SIIA DPR: Bills Lined-up for Cyber Week, SIIA Releases Education Interoperability Primer, and ICANN Continues to Postpone

Cyber Week Arrives With Slate of Legislation, Proposed Amendment to CISPA Ongoing
House Republican Leadership officially confirmed last Friday the four cybersecurity bills that will be considered this week. Consistent with expectations, those are: H.R. 2096 – Cybersecurity Enhancement Act, Rep. McCaul (R-TX), H.R. 3834 – Advancing America’s Networking and IT R&D Act, Rep. Hall (R-TX), H.R. 3523 – Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, Rep. Rogers (R-MI) and H.R. 4257 – Federal Information Security Amendments Act, Rep. Issa (R-CA). Most of the activity is expected to take place on Thursday, with Rogers’ bill likely to be the most heavily debated. Members were provided until COB Tuesday to file amendments.

Last week, SIIA joined with several other leading technology trade groups in sending a letter in support for these measures. The outlook is still uncertain for two other cyber week hopefuls: Rep. Lungren’s (R-CA) H.R. 3674 -the Promoting and Enhancing Cybersecurity and Information Sharing Effectiveness Act, which saw a slimmed-down version pass the Homeland Security Committee last week, and the data security/breach notification legislation, H.R. 2577 – the Safe DATA Act, Rep. Bono Mack (R-CA). Committee staff shared publicly the latest discussion draft this afternoon, and Rep. Bono Mack is hopeful to advance the legislation through regular order in the coming weeks. So we can possibly expect that to be considered by the E&C Committee soon.

SIIA Releases Primer on K-20 Education Interoperability Standards
This week, SIIA officially released a “Primer on K-20 Education Interoperability Standards” that provides a framework for understanding interoperability standards that facilitate the exchange of information among educational systems and support the integration of content, data, and components from different technology applications. The importance of interoperability is highlighted in the pending initiative to develop online assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards, funded with federal Race to the Top grants to the SBAC and PARCC state consortia, among other initiatives. The Primer is intended enable developers of educational applications and digital content to further understand how adoption of interoperability standards can advance both education goals as well as their own business needs, with the goal of helping to achieve a flexible, modular assessment technology architecture to meet evolving and unique state and local requirements.

ICANN Further Extends TLD Application Process
ICANN confirmed last week that continuing technical problems have further delayed the deadline for the submission of new gTLD applications. As a result, ICANN will not be in a position to reveal the new gTLD applications received on April 30, as previously scheduled. ICANN has recently said it “will provide an update on the timing of the reopening no later than Friday, 27 April,” and while no new date has been provided to reveal the list, ICANN has said that “the date when applied-for TLDs are announced will follow announcement of the application system re-opening date.” So stay tuned.


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.

SIIA Releases Primer on K-20 Education Interoperability Standards

SIIA today released a “Primer on K-20 Education Interoperability Standards.” This Primer provides a framework for understanding interoperability standards that facilitate the exchange of information among educational systems, and support the integration of content, data, and components from different technology applications.

The Primer will enable developers of educational applications and digital content to further understand how adoption of interoperability standards can advance both education goals as well as their own business needs. The Primer also provides education leaders with the information needed to embrace interoperability and encourage further standards development. Appendices describe organizations and initiatives that create and promote standards, and define relevant concepts and terms.

The importance of interoperability is highlighted in the pending initiative to develop online assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards, funded with federal Race to the Top grants to the SBAC and PARCC state consortia. SIIA and others have argued for a flexible, modular assessment technology architecture to meet evolving and unique state and local requirements. Such a design requires interoperability standards to enable the seamless migration of test items and student data across applications, as well as the integration of various component technologies.

SIIA is a strong advocate for interoperability standards. This Primer is intended to support those making high-level decisions about when to implement, or require compliance with, interoperability standards by providing education and technology leaders with a broad understanding of the relative maturity of standards, the trade-offs involved with using them, and their short-term and long-term impact.

The Primer was developed under the direction of the SIIA Education Division’s Technical & Development Committee. It was authored by Edward Walker, Executive Vice President, Consulting Services for Education, Inc. The Primer was released to SIIA members in February 2012 and is now publicly available for free at http://www.siia.net/estore/. SIIA grants all parties permission to reproduce and distribute the Primer in print or digital format for non-commercial purposes provided the copyright is attributed to SIIA.


Mark SchneidermanMark Schneiderman is Senior Director of Education Policy at SIIA.

Digital Policy Roundup: House Cyber Week Approaching, SCOTUS to Hear Key Textbook IP Case, and DOC Unveils IP Econ Report

Congress Returns, Next Week is House “Cyber Week”
With Congress back from the Easter recess, there is much activity ongoing for “cyber week,” beginning on April 23. During the week, several cybersecurity bills are expected to be brought to the House floor for a vote, including: H.R. 2096 – Cybersecurity Enhancement Act, Rep. McCaul (R-TX), H.R. 3834 – Advancing America’s Networking and IT R&D Act, Rep. Hall (R-TX), H.R. 3523 – Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, Rogers (R-MI), H.R. 4257 – Federal Information Security Amendments Act, Issa (R-CA). In preparation for next week, Rep. Rogers continues to explore amendments to his legislation to address concerns raised by the civil liberties watchdogs, and the Homeland Security Committee is also scheduled to consider additional information sharing legislation Wednesday morning, H.R. 3674- Promoting and Enhancing Cybersecurity and Information Sharing Effectiveness Act, legislation that the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Lungren (R-CA) is seeking to have considered.

Supreme Court to Hear Key Textbook “First Sale” Copyright Case
This week, the Supreme Court decided to hear the copyright case of Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons Inc., a key case for SIIA members focused on whether the copyright law’s “first sale doctrine” applies when the copyrighted work–here a foreign edition of a textbook–is made and sold outside the United States and then imported into the United States. The case at issue involves a student from Thailand who attempted to subsidize his expenses by having friends and family members send him foreign editions of textbooks, which he would then sell online. If the Supreme Court affirms the lower courts by holding that the first sale defense does not apply, the unauthorized distribution and sale of a copyrighted work here would constitute a copyright infringement.

Department of Commerce Releases IP Economic Report
As we reported last week, on April 11, the Department released a report titled “Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus,” which estimates the economic impact of IP related industries on the U.S. economy. The report, which was prepared by the Economics and Statistics Administration and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, was initiated as part of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator’s (IPEC) 2010 Joint Strategic Plan to create a comprehensive study to better understand the role of IP in the economy and to inform policy decisions related to IP enforcement. In response, SIIA issued a statement hailing the Report as evidence that IP is essential to the creation of American jobs and growth and underscores the critical importance of adequately protecting the software and digital content industries.

ICANN Extends Window for gTLD Applications
Last week, ICANN extended the window for submitting applications for new gTLDs from April 12 to April 20, because of a technical issue effecting the performance of the TLD Application System (TAS). April 30 remains the target date for ICANN to publish the applied-for new domain names, but this is subject to change.

Ninth Circuit Rules on Reach of CFAA
Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court, in US v. Nosal reached a decision in a highly-anticipated Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) case, that Nosal’s acts did not violate the CFAA, concluding that the “plain language of the CFAA ‘target[s] the unauthorized procurement or alteration of information, not misuse or misappropriation’” and more significantly that “the CFAA does not extend to violations of use restrictions.” In the case, the U.S. brought criminal charges under the CFAA against a former employee for “exceed[ing] authorized access” to his former company’s computers for the purpose of obtaining and using company information in violation of the terms of the company’s computer use policy.

For SIIA policy updates including upcoming events, news and analysis, subscribe to SIIA’s weekly policy email newsletter, Digital Policy Roundup.


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.

Balancing Technology Standardization and Innovation in Race to the Top Assessments

The U.S. K-12 public education system continues to lag in both adoption of technology and related innovation as well as in leveraging technology and digital resources through interoperability standards. The two are closely connected: technology standards provide a base for cost-effective, value-added innovation; but if carried too far or adopted too early, such technical standardization can also inhibit desired innovation and competition. 

Their appropriate balance is therefore critical to advancing both important goals. The challenges in finding this delicate equilibrium point are being tested (pun intended) now as the U.S. Department of Education and its two Race to the Top Assessment (RTTA) grantee consortia — SBAC and PARCC – consider the scope and form of their deliverables and technology (interoperability) standards.

The $350 million RTTA initiative promises to bring important technology-enabled innovation to assessment — including many long available but not often implemented by states — through the online delivery of more robust (i.e., comprehensive, authentic, timely and adaptive) measurement of student knowledge and skills to inform teaching, learning and accountability. Leveraging this innovation will require changes to teaching and learning, technology investment, interoperability development and adoption, and limits on the scope of RTTA development.

In response to an important RFI by the Department regarding the technology standards to be employed by the RTTA consortia, SIIA supported the requirement that RTTA grantees “maximize the interoperability of assessments across technology platforms and the ability for States to switch their assessments from one technology platform to another.” RTTA could provide the tipping point to K-12 education’s adoption of data and content interoperability standards (see SIIA Primer) that would, for example, enable and maximize our ability to personalize learning.

But these benefits will only be realized if interoperability is properly implemented, and if standardization is balanced with innovation. SIIA’s recommendations to USED (and the RTTA consortia) elaborated on both points. [Read more...]

Digital Policy Roundup: Week of Jan. 10

As Congress began to settle in last week, and policymakers gathered in Las Vegas for CES, the White House generated two VERY big — albeit VERY lightly reported — victories for the digital policy world.

First, the President signed into law the America COMPETES Act of 2010, following congressional passage of this legislation as one of the last acts of the highly-productive Lame Duck session in December. The legislation authorizes significant investment in R&D and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. America COMPETES has been a virtually unanimous high priority for the entire U.S. IT sector, and it’s now officially law.

Second, the White House did a loud shout-out to IT interoperability in a memo issued on Friday by three top officials calling on Agencies to seek “technology neutrality” in their efforts to IT products and services. The memo, from Fed. CIO Vivek Kundra, Procurement Administrator Daniel Gordon and IP Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel, calls on agencies to select “suitable IT on a case-by-case basis” to consider “factors such as performance, cost, security, interoperability, ability to share or re-use, and availability of quality support.”

For more information about policy issues SIIA monitors, subscribe to the weekly policy email update, Digital Policy Roundup.