Interesting Policy Reads: Investments in Cybersecurity Education, Robocalls, and Slowing Textbook Expenditures

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This post includes articles on continuing declines in textbook sales, opposition around the Cengage and McGraw-Hill Education merger, a recent Federal Communications Commission action, and investments in cybersecurity education.

With our "Interesting Policy Reads" blog posts, the EDUCAUSE Policy Office highlights recent articles on federal policy issues and developments that are directly relevant to members or provide insights on higher education policy in general.

  • Textbook Spending Continues Slow Decline, Inside Higher Ed, July 25, 2019. (A recent survey indicates that students spent less money on course materials during the 2018–2019 academic year than they did the year prior, following a trend that has transpired over the last decade.)
  • Is Amazon Training Its Workers or Creating a College Alternative? Inside Higher Ed, July 17, 2019. (Inside Higher Ed asked a group of experts for their thoughts on Amazon's recent announcement to spend $700 million on employee training and the potential effect this and other similar moves will have on higher education.)
  • Section 230 Was Supposed to Make the Internet a Better Place. It Failed, Bloomberg Businessweek, August 7, 2019. (Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has been dubbed The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet, but some see it as getting in the way of efforts to regulate big tech.)
  • Publishers' Pending Merger Faces Growing Opposition, Inside Higher Ed, July 30, 2019. (Consumer advocacy groups argue that the merger between publishers Cengage and McGraw-Hill Education would lead to reduced competition and higher prices for textbooks.)
  • Universities Are Expanding Cybersecurity Education to Meet Broad Demand, Ed Scoop, July 26, 2019. (A large global cybersecurity workforce shortage is expected by 2022, leading universities to expand cybersecurity education to students of various disciplines outside of computer science and engineering.)
  • Something Can and Is Being Done about Robocalls: Ajit Pai and Rep. Bob Latta (Opinion), Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 7, 2019. (Federal Communications Commission [FCC] Chairman Ajit Pai and Rep. Bob Latta [R-OH] wrote a joint guest column about the steps already taken by Congress and the FCC to reduce robocalls, the harm robocalls cause, and the ways in which citizens can combat them.)
  • A Reckoning for 2U, and OPMs? Inside Higher Ed, August 1, 2019. (2U and other online program management businesses face increasing difficulties as online education becomes more competitive, student acquisition and marketing costs go up, and regulations become more complex.)
  • FCC Finally Gets around to Denying Net Neutrality Complaints against Verizon, Ars Technica, August 7, 2019. (The FCC has addressed the only formal net neutrality complaint; the decision comes three years after the complaint was filed in 2016 and a year after net neutrality rules were repealed.)
  • Give the FTC Some Teeth to Guard Our Privacy, The New York Times, August 12, 2019. (The Federal Trade Commission Act has provided a few mechanisms to the Federal Trade Commission [FTC] to challenge privacy practices of big tech companies, but many groups, including the FTC, believe Congress should provide further authority to the Commission.)

For more information about policy issues impacting higher education IT, please visit the EDUCAUSE Review Policy Spotlight blog as well as the EDUCAUSE Policy page.

Kathryn Branson is an associate with Ulman Public Policy.

© 2019 Kathryn Branson. The text of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License.