News

DARPA seeks revolutionary search engine technology

Today's Internet search technology is a "one-size-fits-all" approach lacking in some key desired features, says the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Senate bill targets data brokers

Consumers would have access to the private information that data brokers collect about them under a bill that Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) introduced Feb. 12. Data brokers, which assemble information about individuals and sell it to marketers, would have to maintain a public website that explains to consumers how to review their information and how they can prevent brokers from selling it.

NIST to mine special publications for additional cybersecurity framework guidance

Now that the cybersecurity framework is out, the National Institute of Standards and Technology says a next step will be to map the alignment of its remaining library of cybersecurity guidance documents to practices called for in the voluntary guidance document.

European backlash against NSA surveillance grows

Backlash in Europe against revelations of bulk surveillance by U.S. intelligence agencies intensified this month, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel endorsing the idea of a communications network that would keep Europeans' data from passing through the United States.

Possible state-sponsored cyber attack deemed elite, unusual

An advanced persistent threat called Careto, aka the Mask, may be state sponsored, says Kaspersky Lab, the security company that discovered the malware. In a new report (.pdf), the company says the malware is "extremely sophisticated." It works on Windows, Mac and Linux systems, and possibly Android and iOS as well. It can intercept keystrokes, encryption keys, Wi-Fi traffic, Skype conversations and more.

New poll: Half of federal employees consider looking for jobs outside of government

The caustic political environment of recent years and its results – involuntary furloughs and a half-month government shutdown – have taken a toll on a federal workforce, shows a new FierceGovIT-Market Connections PulsePoll™. An online poll of 370 federal civilian and defense workers shows a picture of a struggling workforce. Half of respondents say they're considering looking for a job outside government. 

NTIA wary of gTLD explosion

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is concerned that generic Top-Level Domains being made available by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers may not be considering consumer protections.

Interagency individual data sharing protocols unclear in implementation, says GAO

There's confusion within the federal government regarding the requirements for setting up information exchanges between agencies, finds the Government Accountability Office in a newly released Jan. 13 report.

Groups defend DATA Act from OMB suggestions

A coalition of advocacy groups criticized the Obama administration for revisions it proposed to the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act in a Feb. 11 letter to the president.

Privacy high on agenda for second cybersecurity framework revision

Although the National Institute of Standards and Technology backed down from including a dedicated privacy appendix in the newly released critical infrastructure cybersecurity framework, it hasn't given up on the prospect of including privacy controls in future iterations of the framework. In the final version of the framework released Feb. 12 – final only in the sense that it's version 1.0 of what NIST says will be a "living document" – NIST removed an appendix containing privacy controls included in earlier drafts.

Low capture rate undermines rationale for bulk telephone metadata, says Sen. Blumenthal

Reports that the National Security Agency stores records of less than a third of telephone calls passing through U.S. carrier switches undermines its stated rationale for the bulk telephone metadata program, charged Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) during a congressional hearing.

Cybersecurity framework released with incentives unfinished and privacy appendix gone

The federal government today released a framework for cybersecurity meant for voluntary adoption within the private sector while acknowledging that work remains to be done in constructing incentives for adoption, and within the framework itself. Framework development has been a year-long effort under the tutelage of NIST, which received a mandate through an cybersecurity executive order.

Online regulatory reporting bill passes House committee

A bill that would require the White House's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to post agency regulatory activity online for six months prior to the rule taking effect passed a House committee Feb. 11.

Big data still nascent in public sector, finds study

Public sector organizations are still in the early days of big data adoption, finds a study by an Arizona State University academic. Public agencies have yet to fully embrace the concept of big data, and that its technical implication can be overwhelming to them. "Isn't that a critical element of big data? If so, then we are not doing anything in the big data space as we have not touched unstructured data. All of our data has some structure, and most of it is highly structured," one CIO said.

Federal agencies target their social media presence

Several years into the social media revolution, federal agencies find themselves also discovering social media analytics, panelists during a Feb. 11 event said.

Blue Button breaks new ground in pharmacy adoption

Major retail pharmacy chains and industry associations have pledged to adopt Blue Button technical standards to transmit prescription drug history data to customers, the White House announced earlier this month.

DoD Enterprise Email gets nearly 10,000 new users

The Air Force headquarters has transitioned its unclassified email accounts to the Defense Department's cloud-based email system, DoD Enterprise Email.

Facial recognition privacy standards sought at NTIA meeting

Technology companies, consumer groups and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration have begun a process to develop privacy standards for facial recognition technology. At a Feb. 6 meeting, Lawrence Strickling, assistant commerce secretary for communications and information, said that facial recognition technology raises "novel privacy questions."

DHS takes new approach to troubled TECS modernization

A troubled modernization of a Homeland Security Department system used to manage the flow of people through border ports of entry and for immigration enforcement case management could still meet its 2015 deadline, or come close to it, officials told a Feb. 6 House panel. Problems with the effort have led the Government Accountability Office to question DHS's ability to meet its deadline of having the new infrastructure fully operationally by September 2015.

FISC approves Obama's surveillance reforms

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approved two proposals from President Obama to reform surveillance programs Feb. 5. The National Security Agency will now be allowed to query the telephony metadata it collects only following a court finding that reasonable, articulable suspicion exists that the telephone number is associated with an international terrorist group. Previously, it was up to the NSA to decide if its suspicion was reasonable and articulable. President Obama proposed the change during a speech Jan. 17.