jerger and John West have been named Co-chairs of ACM's Diversity and Inclusion Council, effective July 1. Natalie Enright Jerger is Percy Edward Hart Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto. John West is Director of Strategic Initiatives at the University of Texas at Austin's Texas Advanced Computing Center.
New ACM US Technology Policy Committee Chair
Jim Hendler has been named Chair of the ACM US Technology Policy Committee, succeeding Stuart Shapiro. Hendler is Professor of Computer, Web and Cognitive Sciences; Director, Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Applications; and Director, RPI-IBM Center on Health Empowerment by Analytics, Learning and Semantics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Oliver Grau Named ACM Europe Technology Policy Committee Chair
Oliver Grau has been named Chair of the ACM Europe Technology Policy Committee. He is Associate Director of Operations at Intel's Visual Computing Institute in Germany. Previously he worked for more than a decade at BBC R&D in the UK. Grau is also a member of the ACM Europe Council.
The white paper "When Computers Decide: European Recommendations on Machine-Learned Automated Decision Making" presents the views of the ACM Europe Technology Policy Committee and Informatics Europe (IE) on the challenges posed by the increasing presence of Machine Learning and Automated Decision Making (ADM) systems in almost every aspect of modern human life.
The ACM Europe Council and Informatics Europe have collaborated on a report that builds on an earlier document, "Informatics Education in Europe: Are We All in the Same Boat?". The report, "Informatics for All: The Strategy," aims to establish Informatics as an essential discipline for all, a subject available at all levels throughout the educational system. The strategy is also summarized in a one-page document.
The ACM US Technology Policy Committee and the ACM Europe Technology Policy Committee have released a Statement on Internet of Things Privacy and Security addressing existing and expected privacy and security concerns in the IoT ecosystem. The principles in the statement propose policy and technical approaches to tackle privacy and security challenges while ensuring that the technology continues to move forward.
Recognizing the ubiquity of algorithms in our daily lives, as well as their far-reaching impact, the ACM US Technology Policy Committee and the ACM Europe Technology Policy Committee have issued a statement and a list of seven principles designed to address potential harmful bias. The US ACM committee approved the principles earlier this year, and the European ACM committee approved them on May 25.
The Association for Computing Machinery, a global scientific and educational organization representing the computing community, expresses concern over US President Donald J. Trump’s Executive Order imposing suspension of visas to nationals of six countries.
A new policy white paper by the ACM Europe Technology Policy Committee, "Advancing Cybersecurity Research and Education in Europe: Major Drivers of Growth in the Digital Landscape," explores the important role of cybersecurity research and education in enhancing cybersecurity, and provides an overview of emerging trends and challenges, including new privacy and security concerns.
The ACM US Technology Policy Committee has commented on a Supreme Court hearing addressing a cutting-edge case that is at the intersection of information technology and civil liberties. Carpenter v. United States, the Court will decide whether the Constitution requires that the government obtain a warrant in order to seize records revealing historical locations and movements of cell phone users. At issue is the legality of potentially indiscriminate government surveillance.
The ACM US Technology Policy Committee has reaffirmed its long-standing commitment to accessibility by releasing a statement and set of principles on accessibility, usability, and digital inclusiveness. Promoting digital inclusiveness for people with disabilities, as well as policies, regulations, and guidelines that ensure fair access to the opportunities that arise from digital innovations, has been an ongoing priority for the Committee.
In its Statement on Computing and Network Security, the ACM US Technology Policy Committee identified nine principles that entities should follow to protect their systems from threats. The group highlights the need for robust protections to secure computing and network systems and proposes that these recommendations be adopted going forward.
ACM's US Tech Policy Committee submitted comments on the US Department of Commerce's green paper on “Fostering the Advancement of the Internet of Things.” The comments expressed support for ensuring that IoT environments are inclusive, accessible, and usable for consumers, workers, and businesses. The comments urged the Department to address algorithmic capabilities, privacy, and security more fully within the final report.
The ACM US Technology Policy Committee hosted a panel event on “Algorithmic Transparency and Accountability” on September 14 at the National Press Club in Washington. The panel providee a forum for a discussion between stakeholders and leading computer scientists about the growing impact of algorithmic decision-making on our society and the technical underpinnings of algorithmic models. A video of the event is now available.
A new report on cybersecurity policy published by the European Commission’s top scientific advisers cites the ACM US Technology Policy Committee’s White Paper on “Advancing Cybersecurity Research and Education in Europe” and the ACM US Technology Policy Committee’s Principles on Algorithmic Transparency and Accountability. Among the report’s recommendations, the scientific advisers call for global cybersecurity cooperation.
TPC Member Testifies before Congress on Election Security
Latanya Sweeney, Professor and Director of Harvard University's Data Privacy Lab and an incoming member of ACM’s global Technology Policy Council, testified before a joint hearing of the oversight and research subcommittees of the US House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. The hearing addressed “Election Security: Voting Technology Vulnerabilities.”
USTPC submitted comments to the Food and Drug Administration on its discussion paper, “Proposed FDA Regulatory Framework for Modifications to Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Based Software.” The proceeding was opened to seek guidance on how current testing and ongoing evaluation protocols for software as a medical device (SaMD) should be modified.
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.
ACM's US Technology Policy Committee (USTPC) is joining with organzations including the National Election Defense Coalition, R Street Institute, and Common Cause to release a report citing concerns on the security of internet and email voting. The report cites the increasing impact of cyberattacks on ballots in transit; malware on the voter’s computer/device; voter authentication; server attacks; and more. Recommendations include a return to paper ballots and other "low-tech" measures.
The ACM US Technology Policy Committee made detailed recommendations to Congress for protecting personal privacy in the wake of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica controversy. The Committee’s statement was submitted to the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security for inclusion in the record of the Subcommittee’s June 19 hearing entitled “Cambridge Analytica and Other Facebook Partners: Examining Data Privacy Risks.”
The ACM US Technology Policy Committee has issued a statement on goverment-mandated extraordinary access to user-controlled encryption systems by law enforcement. "All presently known means of engineering extraordinary access to encrypted user information necessarily would introduce security vulnerabilities that would expose the involved systems to attack by malicious or otherwise extra-legal actors," the Committee stated, among other findings.
The ACM US Technology Policy Committee's letter to US Senators and Representatives raised concerns about breaches of privacy and public trust resulting from Facebook’s and outside parties’ use and misuse of Facebook users’ data. It offered five key observations on the implications and possible causes of the data breaches, citing compromising business practices; systemic deficiencies; the need to adhere to ethical standards (such as ACM's Code of Ethics); large datasets and increased computational power; and synergies among technologies.
Based on the belief that the benefits of emerging technologies should not come at the expense of personal privacy, the ACM US Technology Policy Committee has issued a statement outlining principles and practices for building data privacy into modern technological systems. These include limiting and minimizing collection of personal data; the ability of individuals to control how their personal data are distributed and used; and ensuring quality and security of personal data. Read more in the news release.
ACM has joined AAAI, CRA, IEEE, SIAM, and USENIX in opposing provisions contained in H.R. 1, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, which would discourage graduate careers in computing research and reduce available research funding. They state that eliminating current IRS code that allows tuition waivers for students working as teaching and research assistants to be exempt from taxable income would dramatically increase the cost of graduate student education in computing, and likely discourage students from pursuing graduate degrees, while reducing funding available for research.