SIIA Announces Event to Explore Real-World Impact of Big Data & Policy Implications

You’re invited! Join SIIA for lunch and exciting presentations on how big data is being employed to protect citizens. The lunch workshop titled “Big Data at Work for Citizens: Applying Data Analytics for Empowerment and Fraud Prevention,” will take place on July 17 from 12-1: 30pm in Room G11 of the Dirksen Senate office building. RSVP HERE

Executive Director Marjory Blumenthal of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) will open the event with discussion of the Administration and PCAST reports on Big Data and Privacy released in May.

Featured Presentations include:

  • “Big Data Analytics for Financial Regulation” IBM.
  • “Harnessing the Power of Data to Help Small Businesses Access the Funding Sources They Need to Grow” Intuit QuickBooks Financing.
  • “Using Identity-Based Filters to Prevent Tax Fraud, Waste and Abuse” LexisNexis Risk Solutions.
  • “Using Data to Combat Fraud in Government Programs” SAS.
  • “Utilizing Data to Help Recover Missing and Exploited Children” Thomson Reuters.

As data-driven innovation changes consumers’ lives, policymakers around the world are continuing to assess big data to maximize the benefits while calculating potential harm.  To help bring light to the real-world impact of data-driven innovation and to inform policymakers, SIIA will host a series of presentations that explore how data is creating economic and social value.  In addition, the SIIA workshop will feature an in-depth discussion about key policy considerations when maximizing data-driven innovation.

WHO: The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA)
WHAT: Big Data at Work for Citizens: Applying Data Analytics for Empowerment and Fraud Prevention
WHEN: Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 12 pm – 1:30 pm
WHERE: Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room G11

To learn more about the event, and to RSPV click here.


David LeDuc is Senior Director, Public Policy at SIIA. He focuses on e-commerce, privacy, cyber security, cloud computing, open standards, e-government and information policy. Follow the SIIA public policy team on Twitter at @SIIAPolicy.

Intellectual Property Roundup

IP News

The Right to Resell eBooks- Major Case Looms in the Netherlands (GigaOM)
A startup called Tom Kabinet opened the virtual doors on its secondhand ebook bookstore, pointing to a 2012 ruling by Europe’s top court regarding reselling licenses for downloadable software. A deadline the publishers set for the site to stop operations has passed, and the case looks set to go to court.

Fox Moves to Use Aereo Ruling Against Dish Streaming Service (The Guardian)
A day after the U.S. Supreme Court decision to outlaw streaming TV service Aereo, U.S. broadcaster Fox has moved to use the ruling to clamp down on another Internet TV service offered by Dish.

‘Failed’ Piracy Letters Should Escalate to Fines & Jail, MP Says (TorrentFreak)
The UK Prime Minister’s IP advisor says VCAP- the Voluntary Copyright Alerts Program- needs to be followed by something more enforceable, including disconnections, fines and jail sentences.

Staunch Opponent of Report Tapped to Head US Patent Office (Ars Technica)
The Obama administration intends to nominate Philip Johnson, the head of intellectual property at Johnson & Johnson, to be the next director of the US Patent and Trademark Office. The selection is a setback for the tech sector and a seeming 180-degree turn on the patent issue from the Obama administration.

Aereo Looks to Congress for a Lifeline (The Washington Post)
Days after Aereo suspended its service in response to a Supreme Court ruling against the company, the service is now calling on consumers to protest the disruption and pressure Congress to consider rewriting the Copyright Act.


Keith Kupferschmid is General Counsel and SVP, Intellectual Property Policy & Enforcement at SIIA. Follow Keith on Twitter at @keithkup and sign up for the Intellectual Property Roundup weekly newsletter here.

Digital Policy Roundup

SIIA Testifies at Joint Congressional Subcommittee Hearing on Student Privacy

SIIA’s Mark MacCarthy delivered testimony on the issue of student data privacy in a joint hearing Wednesday before subcommittees of the Committee on Education and the Workforce and the Committee on Homeland Security. The hearing titled “How Data Mining Threatens Student Privacy” featured three witnesses in addition to SIIA: Fordham University’s Professor Joel R. Reidenberg, Idaho Department of Education CIO Joyce Popp, and Alliance for Excellent Education’s Digital Learning Director Thomas Murray. SIIA advised committee members that “no new federal legislation is necessary at this time,” citing a three part system of protection – federal law (FERPA, COPPA), contracts, and industry best practices.

Alice Corp v. CLS Bank Ruling

On June 19th, the Supreme Court decided the business method patent case of Alice Corp v. CLS Bank Corp, unanimously holding that implementing an abstract idea through a general purpose computer is Ineligible for patent protection under section 101 if the Patent Act. The case involved a method for reducing the risk that the parties to a transaction will not pay what they owe. The Court has long held that abstract ideas are not patentable subject matter. Writing for the Court, Justice Thomas said that “merely requiring generic computer implementation… fails to transform the abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention.” The decision would seem to have limited applicability to software patents as the term “software” does not appear in the decision and Justice Thomas acknowledges in the decision that “many computer-implemented claims are formally addressed to patent-eligible subject matter.”

OECD Committee for Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) Meets June 16-20 in Paris

CDEP is of interest because its work on digital economy issues is influential. For instance, the OECD’s 2011 Internet Policymaking Principles (IPP) and the revised 2013 OECD Privacy Guidelines are documents that are often consulted in other fora and are considered generally helpful by industry, including SIIA. The CDEP also works on Internet governance, big data, measuring the digital economy, the relationship between technology and jobs, and intellectual property. The work on intellectual property is often considered more controversial, and SIIA works to make it balanced.

Last week’s meeting focused particularly on the 2016 OECD Ministerial which will be held in April or May of 2016 in Cancun, Mexico. The Ministerial is important to the head of the organization, Angel Gurria, who is Mexican and reportedly interested in seeking a third term as Secretary-General of the OECD. The CDEP is currently considering “Digital Innovation Transforming our Societies” as the title for the Ministerial. The OECD has ambitious plans for the Ministerial and hopes to attract ministers responsible for labor and education, as well as ministers responsible for the ICT sector. The OECD has five themes for the Ministerial:

  1. Fostering new sources of growth spurred by converging networks, services and data analytics.
  2. Analyzing the effects of the digital economy on growth, jobs and skills.
  3. Developing recommendations and building evidence for Internet policy and governance.
  4. Managing the digital risks and enabling trust for continued prosperity.
  5. Looking to the future.

SIIA will be engaged in advocacy with a view to influencing work documents and the 2016 Ministerial, especially in the areas of growth, jobs and skills: Internet governance; privacy; and data analytics.


David LeDuc is Senior Director, Public Policy at SIIA. He focuses on e-commerce, privacy, cyber security, cloud computing, open standards, e-government and information policy. Follow the SIIA public policy team on Twitter at @SIIAPolicy.

Intellectual Property Roundup

IP News

Lawmakers Blast China, Russia for Piracy (The Hill)
In a report released by the International Creativity and Theft-Prevention Caucus (formerly the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus), the U.S. pointed to policies and enforcement practices in China, Russia, India and Switzerland that they said allow for the theft of U.S. intellectual property.

Justices Deny Patent to Business Methods (The New York Times)
The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that basic business methods may not be patented, even if computers are used to apply them. The ruling appeared to be modest and in line with earlier decisions of the court that were wary of stifling innovation.

U.S. Supreme Court Pulls the Plug on Aereo’s Streaming TV Service (NBC)
The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a potentially fatal blow to Aereo, finding that Aereo violates federal copyright law by retransmitting copyrighted programs without paying a copyright fee.

Government Control Emerges as Central Issue at ICANN Meeting (PC World)
More than 3,300 representatives from around the world met in London to discuss what will happen after the U.S. turns over control of ICANN, and government control over the Internet emerged as a central issue.


Keith Kupferschmid is General Counsel and SVP, Intellectual Property Policy & Enforcement at SIIA. Follow Keith on Twitter at @keithkup and sign up for the Intellectual Property Roundup weekly newsletter here.

Judicial Redress for European Union Citizens in the United States

Today Attorney General Holder said that the Obama Administration “is committed to seeking legislation that would ensure that, with regard to personal information transferred within the scope of our proposed DPPA Regarding Police and Judicial Cooperation, EU citizens would have the same right to seek judicial redress for intentional or willful disclosures of protected information, and for refusal to grant access or to rectify any errors in that information, as would a U.S. Citizen under the Privacy Act.”  The DPPA stands for the E.U.-U.S. Data Protection and Privacy Agreement (DPPA).  The DPPA is a proposed “umbrella” agreement which would  govern the exchange of law enforcement information between the United States and the European Union.

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) welcomes this development.  On November 27, 2013 the European Commission called on the United States to “restore trust in EU-U.S. data flows.  One of the elements in the EU’s proposals concerned data protection safeguards in the law enforcement area, including that “EU citizens not resident in the U.S. should benefit from judicial redress mechanisms.”  The Attorney-General’s proposal, which is consistent with the recommendation in “Big Data: Seizing Opportunities, Preserving Values,” should contribute to restoring trust in transatlantic data flows.

European Commission Vice President Viviane Reding reacted favorably to the announcement today, although she is looking for swift legislation.  The U.S. legislative process is rarely swift.  Having said that, the reality is that even today, the U.S. system accounts for and protects the rights of foreign citizens.  For example, a January 7, 2009 Homeland Security Privacy Policy Guidance Memorandum states: “As a matter of DHS policy, any personally identifiable information (PII) that is collected, used, maintained, and/or disseminated in connection with a mixed system by DHS shall be treated as a System of Records subject to the Privacy Act regardless of whether the information pertains to a U.S. citizen, Legal Permanent Resident, visitor or alien.”   The Attorney-General’s proposal would simply give EU citizens a new means of enforcing their privacy rights in the United States.

It is SIIA’s position that because the United States and the European Union are the  world’s standard setters in so many areas, including on data flows, they should continue to work hard to ensure that data continue to flow freely.  Together, we have an opportunity to influence tomorrow’s increasingly data-driven economic future.  Our view is that the Attorney-General’s statement is a building block in making that vision a reality.

About SIIA
The Software & Information Industry Association is the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries.  SIIA provides global services in government relations, business development, corporate education and intellectual property protection to the leading companies that are setting the pace for the digital age.


Carl Schonander is Director of International Public Policy at SIIA.

SIIA Testifies Before Congress on Effective Use of Student Data; Warns that New Federal Privacy Mandates Could Put Student Learning at Risk

SIIA, today delivered testimony on the issue of student data privacy in a joint hearing before subcommittees of the Committee on Education and the Workforce and the
Committee on Homeland Security. In his prepared testimony, Mark MacCarthy, SIIA’s
Vice President of Public Policy, commented:

“From adaptive learning software to class scheduling applications to online learning, technologies are enhancing student access and opportunity…The result of advanced data management and analysis tools is the ability for school systems to better identify students at risk of failure, identify the lessons that best meet each and every student’s unique needs, inform decision making, and enhance operations.

“SIIA agrees that the obligation to safeguard student data privacy and security means that continued review and enhancements are needed in the framework of our policies, practices and technologies…However, we do not think that new federal legislation is needed at this time.

“The current legal framework and industry practices adequately protect student privacy. Moreover, new legislation creates substantial risks of harm to the innovative use of information that is essential to improving education for all students and ensuring U.S. economic strength in an increasingly competitive global environment.”

MacCarthy’s full testimony is available here.


Sabrina Eyob is the Public Policy Coordinator at SIIA. Follow the Policy team on Twitter @SIIAPolicy.

Intellectual Property Roundup

IP News

Publisher Sues Subscriber for Forwarding Copies of Magazine (The Southeast Texas Record)
A magazine publisher is suing a subscriber on copyright infringement after the subscriber allegedly sent electronic copies of the magazine to others in the company.

London Police Commissioner Says That Enforcing Anti-Piracy Isn’t Working (Digital Trends)
Though law enforcement agencies around the world are making efforts to curb piracy and illegal downloads, one copy in particular thinks that different approaches should be adopted in order to stem the massive global tide of copyright infringement.

One of the Biggest American Copyright Enforcers is Coming to Conquer Canada (Motherboard)
Rightscorp will be enforcing copyrights in Canada, with help from new federal legislation, a proposed bill called the Digital Privacy Act.

Appeals Court Affirms Sherlock Holmes Is in Public Domain (NYTimes.com)
A federal judge has rejected a copyright appeal brought by the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.


Keith Kupferschmid is General Counsel and SVP, Intellectual Property Policy & Enforcement at SIIA. Follow Keith on Twitter at @keithkup and sign up for the Intellectual Property Roundup weekly newsletter here.

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