ACM US Technology Policy Committee
ACM’s US Technology Policy Committee (USTPC), currently comprising more than 130 members, serves as the focal point for ACM's interaction with all branches of the US government, the computing community, and the public on policy matters related to information technology. The Committee regularly educates and informs Congress, the Administration, and the courts about significant developments in the computing field and how those developments affect public policy in the United States. Chaired by James Hendler of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USTPC's substantive work, which is entirely non-partisan and apolitical, is done largely through standing Subcommittees of dedicated volunteers and in coalition with other organizations.
The USTPC carries out its mission by responding to requests for authoritative technical expertise and guidance, publishing and distributing its materials, presenting findings at policy briefings, participating in public meetings, and engaging with a range of stakeholders. The Committee also advances public policy through educational programs and collaborations with other ACM policy entities, special interest groups, task forces, and committees.
USTPC's structure is detailed in, and its activities governed by, its Operating Procedures.
Key Issues and Resources
ACM’s US Technology Policy Committee regularly produces data-driven, apolitical statements, reports and other materials on a wide range of computing-related policy issues. Current current key issues and resources include:
Coalitions, Consortia & Collaborators
ACM and its US Technology Policy Committee frequently benefit from and contribute to the work of both formal and informal alliances with other technology policy-oriented organizations. Such collaborations may take the form of joint reports, policy statements and principles, letters directed to policymakers, and legal briefs. (Please see USTPC's procedures for authoring and joining briefs amicus curiae.) These organizations include:
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- American Medical Informatics Association
- Brennan Center for Justice
- Center for Democracy and Technology
- Code.org Advocacy Coalition
- Common Cause
- Computing Community Consortium
- Computing Research Association
- Electronic Privacy Information Center
- Free Speech for People
- Future of Privacy Forum
- National Election Defense Coalition
- Partnership on AI
- Privacy Coalition
- R Street Institute
- Verified Voting
ACM's US Technology Policy Committee (USTPC) hosted a HotTopics webinar session on Politics and Policy of Necessity: Mega-Hacks and the Future of US Cybersecurity on June 9. Former USTPC Chair and renowned cybersecurity expert Gene Spafford moderated a panel that discussed cyberthreats and how multiple arms of the US government can respond. Panelists included Steven Bellovin, Edward Felten, Rebecca Herold and Mark Rasch.
ACM's US Technology Policy Committee (USTPC) hosted a HotTopics webinar session on Technology & Trust: Voting in the Electronic Age on February 11. The panel discussion was moderated by USTPC Chair Jim Hendler and included ACM technical experts Doug Jones and Barbara Simons, USTPC Law Subcommittee Chair Andy Grosso, and Brennan Center for Justice advisor Edgardo Cortés for a deep and audience-interactive discussion of voting in America and the technologies at its core.
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.
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.”
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’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.
- James Hendler
- Vice Chair
- Alec Yasinsac
- Immediate Past Chair
- Stuart Shapiro
- Former Chairs
- Charles Brownstein
- Edward Felten
- Barbara Simons
- Eugene Spafford
- Accessibility Subcommittee Chair
- Harry Hochheiser
- AI & Algorithms Subcommittee Co-Chairs
- Jeanna Matthews
- Jonathan Smith
- Digital Governance Subcommittee Chair
- Daniel Weitzner
- Intellectual Property Subcommittee Chair
- Paul Hyland
- Law Subcommittee Chair
- Andrew Grosso
- Privacy Subcommittee Chair
- Brian Dean
- Security Subcommittee Chair
- Patrick Traynor
- Voting Subcommittee Co-Chairs
- Jeremy Epstein
- Barbara Simons
- Simson Garfinkel
- Europe Technology Policy Committee Chair, ex officio
- Chris Hankin
- ACM CEO, ex officio
- Vicki Hanson
- ACM COO, ex officio
- Pat Ryan
- ACM Director of Global Public Policy, ex officio
- Adam Eisgrau
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.
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.
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.