Burton: Tap everyday users early in the development process

When developers only work with subject-matter experts to design new products, "what you end up with is a product that is filled with a lot of jargon that the expert knows how to use, but your everyday users don't," said Matthew Burton, former acting CIO at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

USA Freedom Act advances, draws mixed reviews from advocacy groups

The House Intelligence Committee approved the USA Freedom Act May 8, setting the stage for a vote on the House floor.

IG: Postal Service can leverage big data for efficiencies, new products

Big data presents an enormous opportunity for the Postal Service to improve current capabilities and spin off new services that align with its mission.

DOJ seeks rule change to let federal investigators hack computers to collect evidence with one warrant

The current rule, in contrast, requires obtaining warrants in each of the districts where an affected computer may be located.

Military testing powered exoskeletons to boost soldiers' strength and speed

U.S. defense research agencies over the next few months will begin exploring more wearable technologies to help boost a soldier's muscle performance and other capabilities.

CSIS calls for new unmanned systems office at Pentagon

The Defense Department needs a prominent office dedicated to advocating for unmanned systems technology, says a report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

RAND: Navy should adopt a cloud-based system to help it better collect, analyze and distribute sensor data

The Navy should adopt a cloud-based system to keep pace with the growing demand for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance data that are needed for situational awareness and other mission-critical tasks, said researchers in a new RAND report.

Kostin: Digital government strategy a continuous effort

A year ago, federal agencies met ambitious deadlines established under a presidential directive to create a modern digital government. Now, says General Services Administration's Gwynne Kostin, agencies are rethinking these areas and enhancing them to provide a better experience for users, she said.

UPDATED - NSA broadens funding for 4 universities to advance the science of cybersecurity

The National Security Agency is expanding funding for several universities to continue scientific research into cybersecurity. The intelligence agency awarded contracts to North Carolina State University, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Carnegie Mellon University in 2012 and recently announced that these three universities along with the University of Maryland would receive additional funding.

18F, OMB's Digital Service to change federal IT in a way TechStats can't, say officials

Agency-led TechStat accountability sessions, with oversight from the Office of Management and Budget, have proven to route troubled federal IT programs back on track and avoid costs. But the administration has shifted emphasis away from TechStat in favor of more nimble, innovative programs.

VanRoekel's IT savings goals aren't ambitious enough, says Powner

Reported federal information technology savings figures may sound impressive, but even the goals set out by the Office of Management and Budget are small, said David Powner, the Government Accountability Office's director of IT issues, during a recent Senate hearing.

NSTIC in throes of PR battle with a particularly daunting opponent

In case you haven't been following along on Twitter or the comments section of tech blogs, the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace is in a public relations battle for its life.

House Judiciary Committee unanimously approves NSA surveillance reform bill - UPDATED

The bill "unequivocally ends bulk collection," said its sponsor, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), today during markup.

NARA to roll out Federal Register tracking portal, digital submission training

The National Archives and Records Administration will now offer online training for federal employees making digital submissions to the Federal Register and a new web portal to track submissions. The web portal is scheduled to go live this summer and will enable agencies to track their submissions and get immediate feedback on the document's digital signature.

Interagency team publishes models for articles, events on GitHub

An interagency team has created new models for structuring online content in a way that makes it easier for agencies to publish information for desktop browsers, mobile devices, social media and other outlets without manually adapting the content each time.

NIST updates data transfer security guide, tells agencies to draft migration plans by year end

Federal IT managers have new guidance for securing sensitive but unclassified data transferred over the Internet or to insecure media. The National Institute of Standards and Technology issued updated instructions for selecting, configuring and using transport layer security, or TLS.

Postal Service cloud contracts omit security measures

The 13 cloud computing contracts that the Postal Service awarded in recent years inadequately addressed data security, says the USPS office of inspector general. Contracting officials worried that integrating policies from the agency's handbook on cloud security would drive up the cost of the contracts.

Policies should focus on 'managing,' not 'solving' cybersecurity problems, says NRC

Public policy can help address U.S. cybersecurity, but it should not be viewed as an issue that can be solved through legislation or regulation. Rather, public policy can help improve cybersecurity management, says a new report from the National Research Council.

Spotlight: House passes VA spending bill with VistA caveat

The fiscal 2015 Veterans Affairs Department appropriations bill (H.R.4486) passed in the House with restrictions on the department's electronic health record modernization program.

NARA urges agencies to adopt email management practices

The National Archives and Records Administration wants agencies to implement a simplified and automated approach to managing the billions of emails they send and receive. The approach, called Capstone, is not mandatory but is designed to help agencies comply with an August 2012 memo from the White House that requires them to electronically manage permanent and temporary email records by Dec. 31, 2016.