Posts Tagged 'government'

Investing in Tech to Spur the Economy

It’s finally a good thing that a US administration believes in a strong technology infrastructure. As part of the economic stimulus package $500 million is being spent on building a new high tech data center to replace the aging social security system. Yes, your data is important and not just the trivial stuff such as pictures and music. I’m talking about protecting you from identity theft, fraud, however the main reason is simply to update archaic government red tape. Slowly moving government offices from paper to electronic processing. Updating process and technology is only part of the process. A much more difficult task will be re-training staff to understand and be able to put the technology to good use. Could this be the cusp of a new hiring phase? Possibly followed by mass retirements and layoffs of senior back office staff? It would be a good thing to inject youth and productivity into the the traditional “slow and steady” government infrastructure. How does one go about starting up a new data center?

*phone call to local computer store
“I need 100,000 two terabyte hard drives … do you take American Express?”

Screw you guys, I’m rewriting the Interweb

If you’re the government of an internationally disliked country, dealing with daily (by the minute) cyber attacks against your digital infrastructure, it can sometimes get to you. Then by chance some genius decides, “I’m tired of this shit! I’m gonna rewrite the Interweb!” Sounds ridiculous right? Well you’d be wrong. You see for the most powerful country in the world (maybe the universe if you don’t count the Romulans) nothing’s impossible.

Instead of say … fixing … the problems the U.S. Air Force has decided to do just that, rewrite the Internet. The objectives of the Air Force Research Lab Cyber Defense program is to: turn hostile traffic into cartoon anime gifs, identify hackers and launch bombing runs on their mother’s homes, and making their networks an impenetrable fortress. (I’m paraphrasing of course)

Um … yeah. Good luck with that.

Quebec getting sued for loving Microsoft too much

I think this is pretty funny. Would you rather the Quebec government shut you down right from the start? or pretend to be give you a chance and let you make a futile attempt to make a competitive bid only to be passed over for Microsoft? It’s their choice. Just because you offer a cheaper open source solution, doesn’t mean that it may be a better fit for their systems.

If Facil wanted to make a name for itself, they definitely did, but not in a good way. (see original post below)

“Quebec’s open-source software association is suing the provincial government, saying it is giving preferential treatment to Microsoft Corp. by buying the company’s products rather than using free alternatives.

The lawsuit by Facil was lodged with the Quebec Superior Court on July 15 and made public on Wednesday. In it, the group says the provincial government has refused to entertain competing bids from all software providers, opting instead to supply public-sector departments with products bought from proprietary vendors such as Microsoft and Oracle Corp.”(link)

British government loses USB drive … and data

My question is: what security measures were put into place the last time this happened? Apparently none. It’s good to know that the British are taking the issue seriously. Privacy and information should be the new tactics used to scare people into protecting their data. … Now if only the government could be scared into compliance.

“The British government is to data protection as Hurricane Katrina was to New Orleans property values. In the past we have covered the loss of data, including bank details, for 25 million people, and government intelligence documents seem to repeatedly get left on trains or in bars. Now, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has announced that a memory stick containing information on thousands of individuals in the criminal justice system has also gone walkabout.”(link)

UK government wants to keep track of all data exchanges

The Government will store “a billion incidents of data exchange a day” as details of every text, email and browsing session in the UK are recorded under new proposals published yesterday.

The information will be made available to police forces in order to crack down on serious crime, but will also be accessible by local councils, health authorities and even Ofsted and the Post Office.

One example of crime prevention using the data given in the consultation document is that of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection agency, which targets sexual abuse of children.

“The vast majority of CEOP’s work is by resolution of IP addresses, e-mail addresses and increasingly mobile phone numbers. (link)

Piracy is ok, if you work for the government

Last week, a US Court of Appeals upheld a ruling on software piracy. The organization doing the piracy, however, happened to be a branch of the US government, and the decision highlights the significant limits to the application of copyright law to the government charged with enforcing it. Most significantly, perhaps, the court found that because the DMCA is written in a way that targets individual infringers, the government cannot be liable for claims made under the statute.

The backstory on the case involved, Blueport v. United States, borders on the absurd. It started when Sergeant Mark Davenport went to work in the group within the US Air Force that ran its manpower database. Finding the existing system inefficient, Davenport requested training in computer programming so that he could improve it; the request was denied. Showing the sort of personal initiative that only gets people into trouble, Davenport then taught himself the needed skills and went to work redesigning the system. (link)

UK group: YouTube, could you screen every single video before making it live? Thanks

Social media sites, and those that host user-generated content, need to do more to screen the content on their sites and protect users—particularly children—from videos that could be considered harmful, according to a UK government agency. The House of Commons’ Culture Media and Sport Committee released its tenth report today, titled “Harmful content on the Internet and in video games,” which examines “the Internet’s dark side” and what should be done to keep users safe. The Committee feels that social media sites need to implement stricter policies, implement more content filtering, and make it easier to report abuse.

The Committee starts off by describing the Internet as a place “where hardcore pornography and videos of fights, bullying or alleged rape can be found, as can websites promoting extreme diets, self-harm, and even suicide.” Because of this, websites like MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube need to take a more active stance against offensive or illegal content than they do currently. The Committee expressed distress that there appeared to be an industry standard of 24 hours to remove content that contains child abuse, for example, and strongly recommended making such important issues higher-priority. (link)

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