The Internal Revenue Service has not effectively kept up with changes in its wireless device inventory, according to a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report (pdf) dated Sept. 19 but only released publicly Nov. 5. While 94 percent of IRS employees eligible for BlackBerry smartphones, cellphones or wireless aircards were appropriately assigned the devices, the agency had trouble keeping accurate documentation updated.
The Air Force began the rollout of 5,000 iPhones and iPads to modernize its commercial devices earlier this month.
The Social Security Administration seeks an industry solution to maintain service to its aging mobile equipment, according to a Nov. 19 solicitation posted to FedBizOpps.
The Defense Department will begin using its mobile device management system and mobile application store by the end of the year, said DoD Public Affairs Officer Lt Col Damien Pickart. Digital Management, Inc., the Bethesda, Md.-based contractor that won the contract June 27, will provide the department with initial operating capability no later than Dec. 31.
The U.S. federal government is a primary focus for Research in Motion, the Canadian company behind the BlackBerry mobile device. Recent comments from one RIM excutive show the market could be viewed as a lifeline for a company with an uncertain future. "I think this is an absolutely critical market for us," BlackBerry's Senior Vice President for Security Scott Totzke told Politico. "I think it's absolutely top of mind for everybody in the organization."
The Homeland Security Department's Computer Emergency Readiness Team issued a notification Oct. 9 that federal users and administrators review a BlackBerry Security Advisory released the day prior and take corrective action recommended by BlackBerry.
The National Security Agency can access user data on iPhones, Android devices and even BlackBerrys, which were once considered by many to have the most secure operating system, according to top secret NSA documents viewed by German newspaper Der Spiegel.
"Oftentimes, you're the first one there. You're going to have the best infomation. We wanted to give you a way to share that," said Craig Fugate, the head of FEMA.
BlackBerry 10 smartphones and BlackBerry PlayBook tablets with BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, and devices using Samsung's Knox for Android are now allowed on Defense Department networks.
The Saudi Arabian government is demanding three mobile services-- Skype, WhatsApp and Viber--comply with the country's regulatory requirements or risk being banned. The move is reminiscent of August 2010 announcements from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. At the time, the countries blocked Blackberry-to-Blackberry instant messaging.