Annual Report of the
           ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy (CCPP)
              For the Period 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014
                Submitted by Peter G. Neumann, Chairman 

Date: June 30, 2014
To: Rosemary McGuinness
    ACM, 2 Penn Plaza, Suite 701 New York, NY 10121-0701


The ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy (CCPP) seeks to

 * aid the ACM with respect to a variety of internationally relevant
   issues pertaining to computers and public policy, and
 * help make the ACM even better recognized worldwide.

Its most visible project is the ACM Forum on Risks to the Public in
Computers and Related Systems, established in August 1986 in response to
Adele Goldberg's ACM President's message in the February 1985 issue of
the Communications of the ACM (CACM).  It has also served as a hands-on
review board for the Inside Risks articles in the CACM, since July 1990.


The Chairman of the ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy (CCPP)
is Peter G. Neumann.  During the reporting year, the committee consisted
of Steve Bellovin, Peter Denning, Virgil Gligor, Jim Horning (until his
passing), Kevin Hu (new member), Nancy Leveson, David Parnas, Jerry
Saltzer, and Lauren Weinstein.  This body exists as an expert advisory
group rather than a membership organization, and has considerable impact
worldwide even though it maintains a relatively low profile.  I am
extraordinarily grateful to them for their continued long-standing
participation and their incisive reviewing of CACM Inside Risks columns
and helping resolve occasional potentially sticky issues relating to the
ACM Risks Forum.  The intellectual memory span and diversity of
interests that they represent and are contributing is extraordinary, and
have greatly improved the quality of the Inside Risks content and kept
the ACM Risks Forum on track.  I continue to value their incisive
contributions on many issues that require insight and wisdom.  Although
their oversight efforts regarding Inside Risks are often not visible to
readers, some of the CACM columns have led to intense interactions with
the authors that occasionally escalated to coauthorship.

CCPP internal interactions generally involve e-mail, with occasional
telephone calls and in-person discussions.  Many constructive interchanges
have occurred during the year, as in the past.

There is some overlap with other ACM committees -- for example, Neumann.
Although there is some commonality of problem areas, the charters of
CCPP and USACM are quite different.  USACM has a specifically
U.S.-centric focus, whereas CCPP tends to consider problems more
generally with a global perspective.  For example, Neumann remains
active in risks related to election systems, which is a common interest
of USACM and CCPP -- respectively with primary domestic and more
international scope.

CCPP Efforts

CCPP has several manifestations, including

  * RISKS online: The ACM Forum on Risks to the Public in Computers as a
    newsgroup (a digest by e-mail, and distributed as comp.risks via
    USENET).  See Item 1 below.
  * RISKS highlights in ACM Software Engineering Notes (SEN): Edited
    and distilled from the online ACM Risks Forum.  See Item 2 below.
  * The CACM Inside Risks tri-yearly columns.  See Item 3 below.
  * RISKS: The Book, Computer-Related Risks.  See Item 4 below.

Neumann has been highly visible in those efforts, but other CCPP members
have also been active participants.  Additionally, some other efforts
have been undertaken, and CCPP members have continued to be active in
ACM advisory roles and in computer policy issues, either directly
related to CCPP or otherwise.

Neumann contributes many hours each week pro bono, moderating RISKS,
commissioning and editing CACM Inside Risks articles, responding to
queries, engaging in individual dialogues with readers, and distilling
the RISKS highlights for SIGSOFT's Software Engineering Notes (SEN).
From the feedback we receive, RISKS appears to be one of the most widely
read and most useful of the moderated on-line digests relating to
computer technology.  It serves a real educational purpose.  Despite its
high profile and the occasionally controversial nature of some of the
material, RISKS has been a relatively noninflammatory operation; this
reflects the fact that Neumann takes his moderator's role quite
seriously.  (The advisory members of CCPP are invoked as informal
reviewers whenever a potentially controversial contribution must be
considered.  In addition, each member of the committee has typically
played an advisory role during the year on various sensitive issues.)

CCPP represents an extraordinary collection of creative thinking ability
and resources for ACM, and its members are invoked as appropriate.


Following is a list of CCPP-relevant activities.  Almost all were done
essentially pro-bono, and in my case with the considerable blessing and
computer support of SRI International's Computer Science Lab -- for
which I am hugely grateful.


1.  The on-line ACM Forum on Risks to the Public in Computers and
    Related Systems.  In addition to various unofficial mirrored sites
    on the Internet, including a feed at for comp.risks on
    USENET as of May, 2011, the official archives are available by
    anonymous ftp in the U.S. at , and in a
    nicely formatted searchable site in the U.K., courtesy of Lindsay
    which is also accessible as

    The ACM Risks Forum activity involves many tens or even hundreds of
    thousands of people around the world, some of whom are contributing
    to the CCPP effort through their RISKS submissions.  There are
    always many new first-time contributors each year.

    The ACM Risks Forum continues as an institution.  Since its first
    issue on August 1, 1985, its readership continues to expand, with a
    steady flow of new direct subscribers, via USENET newsgroups as
    comp.risks, and through redistribution centers and mirrored websites
    throughout the Internet.  It reaches essentially every country that
    does not censor the Internet.

    During the 2013-2014 reporting year, 63 issues of the Digest
    appeared (RISKS-27.36 to RISKS-28.02).  The number of submissions
    for consideration continues to be considerable, and the primarily
    limitation on the frequency of issues is the scarcity of my time
    (and having to delete hundreds of spam messages daily that are not
    caught by our filters).

2.  Highlights from the on-line RISKS Forum continue to appear six times
    each year in the ACM SIGSOFT Software Engineering Notes.  Neumann
    was SEN's founding editor in 1976.  After Will Tracz took over as
    Editor in 1995, Neumann has continued to contribute a RISKS section
    to essentially every regular issue.  This is continuing under the
    new editor, Mike Wing, after Will Tracz became SIGSOFT Chairman.
    (SEN's circulation is one of the larger among SIGs.)

3. P.G. Neumann (ed).  Inside Risks began in July 1990 as a monthly
   one-page item, originally inside the back cover of the CACM for 18
   years.  It is now slated for three longer articles each year, as of
   2009.  We continue to seek diversity among the authors.  The
   following articles appeared during the reporting year, as Inside
   Risks Viewpoints:

Oct 2013.231 Controlling Cybersecurity Risks in Medical Device Software,
  Kevin Fu and James Blum

Feb 2014.232 An Integrated Approach to Safety and Security Based on
  System Theory: Applying a more powerful new safety methodology to
  security risks,
  Nancy Leveson and William Young

Jun 2014.233 EMV: Why Payment Systems Fail: What lessons might we learn
  from the chip cards used for payments in Europe, now that the U.S. is
  adopting them too?
  Ross Anderson and Steven Murdoch

Inside Risks articles are available online at

4.  Neumann's RISKS BOOK ("Computer-Related Risks", ACM Press and
    Addison-Wesley, 1995), having transcended its fifth printing, is now
    being printed "on demand", and is now available online as well.  It
    is also available in a Japanese translation.  More recent source
    material is online in the ACM Risks Forum
    and culled and excerpted in a topically relevant form bimonthly in
    SEN (item 2).  AWL's editor, Peter Gordon, has suggested a
    20th Anniversary second edition along the lines of what Fred Brooks
    did for The Mythical Man-Month.  I am contemplating it, but believe
    it would be simpler for me and more productive for everyone else to
    talk AWL into open-sourcing the book.

5.  PGN's Illustrative Risks document provides a topical index for
    SEN and RISKS.  It used to be updated periodically, but is fairly
    complete up to a point.  It is available online as
    The task of maintaining the currency of this resource has become more
    daunting over time, and this index is not up to date -- except for
    recent items on election integrity.  However, the search engine at tends to compensate for that.

6.  Numerous additional activities of PGN are enumerated in Appendix I

7.  Lauren Weinstein continues his operation of the PRIVACY Forum and
    the Network Neutrality Squad under the partial aegis of CCPP.

    The Privacy Forum and related services from People For Internet
    Responsibility (PFIR, which he co-founded with PGN), and his other
    outreach efforts continue to provide discussions, information, and
    other services that include the many areas of privacy -- which
    intersect virtually every aspect of our lives.  The PRIVACY Forum,
    Network Neutrality Squad, and his other archives are continually
    referenced around the world, and have been listed as major network
    resources in the links of many private, commercial, and governmental
    entities globally.
    As is the case with PGN, Lauren receives numerous e-mail and telephone
    contacts from all manner of media points, and continues to participate
    in newspaper and magazine articles, local and network radio and
    television interviews, and similar discussions on privacy and related
    technology topics.  He has also been a commentator for National Public
    Radio's ``Morning Edition'' and for "Wired News" regarding technology
    and society.

8.  Other CCPP members have also interacted with various ACM people on
    ACM and CCPP-related issues, reviewed drafts, refereed papers, etc.
    See their websites, listed in Appendix II.

9.  Other CCPP members wrote papers and gave talks that bear on
    computers and public policy.

10. This CCPP annual report is accessible from the pages, via a
    link to my CCPP Web page:

PLANS THROUGH 1 JULY 2015, assuming I am reappointed!

11. Neumann hopes to continue moderating the on-line RISKS Forum and
    contributing RISKS sections to ACM SIGSOFT's Software Engineering

12. Neumann will continue to coordinate/edit/write the CACM Inside Risks
    columns, seeking articles on topical RISKS-related subjects written by
    members of CCPP and other contributors.  Please contact me if you think
    you might have an appropriate RISKS-relevant Viewpoints article.

13. CCPP members will continue to interact with USACM as appropriate.
    We have been encouraging the submission of more Inside Risks columns
    from the USACM community, without much success.  Perhaps in the
    future that will change.   
The 2013-2014 CCPP expenditures were as usual minimal, and the budget was
adequate, with no expenses for computing resources and communications.  (SRI
continues to provide free disk space for the RISKS FTP archives on; the CSL.SRI.COM resources are partly subsidized by SRI.  In
addition, Lindsay Marshall at Newcastle University provides the extremely
useful searchable archives on a pro bono basis, and with the
blessing of the university.  I use my cell phone and free home phone
extensively.)  We appreciate ACM's past support, and have been happy to stay
within budget each year.


The ACM RISKS Forum, the monthly CACM Inside Risks columns, Illustrative
Risks, and the related efforts have continued to be successful in
achieving their intended goals, as well as being highly popular.

We note that several related efforts are already ongoing under the aegis
of the External Activities Board.  For example, the scientific freedom
and human rights, legal, education, and USACM committees involve issues
relevant to CCPP that frequently are discussed in the ACM Risks Forum
from the RISKS perspective.  We are happy to interact with others in
those related areas, without CCPP having to be directly in the loop, and
to offer the Inside Risks space to those efforts that have a reasonable
RISKS-relevant content.  Overall, CCPP seems to be usefully situated in
a well-defined niche of its own.

The ACM RISKS Forum and the PRIVACY Forum/NNSquad/PFIR items span a
large gamut of CCPP issues, and reach out to many thousands of people,
throughout the world, quite a few of whom are actively contributing
participants.  RISKS is heavily involved in human safety, privacy,
ethics, legal responsibility, election integrity, and so on, and there
is no shortage of public-policy related issues!  In addition, the Inside
Risks articles continue to serve as a popular CACM feature, and distill
a diverse collection of timely topics on computer-related risks in a
broadly accessible and carefully vetted and edited form.

Continued support of existing and possibly new CCPP activities is
appropriate, and will be appreciated at essentially the same level.  We
are delighted to be a low-budget high-yield part of the visible ACM


As noted above, CCPP (as opposed to USACM, for example) is explicitly
international in its outlook and content.  In general, we always seek to
broaden our scope and deepen the incisiveness of our content in Inside
Risks columns and RISKS issues.  Also, the risks relating to computers
that we address span a wide range of requirements and application areas.

Also as noted above, CCPP is somewhat unusual within ACM in that it
tends to act as an editorial and advisory board rather than a membership
organization.  We welcome suggestions for additional CCPP members who
might also be willing to be active in writing and reviewing proposed
Inside Risks columns.  We note that the makeup of CCPP has always been
intentionally diverse in the areas of expertise that it encompasses.  At
the moment, David Parnas is the only non-US member, and Nancy Leveson is
the only woman.  Kevin Fu is the youngest member.  Although we currently
represent significant topical longevity, we would be delighted to add
more younger folks who have the appropriate experiential breadth and
depth.  Suggestions would be welcomed. However, the small size of the
group with deep commitments to the purposes noted above is beneficial to
the end results, so we are not seeking a major expansion.

The CCPP members represent a valuable cross-section of ACM interests
relating to public-policy issues.  All of their efforts in helping CCPP
and the ACM are greatly appreciated, even though many of those efforts
are not noted here explicitly.

We would be delighted to receive further suggestions for new directions
relating to computers and public policy, internationally relevant
initiatives that we might address beyond the ACM Risks Forum and the CACM
Inside Risks columns, and ideas for making our efforts even more visibly
attributable to ACM without compromising the special role of CCPP.

Respectfully submitted, 

Peter G. Neumann, Principal Scientist, Computer Science Laboratory, 
SRI International EL-243, Menlo Park CA 94025-3493 
E-mail address: Neumann@CSL.SRI.COM or; 
Web address:
Phone: 1-650-859-2375 FAX 1-650-859-2844


APPENDIX I: CCPP-Relevant Activities of Peter G. Neumann

RELEVANT PGN EVENTS, July 2013 -- June 2014


W 11 Sep, Government Accountability Office, annual meeting, this year by
  teleconference due to shortage of government travel funds.

W 9 Oct, IEEE BigData2013 in Santa Clara: attended talk by Roger Schell, and
    participated in a double-length panel, Key Issues in Big Data: Security
    and Privacy / BigData Science, with Roger Schell, Bhavani Thurasingham,
    Justin Zhan, Amr Awadallah, Tomoyuki Higuchi, Wes Chu, and TYLin.

Th 17 Oct, Attended an invitational evening with Harvard Professor Harry
  Lewis at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.

Tu 29 Oct, participated in the CSRDC-sponsored Infotech Technology
  Transition Council meeting at SRI, with Doug Maughan, managed by Ulf
  and Robert Rodriguez.

M-Tu 9-10 Dec, Attended the 7th Layered (Compositional) Assurance
  Workshop (LAW 2013), New Orleans, organized and moderated panel
  sessions: (1) Ongoing R&D in Compositional Trustworthiness (with
  Alessandro Cimatti, Dylan McNamee, Rance DeLong, and Zhong Shao
  [Yale]); (2) What Can Safety and Security Teach Each Other? (with
  Nancy Leveson, William Young, John Rushby, and David Greve [Rockwell
  Collins]), and (3) moderated an open forum.
W-Th 11-12 Dec, Attended ACSAC, New Orleans.  Nancy Leveson gave a
  marvelous keynote talk, somewhat more general than her talk at LAW
  2013, Applying Systems Thinking to Security and Safety.  In essence,
  her approach provides an SRI HDM-like top-down approach to developing
  systems with desirable system-wide emergent properties, albeit
  nonformal, but addressing the totality of desirable system-wide
  emergent properties.


18-21 May, attended the 35th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy.
  (PGN attended 12 out of the first 13, was program chairman in 1982,
  and is the only person from the first year in 1980 still attending.)

Peter G Neumann, Sean Peisert, and Marv Schaefer, 
  The IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy in Retrospect,
  IEEE Security and Privacy (special issue as an introduction to the best
  SSP papers from 2013), June 2014.

PGN, How Might System and Network Security Interact with Privacy? 
  in: Visions of Privacy in the Modern Age, Marc Rotenberg and Jeramie
  Scott (editors), (Produced under a MacArthur Foundation grant to the
  Electronic Privacy Information Center), in press, 2014.


Current Web and Internet Addresses for CCPP Members

(Peter G. Neumann) and
(Steve Bellovin)
(Peter J. Denning)
(Virgil Gligor)
(Kevin Fu) and (Kevin Fu's group)
(Nancy Leveson)
(David Parnas)
(Jerry Saltzer)
(Lauren Weinstein)