ACM TechNews sponsored by Looking for a NEW vehicle? Discover which ones are right for you from over 250 different makes and models. Your unbiased list of vehicles is based on your preferences and years of consumer input.    Looking for a NEW vehicle? Discover which ones are right for you from over 250 different makes and models. Your unbiased list of vehicles is based on your preferences and years of consumer input.
ACM TechNews is intended as an objective news digest for busy IT Professionals. Views expressed are not necessarily those of either AutoChoice Advisor or ACM. To send comments, please write to [email protected].
Volume 6, Issue 600: Friday, January 30, 2004

  • "E-Vote Still Flawed, Experts Say"
    Wired News (01/29/04); Zetter, Kim

    Raba Technologies researchers issued a report on Jan. 29 warning that touch-screen voting machines from Diebold Election Systems are still vulnerable to internal or external tampering. These findings were the result of a week-long series of evaluations in which Raba testers used the Diebold systems within a simulated election environment modeled after the same procedures the state of Maryland will use in its March primary election. Test participant William Arbaugh of the University of Maryland gave the e-voting system a failing grade, but noted that the grade could be raised to a "C" if Diebold rewrites its software to meet security standards, as Raba recommends. The report was especially critical of Diebold's smart-card security, citing shoddy design of the smart-card reader that would allow an intruder to program a commercially available card so he could vote multiple times; in addition, the smart-card passwords were easy to guess, and were also written into the source code for software running on the systems and server. Arbaugh reported that another vulnerability would allow hackers to alter ballots prior to an election or change votes in the middle of the election, while votes could also be intercepted while in transit between the modem and server. An earlier audit by Science Applications International (SAIC) recommended that Diebold encrypt vote files before they were forwarded to the server, but Arbaugh noted that the company failed to add an authentication function. He also pointed out that the state had not sealed the lock to the machines' computer card compartment with tamper-evident tape, per SAIC's recommendation. Diebold declared at a press conference that Raba's test results "validate" the e-voting machines for the Maryland primary, a statement that rocked Johns Hopkins University researcher Avi Rubin, who found it odd that the company would regard Raba's critical findings as positive; Karl Aro, director of Maryland's legislative services department, echoed Diebold's assertion of the system's readiness.
    Click Here to View Full Article
    To read about ACM's activities in regard to e-voting, visit http://www.acm.org/usacm/Issues/EVoting.htm.

  • "U.S. Takes Anti-Virus Role"
    Washington Post (01/29/04) P. E5; Krim, Jonathan; Musgrove, Mike

    A federal alert system was officially launched by the Department of Homeland Security's cybersecurity division on Jan. 28; it will serve as an online clearinghouse of information on all kinds of cybersecurity threats. Consumers will also be able to access the system to learn if their own computers are susceptible to such threats and what strategies they can employ to combat computer crime. DHS cybersecurity division head Amit Yoran declared, "We are focused on making the threats and recommended actions easier for all computer users to understand, prioritize and act upon." He stressed the importance of such data being disseminated by the government, a neutral party that serves the public good, rather than the profit-oriented security vendor community. Computers users will be able to access information and subscribe to newsletters and bulletins at www.us-cert.gov. Some security experts are skeptical that the alert system is a good idea: Solutionary VP Mark Rasch, for one, insisted that a dearth of information sharing is not the biggest problem in cybersecurity. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) was even more critical, arguing that "What DHS did...was essentially challenge computer hackers all over the world to put a virus into an email that mimics the DHS email warnings." SANS Institute director Allan Paller lauded the measure, and said that the federal alert system should be modeled after the National Weather Service.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "New Age Dawns at Eclipse"
    CNet (01/28/04); LaMonica, Martin

    The Eclipse open-source development tools project is expected to declare its independence from IBM at the upcoming EclipseCon conference, and this could pave the way for other technology providers, including IBM competitors such as Sun Microsystems, to become Eclipse board members and help direct the path of Java software in the industry. Since its formation in November 2001, Eclipse has supported the emergence of a widely used Java development tools platform, also called Eclipse, that enables developers to combine different tools in one programming application. Eclipse members will be assigned to different echelons, while the board of directors will be filled by "strategic contributors" inclined to donate considerable programming and financial resources to the project. Java software providers are eager to attract developers, which would help spur sales of more expensive software to run Java applications and help in their battle against tools and Windows-based software from Microsoft. However, Meta Group analyst Thomas Murphy wonders whether the Eclipse software will maintain its relative simplicity or grow more complicated as more companies participate in the design process: "Does [the software base] stay basic, or will it, because all these other people are driving it, start to bloat?" he asks. Sun's participation in Eclipse is indefinite, but a Sun representative says the company will keep a close eye on the other companies that become board members. Sun has a rival Java tools development project of its own, NetBeans, and IBM's influence within Eclipse is a sore point with Sun executives. Many developers and industry insiders think a single Java tools development platform would be advantageous to Java in its continuing economic rivalry with Microsoft, while others believe different Java tools platforms can live together in harmony.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "A Quantum Leap in Codes for Secure Transmissions"
    International Herald Tribune (01/28/04); Schenker, Jennifer L.

    Experts believe even the best existing digital security system will ultimately be defeated by hackers, and the only unbeatable solution is quantum cryptography, in which the keys used to encrypt and decrypt data are encoded within light particles so sensitive that even the slightest attempt to monitor their transmission will change their encoded state and alert users to the intrusion. Researchers are hopeful that the encoding of binary bits on photons, electrons, and other quantum particles will be a reality before 2020, thus enabling computers to carry out multiple calculations concurrently. This would be a "greater step than the move from the abacus to the calculating computer," declares Cientifica consultant Charles Ross. Commercial quantum cryptography products were recently introduced by Geneva-based id Quantique and New York-based MagiQ Technologies, while NEC, Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba, and other large companies are planning to roll out products of their own. Such products' commercial appeal will be restricted until certain challenges are met: For one thing, quantum encrypted data sent over fiber-optic cable has a limited range, and requires computers directly connected to each other; however, Toshiba Research Europe successfully demonstrated that quantum encrypted messages could be transmitted across a maximum distance of 75 miles in June 2003. Quantum repeaters are also required to expand transmission range and make quantum encryption workable in a networking environment, and both NEC and Hewlett-Packard are pursuing this goal. Wireless quantum key transmission is also being developed in Europe and the United States. Ross cautions that quantum cryptography "is such a fundamentally different way of thinking that engineers, systems analysts and people in every aspect of the security sector are going to have to rethink the way they do everything."
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "Internet Engineers Planning Assault on Spam"
    New Scientist (01/29/04); Knight, Will

    The Internet Research Task Force's Anti-Spam Research Group (ASRG) is debating new technical standards designed to curb the onslaught of spam by making it possible to confirm whether an email originates from a legitimate address. "What we're doing in the short term is not trying to stop spam but to make it easier to identify who's sending a piece of email so that it can be categorized more easily," notes ASRG co-chair John Levine. The Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), which covers the transmission and receipt of email, cannot prevent people from counterfeiting email addresses, and the methods the ASRG is considering can be implemented without rewriting the SMTP and the email servers that employ the protocol. The first standard would require the domain name system (DNS) to be altered so that mail servers can be identified; the modification would enable DNS servers to publish the IP addresses of mail servers used by every domain, not just connect a Web site domain name to a numerical IP address for its server. The second method would match a message to a domain server via cryptographic keys, with each domain publishing a public key that could be employed to confirm that messages are genuine. Levine says companies could tackle spam with both techniques, while AOL and other email providers have started evaluating systems based on the standards ASRG is considering. On the other hand, Spamhaus director Steve Linford is doubtful that these standards would support a long-lasting anti-spam solution. Linford says spammers could use lesser-known domains that have not deployed such protocols, or they could send spam from legitimate addresses by registering their own domains. He says the SMTP protocol needs to be rewritten.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "The Trend of Vanishing Tech Jobs"
    New York Times (01/29/04) P. C2; Postrel, Virginia

    Institute for International Economics economist Catherine L. Mann posits that the offshore outsourcing of computer programming is less dire than American programmers and consulting firms have made it out to be--in fact, she claims that the trend will ultimately be a positive boon that elevates American productivity and creates more lucrative technical jobs. Mann cites the globalization and commoditization of hardware, which parallels the current development of software and services: The emergence of Asian chipmakers offering cheaper products than U.S. manufacturers was considered a threat to America's technological supremacy, and spurred many industry leaders to lobby the government to institute protectionist policies. But the U.S. semiconductor industry focused on higher-value microprocessors, and computer companies acquired commodity chips from overseas; all kinds of businesses could now afford memory chips and other commoditized technologies and found new, more efficient uses for them, which sparked a rise in productivity. Inexpensive software components programmed overseas would allow small and medium-size companies, health care, construction, and other business sectors to avail themselves of IT. "Bringing those sectors up to at least the average will raise U.S. G.D.P. growth again," Mann argues. "And that's the second wave of productivity growth." Software components will be developed offshore, but system integration is likely to remain local, and enjoy greater demand. Unemployed programmers may take little comfort in this--Mann acknowledges that they may have to acquire new skills or move to new industries. She thinks there ought to be "human capital investment tax credit" to encourage enterprises to provide such training to programmers, as well as a federal aid program for displaced IT workers.
    Click Here to View Full Article
    (Access to this site is free; however, first-time visitors must register.)

  • "Bipartisan Request Seeks Halt to Internet Voting"
    Washington Post (01/30/04) P. A19; Keating, Dan

    Both the Republican and Democratic party groups representing Americans abroad have asked the Pentagon to stop its planned test of Internet voting. Sponsored by the Federal Voting Assistance Program, the $22 million Internet voting experiment is meant to make it more convenient for overseas citizens to cast their ballots; but a recent review of the program by four computer experts cast doubt about the program's security, especially since it would fundamentally rely on users' PCs and Microsoft Windows software, which are inherently insecure and could allow hackers to manipulate the vote. The bipartisan request, which was joined by other overseas American groups, lauded the goal of the program--to make it easier to cast ballots from foreign countries--but said security issues could throw the entire election into question. The 2000 presidential election notably hinged on overseas ballots, and the Pentagon program so far has signed up 50 counties from seven states to the program, totaling about 100,000 votes. A Pentagon spokesperson said the voting experiment would go ahead despite concerns, and the next step is to receive formal certification required for all voting equipment. Given timely certification, the Internet voting system could be used in primaries or the general election in Utah, Florida, North Carolina, Arkansas, Washington, and Hawaii. About 6.5 million American civilians and 500,000 military personnel and family live overseas, according to Democrats Abroad former chairman Joseph Smallhoover.
    Click Here to View Full Article
    For more information on e-voting, visit http://www.acm.org/usacm/Issues/EVoting.htm.

  • "WiFi Standards Compete for Market Dominance"
    TechNewsWorld (01/28/04); Korzeniowski, Paul

    The rapid and widespread acceptance of Wi-Fi 802.11b technology means 2004 is a pivotal year for higher-speed options, namely 802.11a and 802.11g. As soon as the first 802.11b specification was released, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers working group responsible began developing the 802.11a standard that would send data at 54 Mbps instead of 11 Mbps with 802.11b. The 802.11a standard, however, hit some snags during product rollout, including resistance from customers who understandably did not want to replace their entire wireless infrastructure. Designing in dual-use features delayed product launches and also helped make 802.11a networks as much as four times more expensive than equipment using the original standard; in addition, 802.11a uses a 5 GHz frequency reserved by the FCC for wireless LANs and thus experiences fewer interference problems from 2.4 GHz devices, which share airwaves with microwave ovens and telephones. Faster 802.11a also uses orthogonal frequency division multiplexing modulation to support 10 users per device, compared to just five simultaneous users for 802.11b. This technical elegance, however, was marred by a carrying distance of just 90 feet compared to between 250 and 300 feet with 802.11b. The newer 802.11g standard is backwards-compatible with 802.11b and operates at 54 Mbps as well, but is slowed down by 802.11b users accessing the network. In-Stat/MDR analyst Gemma Paola says 802.11g has more support from equipment vendors and will likely win out in the marketplace because of its cost-efficiency. However, Burton Group senior analyst Michael Disabato points out that home electronics vendors such as Sony back the 802.11a standard in their home networking plans, and say that standard's technical superiority will make it the market leader.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "Russia Retools Laws to Build IT Industry"
    CNet (01/29/04); Kanellos, Michael

    Russia has the constituents to build a strong IT industry--a heavy focus on math, science, and basic research, an inexpensive engineering workforce, etc.--but the nation's long-term economic reliance on raw materials has limited its technology exports. Speakers at this week's U.S.-Russia Technology Forum said the country is overhauling national policies to make IT a cornerstone industry. Andrey Fursenko, the acting minister for Industry, Science, and Technologies for Russia, said that in a few weeks the national government will allow inventors to receive patents and other intellectual property rights from state scientific institutions that they can use for commercial gain: "We want to tell them that, as a result of their work, they will be the ones, not the state, that will own it," he asserted. Most Russian IT firms are restricted to the domestic market, while almost all panelists on the forum pointed out that business and managerial skills were in short supply. However, IBS Group President Anatoly Karachinsky reported that Dell, IBM, and others have hired his company to perform offshore programming; similarly, Epam Systems President Arkadiy Dobkin noted that his firm's programmers are also working for U.S. clients. Furthermore, Intel, Sun Microsystems, and others are increasing the staff of their Russian operations and their investments in Russian companies. The U.S. government has developed several initiatives designed to boost American investment in Russian IT. For example, April Foley of the U.S. Export Import Bank said her firm is starting a "sub-sovereign" lending program so that cities and provincial governments can secure loans on joint U.S.-Russian ventures.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "What's Labor Going to Do About Offshoring?"
    Salon.com (01/27/04); Mieszkowski, Katherine

    Former South Bay AFL-CIO executive director Amy Dean, who is still president of the Silicon Valley non-profit Working Partnerships USA, believes public policy and labor unions must retool in order to better help white-collar professionals cope with offshore outsourcing and the perils of a work environment in transition, and those reforms must include labor laws, employment policy, and perhaps even trade laws. She is confident that the likelihood of labor law reforms is increasing, given offshoring's ascent up the job ladder and the concern this is generating, as well as the American labor movement's determination and struggle to reestablish its presence. Dean argues that public policies and legal institutions have failed to keep up with the economy and maintain that employers and employees at least share the risks of economic turbulence. Labor laws must therefore be overhauled to guarantee employers and employees' right to negotiate to ensure both security for workers and flexibility for companies. International trade policy is not exempt, either: Dean contends that "If we had one-quarter of the same rights for a human being as we do for compact discs, we'd see a huge breakthrough in trade policy." Empowering workers to freely associate to serve their own interests is also a more mannerly approach to negotiating with other countries, one that will restrain offshore outsourcing. Dean says that employees must be very vocal about what is going on in the U.S. workplace, and demand that public servants do a better job of addressing this issue. She also encourages employees to stay as current as possible in their fields and maintain their social networks.
    Click Here to View Full Article
    (Access to this article is available to paid subscribers only.)

  • "New Conductor Guides Data Along the Fiber Optic Route"
    New York Times (01/29/04) P. E8; Eisenberg, Anne

    Optical nanowires developed at Harvard University transmit light by guiding it, rather than containing it as in traditional optic fiber. Because the glass nanowires are smaller than light wavelengths, about half the light energy traveling along the wire flows outside in an evanescent field, and this characteristic makes the nanowires good candidates for multiplexers, demultiplexers, sensors, and switches used in fiber-optic networks because light can be coupled easily from one wire to another, according to Harvard University Professor Eric Mazur. Normal optical fibers used in long-haul networks carry thousands of slightly different light wavelengths which are mixed and separated out in multiplexers and demultiplexers; the new nanowires are no good for carrying signals any significant length, but could prove useful in these smaller devices. Mazur's colleague, visiting professor Limin Tong from Zhejiang University in China, created the thin nanowires by wrapping glass around a sapphire taper, and then heating it: Depending on how fast the glass was pulled, Dr. Tong could create a smooth-sided nanowire of specific thickness. The sapphire helped the glass heat evenly and create nanowires of unprecedented smoothness--a critical quality in optical fibers. In addition, the nanowires' high tensile strength and flexibility mean they allow easier in-product use of optical components, such as interfaces that take optical signals to and from an electronic chip. Oftentimes, getting optical components precisely aligned is a difficult engineering task, but flexible nanowires can bend to create more convenient links. Flexibility in placement and the ability to easily transfer signals are probably the most attractive characteristics of the new optical fibers, since their smaller size does not actually improve the light-guiding properties, points out California Institute of Technology applied physics Professor Kerry Vahala.
    Click Here to View Full Article
    (Access to this site is free; however, first-time visitors must register.)

  • "Badge Controls Displays"
    Technology Research News (02/04/04); Smalley, Eric

    Researchers at England's University of Lancaster have mixed wireless communications, local area networks (LANs), and Internet access into a "smart space" in which the user can command nearby screens to display Net-based information relevant to their personal preferences without compromising their privacy. Users can do this by means of a pendle, a wearable device equipped with a computer, wireless transmitter, acceleration sensor, and touch sensor that can automatically upload user preferences to computers within the environment, explains Lancaster University research associate Nicolas Villar. "The pendle provides an easier way for the environment to make a guess at [a user's] intentions by providing a defined list of the user's preferences," he notes. Media devices such as CD players can also be controlled by the pendle, which works in conjunction with LAN-linked wireless receivers, displays, and a computer that finds appropriate content. Stored within the pendle are user-selected keywords and Internet addresses that are sent to the room's receivers; the nearest receiver routes both the data and its own ID to a computer that activates the display in closest proximity to the user. The pendle's command mode is triggered when the user picks it up, while holding it up causes the closest display to access the next stored Internet address, and shaking the device wipes off the current information in the display. Villar adds that each pendle's unique ID does not have to be connected to the user's identity, which maintains privacy. Unlike similar technologies such as smart badges, the pendle system offers a methodology to personalize display information that is both active and passive, Villar points out.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "UH to Host World Conference on Future of Internet"
    Pacific Business News (01/26/04)

    The Techs in Paradise conference is scheduled to take place in Hawaii this week, bringing more than 300 top officials and executives in the Internet2 community to Honolulu. The regional counterpart working on the next-generation Internet, the Asia-Pacific Advanced Network, will join the U.S. Internet2 community for TIP2004. The conference will focus on IPv6, the rules for computers that interface over Internet networks, and modifications that impact network security and routing of traffic. Other key topics include grid computing, in which the resources of computers over great distances are used to solve problems, and optical networks, which allow for speedier applications. The Internet2 community uses their academic and research networks to experiment with new concepts that are likely to find their way to the regular Internet in the future. The new 155 Mbps connection between the University of Hawaii and Japan will be used to demonstrate several advanced applications and technologies, including collaborative learning that uses 3D virtual reality patient simulations to enhance medical education. Other demonstrations include remote operation of a model car over the Internet between Japan and Hawaii, and sending high definition and DV video over the Internet from Korea to Hawaii via Japan.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "With Tech Jobs Going Overseas, Starting Career More Stressful"
    Associated Press (01/27/04); Giegerich, Steve

    Employment experts no longer list the technology sector as one of the best industries college seniors can look to for jobs. Internet-based MonsterTRAK, which is popular with college students, says finance, health care, and advertising offer the best opportunities for employment. The prospects for the tech industry have been dimmed by the outsourcing trend and a stagnant domestic sector. Cheryl Allmen-Vinnedge, career center director at San Jose State University, which is in the heart of Silicon Valley, says the job market continues to be tight. According to a recent report by Forrester Research, up to 3.3 million white-collar tech jobs could go to China, India, and other markets overseas by 2015. "Jobs that used to be available for U.S. citizens are being diverted overseas, where the quality is equal or better at a fraction of the cost," says Richard White, director of career services at Rutgers University. Computer science was such a hot major when he enrolled at Rutgers in 2000, says Andrew Zhou, who also majored in finance. "Now, nobody wants to get in because all the jobs are going to India."
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "Four Wheels Good, Two Legs Bad"
    New Scientist (01/24/04) Vol. 181, No. 2431, P. 22; Graham-Rowe, Duncan

    Robotic experts call bipedalism an impractical and inefficient approach to robot movement, and truly practical two-legged walking robots are not expected to emerge for decades. The idea that a multifunctional robot must be bipedal is an outdated concept, according to roboticists; for instance, wheels and tracks instead of legs offer robots more stability when carrying loads, and they consume less power and are less stressful on motors. A robot cannot operate 24 hours without a recharge with current battery technology, and legs will drain the power supply quickly, notes Ben Krupp of MIT's Yobotics spinoff. Furthermore, current biped robot technology is very limited: Famous two-legged machines such as Honda's Asimo and Sony's Qrio cannot traverse wildly uneven surfaces. IRobot founder Colin Angle says Sony and Honda's bipedal robots are primarily used to bolster company pride and appeal, a statement to the world of the manufacturers' technological know-how. He elaborates, "They're doing it because it's fun. Sony is in the entertainment business." Honda acknowledges the drawbacks of current android technology, but is confident that it can build a useful multifunctional bipedal robot within the next 15 years. And progress is being made in two-legged locomotion--Ken'ichiro Nagasaka of Sony's robotics division reports that Qrio can maintain stability even when both feet lose contact with the ground, while Hugh Herr of MIT's Leg Lab says his team has devised a technique that allows a running robot to adapt to uneven surfaces.

  • "Printer Magic"
    Computerworld (01/26/04) Vol. 32, No. 4, P. 31; Weiss, Todd R.

    Corporate and academic researchers are working on advanced technologies in which 3D objects can be printed out layer by layer via the deposition of liquid polymers. Although printers are still incapable of running off electrical circuits integrated into completed, working components, Palo Alto Research Center mechanical engineer John Fitch foresees such a breakthrough in five or more years. The applications of such technology would be infinite, and eliminate the need for costly silicon-based electrical parts; but Fitch notes that major technical hurdles need to be overcome, including the potential need to print out multiple materials. "It means that everybody would have to have a printer that has lots of different cartridges or lots of different printers," he explains, adding that such technology could create an industry in which users order parts by email, and have them printed out for pickup or shipping by regular mail. Fitch thinks that ink-jet printing technology could be used to manufacture specialized consumer items. Plastic Logic's Cranch Lamble says his company, which currently makes ink-jet-printed polymer transistors, is focusing on the development of thin, flexible "electronic paper" video displays and "smart labels" affixed to consumer items to relay critical information, such as when food is no longer fresh. University of California, Berkeley, researchers are manufacturing one-piece "flexonic" devices using ink-jet printing. Project participant and graduate bioengineering student Jeremy Risner explains that mechanical components such as gears and capacitors may one day be added to the flexonic structures.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "Trip to Mars Requires Intelligence"
    Federal Computer Week (01/26/04) Vol. 17, No. 2, P. 58; Edwards, Randall

    Technology experts explain that manned missions to Mars cannot take place without advancements in artificial intelligence. Metrica senior scientist David Kortenkamp anticipates dramatic AI improvements within President Bush's timeframe for manned expeditions to the red planet, though he strongly doubts that every operation will be automated. "We see [artificial intelligence] more as a tool to accomplish the mission, rather than a completely intelligent control element that's in charge of the mission," he notes. Onboard AI systems would be essential for maintaining life support for the astronauts during the long flight, and automating such jobs would give the travelers more time to perform other activities. Computer systems capable of self-repair would be another key component, given the long communications lag between Earth and the spacecraft or Mars habitat. Wind River International's Mike Deliman makes the case that future expeditions will require computer systems capable of both recognizing and circumventing errors. Barney Pell at NASA's Ames Research Center explains that AI should also be useful for living in a Martian environment. Robots could be employed to build infrastructures, while AI responsibilities could extend to include the coordination of the in-space communications network, the running of knowledge management systems, and maintenance of the habitat's life-support operations.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "The Next President's I.T. Agenda"
    CIO (01/15/04) Vol. 17, No. 7, P. 54; Worthen, Ben

    Presidential candidates should have solid stances on technology-related issues so that CIOs will be able to clearly understand their IT policies, says Jonathan Zittrain of Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet & Society. The two overriding issues of critical infrastructure are homeland security and information security, and the next president will have to decide whether cybersecurity standards should be mandated by the government or the private sector. Past presidents have been hesitant to set such standards, but if such a thing comes to pass, future security legislation will likely by modeled after the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act; the president could require companies that do business with federal agencies to comply with certain security regulations, such as firewall installation, patch management policies, and system access controls. In terms of the privacy issue, the next president will need to place a boundary between industry self-regulation and government intervention, as well as decide whether to renew certain provisions of the Patriot Act. He will face a Congress split over privacy regulations, and will have the power to make companies adopt new privacy protections by imposing rules on enterprises that deal with federal agencies. The offshore outsourcing of jobs has triggered a groundswell of protest and mobilization by IT workers, and the next president will be responsible for either protecting U.S. jobs by halting outsourcing, inaugurating retraining programs to put unemployed IT workers back into the market, or allowing outsourcing to continue in the hopes that the situation will resolve itself; options include forcing government contractors to only hire domestic staff. The government's activism in setting technology standards, either directly or indirectly, will be a reflection of the new president's priorities; most CIOs are against federally mandated tech standards, while some favor them because the market has failed to set such standards. Center for Democracy and Technology associate director Ari Schwartz believes the government will probably set tech standards indirectly via its purchasing power as the No. 1 IT consumer in the world.
    Click Here to View Full Article
    To learn more about ACM's U.S. Public Policy Committee, visit http://www.acm.org/usacm.

    [ Archives ]  [ Home ]