Documents on the Web are available at: http://france.usembassy.gov/web-alert.html
The opinions expressed in these publications do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government
National Cybersecurity Strategy: Key Improvements Are Needed to Strengthen the Nation's Posture
David Powner, Director, Information Technology Management Issues. Government Accountability Office (GAO). Testimony before the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology, Committee on Homeland Security, U.S. House of Representatives. March 10, 2009. 18 pages.
Pervasive and sustained computer-based attacks against federal and private-sector infrastructures pose a potentially devastating impact to systems and operations and the critical infrastructures that they support. To address these threats, President Bush issued a 2003 national strategy and related policy directives aimed at improving cybersecurity nationwide. Congress and the Executive Branch, including the new administration, have subsequently taken actions to examine the adequacy of the strategy and identify areas for improvement. GAO has, nevertheless, identified this area as high risk and has reported on needed improvements in implementing the national cybersecurity strategy. In this testimony, GAO summarizes key reports and recommendations on the national cybersecurity strategy and the views of experts on how to strengthen the strategy.
Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative: Legal Authorities and Policy Considerations
John Rollins. Congressional Research Service (CRS). March 10, 2009. 21 pages.
Federal agencies report increasing cyber-intrusions into government computer networks, perpetrated by a range of known and unknown actors. In response, the President, legislators, experts, and others have characterized cybersecurity as a pressing national security issue. Like other national security challenges in the post-9/11 era, the cyber threat is multi-faceted and lacks clearly delineated boundaries. Some cyber attackers operate through foreign nations’ military or intelligence-gathering operations, whereas others have connections to terrorist groups or operate as individuals. Some cyber threats might be viewed as international or domestic criminal enterprises. This report discusses the legal issues and addresses policy considerations related to the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI).
Broadband Internet Access and the Digital Divide: Federal Assistance Programs
Lennard G. Kruger and Angele A. Gilroy. Congressional Research Service (CRS). February 20, 2009. 30 pages.
Economic stimulus legislation enacted by the 111th Congress includes provisions that provide federal financial assistance for broadband deployment. On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed P.L. 111-5, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The ARRA provides a total of $7.2 billion for broadband, consisting of $4.7 billion to NTIA/DOC for a newly established Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and $2.5 billion to existing RUS/USDA broadband programs. It is expected that the Obama Administration will ultimately develop a national broadband policy or strategy that will seek to reduce or eliminate the “digital divide” with respect to broadband. It is likely that elements of a national broadband policy, in tandem with broadband investment measures in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will significantly shape and expand federal policies and programs to promote broadband deployment and adoption. A key issue is how to strike a balance between providing federal assistance for unserved and underserved areas where the private sector may not be providing acceptable levels of broadband service, while at the same time minimizing any deleterious effects that government intervention in the marketplace may have on competition and private sector investment.
The Evolving Broadband Infrastructure: Expansion, Applications, and Regulation
Patricia Moloney Figliola, Angele A. Gilroy and Lennard G. Kruger. Congressional Research Service (CRS). February 19, 2009. 28 pages.
Over the past decade, the telecommunications sector has undergone a vast transformation fueled by rapid technological growth and subsequent evolution of the marketplace. Much of the U.S. policy debate over the evolving telecommunications infrastructure is framed within the context of a “national broadband policy.” The way a national broadband policy is defined, and the particular elements that might constitute that policy, determine how and whether various stakeholders might support or oppose a national broadband initiative. The issue for policymakers is how to craft a comprehensive broadband strategy that not only addresses broadband availability and adoption problems, but also addresses the long term implications of next-generation networks on consumer use of the Internet and the implications for a regulatory framework that must keep pace with evolving telecommunications technology.
Self-Regulatory Principles For Online Behavioral Advertising
Federal Trade Commission (FTC). February 2009. 55 pages.
Since the emergence of “e-commerce” in the mid-1990s, the online marketplace has continued to expand and evolve, creating new business models that allow greater interactivity between consumers and online companies. This expanding marketplace has provided many benefits to consumers, including free access to rich sources of information and the convenience of shopping for goods and services from home. At the same time, the ease with which companies can collect and combine information from consumers online has raised questions and concerns about consumer privacy. This Report constitutes the next step in an ongoing process to examine behavioral advertising that involves the FTC, industry, consumer and privacy organizations, and individual consumers. Some companies and industry groups have begun to develop new privacy policies and self-regulatory approaches, but more needs to be done to educate consumers about online behavioral advertising and provide effective protections for consumers’ privacy.
Infrastructure Programs: What's Different About Broadband?
Charles B. Goldfarb and Lennard G. Kruger. Congressional Research Service (CRS). January 22, 2009. 25 pages.
Broadband network deployment projects represent large scale, long term investments that affect the overall productivity of economic activity in the geographic areas in which they are built, and thus fit the conventional definition of infrastructure. But they also have several characteristics that distinguish them from traditional infrastructure projects. The leadership in both houses of Congress as well as the Obama administration have announced plans to include a broadband component in the infrastructure portion of any economic stimulus package. At the least, the unique characteristics of broadband infrastructure impose very complex policy objectives for any broadband infrastructure program -- to foster infrastructure investment that would not otherwise be made and to create additional jobs and spending, without distorting competition among the different broadband network technologies, without discouraging investment and innovation by independent applications providers that need access to broadband networks, and without subsidizing multiple inefficient providers unnecessarily.
Privacy Law and Online Advertising: Legal Analysis of Data Gathering By Online Advertisers Such As Double Click and Nebu-Ad
Kathleen Ann Ruane. Congressional Research Service (CRS). January 16, 2009. 14 pages.
To produce revenue, websites have placed advertisements on their sites. Advertisers will pay a premium for greater assurance that the advertisement they are purchasing will be seen by users that are most likely to be interested in the product or service offered. As a result, technology has been developed which enables online advertisements to be targeted directly at individual users based on their web surfing activity. This practice is widely known as “behavioral” or “e-havioral” advertising. This individual behavioral targeting has raised a number of privacy concerns. There are no current federal regulations specific to online behavioral advertising. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has put forth a number of guiding principles intended to aid the industry in creating self-regulatory principles. The FTC maintains that self-regulation is preferable to government intervention in this case. The 110th Congress has expressed interest in this issue.
Health Information Technology: Federal Agencies' Experiences Demonstrate Challenges to Successful Implementation
Valerie C. Melvin, Director, Human Capital and Management Information Systems Issues. Government Accountability Office (GAO). Testimony before the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, U.S. Senate. January 15, 2009. 25 pages.
As GAO and others have reported, the use of information technology (IT) has enormous potential to help improve the quality of health care and is important for improving the performance of the U.S. health care system. Given its role in providing health care, the federal government has been urged to take a leadership role to improve the quality and effectiveness of health care, and it has been working to promote the nationwide use of health IT for a number of years. Achieving widespread adoption and implementation of health IT, however, has proven challenging, and the best way to accomplish this transition remains subject to much debate. At the committee's request, this testimony discusses important issues identified by GAO that have broad relevance to the successful implementation of health IT to improve the quality of health care.
THINK TANKS AND RESEARCH CENTERS:
Measuring the Effectiveness of the Broadband Stimulus Plan
Scott Wallsten. Technology Policy Institute. March 17, 2009. 6 pages.
The newly enacted economic stimulus package includes $7.2 billion in grants, loans, and loan guarantees to bring broadband to rural areas lacking high-speed Internet services. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 charges government agencies not only with choosing grant recipients and setting performance benchmarks, but also with measuring results. Only a carefully preplanned evaluation strategy will enable them to accurately assess the effectiveness of the broadband stimulus.
Using Competitive Bidding to Reform the Universal Service High Cost Fund
Scott Wallsten. Technology Policy Institute. Testimony before the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, Committee on Energy and Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives. March 12, 2009. 4 pages.
According to the author, the current universal service program high cost fund is inefficient, inequitable, and growing at an alarming rate, having increased from $1.7 billion in 1999 to $4.2 billion in 2007. Especially because the program is funded by taxes on telecommunications services paid by all users, including low-income people, the program is in urgent need of reform. The current high-cost mechanism is not only expensive, but also discourages competition and does little to benefit consumers. In order to increase buildout, increase penetration, and reduce costs, he adds, one must eliminate the current system and replace it with competitive procurement.
The Need for Speed: The Importance of Next-Generation Broadband Networks
Rob Atkinson, Stephen Ezell, Daniel Castro and George Ou. The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF). March 5, 2009. 38 pages.
This report argues that supporting the deployment of faster broadband networks will be crucial to enabling next-generation Web-based applications and services that will play important roles in improving quality of life and boosting economic growth. While getting broadband service to the Americans who lack it is an important policy target, next-generation broadband will deliver a wave of new benefits to consumers, society, businesses, and the economy.
Promoting Platform Parity: Equal Pay for Equal Music
Daniel Castro. The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF). WebMemo. March 4, 2009. 3 pages.
This WebMemo argues that Congress should promote technology neutral policies that do not unfairly advantage or disadvantage any particular technology or business model. Moreover, Congress should ensure that the rules and regulations governing the royalty rate setting process are fair and reasonable for all broadcast platforms. As Congress considers “The Performance Rights Act,” a bill to eliminate the exemption on performance royalties that terrestrial radio has enjoyed for years, it should keep these principles in mind.
ICANN AT A CROSSROADS: A PROPOSAL FOR BETTER GOVERNANCE AND PERFORMANCE
Thomas M. Lenard and Lawrence J. White. Technology Policy Institute. March 2009. 53 pages.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has operated under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) since 1998. The MOU was replaced in September 2006 by the Joint Project Agreement (JPA) between ICANN and the DOC, which expires in August 2009. At that time, a decision needs to be made about ICANN’s future. Should the JPA tie with the U.S. Government be retained? Or should the link be wholly severed, as ICANN advocates? And, in either case, what governance structure would best promote Internet efficiency and innovation? This paper evaluates the structure and governance of ICANN to help inform the upcoming decision. In particular, it reviews ICANN’s structure and functions, and also the structures of a number of other organizations that perform a roughly comparable range of private-sector and quasi-governmental coordination and standard-setting functions, to explore what might be applicable to ICANN.
Twenty Most Important Controls and Metrics for Effective Cyber Defense and Continuous FISMA Compliance
John Gilligan. Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS). Draft 1.0. February 23, 2009. 40 pages.
Securing our Nation against cyber attacks has become one of the Nation’s highest priorities. To achieve this objective, networks, systems, and the operations teams that support them must vigorously defend against external attacks. Furthermore, for those external attacks that are successful, defenses must be capable of thwarting, detecting, and responding to follow‐on attacks on internal networks as attackers spread inside a compromised network. A central tenet of the US Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI) is that ‘offense must inform defense’. In other words, knowledge of actual attacks that have compromised systems provides the essential foundation on which to construct effective defenses.
Losing Our Technology Advantage
Darrell M. West. Brookings Institution. StateTech Magazine. February 17, 2009.
Once on the cutting edge of technological innovation and access, U.S. high-tech now lags behind. The erosion of high-tech leadership has serious consequences for commerce, politics and entertainment. The slow speed on America’s information superhighways means many Americans are not able to take full advantage of advanced media applications such as the downloading of film and video for entertainment. At the same time, government agencies are not able to guarantee confidentiality of medical records, employment data or official transactions. Schools are not able to take advantage of online instructional material requiring fast download speeds. And businesses do not have the infrastructure required to develop new jobs. Striving to stay competitive, the United States must invest more in its technology infrastructure. This includes tax credits for private-sector research and development, greater support for higher education, and adult training programs that help workers transition to a 21st century economy.
Twitter and status updating
Amanda Lenhart and Susannah Fox. The Pew Internet & American Life Project. Data Memo. February 12, 2009. 6 pages.
In the past three years, developments in social networking and Internet applications have begun providing Internet users with more opportunities for sharing short updates about themselves, their lives, and their whereabouts online. Users may post messages about their status, their moods, their location and other tidbits on social networks and blogging sites, or on applications for sending out short messages to networks of friends like Twitter, Yammer and others. As of December 2008, 11% of online American adults said they used a service like Twitter or another service that allowed them to share updates about themselves or to see the updates of others.
The Next Wave of E-Government
Daniel Castro and Robert Atkinson. The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF). StateTech Magazine. February 2, 2009.
The first two waves of the IT revolution offered state and local IT leaders amazing opportunities to make government more efficient, improve services and increase transparency. Today, an emerging third wave is making it possible for governments to solve pressing public problems in fundamentally new ways.
The Digital Economy Fact Book, Tenth Edition
Grant Eskelsen, Adam Marcus and W. Kenneth Ferree. The Progress & Freedom Foundation (PFF). February 2009. 192 pages.
Events in the past year have illustrated how business models continue to change and evolve in response to the widespread use of the Internet and other digital technologies. Communications network policies have dominated policy discussions in Washington, including network management practices and network access policies. Debates on how to best update public safety communication networks for first responders continue in light of the failed public private spectrum proposal. New online advertising models have opened new revenue streams but have also raised privacy and market power concerns. The entertainment and media sectors continue to seek a balance between fully exploiting online avenues of distribution and copyright protection. The fallout from these events is sure to shape the evolution of e-commerce for years to come. The new administration is expected to drive public policy concerning the tech and telecom industries in a new direction. In the long term, it may be the administrations’ positions on macro issues relating to free trade, liberal movement of capital and labor, and education policy that will have the greatest impact on the communications and technology sectors over the next several years.
The Internet and Local Wages: Convergence or Divergence?
Chris Forman, Avi Goldfarb and Shane Greenstein. National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Working Paper No. 14750. February 2009. 51 pages.
Did the diffusion of the Internet lead to convergence or divergence of local wages? The authors examine the relationship between business use of advanced Internet technology and regional variation in US wage growth between 1995 and 2000. They show that business use of advanced Internet technology is associated with wage growth but find no evidence that the Internet contributed to regional wage convergence. Advanced Internet technology is only associated with wage growth in places that were already well off in terms of income, education, population, and industry. Overall, advanced Internet explains one-quarter of the difference in wage growth between these counties and all others.
Generations Online in 2009
Sydney Jones and Susannah Fox. The Pew Internet & American Life Project. Data Memo. January 28, 2009. 9 pages.
Over half of the adult Internet population is between 18 and 44 years old. But larger percentages of older generations are online now than in the past, and they are doing more activities online, according to surveys taken from 2006-2008. Contrary to the image of Generation Y as the "Net Generation," Internet users in their 20s do not dominate every aspect of online life. Generation X is the most likely group to bank, shop, and look for health information online. Boomers are just as likely as Generation Y to make travel reservations online. And even Silent Generation Internet users are competitive when it comes to email.
OBAMA’S ONLINE OPPORTUNITIES II
John B. Horrigan. The Pew Internet & American Life Project. Data Memo. January 21, 2009. 3 pages.
Investment in broadband has become part of the broader discussion about President Obama’s economic stimulus package. Even though the size of the stimulus and the share that might be devoted to broadband are still unspecified, it seems likely that the new Administration will take steps to encourage investment in broadband infrastructure. Although job creation is the main topic in this debate, there are really three policy goals associated with broadband in the stimulus package: creating new jobs, creating new broadband subscribers, and improving the broadband experience for all subscribers through faster networks.
Adults and social network websites
Amanda Lenhart. The Pew Internet & American Life Project, Data Memo. January 14, 2009. 17 pages.
The share of adult Internet users who have a profile on an online social network site has more than quadrupled in the past four years -- from 8% in 2005 to 35% in 2009. Still, younger online adults are much more likely than their older counterparts to use social networks, with 75% of adults 18-24 using these networks, compared to just 7% of adults 65 and older. At its core, use of online social networks is still a phenomenon of the young. Overall, personal use of social networks seems to be more prevalent than professional use of networks, both in the orientation of the networks that adults choose to use as well as the reasons they give for using the applications. Most adults, like teens, are using online social networks to connect with people they already know.
Improving Quality of Life Through Telecommuting
Wendell Cox. The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF). January 14, 2009. 24 pages.
The number of jobs filled by telecommuters could grow nearly four-fold to 19 million and deliver substantial economic, environmental and quality of life benefits for the United States over the next 12 years. Spurred by advances in IT, especially the spread of broadband, telecommuting is already the fastest growing mode of getting from home to work. Thanks to its potential to cut costs, increase productivity, and expand the universe of potential employees, telecommuting is also emerging as a standard business strategy for a larger number of organizations. This report calls for government to pursue policies to accelerate and maximize telecommuting, including spurring the deployment and adoption of broadband, which is an essential facilitator of telecommuting.
The Digital Road to Recovery: A Stimulus Plan to Create Jobs, Boost Productivity and Revitalize America
Robert Atkinson, Daniel Castro and Stephen Ezell. The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF). January 7, 2009. 22 pages.
Investing in new economy digital infrastructures will provide significant opportunities not just for short-term stimulus and job creation, but also longer term economic and social benefits. This report provides a detailed analysis and estimate of the short-term jobs impacts of spurring investment in three critical digital networks: broadband networks, the smart grid (making the electric distribution system intelligent) and health IT, and outlines policy steps to spur this investment. It finds that investments in America’s digital infrastructure will spur significant job creation in the short run. Specifically, it estimates that spurring an additional investment of $30 billion in America’s IT network infrastructure in 2009 will create approximately 949,000 U.S. jobs.
Building a 21st Century Broadband Superhighway: A CONCRETE BUILD-OUT PLAN TO BRING HIGH-SPEED FIBER CONNECTIONS TO EVERY COMMUNITY
Benjamin Lennett and Sascha Meinrath. New America Foundation, Wireless Future Program. Issue Brief #24. January 2009. 6 pages.
Although members of Congress and the incoming Obama administration have all expressed interest in a national effort to promote universal broadband, the discussion thus far has lacked a coherent means to correct the current market failures and keep pace as other nations have raced ahead. Critical questions remain unanswered; namely, what will a government investment look like and how will it create a more open, competitive, affordable, universally accessible high-speed communications network, and avoid reinforcing the deficiencies that have lead to our current woeful international standing?
The Broadband Bonus: Accounting for Broadband Internet’s Impact on U.S. GDP
Shane Greenstein and Ryan C. McDevitt. Technology Policy Institute. January 2009. 64 pages.
How much economic value did the diffusion of broadband create? The authors provide benchmark estimates for 1999 to 2006. They observe $39 billion of total revenue in Internet access in 2006, with broadband accounting for $28 billion of this total. Depending on the estimate, households generated $20 to $22 billion of the broadband revenue. Approximately $8.3 to $10.6 billion was additional revenue created between 1999 and 2006. That replacement is associated with $4.8 to $6.7 billion in consumer surplus, which is not measured via Gross Domestic Product (GDP). An Internet-access Consumer Price Index (CPI) would have to decline by 1.6% to 2.2% per year for it to reflect the creation of value. These estimates both differ substantially from those typically quoted in Washington policy discussions, and they shed light on several broadband policy issues, such as why relying on private investment worked to diffuse broadband in many US urban locations at the start of the millennium.
ENHANCING CHILD SAFETY AND ONLINE TECHNOLOGIES
Final Report of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force to the Multi-State Working Group on Social Networking of State Attorneys General of the United States. December 31, 2008. 278 pages.
Many youth in the United States have fully integrated the Internet into their daily lives. For them, the Internet is a positive and powerful space for socializing, learning, and engaging in public life. Along with the positive aspects of Internet use come risks to safety, including the dangers of sexual solicitation, online harassment, and bullying, and exposure to problematic and illegal content. The Multi-State Working Group on Social Networking, comprising 50 state Attorneys General, asked this Task Force to determine the extent to which today’s technologies could help to address these online safety risks, with a primary focus on social network sites in the United States. To answer this question, the Task Force brought together leaders from Internet service providers, social network sites, academia, education, child safety and public policy advocacy organizations, and technology development.
Simply Green: A Few Steps in the Right Direction toward Integrating Sustainability into Public Sector IT
Center for Digital Government. December 2008. 24 pages.
There may be no single, simple answer to the complex issue of climate change. Yet there are simple steps that the public sector IT community can take in responding to renewed concerns about environmental sustainability while institutionalizing greater efficiencies into its operations.