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August 12, 2005

Legal Challenge Likely for Wiretap Ruling

"An FCC ruling that internet telephony services must provide the same built-in wiretapping capabilities as conventional phone companies has civil libertarians feeling burned.

"While the full text of the ruling has yet to be released, critics say the announcement marks a significant expansion of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA, which drew a line between 'information services' and phone networks."

Ryan Singel. Critics Slam Net Wiretapping Rule. Wired News. Aug. 11, 2005.

See also:
Federal Communications Commission. FCC Requires Certain Broadband and VoIP Providers to Accommodate Wiretaps. (.pdf) (Press Release.) Aug. 5, 2005.

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August 10, 2005

Feds Fund VoIP Surveillance Tool

"The federal government is funding the development of a prototype surveillance tool by George Mason University researchers who have discovered a novel way to trace Internet phone conversations.

"Their project is designed to let police identify whether suspects under surveillance have been communicating through voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)--information that would be unavailable today if people choose to communicate surreptitiously.

"The eavesdropping technique already has been shown to work with Skype, the researchers say."

Declan McCullagh. Feds Fund VoIP Tapping Research. News.com. Aug. 9, 2005.

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August 09, 2005

U. S. Borders Test RFID to Monitor Travelers

"The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has begun testing immigration documents laced with radio-frequency identification chips at five spots on the Mexican and Canadian borders.

"The goal of the technology is to speed up--if not automate--secure entry and exit of visitors at the nation's ports, according to a Homeland Security press release."

Anne Broache. Feds Test RFID Controls at U.S. Borders. News.com. Aug. 8, 2005.

See also:
U.S. Department of Homeland Security. US-VISIT Begins Testing Radio Frequency Identification Technology to Improve Border Security and Travel. (Press Release.) Aug. 8, 2005.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Testing of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology at Land Borders Questions and Answers. (Press Release.) Aug. 8, 2005.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Fact Sheet: Testing of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology at Land Borders. (.pdf) (Press Release.) No date.

Beth Duff-Brown. Homeland Security To Launch RFID Systems At Border Crossings. Yahoo! News. July 28, 2005.

Related:
Jessica M. Vaughan. Modernizing America's Welcome Mat. Center for Immigration Studies. Aug. 2005.

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NASA Posts First In-Orbit Podcast

"As we wait for the space shuttle to return safely to earth ...

"We can listen to the first podcast from space, recorded on Sunday."

Neville Hobson. First Podcast From Space. WebProNews.com. Aug. 8, 2005.

See also:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Steve Robinson: First Podcaster From Space. Aug. 7, 2005.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:33 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

August 08, 2005

FCC Eases DSL Rules, Mandates VoIP Wiretaps

"Federal regulators on Friday eased rules governing high-speed Internet services offered by phone companies, saying they hope it will speed Internet growth.

"Handing a significant regulatory victory to the Bell companies, the Federal Communications Commission said the carriers no longer had to provide rival Internet service providers with access to their lines at reduced rates.

"The commission said the move would foster competition by putting phone companies on an even footing with cable companies and other sellers of Internet service and would provide more incentive for phone companies to upgrade their networks and offerings."

Stephen Labaton. F.C.C. Eases High-Speed Access Rules. The New York Times. Aug. 6, 2005.

See also:
Vikas Bajaj. New Rules on Net Service May Hurt Some Providers. The New York Times. Aug. 6, 2005.

Marguerite Reardon. FCC Changes DSL Classification. News.com. Aug. 5, 2005.

Federal Communications Commission. FCC Eliminates Mandated Sharing Requirement on Incumbents’ Wireline Broadband Internet Access Services. (.pdf) (Press Release.) Aug. 5, 2005.

Related:
Electronic Frontier Foundation. FCC Issues Rule Allowing FBI to Dictate Wiretap-Friendly Design for Internet Services. Aug. 5, 2005.

Federal Communications Commission. FCC Requires Certain Broadband and VoIP Providers to Accommodate Wiretaps. (.pdf) (Press Release.) Aug. 5, 2005.

Federal Communications Commission. FCC Adopts Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Regarding Communications Assistancefor Law Enforcement Act. (.pdf) (Press Release.) Aug. 4, 2004.

Electronic Privacy Information Center. Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act. No date.

Update: Declan McCullagh. FCC Schizo on DSL, Wiretapping. News.com. Aug. 8, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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July 22, 2005

Congress Forges Ahead to Extend Patriot Act

"The House voted Thursday to extend permanently virtually all the major antiterrorism provisions of the USA Patriot Act after beating back efforts by Democrats and some Republicans to impose new restrictions on the government's power to eavesdrop, conduct secret searches and demand library records.

"The legislation, approved 257 to 171, would make permanent 14 of the 16 provisions in the law that were set to expire at the end of this year.

"The remaining two provisions - giving the government the power to demand business and library records and to conduct roving wiretaps - would have to be reconsidered by Congress in 10 years.

Eric Lichtblau. House Beats Back Challenges to Patriot Act. The New York Times. July 22, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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July 20, 2005

Cingular's New Service Helps Fight Crime

"Cingular and BIO-key International have launched a service that lets officials check vehicle information, stolen vehicle reports, weapon registrations and outstanding warrants through RIM's Blackberry device or through Pocket PC-powered PDAs. They also can send text messages and e-mail for inconspicuous communications with dispatchers.

"The service uses Cingular's nationwide wireless data network and BIO-Key's PocketCOP software. In addition to interoperability with databases and computer systems, the partners paid close attention to security."

Colin C. Haley. Handheld Crime Fighting. Internetnews. July 18, 2005.

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July 18, 2005

Renewal of Patriot Act Up for Vote

"Before Congress leaves Washington for its annual recess next month, both the House and the Senate are expected to vote to renew police powers that were granted in the 2001 Patriot Act and are scheduled to expire at the end of the year.

"Among the most controversial provisions up for renewal is the FBI's power to demand sensitive information on American citizens from businesses with only an order issued under the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

"Separate bills advancing in the House and Senate extend this provision—Section 215 of the Patriot Act—with modifications."

Caron Carlson. Bills Extend Patriot Provision. eWeek. July 18, 2005.

See also:
Declan McCullagh. Can Bush Carry the Day?. News.com. July 18, 2005.

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Groups Oppose Sites' Marketing Strategy for Predators

"Several recent high-profile child abductions have put renewed focus on tracking sex offenders, and some companies are looking to tap parents' fears about child predators to market their products.

"Searching for 'Jessica Lunsford' or 'Sarah Lunde' on Google turns up thousands of Web sites that mention the Florida girls who were abducted and killed this year -- along with several advertisements for sites that purport to help parents locate sex offenders in their neighborhoods.

The advertisements, also keyed to search terms such as 'sex offenders' and 'predators,' are part of a marketing push by two companies – National Alert Registry Inc., which charges users to access reports on offenders, and ChildSafe Network USA, which doesn't charge a fee but requires users to fill out extensive marketing surveys to gain access to the information.

David Kesmodel. Sites Tap Fears of Predators To Market Tools to Parents. WSJ.com. July 18, 2005.

See also:
Federal Bureau of Investigation. State Sex Offender Registry Web Sites.

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July 16, 2005

In Taiwan, You Can Pay by Cell Phone

"A Taiwanese government-business alliance has been working on a contactless payment system designed for small purchases. On Thursday, the group announced its first major success: mobile phones made by BenQ that can be used in the capital city of Taipei to pay for public transportation."

"The Taipei Smart Card Corp. is offering 40 people a chance to try out the mobile phones for a test run beginning Sept. 1."

Dan Nystedt. Taiwanese to Pay for Subway, Buses by Mobile Phone . InfoWorld. July 15, 2005.

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July 14, 2005

House Panel Agrees to Limits on Patriot Act

"The Republican-led House Intelligence Committee approved Democratic provisions yesterday that would place modest controls over the ways the FBI can monitor terrorism suspects under the Patriot Act.

"Three other amendments that Democrats had proposed failed, including one that would have blocked investigators from getting records from libraries or bookstores."

Katherine Shrader. House Panel OK's Changes in Patriot Act. Boston Globe. July 14, 2005.

See also:
Eric Lichtblau and Carl Hulse. Lawmakers Agree to Renew Patriot Act. The New York Times. July 14, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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July 12, 2005

Chairman Introduces Bill to Extend Patriot Act

"The Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee introduced a bill yesterday that would make the controversial USA Patriot Act permanent, but he balked at including some new powers sought by the Bush administration.

"The bill proposed by Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) largely gives the Justice Department what it has requested in the review of the Patriot Act antiterrorism law, which was enacted weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The proposal includes 16 provisions set to expire at the end of this year unless they are renewed or made permanent by Congress."

Dan Eggen. Permanent Patriot Act Proposed. WashingtonPost.com. July 12, 2005.

See also:
Jesse J. Holland. House, Senate Chiefs Spar on Patriot Act. WashingtonPost.com. July 11, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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July 11, 2005

States Continue to Use MATRIX Program

"When the federal government in April stopped funding a database that lets police quickly see public records and commercially collected information on Americans, privacy advocates celebrated what they saw as a victory against overzealousness in the fight against terrorism.

"But a few states are pressing forward with a similar system, continuing to look for ways to quickly search through a trove of data -- from driver's license photos to phone numbers to information about people's cars. Their argument in seeking to keep the Matrix database alive in some form: it's too important for solving crimes to give up on."

David Royse. Police Still Using Matrix-type Database. BusinessWeek Online. (Press Release.) July 10, 2005.

See also:
American Civil Liberties Union. ACLU Applauds End Of “Matrix” Program. April 15, 2005.

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July 09, 2005

Groups Criticize E-Vote Guidelines

"In an effort to keep pace with changing technology and address widespread security concerns about electronic voting machines, the federal government has released new guidelines for voting systems.

"The guidelines, published in late June, call for vendors to follow better programming practices and make some suggestions for addressing problems with vote integrity."

Kim Zetter. E-Vote Guidelines Need Work. Wired News. July 7, 2005.

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July 08, 2005

A Lifecycle Approach to Electronic Records

"Forget gigabytes or even terabytes.

"The National Archives and Records Administration’s creation of a permanent online archive of its electronic records is one of the few projects anywhere in which data storage is measured by the petabyte — a quadrillion bytes — and that is what fascinates Steve Hansen.

"But the project is significant not just for its mammoth size. It is the highest-profile example of the growing trend of information lifecycle management, a strategy for managing records from their creation to their use to how they are archived."

Alice Lipowicz. Long Live E-Records!. Washington Technology. July 5, 2005.

See also:
David Talbot. The Fading Memory of the State. Technology Review. July 2005.

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July 06, 2005

Wireless Carriers Seek to Suspend E-911 Deadline

"Some of the biggest U.S. wireless providers have asked regulators to suspend a December requirement for 95 percent of their phones to support e911 technology that allows emergency workers to pinpoint callers' locations, according to the CTIA mobile industry group on Friday.

"While new phones coming from these providers all have location technology, consumers are not changing their cell phones as quickly as the FCC had expected when it set the deadline more than five years ago, the CTIA said."

Reuters. Carriers Seek U.S. Mobile e911 Deadline Suspension. July 1, 2005.

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July 02, 2005

ChoicePoint Gets 5 Year IRS Contract

"The Internal Revenue Service has awarded ChoicePoint Government Services a contract worth as much as $20 million to serve as the agency's public records provider for batch processing projects, according to the company.

"Under a five-year contract, ChoicePoint will provide the IRS with access to its suite of custom data solutions. IRS officials will use ChoicePoint’s public records data capabilities to support customized data retrieval requirements.

"ChoicePoint provides public records information about a person, asset or location, a company spokesperson said. The information can include current and former addresses, property ownership records and bankruptcy, lien or judgment information."

Doug Beizer. IRS Search for Public Records Access Ends with ChoicePoint. GCN. June 28, 2005.

See also:
Rich Smith. IRS Chooses ChoicePoint. The Motley Fool. June 27, 2005.

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Feds to Upgrade to Next-Gen Web

"Federal agencies must use the next-generation Internet service known as Internet protocol version 6 (IPv6) by June 2008, the White House Office of Management and Budget announced Wednesday.

"The office said it would issue a policy memorandum dictating full federal 'IPv6' compliance in an effort to spur its deployment throughout government agencies.

"The Defense Department currently is the only federal body to have made strides in implementing IPv6. Due to this 'lack of government-wide progress' and concerns about the 'complexities of transition,' OMB will release a 'comprehensive transition planning guide,' OMB Administrator Karen Evans said in written testimony for the House Government Reform Committee."

Chloe Albanesius. OMB: Agencies Must Use Advanced Internet by 2008. GovExec.com. June 29, 2005.

See also:
Brad Grimes. OMB: Agencies to Implement IPv6 by June 2008. GCN.com. June 29, 2005.

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July 01, 2005

FBI to Share Data with State & Local Police

"The FBI is rolling out a program that allows federal law enforcement agencies and state and local police forces to share information throughout local regions of the country.

"The Regional Data Exchange works through local law enforcement offices and allows state, local and tribal law enforcement investigators access to federal information and intelligence data relevant to investigations within their jurisdictions."

Daniel Pulliam. FBI Launches Regional Data Sharing System. GovExec.com. June 28, 2005.

See also:
Federal Bureau of Investigation. FBI Announces Operational Status of its National Information Sharing System. (Press Release.) June 27, 2005.

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June 27, 2005

Pentagon Uses Private Firm for Student Database

"The Pentagon yesterday released additional details about a program to compile a database of personal information on U.S. students to help bolster recruitment, saying that 12 million names currently are on file and that collection efforts have been going on for some time.

"In an official notice filed last month, the Pentagon said it was contracting with BeNow Inc., a Wakefield, Mass., firm that specializes in gathering and analyzing data from a variety of sources to target potential customers based on their personal profiles.

"The Pentagon said information in the database could include Social Security numbers, birthdates, grade-point averages, ethnicity, e-mail addresses and subjects students are studying."

Jonathan Krim. Pentagon Says It Wants Accurate Student Data. WashingtonPost.com. June 24, 2005.

See also:
U.S. Department of Defense. Potential Recruits List Critical to 'All-Recruited' Force. (Press Release.) June 24, 2005.

National Public Radio. The Pentagon's High School Recruitment Database. Day to Day. June 24, 2005.

Jonathan Krim. Pentagon Creating Student Database. WashingtonPost.com. June 23, 2005.

John J. Lumpkin. Privacy Groups Protest Pentagon Database. WashingtonPost.com. June 23, 2005.

Federal Register. Notice to Add a System of Records; DHRA 04--Joint Advertising and Market Research Recruiting Database.. May 23, 2005.

Electronic Privacy Information Center. Comments on the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Consumer Action, et al. on the DOD DHRA 04 Joint Advertising and Market Research Recruiting Database. June 22, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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June 21, 2005

Working Group Releases Data Shaing Standard

"The federal Data Reference Model working group released the first draft of the DRM Specification today. The working group is now soliciting feedback from government agencies before it submits the DRM to the Office of Management and Budget this fall.

"The release of the DRM draft is an 'important milestone' in the federal government’s efforts to better share information, said OMB chief architect Richard Burke. He spoke at the Data Reference Model Public Forum held today in Washington in conjunction with the federal CIO Council’s quarterly Emerging Technology Components conference."

Joab Jackson. First Draft of Revised Data Reference Model Released. GCN.com. June 13, 2005.

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June 18, 2005

Public Trust is Crucial for RFID Advancement

"Government from the outset must consider privacy issues when using radio frequency identification or it will face problems down the road, according to a Transportation Department official.

"'Privacy is king,' said James Zok, a DOT official with the Maritime Administration’s associate administrator for ship financial approvals and cargo preference.

"Everyone who deals with personal or business information must fundamentally start from a privacy impact assessment perspective, he added."

Dibya Sarkar. RFID Bows Before Privacy. FCW.com. June 16, 2005.

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Panel Aims to Balance Collaboration & Privacy

"The sharing, use and disposal of public data by government agencies in pursuit of national security is raising questions of oversight and privacy, and a Homeland Security Department advisory committee is working to answer them.

"The committee discussed privacy policies and standards, as well as the need for data exchanges across institutions covering topics as diverse as health care, travel and border control.

"The panel's mission is to determine how federal agencies can improve information sharing without over-reaching into domestic spying and personal abuse."

David J. Wallace. Security Advisory Panel Seeks Solutions to Data Dilemmas. GovExec.com. June 15, 2005.

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June 16, 2005

GAO: Agencies Vulnerable to Net Threats

"Government computer systems are not prepared for the mounting sophistication of Internet-based hacker attacks, according to a new report (.pdf) from the Government Accountability Office.

"As the risks created by emerging cybersecurity threats such as spam, spyware and "phishing" increase, GAO auditors say that most agencies are unaware of the threat and are failing to comply with the requirements of the 2002 Federal Information Security Management Act.

"Phishing is an attempt to steal someone's identity by posing as a legitimate company and asking for personal information by e-mail. Spam is the unwanted delivery of e-mail, often clogging networks, and spyware is software that monitors computer users' activity without their knowledge."

Daniel Pulliam. GAO Says Agencies Unprepared for Computer Attacks. GovExec.com. June 14, 2005.

See also:
Government Accounting Office. Emerging Cybersecurity Issues Threaten Federal Information Systems. (.pdf) May 2005.

Declan McCullagh. Feds Vulnerable to Lots of Net Threats. News.com. June 14, 2005.

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U.S. Extends E-Passport Deadline

"Foreign travelers from friendly nations won't be immediately asked to show fingerprint and iris scan data when entering the United States but could have to in upcoming years under U.S. plans announced Wednesday.

"Twenty-seven allied nations--mostly from Europe--whose citizens enjoy visa-free travel rights to the United States have resisted the stricter biometrics passport standards that would incur additional costs and privacy concerns.

"By Oct. 26, the visa-waiver nations will be required to issue passports with tamperproof digitized photos to comply with laws tightening U.S. borders after the 2001 terror attacks. One year later, however, visa-waiver nation's passports will have to include an integrated circuit chip capable of storing expanded biographic information, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Wednesday."

Lara Jakes Jordan. U.S. Confirms Delay In Biometric Passport Requirements. InformationWeek. June 15, 2005.

See also:
U.S. Department of Justice. DHS to Require Digital Photos in Passports for Visa Waiver Travelers. (Press Release.) June 15, 2005.

Alice Lipowicz. Biometric Passport Requirements Delayed. Washington Technology. June 15, 2005.

Michael Holden. U.S. Gives Allies More Time for Passport Switch. Reuters. June 15, 2005.

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June 15, 2005

Congressman Proposes Extended Telecommuting Policy

"NASA and the National Science Foundation could join the departments of Commerce, Justice and State as agencies that could lose funding if they don’t meet a federal telecommuting mandate.

"Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) included a provision in the Science, State, Justice and Commerce appropriations bill that would withhold $5 million from each agency that fails to meet the law requiring that every eligible federal worker be given the opportunity to telecommute.

"The Virginia Republican, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Science, State, Justice and Commerce and Related Agencies, added similar language to last year’s appropriations bill, which became law."

Jason Miller. Rep. Wolf Extends Telecommuting Penalty for Another Year. GCN. June 13, 2005.

See also:
Jason Miller. Congress OKs $5 Million Penalty for Telecommuting Shortfalls. GCN. Nov 24, 2004.

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June 10, 2005

Gartner Identifies Over-Hyped IT Security Threats

"Don’t believe the hype about some of the computer security threats emphasized in industry and the media, two Gartner Research analysts said today.

"Lawrence Orans, a principal research analyst, and John Pescatore, vice president and research fellow, told attendees at the Gartner IT Security Summit in Washington, D.C., not to fear going ahead with projects that use voice over IP technology, Virtual Private Networks over the Internet and wireless hot spots.

"The computer-security experts also advised their audience not to waste time or money on products they don’t need to meet federal regulations and protect against malware on mobile devices."

Michael Arnone. Gartner: Relax About Overhyped Security Threats. FCW. June 7, 2005.

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Survey: Congress Fails to Protect Data

"Lawmakers have dropped the ball on keeping consumer data safe, D.C. area opinion leaders said in a survey published Wednesday.

"In the survey, iQ Research and Consulting asked 400 "senior-level professionals" in government, policy, consulting, media and technology in and around Washington their opinion on protection of consumer data. It was commissioned by Adobe Systems and RSA Security.

"Eight out of 10 respondents believe that Congress has done too little to protect social security numbers, and three-quarters say the same for financial data and credit card numbers."

Joris Evers. Survey: Congress Falling Down on Data Protection. News.com. June 8, 2005.

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June 09, 2005

GPO Releases Report on Metadata Specifications

"GPO is working with the library community on a national digitization plan, with the goal of digitizing a complete legacy collection of tangible U.S. Government publications. The objective is to ensure that the digital collection is available, in the public domain, for no-fee permanent public access through the FDLP.

"The project will ensure that the collection is digitally reformatted for preservation purposes. The digital preservation masters and the associated metadata will be preserved in the GPO electronic archive (in addition to any other places that the materials might be held), and there will be no-fee public access to the content through derivative files on GPO Access."

U.S. Government Printing Office. Report on the Meeting of Experts on Digital Preservation: Metadata Specifications. June 8, 2005.

See also:
U.S. Government Printing Office. Report on the Meeting of Experts on Digital Preservation: Metadata Specifications. (.pdf) (Revised Report.) June 2, 2005.

U.S. Government Printing Office. Report on the Meeting of Experts on Digital Preservation: Metadata Specifications. (.pdf) (Original Report.) June 14, 2004.

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DOD Pushes Use of WebEx Tools

"The Defense Department wants the enterprise portals of the Army, Navy and Air Force linked to a pilot project to test secure, browser-based collaboration tools from WebEx Communications Inc. of San Jose, Calif.

"Michael Krieger, director of information management in the Defense Department’s CIO office, said his office is developing a Global Information Grid-Enterprise Services (GIG-ES) strategy that would provide guidance and instruction to Defense agencies and military services on moving toward an enterprise approach to services.

"Key services, such as collaboration and security, ought to be joint across DOD, Krieger said, although each of the services is also developing its own approach to enterprise hardware, software and services."

Dawn S. Onley. DOD Moves to Get Army, Navy, Air Force Linked to WebEx Project. GCN. June 8, 2005.

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June 08, 2005

Government to Lead E-Health System

"To achieve an interoperable system of e-health records, the government said Monday it will spearhead the advancement of a national electronic healthcare system with input from the healthcare community and private industry.

"Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt announced at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society summit in New York the formation of a 17-member advisory panel that will serve as a governing body to guide the health care transformation."

Danielle Belopotosky. Government to Spearhead Creation of e-Healthcare System. GovExec.com. June 6, 2005.

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June 07, 2005

Report: FBI Wasted Taxpayer Dollars

"Some FBI officials began raising doubts about the bureau's attempts to create a computerized case management system as early as 2003, two years before the $170 million project was abandoned altogether, according to a confidential report to the House Appropriations Committee.

"By 2004, the report found, the FBI had identified 400 problems with early versions of the troubled software -- but never told the contractor. The bureau also went ahead with a $17 million testing program last December, even though it was clear by then that the software would have to be scrapped, according to the review.

"The 32-page report -- prepared by the House committee's Surveys and Investigations staff and obtained by The Washington Post -- indicates that the FBI passed up numerous chances to cut its losses with the doomed Virtual Case File (VCF), instead forging ahead with a system that ultimately cost taxpayers more than $100 million in wasted expenditures."

Dan Eggen. FBI Pushed Ahead With Troubled Software. WashingtonPost.com. June 6, 2005.

See also:
Larry Greenemeier. Tech Vs. Terrorism. InformationWeek. June 6, 2005.

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June 04, 2005

Wiki Founder Recommends Collaborative E-Gov Tools

"Public Web logs that can be modified by anyone with a browser could give citizens more power to affect policy, an Ohio State University expert says.

"Philosophy lecturer Larry Sanger, who spoke June 2 at the FCW Events' Web-Enabled Government Conference, said he believes that government agencies should consider using so-called wiki collaboration tools, which are rapidly growing in popularity.

"Wikis, Sanger said, can help government agencies in at least three ways."

Aliya Sternstein. Wiki Advocate Sees Government Uses. FCW. June 3, 2005.

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June 02, 2005

MPAA Spies on You

Los Angeles is installing a network of surveillance cameras intended to catch street hawkers selling counterfeit goods, especially pirated copies of Hollywood movies on DVD.

The Motion Picture Association of America, which represents major movie studios in government matters, contributed $186,000 to help pay for the system, which was unveiled Tuesday by Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton.

Reuters. LA Police Use Cameras to Catch Pirated DVD Sellers. May 31, 2005.

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June 01, 2005

Real ID Act: Bolster or Compromise Security?

"A federal law designed to make it harder to assume someone else's identity may instead have the opposite effect, critics of the measure say. The Real ID Act, attached to a crucial bill for military spending and tsunami relief that was signed by President Bush on May 11, sets new rules for issuing driver's licenses and requires states to share electronic access to their records.

"The standards are intended to weed out impostors applying for licenses, in part by requiring state employees to check on the validity of birth certificates and other supporting documents."

"To some industry experts and activists concerned about the fast-growing crime of identity theft, putting so much data before more eyes guarantees abuse at a time when people are increasingly concerned about who sees their personal information and how it gets used."

Joseph Menn. Federal ID Act May Be Flawed. LATimes.com. May 31, 2005.

See also:
Erik Larkin. Coming Soon: National ID Cards?. PC World. May 31, 2005.

Dibya Sarkar. Panel Debates Real ID. FCW. May 31, 2005.

Noah S. Leavitt. The REAL ID Act: How It Violates U.S. Treaty Obligations, Insults International Law, Undermines Our Security, and Betrays Eleanor Roosevelt's Legacy. Find Law's Writ. May 9, 2005.

Tod Newcombe. Invasive ID. Government Technology. June 2005.

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DHS Disputes GAO Cybersecurity Report

"The Homeland Security Department disagrees with a new Government Accountability Office report (.pdf) that argues that DHS is not doing enough to protect the nation's critical infrastructure from cyberattacks.

"Steven Pecinovsky, director of DHS' liaison office between DHS' inspector general and GAO, said in written comments that he disagrees with the report's 'implication that that the challenges experienced to date have prevented [DHS] from achieving significant results in improving the nation’s cybersecurity posture.'

"Pecinovsky also disputed that DHS had not sufficiently implemented all of GAO's prior recommendations. GAO auditors were unclear about what DHS needs to do and why DHS' performance measures are inadequate, he said."

Michael Arnone. DHS, GAO Spar Over Security. FCW. May 31, 2005.

See also.
U.S. Government Accounting Office. Department of
Homeland Security Faces Challenges in Fulfilling Cybersecurity Responsibilities
. (.pdf) May 26, 2005.

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior story on the GAO cybersecurity report.

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Outcry Over E-Gov Student Database

"A growing number of groups concerned about privacy rights are fighting a Department of Education plan to require colleges to place personal information on individual students into a national database maintained by the government.

"The plan could be part of the spending bill for the Higher Education Act that the Senate will vote on next month. If included in the spending measure, the plan would radically change current practice by requiring schools to provide personal information on all students, not just those receiving federal aid.

"Submissions would include every student's name and Social Security number, along with gender; date of birth; home address; race; ethnicity; names of every college course begun and completed; attendance records; and financial aid information."

Michael Janofsky. Plan to Gather Student Data Draws Fire. News.com. May 27, 2005.

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May 31, 2005

GAO Report Lists RFID Privacy Issues

"Radio frequency identification is becoming increasingly popular inside the US government, but agencies have not seriously considered the privacy risks, federal auditors said.

"In a report published on Friday, the Government Accountability Office said that 13 of the largest federal agencies are already using RFID or plan to use it. But only one of 23 agencies polled by the GAO had identified any legal or privacy issues -- even though three admitted RFID would let them track employee movements.

"'Key security issues include protecting the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the data and information systems,' the GAO said. 'The privacy issues include notifying consumers; tracking an individual's movements; profiling an individual's habits, tastes and predilections; and allowing for secondary uses of information.'"

Declan McCullagh. Federal Report Warns of RFID Misuses. ZDNet. May 30, 2005.

U.S. Government Accounting Office. Radio Frequency Identification Technology in the Federal Government. (.pdf) May 2005.

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May 28, 2005

Report: DHS Fails on Cybersecurity

"A critical Government Accountability Office report on the Homeland Security Department’s cybersecurity program has prompted members of the House and Senate Homeland Security committees to call for improved performance.

"DHS’ Information Assurance and Infrastructure Protection Directorate (.pdf) has failed to complete any of its 13 assigned cybersecurity tasks, according to a GAO report (.pdf) released today.

"Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement that 'GAO’s analysis affirms what this committee has been saying for the past two-and-a-half years: The status quo does not serve our cybersecurity needs.'"

Wilson P. Dizard III. Auditors, Solons Say DHS is 0-for-13 on Cybersecurity. GCN. May 26, 2005.

See also:
Chloe Albanesius. GAO: Still Not Enough Work on Cybersecurity. GovExec.com. May 26, 2005.

U.S. Government Accounting Office. Department of
Homeland Security Faces Challenges in Fulfilling Cybersecurity Responsibilities
. (.pdf) May 26, 2005.

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May 27, 2005

Patriot Act Debate to Continue

"The Senate Intelligence Committee failed to reach final agreement on Thursday on a proposal that would expand the Federal Bureau of Investigation's powers to demand records and monitor mailings in terror investigations, but officials said they were confident that the committee would come to a consensus on the issue.

"The committee met in private for two and a half hours amid continuing complaints from civil liberties advocates and some Democrats that the proposal would give federal investigators too much power to conduct 'fishing expeditions' in pursuing terrorism leads.

"Senate Republican leaders and the Bush administration, who are backing the proposal, say it provides the F.B.I. with essential tools in fighting terrorism."

Eric Lichtblau. Little Progress in Bid to Extend Patriot Act. The New York Times. May 27, 2005.

See also:
American Libraries Online. Patriot Act Extension Debated at Closed Congressional Meeting. May 27, 2005.

National Public Radio. Pushing for an Enhanced Patriot Act. Talk of the Nation. May 26, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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May 25, 2005

FTC Launches International Campaign Against Zombies

"Today, the Federal Trade Commission launched 'Operation Spam Zombies,' a campaign to educate Internet service providers about hijacked 'zombie' computers.

"A zombie is a computer that has had software secretly installed on it which allows a spammer to send large amounts of spam and mask their identity, making it harder for law enforcement officers to find them.

"The FTC, the Department of Commerce and the Department of Homeland Security are collaborating with officials from 25 other countries to educate Internet service providers about measures they can take to stem the flow of spam sent across their networks from zombie computers.

Corey McKenna. FTC Targets Zombies Sending Spam. Government Technology. May 24, 2005.

See also:
Reuters. FTC Asks for Help Against Spam 'Zombies'. CNN.com. May 24, 2005.

Federal Trade Commission. FTC, Partners Launch Campaign Against Spam “Zombies”. (Press Release.) May 24, 2005.

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FBI Readies New Computer System

"The FBI has designed a new computer system to replace a failed $170 million one aimed at helping agents share information but it will not be ready for use until the end of 2006, the FBI director said Tuesday.

"The need for the system was identified after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, when investigators found deficiencies in the sharing and recording of information by U.S. agencies.

"FBI Director Robert Mueller told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee the FBI had designed a new electronic information management system called Sentinel. The bureau expected the first phase to be deployed by the end of next year."

Reuters. FBI to Launch New Computer System by 2006. News.com. May 24, 2005.

See also:
Sarah Lai Stirland. Senators Grill FBI Chief Over Failed Virtual Case File System. GovExec.com. May 24, 2005.

Mark Sherman. Mueller: Cost of FBI Cyber Upgrade Unknown. LATimes.com. May 24, 2005.

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May 24, 2005

K. Matthew Dames Discusses Search & Information Architecture

K. Matthew Dames will speak Tuesday, May 24 at the FedWeb 2005 conference. The conference, which takes place at George Mason University's School of Public Policy in Arlington, Virginia, brings practical solutions to Goverment Web Professionals.

Dames' speech is entitled Optimizing Search Without Search: The Importance of Information Architecture.

"Many Web managers spend lots of time and money trying to buy the best search engine to help users find information on their site. But the use of a search engine is often a sign that the site has failed at its core mission: getting the right information to the right people at the right time. The key to improving information retrieval often has more to do with the site's information architecture -- things like navigation schemes, labeling, and metadata -- than what search technology the site owner buys.

"This session will discuss how good information architecture (IA) can help your users find the information they need, and even how IA can improve the quality of the results that your existing or future search engine gives to viewers."

K. Matthew Dames. "Optimizing Search Without Search: The Importance of Information Architecture" (.pdf) FedWeb 2005. May 24, 2005.

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GAO: Feds Fail to Implement Wi-Fi Security Measures

"Wireless networks pose a growing computer security risk as the popularity of the technology proliferates in coffee shops, homes and workplaces, and federal agencies are not responding to the mounting threat, government auditors said May 17.

"Agencies do not have complete controls for securing wireless networks and nine have not issued any policies on wireless networks, according to a new Government Accountability Office report (GAO-05-383).

"Thirteen agencies have no requirements for setting up secure wireless networks and a majority fail to monitor the networks enough to stop outsiders from gaining access."

Daniel Pulliam. GAO: Wireless Internet Access Threatens Computer Security. GovExec.com. May 20, 2005.

See also:
U.S. Government Accountability Office. Federal Agencies Need to Improve Controls Over Wireless Networks. (.pdf) May 2005.

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May 23, 2005

US Plans Sex Offender Web Registry

"State-by-state information on sex offenders will be available on a new Internet site run by the federal government.

"Participation by states is voluntary. The Justice Department said it hoped to have the site up and running within two months.

"The announcement by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Friday coincided with National Missing Children's Day."

Associated Press. U.S. to Unveil Web Site on Sex Offenders. Chicago Tribune. May 21, 2005.

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May 20, 2005

California Senate Approves Anti-RFID Bill

"The California Senate has approved the first legislation in the country to block state and local government agencies from issuing identification cards containing radio frequency identification tags.

"In a May 16 29-7 vote, the senators passed SB 682, the Identity Information Protection Act, which prohibits California public agencies from issuing ID cards containing 'a contactless integrated circuit or device that can broadcast personal information or enable personal information to be scanned remotely.' The description covers RFID devices and tags, among others."

Alice Lipowicz. Calif. Throws up RFID Roadblock. GCN. May 19, 2005.

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May 19, 2005

GAO Reports Insecure Wi-Fi Networks

"A hacker on a park bench could log onto dozens of U.S. government computer networks thanks to slipshod security standards at many agencies, according to a congressional report (.pdf) released Tuesday.

"The report by the Government Accountability Office found that few government agencies can ensure that their wireless networks are protected from unauthorized access."

Reuters. Government Says Wi-Fi Networks Not Secure. News.com. May 17, 2005.

See also:
William Jackson. GAO: Federal Agencies Lack Basic Wireless Security. GCN. May 17, 2005.

U.S. Government Accountability Office. Federal Agencies Need to Improve Controls over Wireless Networks. May 2005.

Matt Hines. Worried About Wi-Fi Security?. News.com. Jan 19, 2005.

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May 13, 2005

FirstGov.gov Provides RSS Library

A U.S. Government RSS Library is now available providing a central location to feeds on agriculture, consumer, cyber security, data and statistics, education, federal personnel, health, international relations, military affairs, forests, and science.

FirstGov.gov. U.S. Government RSS Library.

Attribution: SNTReport.com first discovered news of the U.S. Government RSS Library through a posting in beSpacific, edited by Sabrina I. Pacifici.

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May 10, 2005

GPO, LOC to Utilize Web Harvesting

"Government Printing Office officials, who have a significant role in preserving government information, want to capture fugitive publications, which are documents that federal agencies have published on the Web but for which no copy or record exists in GPO's database.

"To recover such documents for preservation, GPO officials are interested in new software technologies such as Web harvesting, and they are reviewing proposals from companies that make such software.

"Web harvesting, sometimes called crawling or spidering, is more than searching for and discovering information. Harvesting techniques are used for downloading code, images, documents and any files essential to reproduce a Web site after it has been taken down."

Aliya Sternstein. Fugitive Documents Elude Preservationists. FCW. May 9, 2005.

See also:
Susan M. Menke. GPO and its Collection of Last Resort. GCN.com. April 20, 2004.

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May 09, 2005

Telecom Fight Cities' Wireless Forays

"A number of U.S. cities are becoming giant wireless 'hot spots' where Internet users will be able to log on from the beach or a bus stop, a trend that is triggering a fierce backlash from telecom and cable giants.

"Free or discounted wireless service can spur economic development, improve police patrols and other city services and encourage Internet use in poorer neighborhoods, according to government officials.

"The trend has prompted an intense backlash from the large telecom and cable providers that sell most broadband access in the United States. At their request, 13 states have passed laws restricting cities setting up their own networks, and several others are considering such bans."

Reuters. U.S. Cities Set Up Their Own Wireless Networks. eWeek. May 4, 2005.

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May 06, 2005

Military User Fails to Secure Acrobat Document

"A public military report on an investigation into the shooting death of an Italian security agent includes blocks of classified data that can be deciphered as easily as copying and pasting text.

"Multinational Forces-Iraq issued the report in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format on April 30 as an unclassified document, with blocks of classified redacted information obscured from public view. But copying and pasting the classified sections into Microsoft Notepad reveals the blocked text."

Dawn S. Onley and Patience Wait. Acrobat User Gaffe Exposes Classified Defense Information. Washington Technology. May 3, 2005.

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May 05, 2005

Congressman Criticizes EU's RFID Passports

"A key U.S. congressman who led post-Sept. 11 passport reforms told European diplomats last week that there was no need for European countries to put RFID chips in their passports and that Congress never required them to do so.

"Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, expressed dismay that EU countries were planning to employ a technology that was still unproven for use in travel documents that would add costs and delays to rolling out new, more secure passports."

Kim Zetter. Lawmaker Rips RFID Passport Plans. Wired News. May 4, 2005.

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Federal Benefits Site Launches 'Customized Connections'

"Visitors to the Web sites of state and federal governments can now seamlessly access the federal online clearinghouse for benefits information, the Labor Department announced last week.

"The main federal benefits Web site, www.GovBenefits.gov, started a new program called Customized Connections. The program allows visitors to other sites to access the benefits site through portals that resemble the sites they are currently visiting, said Peggy Abrahamson, a Labor spokeswoman."

Michael Arnone. GovBenefits.gov Gets Customized. FCW. May 3, 2005.

See also:
Chloe Albanesius. Labor Department Unveils Updated Benefits Web Tools. April 29, 2005.

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May 04, 2005

Feds Fear Desktop Search

"Developers of free desktop search engines must tighten security on their products before federal agencies adopt enterprise versions en masse, analysts and government officials say.

"Government employees are already using Google’s free downloads to search full-text contents on local hard drives, including e-mail messages, documents, bookmarks and Web pages. Food and Drug Administration employees use Google Desktop, even though FDA officials have not deployed the tool agencywide. Such use could be perilous depending on the situation, experts say."

Aliya Sternstein. Feds Look, But Don't Touch. FCW.com. May 2, 2005.

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NSF to Fund Digital Initiatives

"The National Science Foundation's Information and Intelligent Systems Division plans to award up to $12 million in grants for basic research related to digital government, universal access and digital libraries in fiscal 2006."

Florence Olsen. NSF to Fund Digital Government. FCW. May 2, 2005.

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May 02, 2005

Los Alamos Coup Brewing Because of Blogs

"A blog rebellion among scientists and engineers at Los Alamos, the federal government's premier nuclear weapons laboratory, is threatening to end the tenure of its director, G. Peter Nanos.

"Four months of jeers, denunciations and defenses of Dr. Nanos's management recently culminated in dozens of signed and anonymous messages concluding that his days were numbered. The postings to a public Web log conveyed a mood of self-congratulation tempered with sober discussion of what comes next."

William J. Broad. At Los Alamos, Blogging Their Discontent. The New York Times. May 1, 2005.

See also:
Los Alamos National Laboratory. G. Peter Nanos, Biography. (.pdf)

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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DHS Mulls Collecting Private Citizen Data

"Call it Total Information Awareness, homeland-style.

"Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff this week floated an idea to start a nonprofit group that would collect information on private citizens, flag suspicious activity, and send names of suspicious people to his department."

Siobhan Gorman. DHS Chief Floats Idea for Collecting Private Citizens' Information. GovExec. April 29, 2005.

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April 30, 2005

GPO's Policies Have Ripple Effect on Libraries

"The Government Printing Office prints some of the nation's best-known publications: the Congressional Record, the Ronald Reagan funeral condolence books, the U.S. budget, the Sept. 11 commission report--even your passport.

"At its peak in the 1980s, before the days of Web sites and e-documents, the office printed more than 35 million documents a year, sending copies to libraries across the country, some of which kept everything the GPO produced and made it available to anyone who asked.

"But now to cut costs, government agencies are increasingly putting documents online rather than printing them and do not always provide an electronic copy to the GPO.

Dawn Withers. Librarians Worry Important Information is Being Lost. Chicago Tribune. April 29, 2005.

See also:
Aliya Sternstein. Librarians Air Frustrations. FCW.com. April 27, 2005.

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April 29, 2005

Verizon to Turn Off Free Wi-Fi

"Verizon Wireless is pulling the plug on its free wireless Internet access service that uses New York City phone booths as 'hotspots' for its DSL subscribers.

"The company's wireless unit says it will phase out the service over the next two months and begin concentrating on the deployment of a fee-based cellular Internet service for the metropolitan area."

Tim Gray. Verizon Wireless Cuts NYC Wi-Fi. InternetNews.com. April 29, 2005.

See also:
Bruce Meyerson. Verizon Pulling Plug on Free NYC Wi-Fi. Yahoo! News. April 29, 2005.

Russell Shaw. Verizon Wi-Fi(nished): Here are the Lessons for VoIP Services. ZDNet. April 29, 2005.

David Haskin. Verizon Has Met The Enemy And It's Themselves. Mobile Pipeline Blog. April 29, 2005

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April 27, 2005

Feds to Reconsider RFID Privacy Issues

"Following criticism from computer security professionals and civil libertarians about the privacy risks posed by new RFID passports the government plans to begin issuing, a State Department official said his office is reconsidering a privacy solution it rejected earlier that would help protect passport holders' data.

"The solution would require an RFID reader to provide a key or password before it could read data embedded on an RFID passport's chip. It would also encrypt data as it's transmitted from the chip to a reader so that no one could read the data if they intercepted it in transit."

Kim Zetter. Feds Rethinking RFID Passport. Wired News. April 26, 2005.

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April 23, 2005

Bill Proposes Ending Free Weather Data

"Do you want a seven-day weather forecast for your ZIP code? Or hour-by-hour predictions of the temperature, wind speed, humidity and chance of rain? Or weather data beamed to your cellphone?

"That information is available for free from the National Weather Service.

"But under a bill pending in the U.S. Senate, it might all disappear."

Robert P. King. Feds' Weather Information Could Go Dark. Palm Beach Post. April 21, 2005.

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April 22, 2005

Citizens Reap Benefits of Increasing Access

"Citizens' access to federal information is increasing thanks to best practices of federal depository libraries, federal-funded community technology centers, public libraries, and the National Archives and Records Administration, according to the Office of Management and Budget."

Jason Miller. OMB Highlights Best Practices in Federal Information Dissemination. GCN.com. April 19, 2005.

See also:
Office of Management and Budget. Section 213 of the E-Government Act Report to Congress: Organizations Complementing Federal Agency Information Dissemination Programs. (.pdf) April 15, 2005.

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April 21, 2005

USDA Uses Net to Promote Healthy Habits

"The old food pyramid was turned on its side and outfitted with stairs on Tuesday, as the federal government unveiled its latest effort to offer instant nutrition advice to Americans.

"The new program, MyPyramid, was hailed by Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns as a customized, interactive food guidance system. Critics, though, said it was likely to be as ineffective as the old pyramid."

Marian Burros. U.S. Introduces a Revised Food Pyramid. The New York Times. April 20, 2005.

Todd Zwillich. New Food Pyramid Gets Personal. WebMDHealth. April 19, 2005.

National Public Radio. New 'MyPyramid' U.S. Dietary Guidelines. Day to Day. April 19, 2005.

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Johanns Reveals USDA's Steps to a Healthier You. April 19, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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April 20, 2005

Impact of Electronic Documents on Libraries

"Some federal depository librarians are upset about the Government Printing Office's move to significantly cut the distribution of printed government documents.

"GPO's shift to electronic formats, which will redefine the librarians' role as government information gatekeepers, will be an issue at this weekend's Depository Library Council meeting in Albuquerque, N.M."

Aliya Sternstein. Librarians Face Existential Crisis. FCW. April 15, 2005.

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RFID Moves Beyond Government Apps

"Radio frequency identification (RFID) has been around for a while — some would argue 50 years — but has only now entered the mainstream.

"The technology uses radio frequency waves to transmit information about objects. RFID tags, tiny silicon-based devices, fundamentally act like bar codes. But the similarities end there."

John Moore. RFID's Positive Identification. FCW. April 18, 2005.

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April 15, 2005

Land of 1,000 Lakes Snips the Wire

"Days after Philadelphia rolled out its plans to go wireless, Minneapolis unveiled plans to provide wireless Internet access to the city's business, residents, governmental officials and visitors.

"The city's RFP, to be issued Wednesday, is expected to call for a privately owned, $15 million to $20 million citywide wireless and fiber-optic network. Contracts are expected to be issued later this year. The service should be available to residents late in 2006."

Carol Ellison. Minneapolis Plans to Go Wireless. eWeek. April 13, 2005.

See also:
Carol Ellison. Philadelphia: Muni Wi-Fi's Worst-Case Scenario. eWeek. April 11, 2005.

Carol Ellison. Municipal Broadband Bills Come Under Fire. eWeek. March 16, 2005.

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Bush Fears Personal Email Would be Public

"President Bush said on Thursday he does not send e-mail, not even to his twin daughters, because he fears 'my personal stuff' would be made public.

"'There has got to be a certain sense of privacy,' he told the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

"Bush volunteered his aversion to e-mail during a discussion on whether his administration is sufficiently responsive to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act.

Reuters. Bush: 'I Don't Want You Reading My Personal Stuff'. April 14, 2005.

The White House. President Addresses American Society of Newspaper Editors Convention. April 14, 2005.

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April 12, 2005

More Cities Adopt WiFi Plans

"Nobody doubts the benefits of Wi-Fi broadband technology. No longer is a computer user tethered to a wire in order to surf the Web. All you need is to be within range of a Wi-Fi hotspot, and thousands are sprouting up—at airports, parks, hotels, bookstores, coffee shops, college campuses. Business travelers rely on them. Students need them. Everybody with a PC likes them.

"The telecoms, while deploying Wi-Fi in ever more places, won't likely be solving the problem soon because they target lucrative, high-density markets to make a profit. Instead, municipalities have begun creating hotspots themselves, as a way to reach lower-density and lower-income areas that a profit-making company would ignore."

John Ness. Wi-Fi Clouds Arrive. Newsweek. April 18, 2005.

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April 09, 2005

Slate Profiles Brewster Kahle

"Search-engine wiz and dot-com multimillionaire Brewster Kahle founded the Internet Archive in 1996 with a dream as big as the bridge: He wanted to back up the Internet. There were only 50 million or so URLs back then, so the idea only seemed half-crazy. As the Web ballooned to more than 10 billion pages, the archive's main server farm -- hidden across town in a data center beneath San Francisco's other big bridge -- grew to hold a half-million gigabytes of compressed and indexed pages.

"Kahle is less the Internet's crazy aunt than its evangelical librarian. Like it or not, the Web is the world's library now, and Kahle doesn't trust the guys who shelve the books. They're obsessed with posting new pages, not preserving old ones. Every day, Kahle laments, mounds of data get purged from the Web: government documents, personal sites, corporate communications, message boards, news reports that weren't printed on paper. For most surfers, once a page disappears from Google's cache it no longer exists."

Paul Boutin. The Archivist. Slate. April 7, 2005.

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April 07, 2005

Wikis Speed Information Flow

"There is a public Web site where people can find a Web log written by some prominent members of the government information technology community. Visitors can view a list of officials in the CIO Council's Communities of Practice and read ongoing revisions to a major government document, the data reference model. Members of the public also are contributing to the discussions.

"An emerging technology called 'wiki' makes this collaboration possible. Wiki technology creates what is essentially a public Web log, one which anyone with a Web browser can add to or modify."

Aliya Sternstein. Wiki Means Fast. FCW. April 4, 2005.

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UK Funds Open Source for Public Sector

"The UK government is funding several projects to accelerate the adoption of open source software in the public sector, including a Sourceforge for councils.

"A UK government-funded initiative aims to accelerate the use of open source software within the public sector, through various activities including the creation of a government-specific code repository and a directory of open source providers."

Ingrid Marson. 'Critical' Open Source Initiative to Crack Public Sector. ZDNet UK. April 5, 2005.

See also:
eGov Monitor. Gov.uk Backs Open Source Drive. The Register. April 4 ,2005.

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April 06, 2005

Google Desktop May Breach Federal Security

"A popular free desktop search tool poses several security threats to federal agencies, analysts say.

"Government employees have been using Google Desktop Search to sift through the full-text contents of their local hard drives, including e-mail messages, documents, bookmarks and Web pages. Microsoft and Yahoo! also offer free, downloadable applications for desktop search."

Aliya Sternstein. Is Desktop Search Secure? FCW.com. March 30, 2005.

See also:
Aliya Sternstein. Google Turns Up Fed Business. FCW.com. March 28, 2005.

Heather B. Hayes. The Search Is On. FCW.com. March 28, 2005.

Diane Frank. New Role for Google. FCW.com. June 7, 2004.

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Feds Establish Teleworking Site

"A group of public and private executives announced a new Web site today to help promote telework in the federal government and end the gridlock that has prevented it from flourishing.

"The Web site is intended to provide information to federal employees about how they can join the telework ranks. It also provides an online chat room called the Water Cooler for federal workers to discuss problems. The move was prompted by a survey showing that only about 20 percent of all federal workers telework."

Judi Hasson. OMB, Industry Create Telework Site. FCW.com.

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Wikis Facilitate Collaboration

"There is a public Web site where people can find a Web log written by some prominent members of the government information technology community. Visitors can view a list of officials in the CIO Council's Communities of Practice and read ongoing revisions to a major government document, the data reference model. Members of the public also are contributing to the discussions.

"An emerging technology called 'wiki' makes this collaboration possible. The word comes from 'wiki wiki, Hawaiian for 'fast.' Wiki technology creates what is essentially a public Web log, one which anyone with a Web browser can add to or modify."

Aliya Sternstein. Collaborative Sites Enable Sharing of Ideas, Workload. USA Today. April 4, 2005.

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Archivists Campaign for NARA's Grant Program

"Archivists and historians nationwide are mounting a major campaign to stop the dismantling of the National Archives and Records Administration's grants program, which is responsible for electronic records research.

Office of Management and Budget officials slashed all funding for the 70-year-old National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) in President Bush's proposed fiscal 2006 budget. In addition to e-records research, NHPRC funds historical projects.

Aliya Sternstein. E-records Research in Jeopardy. FCW. March 28, 2005.

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April 02, 2005

DOD Developing VoIP System

"In a move that both validates the technology underlying Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and promises to help advance it, especially in terms of security, the Department of Defense (DoD) has taken a step toward developing its own, privately managed VoIP system.

"The DoD said it had awarded Nortel Networks a contract worth up to US$20 million to migrate the department's network to one that, through installation of new software and other upgrades, will be able to support VoIP."

Keith Regan. Defense Department Adopts VoIP Technology. E-Commerce Times. March 31, 2005.

See also:
Bob Brewin. DISA Switches on VOIP. FCW. March 30, 2005.

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April 01, 2005

FirstGov Releases RFI to Improve Search

"FirstGov.gov is getting a search face-lift.

The General Services Administration earlier this week released a request for information seeking ways to improve the much-criticized Web portal.

"'FirstGov seeks to adopt governmentwide search indexes and related services produced by the private sector,' the RFI said. 'FirstGov plans to create value-added features and support services to enhance information delivery and is seeking information on technologies that may enable these initiatives.'"

Jason Miller. GSA Releases RFI for New FirstGov Search Engine. GCN.com. March 30, 2005.

General Services Administration. Provide Government-wide Web Search on FirstGov.gov and Site Search on Affiliated Federal Agency Websites. March 28, 2005.

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Contactless Chips: RFID by Another Name

"Conspiracy theorists and civil libertarians, fear not. The U.S. government will not use radio-frequency identification tags in the passports it issues to millions of Americans in the coming years.

"Instead, the government will use 'contactless chips.'

"The distinction is part of an effort by the Department of Homeland Security and one of its RFID suppliers, Philips Semiconductors, to brand RFID tags in identification documents as proximity chips,' 'contactless chips' or 'contactless integrated circuits' -- anything but 'RFID.''"

Mark Baard. RFID Cards Get Spin Treatment. Wired News. March 29, 2005.

See also:
Mark Baard. RFID Invades the Capital. Wired News. March 7, 2005.

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Joint Forces Command to Implement Collaboration Project

"Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) has started using a new data-sharing system designed to make it easier for coalition forces to manage and access warfighting information in Iraq.

"In a March 28 announcement, JFCOM officials emphasized that the Cross Domain Collaborative Information Environment (CDCIE) uses Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition and open standards that increase interoperability."

Frank Tiboni. Military Shares Openly. FCW.com. March 30, 2005.

See also:
Content Management Added To Iraq Military Portal. InformationWeek. March 30, 2005.

Xythos. U.S. Joint Forces Command Deploys Xythos to Support Multi-National Forces Iraq. (Press Release.)

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March 31, 2005

Government Record System Raises Concerns

"An effort to digitize federal employees' personnel records is receiving a mixed response from organized labor leaders, who cite the easy access of the Internet as both a blessing and a curse.

"The National Treasury Employees Union issued a statement saying that union officials think that the Office of Personnel Management's plan to centralize agencies' personnel records in an online database makes sense, but they want more information on exactly how the system will work."

Daniel Pulliam. Unions Raise Concerns About Online Personnel Records System. GovExec. March 28, 2005.

See also:
Daniel Pulliam. OPM to set up centralized personnel records system. GovExec. Jan 21, 2005.

National Treasury Employees Union. NTEU Supports Planned Government Transition to Electronic Employee Personnel Files, But Seeks Briefing and Demonstration. (Press Release.) March 25, 2005.

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Brazil Choses Linux Over Microsoft

"Since taking office two years ago, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has turned Brazil into a tropical outpost of the free software movement.

"Looking to save millions of dollars in royalties and licensing fees, Mr. da Silva has instructed government ministries and state-run companies to gradually switch from costly operating systems made by Microsoft and others to free operating systems, like Linux.

"On Mr. da Silva's watch, Brazil has also become the first country to require any company or research institute that receives government financing to develop software to license it as open-source, meaning the underlying software code must be free to all."

Todd Benson. Brazil: Free Software's Biggest and Best Friend. News.com. March 29, 2005.

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March 17, 2005

Online Personal Health Records

"Carolyn Odio had a longtime wish granted for her 60th birthday: her very own online medical record.

"The Herndon resident, who has diabetes and other medical conditions, now has a personal health record (PHR) on the Web. The site contains her long medical history, including diagnoses, symptoms and medications. She has scanned in doctors' notes, test results, CT images and insurance information. She's given her doctors a password so they can log on, and permission to share her records with other medical professionals and members of her family.

"For her birthday, Odio asked her 20-year-old son, Samuel, to create a digital medical record for her. It took the computer whiz less than 30 minutes to create a secure Web page. Gathering and entering her medical information took much longer."

Christopher J. Gearon. A Personal Record. WashingtonPost.com. March 15, 2005.

See also:
Christopher J. Gearon. Personal Health Record Options. WashingtonPost.com. March. 15, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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March 10, 2005

OBM Releases 2004 Progress Reports

"The Office of Management and Budget released two reports last week touting the progress agencies have made in e-government and cybersecurity during fiscal 2004.

"The congressionally mandated reports citing achievements over the last fiscal year come at a time when members of Congress have issued dismal cybersecurity grades to key agencies and expressed dissatisfaction with development of the various e-gov projects.

"OMB pointed to the A FirstGov Web site, which provides information and services in both English and Spanish, and Regulations.gov as examples of ways agencies are opening up to the public and encouraging more participation in government."

Daniel Pulliam. OMB Optimistic About E-gov and Cybersecurity Progress. GovExec.com. March 7, 2005.

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March 08, 2005

Internet: Key Source in Campaign 2004

"Roughly 75 million Americans used the Internet to connect to politics in 2004. They sought election news, exchanged political e-mail, made campaign contributions and blogged, according to a post-election study conducted by The Pew Internet & American Life Project. This figure equals roughly 37 percent of the adult population, and 61 percent of American Internet users.

"The number of online political news consumers, meanwhile, increased dramatically compared to 2000, growing from 18 percent of the U.S. population in 2000 to 29 percent in 2004."

Rob McGann. Internet Played Bigger Role in U.S. Politics in '04. ClickZNews. March 6, 2005.

See also:
Lee Rainie et al. The Internet and Campaign 2004. (.pdf) Pew Internet and American Life Project. March 6, 2005.

Michael Cornfield. The Internet and Campaign 2004: A Look Back at the Campaigners. (.pdf) (Commentary.)

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March 03, 2005

Qwest Hedges Its Bets with VoIP Game

"To save money, some Minnesota government agencies are discarding their Qwest telephones and switching to new ones that convert calls into data packets that travel over computer networks.

"The new phone service, called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) , saves money for big users by eliminating the need for separate telephone networks, as well as by providing more workplace flexibility with simpler call routing. Hennepin County is embracing the technology, and the Minnesota Department of Revenue is the first large state agency to make the switch.

"The state and county projects will result in Qwest losing 15,000 phone lines, or more, over the next two years."

CRM Daily. Switch to VoIP Is Saving Taxpayers Money. Feb. 25, 2005.

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February 25, 2005

FBI Warns of E-Mail Virus

"The FBI is warning the public about malicious e-mails designed to appear as if they were generated by the law enforcement agency.

"In a statement released late Tuesday, the FBI detailed the threat, which attempts to lure e-mail users into opening an attachment containing a computer virus.

"The mail is disguised as correspondence warning people that their Internet use has been monitored by the FBI's Internet Fraud Complaint Center and that they have 'accessed illegal Web sites.' The e-mails then direct recipients to open the virus-laden attachment to answer a series of questions."

Matt Hines. Virus Arrives in E-Mail Allegedly Sent by FBI. News.com. Feb. 23, 2005.

See also:
Federal Bureau of Investigation. FBI Alerts Public to Recent E-Mail Scheme. (Press Release.) Feb. 22, 2005.

Ben Charny Cabir Mobile Virus Found in U.S.. News.com. Feb. 18, 2005.

Terry Frieden. Virus Alert: Don't Open FBI E-Mail. CNN.com. Feb. 22, 2005.

Michael Myser. FBI E-Mail Scam Spreads Virus. eWeek. Feb. 23, 2005.

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February 23, 2005

NGA Considers Restricting Access to Maps

"Officials at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency want to bar the public from viewing the agency's aeronautical and navigational data and publications, a decision that has upset many who use that information. Some librarians, commercial mapmakers and public-interest group members say they will launch a campaign to retain access.

"Without seeking public comment, NGA officials announced plans in November 2004 to stop selling and distributing the aeronautical and navigational data because of copyright concerns and worries about terrorist attacks. Last December, however, they said they would seek comments before making a final decision.

"Jim Mohan, an NGA spokesman, said the agency is considering the action partly because an increasing number of foreign source providers are claiming intellectual property rights or warning agency officials that they intend to copyright their source material."

Frank Tiboni. A Publishing Dilemma. FCW. Feb. 7, 2005.

See also:
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. NGA Invites Public Comment on Proposal to Remove Aeronautical Information from Public Sale and Distribution. (.pdf) (Press Release.) Dec. 3, 2004.

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February 22, 2005

E-Mail Service Extended to Wounded Troops

"The Defense Department's Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP), developed to help federal employees with disabilities use computers, has added wounded troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to its portfolio so that they can use e-mail.

"CAP Director Dinah Cohen, speaking here at the annual Healthcare and Management Information Systems Society (HIMSS) conference, said the fit between CAP and the mostly young, wounded troops is a natural fit 'because these are kids who have grown up in a computer environment.'

"When the troops are evacuated to a stateside hospital, Cohen said, they often want to communicate with family, friends and military colleagues via e-mail."

Bob Brewin. Wounded Vets Get E-Mail Aid. FCW. Feb. 18, 2005.

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February 21, 2005

NOAA to Launch Enterprise Architecture Portal

"Enterprise data architects at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this week said they are piecing together an online portal that can navigate 99 disparate systems observing more than 500 environmental parameters.

"The NOAA Observing System Architecture, or NOSA, provides:

  • An integrated view of the agency’s data
  • A framework for examining future data needs, costs, gaps and duplication
  • Broad accessibility."

Susan M. Menke. NOAA Links its Architecture Online. GCN.com. Feb. 18, 2005.

See also:
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA Web Site Provides Huge Inventory of Earth Observing Systems. (Press Release.) Feb. 14, 2005.

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February 17, 2005

IRS Offers Free E-File Progam

"There was a time when many people didn't really care how good tax software was, so long as preparing returns by computer was easier than getting out a No. 2 pencil and an 800-page taxpayer's guidebook to do it all by hand.

"But today, do-it-yourselfers have more choices than just buying - in stores or online - programs like TurboTax, from Intuit, or TaxCut, from H&R; Block.

"For example, if you go to the Internal Revenue Service Web site, www.irs.gov, and click on the link to a program called Free File, you will be directed to 20 different online tax preparation sites that let you compile and file relatively simple federal returns electronically - at no cost. Many of these sites impose some age or income restrictions, but some are open to all filers."

Paul J. Lim. So Much Software, But So Little Time. The New York Times. Feb. 13, 2005.

See also:
Yardena Arar. Get Free Online Tax Filing--While It Lasts. PC World. Feb. 11, 2005.

National Public Radio. A Look at Do-It-Yourself Tax Software. Morning Edition. Feb. 12, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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February 16, 2005

IAC Recognizes Excellence.gov Winners

"Industry Advisory Council members recognized five federal agency programs, from e-learning to registering food imports, for demonstrating best practices in federal e-government implementations.

"Judges selected the programs from 25 finalists that showed an impact on an agency's ability to fulfill its missions and satisfy stakeholders, participants and users.

"David Wennergren, the Navy's chief information officer and one of the program coordinators, said the winners were programs that helped an agency's ability to deliver its mission. 'It's about change,' he said."

Judi Hasson. IAC Selects Excellence.gov Winners. FCW.com. Feb. 10, 2005.

See also:
American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council. 2005 Excellence.Gov Awards. Feb. 9, 2005.

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February 15, 2005

Los Angeles Considers Open Source Software

"City officials in Los Angeles are considering switching to an open-source platform for their computer systems to potentially save millions of dollars that could be redirected to other services.

"Three council members — Eric Garcetti, Wendy Greul and Jack Weiss — introduced a motion last week asking the city's Information Technology Agency to provide an initial report on potential savings in 30 days and a transition plan in 90 days. Although city officials already use some open-source software, they spent $5.8 million on proprietary software licenses for the fiscal year that ran from July 1, 2003, to June 30, 2004.

"With open-source programs, users can read, modify and redistribute the source code for free. The most widely known example is the Linux operating system, although some vendors charge for their Linux distributions."

Dibya Sarkar. L.A. Investigates Open Source to Cut Costs. FCW.com. Feb. 7, 2005.

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February 12, 2005

FBI Publishes Cell Phone Spam Sites

"The Federal Communications Commission on Monday published a list of Web sites that the agency says transmits unwanted e-mail and text messages to cell phones.

"Sites on the list have 30 days to stop transmitting unwanted e-mail messages, unless the recipient has given permission to receive the message."

Associated Press. FCC Lists Sites That Send Cell Phone Spam. San Francisco Chronicle. Feb. 7, 2005.

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February 08, 2005

ESRI to Update Geospatial Resource

"Interior Department officials have chosen ESRI to update Geodata.gov, an online tool that combines thousands of geospatial resources from federal, state, local, tribal and private sources.

"The Web portal is part of Geospatial One-Stop, one of the federal government's 24 original e-government initiatives.

"The site allows government officials at all levels to get quick access to maps and other data that can be used to aid in making on-the-spot emergency response decisions, for example."

Michael Hardy. ESRI Wins Geospatial Work. FCW.com. Feb. 1, 2005.

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February 07, 2005

NIH Calls for Speedy Net Access to Research

"The U.S. National Institutes of Health, which spent nearly $20 billion last year funding research, urged scientists on Thursday to let the agency publish their studies on the Internet.

"Researchers receiving NIH grants should send their manuscripts to a free, Web-based archive managed by the National Library of Medicine as soon as they can, after first submitting them to medical or scientific journals, NIH director Dr. Elias Zerhouni said."

Maggie Fox. NIH Asks for Internet Access to Studies. Reuters. Feb. 3, 2005.

See also:
National Institutes of Health. NIH Calls on Scientists to Speed Public Release of Research Publications. (Press Release.) Feb. 3, 2005.

National Public Radio. NIH to Deliver Free Access to Research. All Things Considered. Feb. 3, 2005.

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February 05, 2005

Trademark Document Retrieval System Now Online

"The Patent and Trademark Office is now making official trademark application files, including decisions by trademark examining attorneys, available online.

"The milestone is part of PTO’s effort to make the trademark registration process fully transparent to the public on the PTO Web site, the Commerce Department agency announced Friday.

"The Trademark Document Retrieval system (TDR) provides an electronic portal for viewing, downloading and printing an array of information and documents as Adobe Portable Document Format files. All told, the system has more than 460,000 trademark applications totaling more than 8 million document pages."

Mary Mosquera. PTO Puts Trademark Application Files Online. GCN. Jan. 31, 2005.

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Education Dept. Lists Accredited Colleges

"The Education Department released an online list of accredited colleges and universities Tuesday, as part of the fight against diploma mills and federal employees who present fraudulent credentials.

"The Web site that houses the list was unveiled during a press conference on Capitol Hill, where a string of lawmakers and federal officials said that some federal workers have used fake degrees to get promotions or higher pay. Diploma mills are schools that sell degrees, but do not have a genuine academic curriculum. The Education Department list is designed to be used by personnel officials to research schools on applications and résumés."

David McGlinchey. Education Unveils Database of Accredited Schools. GovExec.com. Feb. 2, 2005.

See also:
Patience Wait. OPM, Education Take Action on Diploma Mills. GCN. Feb. 1, 2005.

Joanne Kenen. U.S. Opens Campaign Against Fake 'Diploma Mills'. Reuters. Feb. 1, 2005.

Ryan Singel. Database Fights Diploma Mills. Wired News. Feb. 2, 2005.

Federal Trade Commission. Avoid Fake-Degree Burns By Researching Academic Credentials. Jan. 2005.

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February 01, 2005

Pew Examines Americans' Increasing Reliance on Internet

"A decade after browsers came into popular use, the Internet has reached into–and, in some cases, reshaped–just about every important realm of modern life. It has changed the way we inform ourselves, amuse ourselves, care for ourselves, educate ourselves, work, shop, bank, pray and stay in touch.

"This entry is the Pew Internet Project's contribution to 'Trends 2005,' a publication of the newly-created Pew Research Center, a research orgnization that combines several analytical projects funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts."

Lee Rainie and John Horrigan. A Decade of Adoption: How the Internet Has Woven Itself into American Life. Pew Internet & American Life Project. Jan. 25, 2005.

See also:
Pew Internet & American Life Project. Trends 2005: A Look at Changes in American Life. (Press Release.) Jan. 25, 2005.

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January 26, 2005

2010 Plans for High-Tech Census

"Census Bureau officials plan to issue a request for proposals in the coming months for a contract to equip between 500,000 and 600,000 census counters with handheld computers for the 2010 head count.

"Arnold Jackson, the assistant director for the decennial census, said bureau officials have been meeting with vendors for more than a year to talk about their needs for the biggest high-tech census they have ever attempted.

"Officials have not decided whether the devices would use modems or wireless technology to transmit encrypted data into the system, Jackson said."

Judi Hasson.Census to Spend $300M on Handhelds. FCW.com. Jan. 19, 2005,

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January 21, 2005

Roadmap Proposed to Improve Patient Care

"Few dispute the need to move America's costly, fragmented health system from paper records and prescriptions into the computer age. Converting to digital records, health authorities agree, would reduce medical errors and improve efficiency, saving both lives and dollars.

"But what has been missing is a national road map that would encourage doctors, hospitals and insurers to invest in modern information technology.

"On Tuesday, a group of 13 health and information technology organizations gave the Bush administration its recommendations for just such a road map for a national health information network."

Steve Lohr. Prescription for Digitized Health Records. News.com. Jan. 19, 2005.

See also:
Leading Health Care and Information Technology Groups Endorse Common Framework for Health Information Exchange to Support Improvements in Health and Healthcare. (Press Release.) Jan. 18, 2005.

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January 19, 2005

IRS Requires Corporate E-Filing By 2006

"Officials at large companies and tax-exempt organizations must electronically file their Internal Revenue Service forms starting in 2006, tax agency officials announced today.

"The new regulations will first apply to corporations worth more than $50 million and tax-exempt organizations with assets of at least $100 million.

"The threshold lowers in 2007 to businesses and tax-exempt organizations worth $10 million. IRS officials expect that by then at least 20,000 large corporate taxpayers and up to 10,000 tax-exempt entities will be covered by the electronic filing requirement."

David Perera. IRS Mandates E-filing. FCW. Jan. 11, 2005.

See also:
Internal Revenue Service. IRS Introduces e-file for Corporations, Exempt Organizations. March 30, 2004.

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January 17, 2005

FBI May Scrap Virtual Case File System

"A new FBI computer program designed to help agents share information to ward off terrorist attacks may have to be scrapped, the agency has concluded, forcing a further delay in a four-year, half-billion-dollar overhaul of its antiquated computer system.

"The bureau is so convinced that the software, known as Virtual Case File, will not work as planned that it has taken steps to begin soliciting proposals from outside contractors for new software, officials said.

"'Because the software program is large and complex, we are modularizing VCF capabilities and then testing them, deploying them to subset user groups, evaluating performance and then building upon them,' said an FBI official whom the agency would not allow to be identified."

Richard B. Schmitt. New FBI Software May Be Unusable. LATimes.com. Jan. 13, 2005.

See also:

Reuters. Report: FBI May Scrap New Computer Program. News.com. Jan. 13, 2005.

David Perera. Virtual Case File a Virtual Bust. FCW. Jan. 14, 2005.

Jonathan Krim. FBI Rejects Its New Case File Software. WashingtonPost.com. Jan. 14, 2005.

Toni Locy. FBI Expects to Dump Information-Sharing Software. USA Today. Jan. 13, 2005.

Wilson P. Dizard III. Draft Report Suggests End for FBI’s Case Management App. GCN.com. Jan. 10, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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January 13, 2005

Deletion of Government E-Mail Raises Concern

"Government agencies generally support a proposal to let federal agencies delete mountains of saved e-mails that have been marked as having no long-term value, but some public advocacy groups and others have expressed concern.

"In public comments submitted to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), seven agencies agreed with the basic premise of the rule, which would let agencies permanently delete e-mails that 'have minimal or no documentary or evidential value.'

"The proposal states that agencies should be permitted to delete e-mails under staggered retention periods, such as 90, 120 or 180 days. E-mails that have been requested under the Freedom of Information Act or that are involved in any litigation would be 'frozen' until the matter is resolved, the rule states."

Danielle Belopotosky. Agencies Back Plan to Delete Old E-mails. GovExec.com. Jan. 7, 2005.

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January 12, 2005

Clinical Drug Trial Info to be Posted on Web

"The prescription drug industry's main trade group announced Thursday that its member companies will begin voluntarily posting information about ongoing clinical trials for all diseases this summer on a government Web site.

"Drug companies have come under fire in recent months for allegedly withholding unfavorable research findings, and the American Medical Association as well as some members of Congress have called for mandatory reporting of all clinical-trial results."

Under current law, drug companies are required to post information at www.clinicaltrials.gov only about trials of drugs for serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions.

Rita Rubin. Drugmakers to Voluntarily Post Info Online About Clinical Trials. USA Today. Jan. 6, 2005.

See also:
No author. Drug Industry’s Plan to Voluntarily Report Clinical Trials Falls Short of Ensuring Drug Safety for Consumers. Pharmalive.com. Jan. 6, 2005.

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E-Gov Spending to Increase 38 Percent Over 5 Years

"Federal spending on e-government-related initiatives will continue to grow through 2009, according to new analysis from Input.

"A report released today by the market research firm projects an annual compound growth rate of 6.9 percent during the next five fiscal years, from slightly more than $4 billion in fiscal 2004 to nearly $6 billion by fiscal 2009.

"The report defines e-government as any mission-oriented information system classifiable under four customer segments outlined by the Office of Management and Budget: government-to-citizen, government-to-business, government-to-government, and internal efficiency and effectiveness. That definition includes more than the 24 e-government projects OMB initiated in 2002."

David Perera. Input: E-gov Budget to Grow. FCW. Jan. 6, 2005.

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January 10, 2005

A Decade of Federal Web Content

"At just over ten years of age, the U.S. federal government’s external web presence is maturing, if not yet mature. Federal government agencies are using their websites as serious, central communications channels rather than as showy supplements to older channels such as printed publications, paper correspondence, or telephone hotlines.

"Gone are the exciting 'Information Highway' days of the 1990s when researchers watched anxiously for news of agencies coming online one by one, each with a small chunk of content, often on a pilot basis. It was a bumpy road, with some agencies speeding away, others stalling, and all generally headed in different directions.

"Today, researchers travel a relatively more predictable route. We assume that a federal agency has a web site, that certain categories of information will be available, and that certain tools for finding that information will be provided. It is a good time to take stock of exactly what these sites have to offer. What follows is an alphabetical list of content that researchers can expect to find on federal, executive branch websites, and where on the site they can expect to find it."

Peggy Garvin. The Federal Web: Content at the Ten-year Mark. LLRX.com. Dec. 27, 2004.

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January 08, 2005

Federal Web Sites to Include Search Engines

"Search engines on federal Web sites will become mandatory by the end of 2005, according to a Dec. 17 memo (.pdf) from the Office of Management and Budget.

"In some circumstances, mostly for small Web sites, agency officials may still rely on site maps or subject indexes, the memo states. In addition, it collates nine other requirements agencies should already be complaint with under various acts of Congress or OMB circulars."

David Perera. OMB: Set Up Search. FCW.coM. Dec. 21, 2004.

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December 23, 2004

OBM Outlines Goals for E-Government

"By Sept. 30, the Office of Management and Budget wants agencies to increase their systems security by 20 percent and receive approval on an additional 19 percent of their business cases. These were two of five goals the administration laid out in its new report, Expanding E-Government: Partnering for a Results-Oriented Governmenta. (.pdf)

"In the past year, agencies secured 70 percent of their systems, and the administration approved 56 percent of all business cases, OMB said. By the end of fiscal 2005, the White House wants agencies to secure 90 percent of all systems, have them accredited by the agencies’ inspectors general and receive approval for 75 percent of their business cases.

"OMB also wants at least 50 percent of agencies to use earned-value management to manage IT portfolios and to make sure they have no IT skill gaps. Only 32 percent of the agencies meet the EVM requirement, Evans said."

Jason Miller. OMB outlines E-Gov Goals for 2005. WashingtonPost.com. Dec. 20, 2004.

See also:
Daniel Pulliam. OMB to Evaluate E-gov Initiatives. GovExec. Dec. 21, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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New Social Security System to Reduce Overpayments

"The Social Security Administration completed a nationwide rollout this month of a new system to aid in collecting and processing information about Disability Insurance beneficiaries who hold jobs.

Lockheed Martin assisted in the development and deployment of the system, known as eWork, which builds on two applications designed by employees in field offices.

"The agency expects that eWork will help reduce overpayments made to beneficiaries who, after a trial employment period, earn too much money to qualify for continued benefits. Both the General Accounting Office and the Social Security Inspector General have found that such overpayments cost the agency staggering sums each year."

Denise Kersten. Social Security Computer System May Reduce Disability Overpayments. GovExec.com. Dec. 17, 2004.

Social Security Administration. The Realities We Face: Continuity Amid Change. (.pdf). Nov. 2004.

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December 22, 2004

Satisfaction With Federal E-Government Nudges Upward

"Citizen satisfaction with the federal government's services reached a new high this year, placing some agencies above the private sector average, according to an annual index from the University of Michigan.

"The government received a score of 72.1 out of a possible 100 on the 2004 American Customer Satisfaction Index published by the National Quality Research Center at the University of Michigan's business school. The 2004 score tops the 2001 score of 71.3 as the highest grade.

"One reason for the boost in federal scores was the performance of the IRS, thanks to its online filing system. Electronic tax filers gave the IRS a score of 78, while paper tax filers gave it a 52."

Daniel Pulliam. Agencies Reach All-Time High in Customer Satisfaction. GovExec.com. Dec. 14, 2004.

See also:
No author. American Customer Satisfaction Index for E-Government Shows Steady Increase in User Satisfaction. Foresee Results. (Press Release) Dec. 14, 2004.

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December 16, 2004

State Department to Modernize Communication System

"State Department officials are about to retire their World War II-era cable system and replace it with a new communications network for diplomats worldwide.

In the coming months, department officials will launch a long-awaited intranet that will link posts in northern Europe and the United States electronically.

For the first time, diplomats will be able to access secret and sensitive documents from anywhere in the world through the network instead of waiting for a diplomatic cable to arrive at their location."

Judi Hasson. State Department: Reach Out and Touch Someone. FCW.com. Dec. 13, 2004.

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December 13, 2004

Libraries Go Virtual

"The newest books in the New York Public Library don't take up any shelf space. They are electronic books - 3,000 titles' worth - and the library's 1.8 million cardholders can point and click through the collection at www.nypl.org, choosing from among best sellers, nonfiction, romance novels and self-help guides.

"For years, library patrons have been able to check card catalogs online and do things like reserve or renew books and pay overdue fines. Now they can not only check out e-books and audiobooks but view movie trailers and soon, the actual movies.

"And they can do it without setting foot in the local branch."

Tin Gnatek. Libraries Reach Out, Online. The New York Times. Dec. 9, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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December 11, 2004

DOD to Implement IP Version 6

"The United States is behind the curve on deployment of the next generation of Internet protocols, but the Defense Department’s decision to transition to IP Version 6 is helping to move the nation ahead, said Alex Lightman, chairman of the U.S. IPv6 Summit.

"'It signals the return of DOD to Internet leadership,' Lightman said in an interview with GCN. 'The department really is seeking a consensus with industry and other government agencies.'

"The Internet protocols are the rules defining how computers and other devices communicate with each other. Most hardware and software today use IPv4, which has been in use for more than 20 years. The Internet community developed version 6 during the 1990s with a greatly expanded address space and added support for mobility and security."

William Jackson. With IPv6, DOD is Again an Internet Leader. CGN.com. Dec. 8, 2004.

See also:

George Leopold. DoD Targets IPv6 as Catalyst for Net-Centric Warfare. Internet Week. Dec. 9, 2004.

William Jackson. Microsoft’s Next OS Will Have IPv6 Built In. GCN.com. Dec. 8, 2004.

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NOAA Issues New Partnership Policy

"The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has updated its policy on sharing weather-related information. The agency still plans to make the data easily accessible on the Web.

"The policy update follows a year of debate over how vigorously NOAA should work to disseminate its weather information, and how much it should leave to industry.

"It is a reworking of a 1991 policy that defined how the National Weather Service should work with the private sector in collecting and disseminating weather information to the public. Released as a draft for comment in January, the proposed policy received 1,473 comments, at least 1,190 supporting the policy and 176 opposing it."

Joab Jackson. NOAA Updates Policy on Weather Info Dissemination. GCN.com. Dec. 7, 2004.

See also:
Kimberly Palmer. NOAA Pledges to Better Disseminate Weather Information. GovExec.com. Dec. 9, 2004.

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December 09, 2004

NYPIRG Criticizes Access to Data

One out of every five New York state agencies is ignoring the law that requires them to disclose public information in a timely fashion, according to a state watchdog group's report released Wednesday.

"The New York Public Interest Research Group sent Freedom of Information Law requests to 142 state agencies and authorities, and found 20 percent did not respond within two weeks -- well past the five days required for response under state law. The ones that did respond charged up to $6,000 to provide information that they are required to make available under state law.

"The group asked for two items agencies are required by law to keep and make available to the public -- a list of all employees with salaries and titles and a reasonably detailed, current list by subject matter of the agencies' records."

Erin Duggan. Access to Data Criticized. Timesunion.com. Dec. 2, 2004.

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December 06, 2004

Top 10 Digital Cities for 2004

"The most technology-advanced cities in America have been named by the Center for Digital Government based on its 2004 Digital Cities Survey. The annual study examines how city governments are utilizing digital technologies to better serve their citizens and streamline operations.

"The first-place cities in their respective population categories are Virginia Beach, Va.; Des Moines, Iowa; Denton, Texas (tie); Ogden, Utah (tie); and Redmond, Wash.

"The Center and the National League of Cities (NLC) developed the survey this past summer and invited more than 600 city mayors, managers and chief information officers to participate. The survey grouped cities into four population categories: 250,000 or greater, 125,000-249,999, 75,000-124,999, and 30,000-74,999. Officials responded to a set of 24 questions and ranked their jurisdictions according to a four-point scale, providing Web site addresses and background data for final verification and validation."

Rhonda Wilson. Top 10 Digital Cities Named for 2004. Center for Digital Government. Dec. 2004.

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December 03, 2004

With the Web, Government Can't Hide

"Given the government keeps tabs on the world using armies of agents, algorithms and wiretaps, how can a citizen compete? Try a browser.

"Governments at every level these days are providing less information about their inner workings, sometimes using fear of terrorism as an excuse. But it's precisely times like these that mandate citizens' rights to check the efficiency of their government and hold those who fail accountable, open government advocates say.

"For starters, there's Google's little-known government specific search engine. Another trove of information is George Washington University's National Security Archive, which contains thousands of documents acquired through patient Freedom of Information Act requests. And there's CoolGov, a blog devoted to ferreting out quirky tidbits such as videos of airline crashes."

Ryan Singel. Web Won't Let Government Hide. Wired News. Nov. 29, 2004.

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December 02, 2004

USPTO Uses E-Postcards

"U. S. Patent and Trademark Office officials have expanded their use of a Web-based bulk mailing system offered by the U.S. Postal Service.

"USPTO officials said the electronic TPostal system creates electronic post cards with notifications for people who have applied for trademarks.

"By sending about 1,000 such postcards daily, the agency saves nearly $64,000 a year on postage, agency officials said."

Florence Olsen. USPTO Uses E-notices. FCW.com. Nov. 29, 2004.

See also:
United States Patent and Trademark Office. USPTO Enhances Trademark Postal System (TPostal). (Press Release) Nov. 22, 2004.

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December 01, 2004

Proposed Student Database Raises Privacy Concerns

"A proposal by the federal government to create a vast new database of enrollment records on all college and university students is raising concerns that the move will erode the privacy rights of students.

"Until now, universities have provided individual student information to the federal government only in connection with federally financed student aid. Otherwise, colleges and universities submit information about overall enrollment, graduation, prices and financial aid without identifying particular students.

"For the first time, however, colleges and universities would have to give the government data on all students individually, whether or not they received financial assistance, with their Social Security numbers."

Diana Jean Schemo. Federal Plan to Keep Data on Students Worries Some. The New York Times. Nov. 29, 2004.

See also:
Joseph Gidjunis. Proposed Change in How Federal Government Collects Student Data Raises Privacy Concerns. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Nov. 26, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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November 30, 2004

Perks and Perils of Online Payments

"More businesses - from cellphone services to newspapers to mortgage lenders - are realizing the financial benefits of electronic payments. Now they are out to convert those die-hard check writers to electronic billing by offering perks, lower interest rates or discounted prices.

"The stakes for businesses are huge. 'Depending on the company, there's a potential to shave millions of dollars off of their current processes,' said Rene Tidwell, bill-pay manager at the J. P. Morgan Chase division that processes credit cards.

"Electronic payments, in the form of automatic charges to a credit card, debits from a checking account or direct payments online, are growing in popularity for services from lawn service to milk delivery. In 2003, consumers paid an estimated three billion bills through automatic bank-account debits alone. And the National Automated Clearinghouse Association, a nonprofit rulemaking group for electronic payments, expects that number to rise 12 percent this year."

Jennifer Alsever. Here's the Hook: Gifts for Online Bill Payers. The New York Times. Nov. 28, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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November 23, 2004

UCLA Launches Campaign Finance Database

"A first-of-its-kind database that will make it easy to compare and contrast the campaign finance disclosure statutes and regulations of all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government was released by the UCLA School of Law as part of the Campaign Disclosure Project.

"The Campaign Disclosure Law Database was designed to be useful to legislators, public interest groups, media representatives, scholars and the public. It is divided into 25 categories that reflect the most important campaign finance practices, such as filing deadlines, contributor information, loans to campaigns, electronic filing, enforcement rules and independent expenditures.

"The database is further divided into 105 subcategories and can be used to answer questions on topics such as whether the occupation of a contributor must be reported, or whether the state requires the disclosure of late independent expenditures."

The Pew Charitable Trusts. UCLA Launches First-of-Its-Kind Campaign Finance Database. (press release) Nov. 17, 2004.

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November 22, 2004

EPA Improves Search Capability

"A keyword search in the Environmental Protection Agency's Web pages used to yield a mishmash of results. Typing, say, 'water quality' in the search engine might have returned links to high-level overviews of water quality issues or to documents that merely mentioned water quality.

"The relevancy ranking of our search engine couldn't really say, 'Here's a general thing about water quality that could get you started,' said Richard Huffine, program manager for the EPA's National Library Network. So EPA officials modified the search engine.

"Now, the engine returns documents based on a ranking of data stored in metadata fields, giving priority — in descending order — to information that has the search query term embedded in a document's subject, title, description and text."

David Perera. EPA Builds a Better Search. FCW. Nov. 15, 2004.

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November 19, 2004

DHS Privacy Office Focuses on RFID, Biometrics

"Congress has given the Homeland Security Department's Privacy Office a fivefold budget increase for fiscal 2005, to $35 million, DHS chief privacy office Nuala O'Connor Kelly said today at the Inside ID Conference and Expo in Washington.

"Kelly said she is trying to establish a framework for evaluating new data collection technologies and information sharing with other agencies and jurisdictions.

"In evaluating new technologies, she said, 'we are looking very hard at biometric initiatives in DHS' as well as at other U.S. agencies and foreign governments, especially use of radio frequency identification tags."

Susan M. Menke. DHS Privacy Office Grapples With RFID, Biometrics . GCN. Nov. 16, 2004.

Update: Wilson P. Dizard III. TSA Launches Biometric Credential Prototype.... GCN. Nov. 17, 2004. (Today the Homeland Security Department’s Transportation Security Administration launced a prototype test of its biometric identity card for workers in maritime, rail, aviation and truck commerce.)

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November 18, 2004

Federal Agencies Adopt RSS

"One thing that many people agree on is that government bureaucracies are usually very slow to adopt new innovations.

"So when the little-known National Agricultural Statistics Service last week began offering RSS feeds of some of its news, it was the latest sign that the technology, which allows anyone to subscribe and automatically receive dynamic content on their computers, has hit the mainstream.

"But the NASS is not the first agency to jump on the RSS bandwagon. In fact, a small but steadily growing stream of government agencies at the local, state and national levels are also implementing RSS as a natural way to disseminate information to their constituencies."

Daniel Terdiman. RSS Edges Into the Bureaucracy. Wired News. Nov. 16, 2004.

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November 15, 2004

GAO Reports Social Security Numbers Vulnerable

"Identity thieves can snare Social Security numbers from a potpourri of public records, especially those maintained by state and local governments, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.

"The report, (.pdf) released yesterday, found that the nine-digit numbers -- commonly needed to get a job, collect Social Security and other federal government benefits, and do business with banks and credit card companies -- are accessible in some public records held by 41 states and the District of Columbia.

"Moreover, more than 75 percent of counties, representing about 94 percent of the U.S. population, collect at least one public record that shows Social Security numbers, the report found."

Christopher Lee. GAO: Social Security Numbers Vulnerable. WashingtonPost.com. Nov. 12, 2004.

See also:
Susan Llewelyn Leach. Privacy Lost With the Touch of a Keystroke?. Christian Science Monitor. Nov. 10, 2004.

Eric J. Sinrod. Steal Your Face: The Dangers of Identity Theft. USA Today. Nov. 10, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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November 12, 2004

Microsoft Shares Tools With Government

"As part of its ongoing efforts to woo public sector customers, Microsoft Corp. has begun giving governments tools for collaborating and sharing technology information with other organizations so that they can learn from each other's experiences and cut development costs.

"Under a program titled the Solutions Sharing Network, Microsoft is helping provide public sector clients with a community-based portal for sharing best practices, application source codes, and other development information, it said Tuesday.

"The Redmond, Washington, software maker is providing interested public sector customers with the tools for free, but the client organizations are in charge of the content, maintenance and procuring of any necessary hardware, Microsoft said."

Scarlet Pruitt. Microsoft Offers Governments Sharing Tools. InfoWorld. Nov. 9, 2004.

See also:
Brian Robinson. Microsoft Starts Solutions Network. FCW. Nov. 9, 2004.

ElectricNews.net. Microsoft Opens E-gov Collaboration Portal. The Register. Nov. 10, 2004.

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November 10, 2004

Most Foreign E-Gov Projects Fail

"Eighty-five percent of e-government projects in developing countries fail either partially or fully, a World Bank official said.

"'It is estimated approximately 35 percent of e-government projects in developing countries are total failures and approximately 50 percent are partial failures,' said Robert Schware, World Bank lead informatics specialist.

"E-government refers to the use of information and communications technologies to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and accountability of government."

Agence France-Presse. Majority of E-Government Projects in Developing Nations Fail: World Bank. Yahoo! News. Nov. 5, 2004.

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November 08, 2004

Researchers to Study International Governance

"The University of Albany's Center for Technology in Government is expanding its research to international governance with a new grant from the National Science Foundation.

"The center has focused on intergovernmental information sharing within the United States for the past two years through another NSF grant, but the additional $90,000 is for examining information technology innovation across governments on an international scale, according to officials."

Diane Frank. Researchers to Study International IT Innovation. FCW.com. Oct. 29, 2004.

See also:
Office of Government Commerce. Open Source Software Becoming Mainstream Says New Government Report. Oct. 28, 2004.

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November 02, 2004

Internet Increases Awareness of Political Views

"Wired Americans hear more points of view about candidates and key issues than other citizens. They are not using the internet to screen out ideas with which they disagree.

"This is significant because prominent commentators have expressed concern that growing use of the internet would be harmful to democratic deliberation.

"The new survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project in collaboration with the University of Michigan School of Information shows that internet users have greater overall exposure political arguments, including those that challenge their candidate preferences and their positions on some key issues."

Pew Internet & American Life Project. The Internet and Democratic Debate. Oct. 27, 2004.

John Horrigan, Kelly Garrett, Paul Resnick. The Internet and Democratic Debate. (.pdf). Pew Internet & American Life Project and the University of Michigan School of Information. Oct. 27, 2004.

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October 28, 2004

Former Defense Secretary Encourages Information Sharing

"The United States faces a brave new world in which terrorism and technology are merged, former Defense Department Secretary William Cohen said today.

"Speaking to the Executive Leadership Conference meeting, Cohen said U.S. officials 'got lazy. We dropped our guard.... We made assumptions that no one would dare attack us on our homeland.' Now, he said, U.S. officials must work to integrate systems during a siege rather than making a slow and careful transition.

"Cohen said he believes the war against terrorists must be won with not only military force but also good policies, information sharing and collaboration with officials in other countries."

Judi Hasson. Cohen Promotes Info Sharing. FCW.com. Oct. 25, 2004.

See also:
Patience Wait. Cohen Backs Info Sharing, Police Work in Beating Back Terror Threats. GCN.com. Oct. 25, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:40 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

October 21, 2004

Federal CIO's Tangled Information Architecture

"Federal CIO Web pages reflect diverse ideas about the Web as a communications platform.

"Chief information officers may set the standards that govern agency employees' use of the Web to provide information and services, but they are not necessarily the standard-bearers for their own offices' Web pages. As in many agencies, CIOs have different ideas about whom their Web pages should serve and the information they should provide.

"The natural assumption is that CIOs would make good use of the Web to share information with staff, vendors and other stakeholders. But the sophistication of those Web sites varies dramatically: Some detail project plans online while others have only static information pages, experts said."

Sara Michael. Finetuning Needed. FCW. Oct. 18, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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October 19, 2004

Think Tank: Bush Has Poor E-Gov Record

"Hints of presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry's (D-Mass.) management agenda might be found in a new paper critiquing the Bush administration's e-government record.

"'The administration has failed to develop an overall e-government plan detailing where they want to go and how they want to get there,' reads a brief by Robert Atkinson, vice president with the Progressive Policy Institute, which functions as the think tank for the Democratic Leadership Council, often seen as a forum for moderates within the Democratic Party."

David Perera. Peek at Democratic E-gov. FCW.com. Oct. 15, 2004.

See also
Robert Atkinson. Unsatisfactory Progress: The Bush Administration's Performance on E-Government Initiatives. (.pdf) Progressive Policy Institute. Oct. 14, 2004.

Nancy Ferris. All Quiet on the Management Front. FCW.com. Oct. 11, 2004. (Neither Bush nor Kerry has offered much on their E-Government agendas.)

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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October 12, 2004

GAO Security Policy Lacks Clear Criteria

"After U.S.-led military forces discovered a report from the Government Accountability Office in a cave in Afghanistan in November 2001, GAO officials instituted a new policy of not publishing certain reports on the Internet for national security reasons.

"Since December 2001, GAO officials have designated 15 reports as unsuited for public Web access for security reasons, a policy they say is reasonable, but some researchers question it.

"More than 99 percent of the 1,400 reports, testimonies and legal documents that GAO officials publish annually are listed and available to the public on GAO's Web site. For a publication to be designated NI, or non-Internet, agency officials must convince GAO officials that the document contains information too sensitive to post on the Web."

Aliya Sternstein. GAO Policy Reflects Security Concerns. FCW.com. Oct. 4, 2004.

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October 08, 2004

Washington State Launches America’s First Government Digital Archives

"Yesterday, Washington state made 2.4 million records available online — many for the first time — as part of what officials said was a crusade to rescue endangered history.

"The state now has an online archive of records, including birth, marriage, death, census and military information, free for anyone to see from a personal computer.

"This is the stuff of government,' said Secretary of State Sam Reed, who led the project. 'This is what makes it work. People need to have access to it.'

"Known as the Washington State Digital Archives, the government project is online at: www.digitalarchives.wa.gov."

Kim Peterson. State's Online Archive Rescues Records From History's Dustbin. Seattle Times. Oct. 5, 2004.

See also:
Washington Secretary of State. Secretary of State, Microsoft, EDS Rescue Endangered History. Oct. 4, 2004.

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October 04, 2004

U. S. and Canada Lag Behind in Global E-Government Study

"Brown researchers scrutinized 1,935 government websites this summer, perusing the sites of, among others, executive offices, legislatures, judicial branches, and major agencies including education, interior, economic development, administration, and foreign affairs.

"Despite the accelerated learning curve, some of the 198 nations surveyed are excelling at e-government. Taiwan landed the researchers' top honors because its comprehensive website serves as a tidy entry point to all government agencies and departments.

"The report also lauded Singapore (#2) and the United States (#3) for portal sites that clear a distinct path for citizens trying to navigate the maze of government. The United States got the nod for its 'extensive privacy policies,' while the Singaporean government edged others out on utility—you can use it to reserve outdoor parks for picnics—and creativity: its site offers online dating."

Deborah Asbrand. E-Government Inches Ahead. Technology Review. Sept. 28, 2004.

Brown University. Taiwan, Singapore Lead U.S. and Canada in Online Government. InsidePolitics.org. Sept. 2004.

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October 02, 2004

America's Best City and County Government Web Sites Named

"The nation's most innovative and robust city and county government Web sites have been named by the Center for Digital Government in its 2004 Best of the Web contest, an annual competition attracting hundreds of entries each year.

"Capturing first place in the city portal category is Fort Collins, CO; Phoenix, AZ and New York City follow in second and third place, respectively.

"The winner in the county portal category is Santa Clara County, CA and Fulton County, GA following closely behind.

Rhonda Wilson. Best City and County Government Web Sites Named. Center for Digital Government. September, 2004.

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October 01, 2004

Yo, Adrian!! We Got Wireless!!

"Forget cheese steaks, cream cheese and brotherly love. Philadelphia wants to be known as the city of laptops.

"The city recently announced a two-year effort to string a free wireless network across its 135 square miles, potentially giving Philadelphia an entirely new identity as the most wired - or unwired - municipality on the planet. But skeptics said this initiative, as well as similar efforts elsewhere across the United States, could also run aground on its own ambitions."

Bob Tedeschi. Big Wi-Fi Project for Philadelphia. The New York Times. Sept. 27, 2004.

See also:
Corey McKenna. An Interview with the CIO of the City of Philadelphia. Government Technology. Sept. 27, 2004.
(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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Denver Leads E-Gov Initiatives

"For the second year in a row, researchers at Brown University have ranked the Mile High City number one for delivery of information and services over the Internet.

"The researchers examined the electronic-government efforts of the nation’s 70 largest city governments. Rounding out the top five were San Diego, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. At the bottom of the rankings were Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Greenville, S.C., Syracuse and West Palm Beach.

"On the state level, Tennessee, Maine, Utah, New York and Illinois top the states in providing e-government services. West Virginia, Mississippi, Wyoming, Nebraska and New Mexico were at the bottom of the 2004 rankings."

Denver Still No. 1 in E-Gov. Governing.com. Sept. 27, 2004.

See also:
Brown University. Urban E-Government, 2004. InsidePolitics.org. Sept. 2004.

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September 28, 2004

USDA Portal Available Soon

"A single, customizable Web portal for ranchers and farmers is coming within the next three weeks, according to Scott Charbo, the Agriculture Department's chief information officer.

"MyUSDA.gov will allow users to create a personal account that stores content and alert preferences, and conduct some online business transactions. The USDA has about 9 million Web pages, Charbo said.

"Rather than surf multiple USDA sites, those with specialized interests in, for example, soil conditions and corn production will be able to select those topics and see related content every time they log onto MyUSDA.gov."

David Perera. MyUSDA.gov Almost Ready. FCW. Sept. 23, 2004.

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September 24, 2004

E-Gov Sites Offer More, Customers Demand More

"The latest quarterly American Customer Satisfaction Index results produced a double-edged sword for federal Web sites.

"Users gave federal sites a satisfaction score of 71.2 on a scale of 0 to 100 — an increase of 5.4 percent over a year ago, according to ACSI numbers (Microsoft Excel file) released today by the University of Maryland, the American Society for Quality and CFI Group USA LLC. The poll has a 2 percent approximate margin of error.

"But despite the overall increase in user satisfaction, a plurality of Web sites decreased in satisfaction since the last quarter — 41 percent showed negative change, while 33 percent increased in rank and 17 percent remained steady."

David Perera. E-gov Survey Shows Mixed Results. FCW.com. Sept. 21, 2004.

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July 31, 2004

NY Boroughs to Install Cellphone Antennas

"At more than $6,000 a month for a few square feet, it may be the most expensive real estate in New York.

"The plan, which will add about $21.3 million to city coffers, will improve spotty cellphone reception - and turn many intersections into wireless Internet 'hot spots.'

"City officials say the plan is needed to keep pace with the rapidly growing use of cellphones and wireless Internet connections. The antennas and Internet relay boxes will start appearing on city poles before the end of the summer; about 18,000 spots will be leased."

Ian Urbinai. Cellphone Antennas to Sprout Atop Light Poles and Signs. The New York Times. July 30, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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June 27, 2004

Municipal Government Site Syndicates

State and Local Government on the Net, a Web directory of government Web sites at the state, county, city, and local level, announced recently that it has launched SLGN Notes, a blog about recent changes on the SLG Web site. Recent entries include additions of new municipal sites, link changes to existing municipal sites, and notifications about reports concerning e-Government.

The blog can be syndicated through an RSS feed.

Attribution: SNTReport.com first discovered news of SLGN Notes through a posting in Library Stuff, edited by Steven Cohen.

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May 26, 2004

E-Gov Initiatives are Mixed

"The drive by public agencies to provide information and services on the Internet opens up a way for Americans to contact government that was not available a decade ago. This report (.pdf) takes stock of how e-government is faring by placing e-gov in the context of the other ways people get in touch with government, such as telephone calls, in-person visits, and letters. It then assesses whether different means of contact – or other factors – are connected to the rates of success and satisfaction that users report when they reach out to government. This comparative look at how Americans get hold government reveals the benefits and limits of e-government at its current stage of evolution."

Pew Internet & American Life Project. How Americans Get in Touch with Government. May 24, 2004.

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