Capital Roundup: In brief

Tech talent bill passes

The House of Representatives July 9 passed H.R. 3130, the Technology Talent Act of 2001, a bill to help increase the number of people holding engineering, mathematics, science and technology degrees.

The bill would establish National Science Foundation grants for higher education institutions that pledge to increase the number of U.S. students obtaining degrees in science, mathematics, engineering or technology.

William Archey, president and chief executive officer of AeA, a tech industry trade group in Washington, voiced support for the bill, saying the number of undergraduate degrees issued by U.S. colleges and universities in engineering, engineering technology, mathematics and physics declined dramatically during the 1990s.

Windows security standards set

A consortium of security experts from government and industry recently agreed on a set of minimum security standards for the Windows 2000 operating system.

The publication of security standards is not new. These standards are notable because of the broad group of collaborators who created them, including the Defense Information Systems Agency, General Services Administration, Microsoft Corp., National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Security Agency and SANS Institute.

The benchmarks and a tool for measuring compliance can be found at the Center for Internet Security Web site, www.cisecurity.org.

House OKs cybersecurity bill

The House passed the Cyber Security Enhancement Act, H.R. 3482. The bill would toughen the sentences for a number of computer crimes and expand the infrastructure needed to respond to attacks and threats. It also protects Internet service providers from liability for good-faith efforts to aid law enforcement.

"Strengthening federal laws against computer crimes is vital if we are to defend American consumers, businesses and government against the increasing threat of cyberattack," said Robert Holleyman, president and chief executive of the Business Software Alliance in Washington.

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