A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screener uses a biometric facial recognition scanner on a traveler at Washington Dulles International Airport.

Being Recognized Everywhere

Communications of the ACM, February 2019
By Logan Kugler

“A core challenge for democratic governments will be continued adherence to the rule of law, where restrictions on individual liberty that flow from use of this technology must be justified by necessity, legitimate purpose, and use of the least restrictive means available.”

Read More

Tony’s Law

Communications of the ACM, February 2019
By Dror G. Feitelson

“Someone did not tighten the lid, and the ants got into the honey again. This can be prevented by placing the honey jar in a saucer of water, but it is a nuisance, occupies more counter space, and one must remember to replenish the water. So we try at least to remember to tighten the lid.

In the context of security, the software industry does not always tighten the lid. In some cases it fails to put the lid on at all, leaving the honey exposed and inviting.”

Read More
A view of the F.B.I. National Crime Information Center in Washington in 1967. In the 1960s, lawmakers began to question the government’s gathering of Americans’ data. Photo: Bettmann, via Getty Images

The End of Privacy Began in the 1960s

The New York Times, Dec. 5, 2018
Opinion by Margaret O’Mara

“In the fall of 1965, President Lyndon Johnson’s administration announced a plan to consolidate hundreds of federal databases into one centralized National Data Bank. It was meant as an efficiency move to make the Great Society even greater.”

Read More
Magazine Cover: What Is Code?

What Is Code?

“Software has been around since the 1940s. Which means that people have been faking their way through meetings about software, and the code that builds it, for generations. Now that software lives in our pockets, runs our cars and homes, and dominates our waking lives, ignorance is no longer acceptable. The world belongs to people who code. Those who don’t understand will be left behind.”

“This issue comprises a single story devoted to ­demystifying code and the culture of the people who make it. There’s some technical language along with a few pretty basic mathematical concepts. There are also lots of solid jokes and lasting insights. It may take a few hours to read, but that’s a small price to pay for adding decades to your career.”

Read More

What Children Want to Know About Computers

Communications of the ACM, October 19, 2018
By Judy Robertson

“There’s a mismatch between what we teach children about computing at school and what they want to know. More than a decade ago computer science educators coined the phrase computational thinking to refer to the unique cleverness of the way computer scientists approach problem solving. “Our thinking is based on abstraction, decomposition, generalization, and pattern matching”, we said, “and everyone will find it useful to think like this in their everyday lives. So please stop asking us to fix your printer.”

Read More