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Communications of the ACM

Opinion Archive


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The opinion archive provides access to past opinion stories from Communications of the ACM and other sources by date.

January 2016


From ACM Opinion

Why It's So Hard For Washington to Draft Tech Companies Against the Islamic State

Why It's So Hard For Washington to Draft Tech Companies Against the Islamic State

Here's the basic problem the government faces when it comes to stopping the Islamic State's Internet propaganda: It needs Silicon Valley's help. But some tech companies—even those that may want to work closely with Washington—find…


From ACM Opinion

Max Levchin Wants to School Lawmakers on Encryption

Max Levchin Wants to School Lawmakers on Encryption

PayPal Inc. co-founder Max Levchin wants to make sure lawmakers know "what the hell they're talking about" when they talk about encryption.


From ACM Opinion

In 2016, Terror Suspects and 7-Eleven Thieves May Bring Surveillance to Supreme Court

In 2016, Terror Suspects and 7-Eleven Thieves May Bring Surveillance to Supreme Court

It has now been 2.5 years since the first Snowden revelations were published. And in 2015, government surveillance marched on in both large (the National Security Agency) and small (the debut of open source license plate reader…


From ACM Opinion

If There Are Aliens Out There, Where Are They?

If There Are Aliens Out There, Where Are They?

Physicist Enrico Fermi famously asked the question "Where are they?" to express his surprise over the absence of any signs for the existence of other intelligent civilizations in the Milky Way Galaxy.


From ACM Opinion

Political Gifs Are the New Sound Bites This Campaign Season

Political Gifs Are the New Sound Bites This Campaign Season

Every few decades, a piece of technology comes along that alters political campaigning.


From ACM Opinion

In 2015, Promising Surveillance Cases Ran Into Legal Brick Walls

In 2015, Promising Surveillance Cases Ran Into Legal Brick Walls

Today, the first Snowden disclosures in 2013 feel like a distant memory.


From ACM Opinion

Security's Biggest Winners and Losers in 2015

Security's Biggest Winners and Losers in 2015

This year, lawmakers surprised us by taking initial steps—albeit, baby ones—to rein in some of the NSA's mass spying and provide better oversight of the intelligence agency's activities. It's unclear, however, if these gains…


From ACM Opinion

Learning to Apply Data Science to Business Problems

Learning to Apply Data Science to Business Problems

One of the most exciting parts of data science is that it can be applied to many domains of knowledge, given our newfound ability to gather valuable data on almost any topic. But, doing so effectively requires domain expertise…


From ACM Opinion

And Science's Breakthrough of the Year Is …

And Science's Breakthrough of the Year Is …

It was conceived after a yogurt company in 2007 identified an unexpected defense mechanism that its bacteria use to fight off viruses.


From Communications of the ACM

Where Code Comes From: Architectures of Automatic Control from Babbage to Algol

Where Code Comes From

Considering the evolving concept of programming.


From Communications of the ACM

Unbalanced Data Leads to Obsolete Economic Advice

Unbalanced Data Leads to Obsolete Economic Advice

Few computer scientists and technological workers worry about their role in the economies of their industries and their countries. Background supplementary material available.


From Communications of the ACM

Why Knowledge Representation Matters

Why Knowledge Representation Matters

A personal story: From philosophy to software.


From Communications of the ACM

Biometric Identity

Biometric Identity

Assessing the promises and dangers of biometric identity plans.


From Communications of the ACM

The Chaos Machine

The Chaos Machine

Complexity, predictability, and modern projects.


From Communications of the ACM

Extrapolating from Moore's Law

Extrapolating from Moore's Law

Behind and beyond Microsoft, Intel, and Apple.

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