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Feds Get Forward-Looking IT Procurement Advice
May 1, 2015
Federal agencies need to change course in handling IT spending quickly, particularly in reversing the inertia behind longstanding conflicts between CIOs and CFOs over the procurement of IT resources, according to IDC Government Insights Research Director Shawn McCarthy. Government IT managers need to focus on the advantages of newer technologies, suggested Gartner Research Director Rick Howard.
Other Shoe Drops in White House Security Breach
April 28, 2015
Last year's breach of unclassified White House computer systems reportedly was far more intrusive than initially thought and included the theft of some presidential correspondence. No classified systems were compromised, including the servers that control message traffic from the president's BlackBerry. However, much of the information the unclassified servers handle is considered sensitive.
House Passes Cybersecurity Bills Despite Privacy Fears
April 24, 2015
Two cybersecurity bills approved this week by the U.S. House of Representatives pose a threat to citizens' privacy, according to opponents of the measures. Both bills aim to improve sharing of cybersecurity information between businesses and government agencies. "'Information sharing' is a misnomer," said Gabriel Rottman, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.
Comcast, Time Warner Cable Deal Undone
April 23, 2015
Comcast has decided to abandon its plan to merge with Time Warner Cable, according to multiple press reports. The company is expected to make a formal announcement on Friday. About a week after reports emerged indicating the DoJ was leaning against Comcast's $45.2 billion dollar bid to absorb TWC, reports surfaced that the FCC was leaning in the same direction.
Reports: Federal IT Managers Should Look Forward, Not Back
April 22, 2015
The dynamic world of information technology calls for a future-oriented approach to IT management. However, government agencies too often may be looking backward rather than forward with respect to how they operate IT systems, especially when it comes to investing huge sums of taxpayer money into those resources. Two recent assessments of government IT make the point.
Breach Outbreaks Fuel Encryption Adoption
April 22, 2015
As data breaches make headlines around the world, more companies are turning to encryption to protect their information jewels. That is one of the findings in a study released Monday, conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Thales E-Security. "Mega breaches and cyber attacks have increased companies' urgency to improve their security posture," says the report.
Government Surveillance: What to Do, What to Do?
April 21, 2015
The CIA has been trying to hack into iOS for years. British and American agencies reportedly have collaborated to create a map of the Internet and Web users. The United States National Security Agency has, together with the UK's GCHQ, reportedly stolen SIM card encryption keys from Gemalto. The FBI is frothing at the mouth over Google's and Apple's encryption of their mobile OSes.
US Navy Gears Up for Cyberwarfare
April 20, 2015
The U.S. Fleet Cyber Command, part of the U.S. 10th Fleet, reportedly is developing a strategy for modernizing its cyberoperations and transforming the Navy's network into a cyberwarfare platform. The need for a stronger cybersecurity approach has been underlined by the penetration of U.S. government networks by hackers, the most recent of which was an attack on unsecured White House computers.
EC Officially Tosses Google Into Hot Soup
April 15, 2015
The European Commission on Wednesday began official antitrust proceedings against Google, alleging abuses of its dominance in Internet search. The EC further opened a probe into Google's Android mobile operating system. In a Statement of Objections sent to Google, the EC notes that its preliminary investigation indicates the company has infringed European antitrust rules by stifling competition and harming consumers.
Industry Groups Lead Net Neutrality Lawsuit Parade
April 15, 2015
Several wireless and cable industry groups on Tuesday filed lawsuits challenging the FCC's new open Internet rules. The lawsuits seek to nullify the new rules on the grounds that the FCC exceeded its authority in making them -- most notably by redefining broadband service so it can be regulated like a utility. The trade groups oppose the way the FCC seeks to enforce Net neutrality.
DEA Sued for Unconstitutional Phone Surveillance
April 10, 2015
The Electronic Frontier Foundation this week filed a complaint against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for secretly collecting data on all telephone calls to as many as 116 countries, possibly going back to the 1990s. The suit was filed on behalf of Human Rights Watch. Many of the calls were made to countries known to be heavily involved in the drug trade.
FTC Upgrades IT to Protect Consumer Privacy, Data Security
April 8, 2015
The FTC, which is at the forefront of regulating the impact of information technology on consumers, is bolstering its technical resource capabilities through a new Office of Technology Research and Investigation. The FTC is concerned about the failure of commercial entities to make adequate disclosures or to properly address data breaches and privacy issues.
John Oliver Tackles Surveillance in Surprise Snowden Scoop
April 6, 2015
Comedy talk show host John Oliver boldly went where few journalists from the mainstream media have dared to tread, grilling whistle-blower Edward Snowden about his leaking of thousands of NSA documents to the press. He raked Snowden over the coals for not having read every one of the documents, insisting there's a difference between understanding what's in documents and reading them.
Fiorina's and Clinton's Presidential Runs: The Irony Is in the Analytics
April 6, 2015
There will be a lot of irony in the U.S. presidential primaries and general election as campaigns ramp up later this year. Last time, with Mitt Romney, we saw a business multimillionaire and ex-governor get schooled in how to use analytics by a guy who wasn't even that experienced in politics. It was kind of like watching Jon Stewart beat Tiger Woods at golf.
Commerce Department Embarks on Data Revolution
April 3, 2015
All major U.S. government agencies employ a chief technology officer who generally deals with the management of IT resources including hardware, software, cybersecurity and the mechanics of the digital world. The U.S. Commerce Department has now gone a step further in addressing the challenges presented by an ever-evolving world of e-commerce with the appointment of a chief data officer.
Obama Draws Cyber Line in Sand
April 2, 2015
President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed an executive order that gives the Secretary of Treasury the authority to impose sanctions on entities found responsible for or complicit in carrying out a cyberattack harmful to U.S. interests. The Secretary of Treasury will have to consult with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General before enacting the powers granted under the order.
Proposed Amendments to US Cybersecurity Laws Under Scrutiny
March 31, 2015
The White House in January proposed updates to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act that have stirred controversy within the cybersecurity industry. "If the proposed legislation were to be enacted, it would certainly have a chilling effect on cybersecurity research," said Chris Doggett, managing director at Kaspersky Lab North America.
GitHub Defenses Hold in 4-Days-and-Counting Battle
March 30, 2015
After battling a DDoS attack for four days, GitHub has restored normal service levels. The primary target of the assault is GreatFire.org, which is hosted on GitHub. GreatFire has attracted the ire of the Chinese government for offering anticensorship tools. "Very clearly, the Cyberspace Administration of China is behind both of the recent DDoS attacks," said GreatFire Co-founder Charles Smith.
Mobile Banking on a Tear, Says Fed
March 27, 2015
The Federal Reserve Board has released its fourth annual study of consumers' mobile commerce behaviors. The report shows a continued boom in banking on mobile phones and other devices rather than at a teller desk. Central to the report's findings is the growing number of "banked" consumers -- those with full access to bank services -- who also use a smartphone.
FTC Blasts WSJ's 'Misleading Narrative' on Google
March 26, 2015
FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, along with Commissioners Julie Brill and Maureen Ohlausen, on Wednesday released a statement reaffirming the agency's decision not to prosecute Google over its search practices, and insisting it was in line with the recommendations of the FTC's staff. The statement refutes "recent press reports" suggesting Google got special treatment due to its political influence.
FAA's Sluggish Pace Frustrates Amazon's Drone Ambitions
March 25, 2015
For one brief shining moment, it appeared that Amazon and the FAA were in concert on outdoor drone testing in the U.S., but in testimony before a Senate subcommittee hearing held Tuesday, Amazon put paid to that notion. Although the FAA last week granted Amazon permission to conduct outdoor tests, the unmanned aircraft system covered by the authorization is no longer in use.
Obama Lauds STEM Progress at White House Science Fair
March 24, 2015
President Obama on Monday announced $240 million in new pledges from private businesses, schools and foundations across the country for STEM -- science, technology, engineering and math -- education. The president also announced that a national goal set four years ago to provide 98 percent of Americans with high-speed wireless Internet has been reached ahead of schedule.
The Big Implications of the Google, FTC Antitrust Scandal
March 23, 2015
A 160-page report that was far more complete than the FTC no doubt wanted last week was leaked to the media, clearly showcasing that the FTC staff recommended action against Google for anticompetitive practices. The FTC commissioners then decided to let Google off the hook, apparently because it made some minor changes. That move gave the impression that the FTC was effectively in Google's pocket.
Feds Put Big Money Into IT Innovations
March 18, 2015
The U.S. government spends tens of billions of dollars each year just to make sure that computer and data processing systems keep functioning on a day-to-day basis. With so much investment allocated for operations and maintenance of legacy systems, it makes sense that far fewer dollars are available for cutting-edge information technology investment -- also known as "DME" spending.

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