Hello and greetings from ACM's global Policy Office based in Washington, D.C., where chronicling the "First 100 Days" of almost anything is a favorite pastime.
Arrival of that milestone for 2018 brought these highlights of ACM's member-driven policy efforts in Europe and the U.S.:
- Submission in mid-February of USACM's formal Comments on a joint draft Report to the President on Enhancing the Resilience of the Internet and Communications Ecosystem Against Botnets and Other Automated, Distributed Threats by the Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security (NTIA Docket Number 180103005–8005–01);
- Adoption by ACM's U.S. Public Policy Council (USACM) of a March 1 formal Statement on the Importance of Preserving Personal Privacy, including 10 Foundational Privacy Principles and Practices;
- Release on March 8 of When Computers Decide: European Recommendations on Machine-Learned Automated Decision Making, a joint production of the ACM Europe Policy Committee (EUACM) and Informatics Europe. The new white paper, summarized here, was publicly unveiled at a panel discussion among European Commission and outside experts held in conjunction with EUACM's Annual Meeting in Brussels in mid-March;
- ACM's Europe Council and EUACM also released on March 8 Informatics for All: The Strategy, a joint report with Informatics Europe aimed at establishing Informatics as an essential discipline for students in Europe at all levels throughout the educational system. The report was the subject of a second EU Commission and expert panel discussionin Brussels organized in connection with the Council's and EUACM's annual meetings;
- Meetings in mid-March in Brussels regarding possible future collaboration with: senior staff in the Office of the European Data Protection Supervisor; and Brussels-based representatives of the Computer & Communications Industry Association and Science|Business (a current EUACM partner/consultant);
- USACM's late-March Annual Meeting in Washington, featuring: extended strategy discussions on focusing USACM's issues of primary interest, leveraging existing and new relationships with other organizations, and reinforcing and otherwise enhancing ACM and USACM's reputation among policy makers as a trusted source of information on critical technology policy matters;
- Production of a detailed April 9 letter to the leaders of key congressional committees on the eve of their hearings into Facebook's recently revealed data breaches. Rapidly produced by a specially-assembled project group of members drawn multiple USACM committees, and approved by USACM's Executive Committee by special email poll, the letter was formally entered into the record of Congress' proceedings. The letter also highlighted and attached USACM's March 1 Statement on personal privacy, noted above; and
- Approval by USACM of a Statement on Mandatory Engineered Law Enforcement Access to Information Infrastructure and Devices on April 12.
In addition to these documents and contacts, USACM:
- Briefed staff to the bipartisan leaders of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus on USACM's policy work and resources;
- Presented to a large public and private sector coalition focused on internet policy regarding USACM's work in general and its new "Law Enforcement Access" Statement in particular; and
- Secured a panel presentation opportunity on ethical issues in algorithmic decision-making for USACM at the May 2018 RightsCon conference in Toronto, Canada.
The first 100 days of 2018 also were my first 100 days with ACM (give or take a few hours) and it's been a fast, fascinating and fun time so far! I'm looking forward to having much more news of ACM's policy plans and actions in the U.S. and EU to report on in the coming months, including a report later this spring on ACM's new global "Technology Policy Council," slated to launch on July 1.
In the meantime, have you spotted an emerging policy issue on which ACM can make a positive impact? Seen good work by another organization we might team with? Have suggestions for our policy-focused web pages? Know a colleague who'd make a great addition to EUACM or USACM? Please, let us know about those things or anything else you'd like to share!
Adam Eisgrau is Director of Global Policy and Public Affairs for ACM.