Government COVERAGE FROM AROUND THE WEB
Over 170,000 people are part of the Sophos community on Facebook. Why not join us on Facebook to find out about the latest security threats. Don't show me this againHi fellow Twitter user! Follow our team of security experts on Twitter for the latest news about internet security threats. Don't show me this againDon't forget you can subscribe to the SophosLabs YouTube channel to find all our latest videos. Don't show me this againHi there! If you're new here, you might want to subscribe to our RSS feed for updates. Don't show me this againAlready using Google+? Find us on Google+ for the latest security news. Don't show me this againOn March 26th, the Inspector General released a report on the effects of BYOD (bring your own device) on the U.S. military. The Army did implement a good policy regarding geotagging a while back, realizing the risk that came with soldiers taking pictures that automatically had location information embedded in metadata. However, given the lack of management of the devices, how would the military know for sure that the geotagging has been disabled? And if the United States Army, with all the endless policies, is having a difficult time with BYOD, how is a small or medium-sized business going to cope?
Cloud technology is already past the infancy stage, and is now being used by many companies in optimizing their asset utilization and flexibility while also reducing operating costs in manpower, hardware, and software areas of the business. Unlike many technological advancements in the IT sector during the past couple of decades, Cloud technology is more than just a passing fad but more of a long-anticipated next stage in the evolution of the industry. This is the reason why the cloud is so disruptive and has had significant implications in the IT provision for governments.KPMG conducted a global study on government cloud adoption. They found out that many government agencies from across the globe are now adopting cloud technology for their respective operations, which allows them to start new venues of interaction with other government agencies as well as the private sector and the citizens. Another big reason for embracing the technology is that it has allowed many of them to focus more on the effectiveness of their programs instead of being distracted by the management of IT.However, the adoption of cloud technology in a government setting is not as straightforward as all sides wan it to be. There are challenges inherent in the technology, particularly with regard to data governance and security, but the risks they pose are far outweighed by the benefits, and it has been proven that many of the issues can be avoided or properly handled if certain steps are taken.
This week, the White House will continue a series of conversations with Administration officials on Google+. On Thursday, March 28th at 3:00 pm ET, White House innovation advisor Tom Kalil will join a Google+ Hangout to discuss the Maker Movement with leading innovators and Makers from around the country.More and more Americans are becoming Makers, a growing community of young people and adults who are designing and building things on their own time. For example, 120,000 people participated in the May 2012 Maker Faire in San Mateo, California, sharing projects such as a flame-powered pipe organ, a fully automated ragtime band, and a 12-foot-tall aluminum robotic face controlled by 12 joysticks. President Obama believes we need to give more young people the ability to become Makers. As the President said at the launch of his Educate To Innovate campaign to improve science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, "I want us all to think about new and creative ways to engage young people in science and engineering, whether it's science festivals, robotics competitions, fairs that encourage young people to create and build and invent—to be makers of things, not just consumers of things." The Maker Movement can also promote innovation in manufacturing, one of President Obama’s top priorities.
“Open government” is supposed to be transformative. The typical narrative tell us that citizens with more information about how their governments function can better mobilize to hold public institutions to account.Do open government initiatives make citizens more informed and engaged, and make governments more accountable to their people? In a nutshell: for all our visualizing, hacking, and democratically-minded merrymaking, what impact have open government initiatives had so far?It’s a difficult question to answer. Too often, defining and evaluating progress in open government confuses the means with the ends. Practitioners seem to focus more on the “open” (how many datasets have been released?) and less on the “government” (what impact has all this had on our processes of governance?).Part of the problem is the woolly, shifting definition of “open government,” which now seems to encompass any ‘innovative’ use of technology by the public sector. We need greater precision in our use of language. Are we trying to make public agencies more efficient, hold elected officials to account, tackle corruption, influence policy, or achieve any number of other objectives that fall under the open government umbrella?The greater challenge is the inadequacy of evaluation frameworks to measure open government successes and explain failures. The broad aims of open government—citizen mobilization and institutional change—involve complex and interconnected causal chains. Traditional impact evaluations, however, are designed to assess linear, cause-and-effect processes.
On February 22nd, we welcomed twenty one programmers and tech experts to the White House and invited them to spend the day working alongside seven members of our own development team. Their goal was simple: to build tools using the new API for We the People, the White House petitions system, and contribute example code to a software development kit (SDK). For nine hours, these two groups clustered around each other's laptops, solving problems, sharing ideas, sharing code, and asking questions. A week before the event, we gave the participants access to a private repository on GitHub so they could read documentation, introduce themselves, and begin thinking about their projects. (Here's the official White House GitHub profile.) As each API method became available, the hackers got to work, opening bug reports and chewing over questions with the White House team. By the time the sun set over Washington on the 22nd, sixteen people got up to share their projects with a room packed with other hackers and guests from around the White House. Among them was Mick Thompson, who created Where the People, a time-lapse visualization of zip codes where petitions are being signed, weighted for signatures by percentage of population. Douglas Back built Widget the People, a tool that lets you create an embeddable thermometer showing how many signatures your petition needs before it reaches the response threshold. Catherine D'Ignazio developed an embeddable map that shows where signatures came from, right down to the zip code level. Yoni Ben-Meshulam's R We the People is a package for the R statistics environment that allows users to generate word clouds and visualize the issues that petitions are created about over time. Other projects included a dashboard that predicts when petitions will cross the 100,000 signature threshold, documentation and step-by-step primers on using the API, email alert systems that inform you when a petition on an issue you care about has been created, and more.
Publicly owned Internet infrastructure is luring jobs to smaller towns. Should big cities follow their lead?Over the next six months or so, we're going to see an explosion of new ways of interacting with computers, televisions, and mobile devices.If the past is prologue, the plan to making existing systems interoperable will be fraught with problems. NASA mission managers work in Firing Room Four of the Launch Control Center at NASA Kennedy Space Center. // Bill Ingalls/NASA/AP This week, NASA plans to release the preliminary request for its fifth governmentwide information technology contract, which is valued as high as $14 billion over seven years. The agency said Friday it planned to provide an overview of its Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement V contract to interested vendors on Monday, March 11. Buried in the notice the agency said it planned to release the draft request for proposals early this week. Warren Suss, president of Suss Consulting, pegged the value of SEWP V at $2 billion per year, or $14 billion over the seven year life of the contract. NASA awarded the first SEWP contract -- and the first governmentwide acquisition contract approved by the Office of Managemet and Budget -- in 1993, with follow-on contracts in 1996 and 2001; SEWP IV, valued at $5.6 billion, was awarded in 2007. The contracts are open to all federal departments and agencies, and in June 2007, the Veterans Affairs Department required the use of SEWP IV for all IT acquisitions.
There’s increasing interest in the open data economy from the research wings of consulting firms. Capgemini Consulting just published a new report on the open data economy. McKinsey’s Global Institute is following up its research on big data with an inquiry into open data and government innovation. Deloitte has been taking a long look at open data business models. Forrester says open data isn’t (just) for governments anymore and says more research is coming. If Bain & Company doesn’t update its work on “data as an asset” this year to meet inbound interest in open data from the public sector, it may well find itself in the unusual position of lagging the market for intellectual expertise.As Radar readers know, I’ve been trying to “make dollars and sense” of the open data economy since December, looking at investments, business models and entrepreneurs.In January, I interviewed Harvey Lewis, the research director for the analytics department of Deloitte U.K. Lewis, who holds a doctorate in hypersonic aerodynamics, has been working for nearly 20 years on projects in the public sector, defense industry and national security. Today, he’s responsible for applying an analytical eye to consumer businesses, manufacturing, banking, insurance and the public sector. Over the past year, his team has been examining the impact of open data releases on the economy of the United Kingdom. The British government’s embrace of open data makes such research timely.
Since 2002, we've dedicated the March issue of Government Technology to 25 people who cut through the public sector's infamous barriers to innovation - tight budgets, organizational inertia, politics as usual, etc. - to reshape government operations for the better. This year, we honor an eclectic group of individuals from government, academia and the private sector who share a willingness to challenge convention and find new answers to long-standing issues. Congratulations to our 2012 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers.Former Illinois CIO is improving technology and transparency in the country’s second most populous county.Former police investigator brings a passion for protecting children — and networks — to his role as Wyoming CIO.
A scary break in communications between NASA on the ground and NASA in space comes during a routine software update. All on board are doing well. When the Soviet Union launched the first satellite in 1957, it set off an intellectual arms race that led to more than $1 billion of federal investment in science education. Within a decade, Americans were sending their own expeditions to outer space. Presidents and other public figures since then have made a tradition of referring to Sputnik to push their political agendas. But just because it's a convenient rhetorical lever doesn't invalidate the analogy. And when it comes to cybersecurity, it hits pretty close to the truth. The United States doesn't have nearly enough people who can defend the country from digital intrusions. We know this, because cybersecurity professionals are part of a larger class of workers in science, technology, engineering, and math--and we don't have nearly enough of them, either. We're just two years into President Obama's decade-long plan to develop an army of STEM teachers. We're little more than one year from his request to Congress for money to retrain 2 million Americans for high-tech work (a request Republicans blocked). And it has been less than a month since the Pentagon said it needed to increase the U.S. Cyber Command's workforce by 300 percent--a tall order by any measure, but one that's grown even more urgent since the public learned of massive and sustained Chinese attempts at cyberespionage last month.
There are several ways that this e-petition platform could be improved, which is always true if you think of open government being in beta. (That’s particularly true architects are improving a given government platform using citizen feedback).While the code hasn’t been repurposed by another national government yet, in the months since, they’ve continued to work on an API that would allow other petition services, like Avaaz, Change.org, 38 Degrees or SignOn, to tie into it.In January, the White House released a snapshot of data about the nature and growth of the platform’s use but didn’t sharing open data about the Web analytics behind We The People as it changes. The upgrade could change that, as Nick Judd pointed out at TechPresident:Beyond all the ways a developer could make use of the read API — tracking petitions that are removed, for instance, displaying brand-new petitions, or analyzing petitions and connecting ones with common characteristics like similar keywords — a write API would change that.Such an API could also allow integration into Facebook or other social networking services, which could expand the reach and power of e-petitions, particularly if networks of people can be activated to engage in offline actions, like phone calls, in-person visits, demonstrations or votes.
… Nor has it ever really been. Government data has long been a part of strategic business analysis. Census data provides insights into local standards of living and household budgets, health needs, education levels, and other factors which influence buying patterns for all kinds of goods and services. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the International Labor Organization provide data on employment and the availability of skilled labor that help inform decisions on where to locate manufacturing or other facilities. World Bank and UN data provide insights into global trends. Moreover, the release of government data has itself spurred billion dollar industries. Think weather data released in the 1970s by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – whichgave birth to the weather industry and services like Accuweather, weather.com, wunderground, and newer services like ikitesurf.com’s “wind and where.” Data from the US Global Positioning System (GPS) was opened to civilian and commercial use in the 1980s and has given rise to thousands of location-based services. Think FourSquare, Yelp and Where’s The Bus?.At the city and local government level, open data complements these existing data sources with data on government assets, operations and performance. And, at the federal level, the mandate to further open public data through the Health Data Initiative and other federal data initiatives in Energy, Education, and other industries expand available data sources.
I had lunch today with Bill Greeves, CIO of Wake County, North Carolina, and author of "Social Media in the Public Sector Field Guide." As we were talking about the use of social media in government, we could not think of any really clear examples where a public sector organization has cited specific, demonstrable results from the use of social media (other than maybe CDC, who puts their metrics out there for all to see). For instance, do you know of any organizations that have:- Run a strategic social media campaign that aimed at hitting a specific number of pageviews, document downloads, or some other clear metric that would indicate successful dissemination of information to the public?- Achieved cost savings from the conversion of print or some other communication mode to social media?- Tracked the number of people reached via social media and did some analysis to show an overall increase in web traffic, improved SEO or some other indicator of increased awareness?- Increased access to services by numbers of people served that cited social media as the referral source?I am sure you can think of more...but you see what I am getting at: real, demonstrable impact from social media use by government.
President Obama announced a new cybersecurity executive order in his State of the Union address last night and urged Congress to follow his lead "by passing legislation to give our government a greater capacity to secure our networks and deter attacks."Congress is acting today by reintroducing the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), an older bill President Obama threatened to veto last year that would allow private companies to share information on "cyber threats" with the government and each other. The bill, which is said to be "identical" to the previous version, goes a step further than President Obama's cybersecurity order passed Tuesday.While the President's order gives only government agencies permission to share their threat information with companies (not the other way around, according to Forbes), CISPA would give companies the ability to share information about suspicious activity on their networks and security breaches back with the government.CISPA was originally introduced in late 2011 by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) and was passed by the rest of the House of Representatives in April 2012, but didn't go any further and didn't become law.The bill was resoundingly criticized by internet privacy and freedom activists, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Fight for the Future, who said that it did not contain enough restrictions on how companies and the government could share personal user information. Even the White House threatened to veto the bill if it passed the Senate and made it all the way to the President's desk (it didn't — that time).
On Thursday, February 14th at 4:50 p.m. EST, President Obama will sit down with Americans from all across the country for a “Fireside Hangout” – our 21st century take on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fireside chats. The President will join a live, completely virtual interview from nowhere other than the Roosevelt Room in the White House’s West Wing.This online event comes just days after the State of the Union address, where the President laid out his plan to create jobs and strengthen the middle class. During the hangout, which is hosted and moderated by Google, the President will connect with people who are active online to discuss the policies and proposals in the speech.Do you have a question that you’d like President Obama to answer? Right now, you can submit a text or video question for the President, and also vote on your favorites. Then, be sure to tune in for the hangout live on Thursday, February 14th at 4:50 p.m. EST. Watch it live on the White House YouTube Channel, Google+ page and at WhiteHouse.gov/live.Thursday’s event with the President is the latest in a series of Fireside Hangouts and White House engagement programs on Google+. Last month, Vice President Biden kicked off the series with a virtual conversation about reducing gun violence. And after President Obama presented his plan to fix our broken immigration system, Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, joined a Fireside Hangout on the issue.
Four years ago, President Obama promised more transparency in government. We take a look at how he did on keeping his promise and what to expect during his second term. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)After eight years of tightened access to government records under the Bush administration, open-government advocates were hopeful when Barack Obama promised greater transparency."It's a mixed bag," said Patrice McDermott, executive director of OpenTheGovernment.org, a consortium of right-to-know groups. "I think they've made progress, but a whole lot more remains to be done."The Obama administration set the bar high. In his first inaugural address, Obama said that "those of us who manage the public's dollars" will "do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government."The next day, the president issued two memos. In one on the Freedom of Information Act, he wrote that FOIA "should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails."A second memo addressed transparency: "My administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government." And that "openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in government."But transparency was not defined in detail, said Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS). "People were left to imagine whatever they wanted to be the content of those statements. Inevitably, disappointment soon followed."
February 11, 2013 By News Staff Innovation is the name of the game in government these days, as shown by the rise of Chief Innovation Officers in the public sector -- and the need to promote job growth, entice businesses to the community, and hone in on transparency and open data initiatives.And the federal government saw some big changes with the introduction of the Digital Government Strategy in 2012, wrote Anthony Calabrese, a digital communications manager at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which he said also had a big year for innovation in 2012.While 2012 was big, Calabrese notes that 2013 promises to be even bigger -- and he and his colleagues at both the HHS's Digital Communications Division and the Federal Web Managers Council teamed up to draft 12 big ideas and predictions for 2013. Though some of these predictions are federal-level focused, that doesn't mean state and local governments aren't seeing -- and won't see -- the same things.1. Official titles for positions at the federal level will include: Community Manager, Social Media Manager, Social Media Strategist and Social Media Coordinator.2. The ‘m-dot’ will die and responsive design for websites or mobile apps for targeted content will increase.
Welcome to GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week with Chris Dorobek where each week, our goal is to find an issue — a person — an idea — then helped define the past 7-days… and we work to find an issue that will also will have an impact on the days, weeks and months ahead. And, as always, we focus on six words: helping you do your job better.The General Services Administration has approved the terms of service for Pinterest—meaning that federal agencies could start to use the site to engage with citizens. (Click here for our interview with GSA's Betsey Steele.)Gadi Ben-Yuda is the innovation and social media director at the IBM Center for the Business of Government. He has posted his 10 ideas for government pinterest right here. Check it out. And he told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekISIDER program that Pinterest is in some ways a visual twitter. "Pinterest in a lot of ways is like Twitter. But the big difference is that with Twitter you are sharing text. By contrast what Pinterest does is share a little image. People can then click on the image and see it blown up and additional textual context. They can then share that image with their followers by pinning it. Basically it's the difference between scanning text with your eyes and scanning pictures," said Ben-Yuda.
Data from more than 10,000 brain injury patients -- including hundreds of variables and outcomes -- is being tracked in an ongoing government project that began 26 years ago.The base's hangars bear a remarkable resemblance to similar structures on other American drone outposts.With a foot of snow in New York City all but assured by Saturday morning, PlowNYC is about to hit the big time. Unprotected computers at a cybersecurity contractor that services the Defense Information Systems Agency and many other federal agencies were compromised in a way that enabled the company's product to run viruses on customer networks. The incident echoes a 2011 hack job at security vendor RSA where outsiders stole the contractor's proprietary login technology to gain access to RSA-protected defense companies’ networks. This time, the target was Bit9, a firm specializing in so-called application whitelisting, which is intended to allow only those software programs listed as safe to operate. Reporter Brian Krebs of the blog Krebs on Security broke the news of the breach Friday afternoon. DISA, the departments of Justice and Commerce, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (an arm of the Homeland Security Department), the National Transportation Safety Board, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and General Services Administration recently acquired Bit9 tools, according to contract records, agency reports, and government spending databases reviewed by Nextgov.
Earlier tonight, I received an email I would just as soon not have gotten from Twitter, along with 250,000 Twitter users who had their password reset. Twitter security director Bob Lord explained why I’d received the email on the company blog:“This week, we detected unusual access patterns that led to us identifying unauthorized access attempts to Twitter user data. We discovered one live attack and were able to shut it down in process moments later. However, our investigation has thus far indicated that the attackers may have had access to limited user information – usernames, email addresses, session tokens and encrypted/salted versions of passwords – for approximately 250,000 users.”Mike Isaac has been following the story the hack at Twitter at AllThingsD, if you want the latest news tonight.After the password reset, I went through revoked Twitter authorization access to a number of unused apps, something I’ve been doing periodically for years now. That habit is among Twitter’s security recommendations.I’m thinking about other social media accounts now, too. Shortly after Nicole Perloth began covering IT security for the New York Times, she shifted her practices:“Within weeks, I set up unique, complex passwords for every Web site, enabled two-step authentication for my e-mail accounts, and even covered up my computer’s Web camera with a piece of masking tape — a precaution that invited ridicule from friends and co-workers who suggested it was time to get my head checked.”
Talks of cyberwar and a cyber Pearl Harbor seem to be a regular fixture of news reports in the last few months, with prominent U.S. administration officials like Janet Napolitano or Leon Panetta regularly touting the threat of a cyber attack on the United States. But not everybody is buying it. For one, Howard Schmidt, the former chief cybersecurity advisor to President Barack Obama, is skeptical. "I don't share the viewpoint that we're on the brink of disaster every time a new worm comes out or a new DDoS (distributed denial of service) comes out," he told Mashable. In fact, he even disagrees with the terminology that's being used. "I don't like using the word cyberwar, and I don't like using the word cyber 9/11, cyber Pearl Harbor and all these other things," he said.Schmidt sat down to talk with Mashable after the 2013 Kaspersky Cyber-Security Summit in New York City on Wednesday, where he discussed cybersecurity with Eugene Kaspersky, the head of the eponymous online security giant. Schmidt said he's not discounting the threat, in fact, he is well aware of the potential disruption that cyber attacks could cause. For him, the worst case scenario is an attack that takes out power, something that could have cascading and potentially very damaging effects. It's exactly for this reason that he also warns that using cyberweapons or malware against another nations should be a measure of last resort.
GovFresh highlights the products and start-ups powering the civic revolution. Note: This is not a product promotion or endorsement. Learn how you can get featured. NationBuilder Vice President of Community Adriel Hampton introduces the company’s newest offering, NationBuilder Government.NationBuilder Government is a unified web, communications and CRM database solution – at less than $100 a month for most entities (yes, really).Governments of all sizes struggle with listening well to feedback from a growing number of communications channels. The challenge is to provide better customer service, and to do it cost effectively.NationBuilder is a unified organizing platform that’s designed to improve the efficiency of communications and constituent/customer service staff.Jim Gilliam founded the company after personally seeing the power of people connected by the internet as family and friends helped him get a double-lung transplant six years ago. I met Jim in 2009 while I was running for Congress, and joined NationBuilder as employee number 3 in May 2011.Doing internet software for government better, more efficiently, is extremely important to me. There’s no reason to pay tens of thousands of dollars a year for these technologies.Haha, I asked for that, right? So, open source projects have greatly helped to lower the costs of providing services over the web. We use a number of open source technologies including Ruby on Rails and PostgreSQL and Liquid (a templating language that we’ve helped extend) – that allow companies like ours flourish at very low cost.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been thinking about the big decisions I’ve made in my life. Some choices have changed the course of my career and my life. While others, which felt so grave at the moment, have ultimately turned into minor blips on my radar. When you are deeply invested in the operations of an organization, the challenge becomes that you need be sensitive and realize implications across your team. If you are completely dismissive or unaware of the impact of your actions and decisions, you run the risk of de-motivating your team, and failing to meet organizational goals or objectives. With our decisions and actions, we want to move our organizations forward to collaboratively see our organization achieve our mission and reach our goals. This philosophy is not new and nothing we haven’t heard before. Yet, it is a reminder that no matter how large or small the decision, clarity while making a decision is essential. This does not mean we make decisions in a robotic fashion, calculated or absent emotions. In fact, the calmness and clarity of a leader to make a decisions shows the ability to manage their emotions, and rationalize each decision. It’s a skill that we all strive for, and are constantly learning how to manage our emotions, and make the right decision for our organization. When articulating a position and explaining a decision, it’s not just taking into consideration hard facts, it’s acknowledging and empathizing with the very human element of decision making. So how do we improve our decision making? Here are a few strategies I have used, based on my experiences and from what I’ve learned from mentors and peers:Use Data Using data always helps make an informed decision, and some ways takes the emotion out of a decision. Data allows you to clearly process trends, explain arguments and have a sound discussion with team members.Process Information Take some time to think through information, process data, and get a full view of an issue. For everyone, they have a different process to get there. Take the time to learn your individual process to understand and distill information. This will only help you confront an issue with clarity, and to make stronger decisions.Visualize the Impact Take a moment to think about the outcomes of the decision, what could possibly happen if I say X, what if I say Y? How will my team react? What’s going to happen to our organization? What are the implications? Is this a philosophical shift? Ask yourself the tough questions to understand the issue in its entirety, and really work to understand what’s the impact of your decision.Do not let conversation erupt into a debate If you are making a difficult decision that is emotionally charged, the conversation can quickly launch into a debate. Although this one is largely outside your control, do your best to remain calm and clearly articulate your position. If the conversation starts to get heated, allowing people to express emotion is not necessarily bad, but work hard to get the conversation back to a point in which it is constructive for all parties involved.Practice reflective listening Reflective listening is such a critical skill to develop. The ability to keenly listen, process opposing information and articulate a position back is an essential skill. Learn how to listen, practice listening, and really get to the bottom of an issue.Align towards common goals - make sure you have a shared vision Without a shared vision, any decision is going to continue to dissolve into the wrong conversation. Make sure that you and your team are aligned towards a shared goal, the same outcomes, and are looking at the right way to get there as a team.Engage Core Stakeholders It’s so important that prior to any decision that a leader talk through options and listen to the concerns of stakeholders. Only through this process will decision makers truly understand the issue from a variety of perspectives, and can make a well-informed decision. Good leaders may already know the answer or the perspective an employee will articulate, but taking the time to invest and listen is essential, it’s one of the many ways to build trust, empower employees, and work towards building positive relationships with your team. The process of how arrive to a decision has large implications for an organization. Decision makers have the opportunity to build trust, show leadership and drive organizations forward by investing in the time to make the proper decision, and empower the team along the way.What are some tips you can share? How do we make better decisions to move our organizations forward?
Jan. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Dave Aitel, chief executive officer of Immunity, talks with Bloomberg's Emily Chang about cyber security and the future of war. They speak on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg West." (Source: Bloomberg)
In an excerpt from his new book, The Future, the Nobel Prize winner and former vice president talks global networks, Marshall McLuhan, and how computing is changing what it means to be human.Writers have used the human nervous system to describe electronic communication since the invention of the telegraph. In 1851, only six years after Samuel Morse received the message "What hath God wrought?" Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote: "By means of electricity, the world of matter has become a great nerve vibrating thousands of miles in a breathless point of time. The round globe is a vast brain, instinct with intelligence." Less than a century later, H. G. Wells modified Hawthorne's metaphor when he offered a proposal to develop a "world brain" -- which he described as a commonwealth of all the world's information, accessible to all the world's people as "a sort of mental clearinghouse for the mind: a depot where knowledge and ideas are received, sorted, summarized, digested, clarified and compared." In the way Wells used the phrase "world brain," what began as a metaphor is now a reality. You can look it up right now on Wikipedia or search the World Wide Web on Google for some of the estimated one trillion web pages.
Popularized by “The Lean Startup“ author Eric Ries, the concept of the pivot centers around an organization’s ability to adapt its focus based on the realization of new market potential or service need.At the beginning of fiscal year 2013, NASA’s open government group did just that, formally adopting new nomenclature to emphasize innovation, and now serves under the banner of “open innovation.”But to NASA Open Innovation Program Manager Nick Skytland and his team, this isn’t about semantics. It’s about better serving the agency in an era of crowd-generated ideas and contributions.Openness, including open innovation platforms, open data and open technologies, such as open source software and hardware, says Skytland, is a fundamental catalyst to government leveraging the masses to further its mission.For NASA’s open innovation team, serving as an internal innovation engine is a key function that could play a defining role in helping the agency realize its impact to Americans beyond just space. As the open government movement evolves in how it addresses core issues around transparency, collaboration and participation, Skytland says it makes sense that it would find itself included under a broader innovation umbrella.“It’s a natural progression of what open government looks like inside government agencies.” said Skytland.
Thank you for visiting techPresident, where politics and technology meet. We’re asking our readers to help support the site. Let us tell you why:Since 2007, we've expanded techPresident's staff and daily work to exhaustively look at how technology is changing politics, government and civic life. To provide the independent and deeply informed journalism we do, we need to find ways to support this growth that will allow us to keep the majority of our content free.Subscribing to our premium service Personal Democracy Plus for $6.95 a month or $75 a year (10% off!). Visit personaldemocracy.com/subscribeTo subscribe to Personal Democracy Plus, visit personaldemocracy.com/subscribe. To make a contribution in the amount of your choosing, visit personaldemocracy.com/contribute. SV Angel Founder Ron Conway outside San Francisco City Hall Jan. 2012 protesting SOPA/PIPA Photo: Lai Stirland On the evening of Jan. 11, a crowd of about 150 local politicos and denizens of the world of finance and technology gathered at the members-only St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, lured there with an invite from the influential angel investor Ron Conway. Fancy parties at a place like the St. Francis would be no surprise for the San Francisco technology scene, but this one was unusual for its somber tone. Conway put it together to commemorate the launch of Sandy Hook Promise, founded by community members from Newtown, Conn., after a disturbed man with an assault rifle shot and killed 20 children, four teachers, and two administrators at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Among other things, the group's stated goal is to work to ensure a tragedy like Sandy Hook never happens again.
This summer, on June 1-2, 2013, citizens in cities across the Nation will join together to improve their communities and governments as part of the National Day of Civic Hacking.Civic Hacking Day is an opportunity for software developers, technologists, and entrepreneurs to unleash their can-do American spirit by collaboratively harnessing publicly-released data and code to create innovative solutions for problems that affect Americans. While civic hacking communities have long worked to improve our country and the world, this summer will mark the first time local developers from across the Nation unite around the shared mission of addressing and solving challenges relevant to OUR blocks, OUR neighborhoods, OUR cities, OUR states, and OUR country. National Day of Civic Hacking is a call to action for anyone who wants to make a positive impact on their town, city, and country. A coalition of leading organizations, companies, and government agencies have banded together to issue this challenge with the goal of promoting transparency, participation, and collaboration among governments, startups, and citizens. These partners will support Civic Hacking Day by hosting activities across the country that invite anyone to become part of the civic hacker community—whether you’re a newbie or an expert—and by connecting people in person or online during the weekend celebration.
President Barack Obama named Aneesh Chopra as the nation’s first chief technology officer in April 2009. In the nearly three years since, he was a tireless, passionate advocate for applying technology to make government and society work better. If you’re not familiar with the work of the nation’s first CTO, make sure to read Nancy Scola’s extended “exit interview” with Aneesh Chopra at the Atlantic. where he was clear about his role: “As an advisor to the president, I have three main responsibilities,” he said: “To make sure he has the best information to make the right policy calls for the country, which is a question of my judgment.”On his last day at the White House, Chopra released an “open innovator’s toolkit” that highlights twenty different case studies in how he, his staff and his fellow chief technology officers at federal agencies have been trying to stimulate innovation in government. Chopra announced the toolkit last week at a forum on open innovation at the Center for American Progress in Washington. The forum was moderated by former Virginia congressman Tom Perriello, who currently serves as counselor for policy to the Center for American Progress and featured Todd Park, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services CTO, Peter Levin, senior advisor to the Veterans Affair Secretary and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs CTO, and Chris Vein, deputy U.S. CTO for government innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Video of the event is embedded below:
Rarely a day goes by without mention of a targeted attack against some government-related website, massive disruptions in online banking services, or critical vulnerabilities in specialized software running our power plants and water supplies. And all the while, IT and security organizations have thought little about fighting back. Their options were limited to better patching, more security hardware and new firewall rules. That dynamic is changing because the buzzwords active defense and hacking back are creeping into conversations between vendors and customers, IT managers and executives, executives and legal teams. The thinking is twofold: How can we either trace attacks back to their origin and take hackers out on their own turf; or how do we frustrate attackers on our own networks and drive up the cost of an attack to the point where they move on?“[Hacking back] is one of those things that’s not even up for discussion as far as security is concerned,” said Michael J. Keith, security associate with Stach & Liu. “That’s one thing you don’t do.”Aside from the fact that hacking back is as much a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act as are the actions of the parties invading your networks, correct attribution of the attacks against your networks are close to impossible.
By Jeff Blagdon on January 22, 2013 08:47 pm @jeffblagdon 7Comments Publicly-available Census or Department of Energy data can be a powerful tool in the right hands, and the White House wants to help get it there. The inaugural National Day of Hacking from June 1st to June 2nd is inviting everyone, regardless of experience to come together and help "liberate open data," building software that puts the government’s meticulously-compiled facts and figures to good use. Developers could visualize data in new and interesting ways, or build frameworks that make it easier for future software to tap into it, and several federal agencies including NASA and the Department of Labor will be announcing specific challenges for hackers to tackle during the event.The nationwide get-together is being held in conjunction with existing civic hacking groups like Code For America and Random Hacks of Kindness, and is being modeled after Innovation Endeavors' Super Happy Bock Party — a kind of creative mashup of art, music, and technology. The White House says it plans to have an event in "at least one city" in all 50 states, but so far only 27 cities have been announced. If you’d like to participate, contribute ideas, or help organize a hackathon, you can find more details below.
The White House blog is hosting a post that designates June 1-2 for a National Day of Civic Hacking. GO Over the past decade, mobile tech has grown into a dominant force in journalism, activism, and revolution across the globe. Yet one organization is going lo-tech to get information in the hands of the people – by transforming basic cellular phones into e-readers loaded with news that might be otherwise censored by the government. GO When a record-breaking flooding event struck the eastern states of Australia in December and January of 2010-2011, Twitter users took to their online network to share information and communicate with fellow victims of the natural disasters. A year later, social network analysis (SNA) reports of Twitter chatter during the floods offer a picture of social media behavior in disaster response. GO Struggling to recover from a devastating civil war, few Liberians have access to computers or even electricity. In the capital city of Monrovia, an Ushahidi initiative called iLab Liberia is an oasis where instructors teach courses in everything from basic computer skills to programming languages. GO Gun control advocates may be grabbing the headlines, but gun-owning grassroots types are more politically engaged, according to survey data. What's more, a look at the online contact-Congress platform PopVox suggests that they're also more active online. GO
Here are some of the key big data themes I expect to dominate 2013, and of course will be covering in Strata.The coming year will mark the graduation for many big data pilot projects, as they are put into production. With that comes an understanding of the practical architectures that work. These architectures will identify:Of course, these architectures will be in constant evolution as big data tooling matures and experience is gained.In parallel, I expect to see increasing understanding of where big data responsibility sits within a company’s org chart. Big data is fundamentally a business problem, and some of the biggest challenges in taking advantage of it lie in the changes required to cross organizational silos and reform decision making.One to watch: it’s hard to move data, so look for a starring architectural role for HDFS for the foreseeable future.Though deservedly the poster child for big data software, Hadoop is not the only way to process big data. Credible competitors are emerging, especially where specialized applications are concerned. For example, the Berkeley Data Analytics Stack offers an alternative platform that performs much faster than Hadoop MapReduce for some applications focused on data mining and machine learning.
Lies, damned lies, and statistics, goes the saying--and here's another one: data, open data, and transparency.My reason for saying so stems from a recent look FierceGovernmentIT took at the White House visitor logs of Steven VanRoekel, the Office of Management and Budget administrator for e-government and information technology--aka the federal chief information officer.That the White House decided in 2009 to post online its visitor logs was admirable; it was a harbinger of a push to make government data available to the public, the only part of an effort to make the federal government more transparent that appears to have any enthusiasm left in it. Unfortunately, the promise of transparency embedded behind posting of the logs hasn't been realized.The visitor logs pertain very narrowly to the White House and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, meaning that attendees in meetings that occur in executive office of the president properties such as the White House Conference Center go unrecorded. Because of our work using the Freedom of Information Act to find out the subjects of OMB TechStat meetings, we know that quite a lot of Federal CIO meetings occur in the conference center.In fact, a General Services Administration official told me the number of meetings with VanRoekel captured by the White House logs is a fraction of the total.
Free Government IT Newsletter FierceGovernmentIT tracks the latest technological developments in the U.S. government. Federal employees and IT executives rely on our free email newsletter for news on:IT in Government Agencies ∣ Defense IT ∣ Government Cloud Computing ∣ Cybersecurity ∣ Open GovernmentThe House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing Jan. 22 on federal information technology reform, with Federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel set to testify.In a video posted online, the committee asserts that as much as $20 billion annually of the approximately $80 billion yearly reported federal information technology budget is wasted--although it doesn't attribute that statement to a source. (The video at the 1:05 mark also switches into music that appears to be the riff from Sweet Jane by Lou Reed.)Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has proposed draft legislation that would enact changes to the way the government procures IT and legislatively strengthen the role of federal chief information officers.In prepared testimony (.pdf) already posted online, VanRoekel highlights ongoing administration efforts, stating that it has three near-term strategies: the Digital Government Strategy, PortfolioStat and CyberStat. He doesn't mention TechStat, once a centerpiece of Obama administration cost-cutting efforts.For more: - go to the hearing website (prepared testimonies already available and hearing to be webcast there) - watch a 1974 recording of Lou Reed performing Sweet Jane (go to the 2:05 mark for the riff; embedded video)
Some would cite 2008 as the year when social media was introduced to government as a viable partner for increased transparency and engagement with citizens and collaboration with each other. You could almost pin the date of their meeting and hitting it off to the Open Government memorandum in January 2008.So that means we've had 5 years for the social media relationship in government to blossom - and it has to a large degree. But not all social media connections have been created equal.In some instances, leadership was on board and drove beautiful, innovative agency-wide initiatives (Retro love song: "I'm so into you.").In other situations, there was tepid approval that led to equally lukewarm results (song: "We are never ever getting back together").It's also quite likely that some leaders resisted completely and just plain ol' refused to go along (song: "Whatya want from me?").What's the state of the social media relationship in your agency at the 5-year mark? Are you still in the honeymoon phase or have you fallen out of love?P.S. Our friends at the Partnership for Public Service are hosting a free event next Wednesday, January 9, in which they'll release the results of a study regarding social media and Federal leaders. You can register for that report release event here.
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