DoD launches DHMSM acquisition with draft RFP

The DoD has signaled its intent to buy a commercial EHR to replace its legacy systems since it and the Veterans Affairs Department canceled in February 2013 (citing cost reasons) an effort that would have resulted in a joint EHR running in both military and veterans medical systems.

Survey: Unplanned downtime not uncommon in gov't

More than one-third of respondents in a new survey of governmental information technology professionals experienced a day or more of unplanned downtime in the prior 12 months.

Joint Information Environment to be scrutinized by OT&E

The Joint Information Environment, an effort to upgrade and standardize Defense Department information technology infrastructure and services, still isn't a program of record but it does come under the oversight of the director of operational test and evaluation.

Holder: Not stopping terrorism doesn't mean telephony metadata not useful

Whether or not the intelligence community's bulk storage of telephony metadata has actually prevented a terrorist attack shouldn't be the only metric by which the program's efficacy should be measured, said Attorney General Eric Holder.

U.S. and U.K. vow to share health IT information, tools

Officials from the United State and the United Kingdom signed a memorandum of understanding Jan. 23 that would allow health data and health information technology to be shared more effectively, and formally commits the governments to collaborating on health technology.

Tech company surveillance reports to become somewhat more precise

The Justice Department agreed to somewhat loosen restrictions on surveillance reports made public by Internet companies in response to a lawsuit filed by tech giants, including Google, Microsoft and Facebook.

VA post-iEHR strategy takes shape as VistA Evolution

Since the February 2013 cancelation by the VA and Defense Department of a planned joint integrated EHR – the iEHR – the VA has faced the problem of modernizing its legacy EHR, officially known as the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture, but referred to daily as VistA. Industry insiders describe VistA Evolution as preparatory work for what may be future procurements of specific EHR modules, such as those for pharmacy prescriptions or lab results.

DHS to update emergency services sector plan by December

The Homeland Security Department will update its emergency services sector plan by the end of this year to include the need for security protections for the cyber attack-vulnberable NG9-1-1 and FirstNet national public safety broadband network.

Proposed legislation would overhaul federal IT development

Draft legislation introduced Jan. 27 by Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) would create a central office, within the White House, to review and guide agency information technology projects.

Spotlight: Podesta to head White House big data study

White House special advisor John Podesta announced Jan. 23 that President Obama appointed him as head of a review to examine the policy and privacy implications of big data. "We expect to...

Federal contractors should implement cybersecurity in operations and products, says DoD and GSA

The recommendations go farther than previous proposals. The federal government today expresses cybersecurity requirements for its contractors "in terms of compliance with broadly stated standards and are included in a section of the contract that is not part of the technical description of the product or service," the committee states.

Most physicians planned to apply for EHR incentive in 2013

Sixty-nine percent of physicians had applied or planned to apply for the federal electronic-health-record incentive program in 2013, according to a survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mixed year for e-gov and White House technology funds

Under the omnibus spending act (H.R. 3547) that funds federal agencies through this fiscal year, the e-government fund administered by the General Services Administration at the behest of the Office of Management and Budget has $16 million in appropriations. The Office of Management and Budget itself will have $10 million for its Integrated, Efficient, and Effective Uses of Information Technology fund.

E-gov has macro-level impacts on diminishing corruption, finds paper

Adoption of e-government brings down the level of corruption at a macro-level within countries, while mere expansion of the Internet without e-gov had an ambiguous effect, concludes a paper by an economics academic. Two main factors driving the efficacy of e-government in causing that reduction are the telecommunications infrastructure and, to a lesser extent, the scope and quality of online e-gov services.

Cyber threats likely to revolve around political turmoil, international events

In a report that forecasts cybersecurity trends for 2014, the company says that government cyber operations may increase in North African countries undergoing political turmoil and transitions – including Egypt, Libya and Tunisia – as regimes and their supporters seek to monitor dissidents and neighboring countries.

Federal privacy board majority recommends end to telephony metadata program

A federal privacy oversight board says the federal government should end the intelligence community's bulk storage of telephony metadata, stating that it has "shown minimal value" in counterterrorism efforts and that it raises constitutional concerns.

FTC slaps wrists of 12 U.S. companies for violating U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Agreement

Twelve American businesses – including a large Internet service provider – have agreed to settle charges from the Federal Trade Commission that they misrepresented their status under the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Agreement.

Verizon details government requests for user data

Verizon released its first report on government requests for customer information Jan. 22, drawing praise for its thoroughness. Federal, state and local authorities issued more than 320,000 requests for customer data in 2013, in the form of subpoenas, warrants, national security letters and court orders.

Cyber attacks can be timed for optimal impact and forecast for defense, finds paper

Using a new model that assesses cyber risks, costs and benefits over time, malicious actors can time attacks for the most damaging opportunities – and cyber defenses can be ramped-up in anticipation of a strike, says a new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Improving digital access in developing countries correlates to higher malware rate

A study by Microsoft based on data from its operating system-bundled anti-malware utility finds that the global prevalence of malware infections typically correlates as an inverse to countries' socioeconomic status, but that the relationship isn't necessarily linear.