SIIA Digital Policy Roundup: Draft Cyber Framework Released, GAO Issues Patent Litigation Report, SIIA Promotes Mobile Privacy Code, Highlights Serious Business Challenges Posed by NSA Surveillance

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The DPR has been on recess for most of August, we hope you missed us! Here’s a recap of highlights from August, and we will return to our regular weekly schedule next week.

Draft Cyber Framework Released
Heading into Labor Day weekend, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released with little fanfare last Thursday a preliminary cybersecurity draft framework outlining standards, best practices and guidance expected to be codified in October as directed by President Barack Obama’s February executive order. The report is a discussion draft intended to generate feedback and discussion NIST’s 4th Cybersecurity Framework Workshop in Dallas on Sept. 11-13.

SIIA Promotes Mobile Privacy Code of Conduct over Regulation
As a follow-up to the mobile privacy code of conduct developed through the Department of Commerce multistakeholder discussions, The Hill published an op-ed from SIIA President Ken Wasch touting the promise of industry self-regulation to provide a trusted environment for mobile device users. Wasch notes that in a time of rapidly evolving technology, this approach is the only way to effectively maintain the right balance between consumer confidence and continued innovation — a balance that government regulation or legislation would most certainly fail to accomplish.

SIIA highlights Serious Business Challenges Posed by NSA Surveillance Revelations
Recent revelations about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance efforts have clearly changed the privacy landscape for the remainder of 2013, if not much longer. This is a complex policy issue with very broad implications. Importantly for SIIA members, it is one that poses the following serious business challenges: (1) enhanced privacy concerns among customers around the world, (2) policymakers around the world seeking to restrict the cross-border flow of data and enact technology localization requirements, and (3) conflation of private sector data collection with government surveillance as an inseparable public-private partnership that necessitates strict new commercial privacy legislation or regulations.

SIIA has been very engaged in policy debates surrounding this issue for several months, and we expect to remain highly engaged to combat these challenges for months to come. SIIA President Ken Wash attended a meeting at the White House in early August, which was one of several consultations leading up to the President’s call for reforms to NSA programs

GAO Issues Long-Awaited Patent Litigation Report
In late August, The GAO issued its long awaited report on patent abuse litigation. The report examines (1) the volume and characteristics of recent patent litigation activity; (2) views of stakeholders knowledgeable in patent litigation on key factors that have contributed to recent patent litigation; (3) what developments in the judicial system may affect patent litigation; and (4) what actions, if any, PTO has recently taken that may affect patent litigation in the future.

The GAO report documents the existence of a large and growing problem and looks favorably on a number of possible improvements to the patent system such as improved patent quality and limitations on patent litigation discovery. The report identifies numerous concerns with the patent litigation system including but not limited to, the high-cost of patent litigation, the potential for large patent damage awards, poor quality of certain types of patents and recent increases in the amount of patent litigation. While the report notes that various efforts by the courts and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office have been implemented to try and address these issues it also notes that these concerns still exist. In the report, the GAO also recommended that the PTO consider examining trends in patent infringement litigation and consider linking this information to internal patent examination data to improve patent quality and examination.

David 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.