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Major Players Bid for Slice of Federal Health Records Pie
September 30, 2014
The ambitious health information technology program now under way at the U.S. Department of Defense has garnered attention from some of the major e-commerce companies in the U.S. The DoD soon will evaluate bids for its 10-year, multibillion-dollar program to enhance its health IT capability, with an emphasis on electronic health records.
FBI Director Comey Gives Apple and Google a Tongue-Lashing
September 26, 2014
FBI Director James Comey on Thursday strongly criticized Apple and Google for hardening information stored in smartphones by encrypting data, making it inaccessible to law enforcement even with a court order. The FBI has had conversations with both Apple and Google over the encryption features, Comey said, although he personally was not involved in those talks.
The Sky Is Droning
September 26, 2014
The FAA on Thursday gave the green light for six aerial photo and video production companies to begin using unmanned aircraft systems, also known as "drones." To incorporate the devices in film and TV production, the companies will be required to hold private pilot certificates, keep their drones within line of sight at all times, and restrict flights to a so-called sterile area.
AmazonFresh, USPS Could Be Marriage Made in Heaven
September 25, 2014
Commission for approval of a two-year test that would expand its collaboration with AmazonFresh, a service that offers same-day delivery of perishable groceries and other items. The postal service said the expanded test could bring in revenue of more than $10 million a year. The USPS has been collaborating with Amazon for years. It has delivered books, movies and consumer electronics.
Comcast Blasts TWC Merger Foes
September 25, 2014
Comcast on Tuesday lashed out at critics of its $45.2 billion bid for TWC, accusing Discovery Communications of making "extortionate demands." Netflix also drew Comcast's ire. The proposed merger is in the public interest, Comcast maintained. "It is not extortion to demand that Comcast provide its own customers the broadband speeds they've paid for," said Netflix spokesperson Cliff Edwards.
Pants on Fire, Schmidt Tells Climate Change Denier ALEC
September 23, 2014
Google on Monday publicly denounced the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council for lying about climate change. "We funded them as part of a political campaign for something unrelated," Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt told a caller to NPR's Diane Rehm Show. "I think the consensus within the company is that was sort of a mistake. We're trying to not do that in the future."
DoD and Tech Firms Face Daunting Health-IT Challenge
September 22, 2014
The U.S. government is about to embark on a major IT program dealing with personal health records. The program is being launched by the U.S. Department of Defense, which issued a request for proposals to health IT providers late last month. The initiative is expected to support medical readiness for DoD's military personnel, as well as its beneficiaries and health system personnel.
Apple Fills iOS 8 Security Basket to Brim
September 19, 2014
With data thefts and cybersnooping making headlines daily, security has started to capture the attention of the disciples of the digital lifestyle -- and if the latest version of iOS is any indication, it's catching the attention of Apple, too. Along with nifty features like Hand Off and Family Sharing, iOS 8 contains a number of significant security and privacy enhancements.
FTC Gives E-tailers Bad Shipping News
September 18, 2014
The Federal Trade Commission has updated a longstanding rule governing mail- and phone-based retailers to explicitly include e-commerce vendors as well, meaning that online retailers now must abide by a 30-day shipping requirement or refund customers' payments if they can't. Merchants in violation could be sued by the FTC for injunctive relief or monetary civil penalties.
FCC Chews on the Mobile Net Neutrality Question
September 17, 2014
The FCC on Tuesday hosted a roundtable discussion on the possibility of Net neutrality rules being applied to mobile networks. Participants in the talk included representatives from The Center for Media Justice, Consumers Union and CTIA. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler earlier this year suggested that the 2010 rules, which exempted mobile services from Net neutrality provisions, should be reconsidered.
Soft Super-Suit Could Make Soldiers Stronger
September 16, 2014
A new, flexible robotic suit funded by the U.S. military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency could enable soldiers to walk longer distances with less fatigue and also improve mobility for disabled civilians. Called the "Soft Exosuit," the biologically inspired device is made of flexible textiles woven together into a piece of smart clothing that is worn under a soldier's regular gear.
Feds Wielded Baseball Bat to Win Yahoo's NSA Cooperation
September 12, 2014
The Obama administration threatened Yahoo with fines of $250,000 daily if it wouldn't comply with demands to hand over user information to the NSA, Yahoo has disclosed. Yahoo had filed suit against the demands in 2007, citing the Fourth Amendment. "They basically said you must do this thing that you don't want to do or we'll put you out of business," said ITIF's Daniel Castro.
DoD Ramps Up Security as It Drifts Toward Cloud
September 12, 2014
DoD is committed to pursuing cloud-based services and steadily has been improving its capabilities to utilize the technology. The latest evidence of its embracing the cloud is approval of a protocol that will facilitate the use of the technology at higher security levels. DISA has granted provisional authorization for the use of cloud services to levels 3 to 5 of its Cloud Security Model.
If Google Were French
September 11, 2014
Europeans are relentlessly attacking Google: A German official called for its breakup, a French minister charged it was a threat to sovereignty, and a publisher compared it to a dragon, according to a report. Really? I would have thought the euro and the draconian austerity program needed to keep it functioning threatened sovereignty more than Google.
IBM Enlists Intel to Shore Up Hybrid Cloud
September 10, 2014
Despite the growing momentum behind cloud computing in recent times, security concerns have been a drag on adoption. IBM sought to reduce that resistance by announcing on Monday that it would start using Intel chip technology to better secure its SoftLayer cloud platform. The Intel technology can be especially reassuring to enterprises running hybrid clouds.
Pols Besieged by Fast, Furious Messages on Internet Slowdown Day
September 10, 2014
U.S. lawmakers were getting an estimated 1,000 calls a minute from constituents concerned about Net neutrality by noon Pacific Time on Internet Slowdown Day, an online demonstration held on Wed., Sept. 10. "We've set a new record for FCC comments and beat Janet Jackson's 'wardrobe malfunction,'" said David Moon of Demand Progress. Father of the Internet Tim Berners-Lee tweeted his support.
Vendors: It's a New Federal IT Procurement Ball Game
September 05, 2014
The U.S. government spends tens of billions of dollars each year on information technology -- by some estimates more than $100 billion. As a result, IT is a highly visible target when the overall federal budget comes under scrutiny. Problems associated with IT operations -- such as the botched launch of the Affordable Care Act -- only intensify such scrutiny.
Americans Mad as Hell Over Proposed Net Neutrality Rules
September 04, 2014
More than 99 percent of the 800,000 or so comments on Net neutrality the FCC released last month were in favor of an open Internet, according to the Sunlight Foundation's analysis of the comments. At least 60 percent of the comments, or more than 484,000, were form letters written by organized campaigns, although that is a lower percentage than is common for high-volume regulatory issues.
Civilian IT Market to Remain Firm in 2015, as Defense Outlays Drop
September 02, 2014
The U.S. government soon will be operating in the 2015 fiscal year, which begins on Oct. 1. For information technology vendors, marketing to federal agencies will remain challenging during 2015 and succeeding years, as agencies work within a constrained budget environment. In the short term, overall federal IT spending will decline. However, most of the reductions will fall within the DoD.
How to Make a Drone Delivery: Google's Winging It
August 29, 2014
Google on Thursday introduced Project Wing, a drone-based delivery project it has been working on quietly for the past two years. Members of the Google[x] team - aka "Moonshots" -- recently held field tests of the technology in Australia. They were able use drones to deliver a first aid kit, candy bars, dog treats and water to a couple of Australian farmers.
Russian Hackers Sack US Banks: Report
August 29, 2014
Hackers appear to have stolen data from JPMorgan Chase and at least one other U.S. bank in retaliation for economic sanctions against Russia. The raid on the banks' computer systems reportedly resulted in the theft of gigabytes of sensitive data. JPMorgan did not confirm the incident. However, the FBI is conducting an investigation into reports of cyberattacks on U.S. banks.
TWC Bungle Could Jeopardize Comcast Merger
August 28, 2014
Time Warner Cable suffered a massive service outage in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, leaving an unknown number of its nearly 12 million customers nationwide without service for hours. "As of 6 a.m. ET, services were largely restored ... . As of 8 a.m., all services were back to normal," said TWC's Eric Mangan. Well, not quite all -- Downdetector's statistics showed outages continued.
California Lays Down the Kill-Switch Law
August 27, 2014
Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed into law a bill requiring that anti-theft measures be incorporated into all smartphones sold within California. It doesn't specify the particular technologies used to enable that capability, but it does require that the feature, also known as a "kill switch," give smartphone users the ability to remotely disable their devices in the event they're lost or stolen.
China to Go Its Own OS Way
August 26, 2014
China is developing a homegrown operating system that could be ready as soon as October as part of an effort to wean itself from Western-made software, according to a Sunday report from the government news agency. The new operating system first will appear on desktop devices and then be extended to smartphones and other mobile devices in three to five years.

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