Here's something to add to the 'ol RSS reader (or twitter @crunchgov if that's your thang. TechCrunch, one of the better sites for news and information about tech and the tech industry, today launched CrunchGov to track on government and tech policy-making. The site will have 3 three initial CrunchGov products (report card, policy database, and legislation crowdsourcing). Read more about it on their post explaining the CrunchGov roll-out as well as their methodology/FAQ behind the site.
Welcome to TechCrunch’s tech policy platform, CrunchGov, a portal for sourcing the most thoughtful people and ideas to facilitate more informed policymaking. Currently, it consists of three areas: a congressional report card, a database of technology legislation, and a crowdsourced legislative utility for contributing ideas to pending bills.
In the wake of mass online protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), officials were eager to learn more about the concerns of those who work in technology and find ways to craft more informed policy. CrunchGov is our attempt at helping policymakers become better listeners, and technologists to be more effective citizens.
"More than a year in the making, the National Institute of Standards and Technology issued Feb. 28 an initial public draft updating one of its premier special publications, Security and Privacy Controls for the Federal Information Systems and Organizations, which incorporates expanded privacy controls and addresses new threats that were unheard of when NIST issued revision 3 in 2009." (NIST Updating Catalog of Controls, By Eric Chabrow, Bank Info Security, February 29, 2012.)
- Security and Privacy Controls for the Federal Information Systems and Organizations, NIST Special Publication 800-53, Revision 4 (Initial Public Draft). NIST Joint Task Force Transformation Initiative, Gaithersburg, MD (February 2012).
The purpose of this publication is to provide guidelines for selecting and specifying security controls for organizations and information systems supporting the executive agencies of the federal government to meet the requirements of FIPS 200, Minimum Security Requirements for Federal Information and Information Systems.
Vivek Kundra, Federal Chief Information Officer of the United States, spoke at the University of Washington's Evans School of Public Affairs in Seattle last week and outlined some of the current problems of government Information Technology and some of the approaches he is taking to address those problems.
- Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra speaks about Government 2.0. [streaming video] ustream.tv [about 30 minutes, plus 30+ minutes of questions and answers]
- Federal CIO Describes Problems, Changes in IT, by Nancy Gohring, IDG News Service (Mar 4, 2010).
It takes the Veteran's Administration 160 days to process benefits for veterans, he said. "That's because the Veteran's Administration is processing paperwork by passing manila folders from one desk to another"
Another example of an outdated and inefficient agency is the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which takes three years to process a patent, he said. "One reason is because the U.S. PTO receives these applications online, prints them out, and then someone manually rekeys the information into an antiquated system," he said.
- Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra - Making Government Work: Closing the IT Gap to Deliver for the American People [Event Announcement] University of Washington's Evans School of Public Affairs in Seattle, March 4, 2010.
Wired has a list of "smart ways different federal agencies started using technology during the last eight years. It's not mind-blowing, but it's not terrible."
Examples of Agencies Using Online Content and Technology to Achieve Mission and Goals (UNOFFICIAL DRAFT, November 26, 2008. Sent to Wired Magazine.)
The Best Government Tech of the Bush Years, By Nicholas Thompson, Wired, January 23, 2009.
Here is a good overview of some of the technology issues and opportunities that the Obama administration will be dealing with soon.
- What's Next For Obama's Wired White House?, by Sarah Lai Stirland, CongressDaily, "Issue Of The Week" (Jan. 12, 2009).
Mentioned as a key contender for the position as the first-ever chief technology officer (CTO) for the federal government is Vivek Kundra, Washington D.C.'s CTO, where he has demonstrated the possibility of using technology to truly enhance government information.
The article notes that the relationship between the federal CTO and the current position of administrator of e-government and information technology at OMB will need to be defined and that the CTO "will have to convince department heads to dedicate enough resources to overhaul the way they generate information."
For example, instead of static Web pages and disparate formats, such as PDF files and other kinds of database-generated files that each department comes up with when presenting public information, each department may have to start standardizing the formats of their streams of information so that those seeking access will find it more useable and ready to analyze.
One example of this idea already underway is at the SEC, which has required since Jan. 1 that all public corporations and mutual funds file their financial reports in a specific Web format known as eXtensible Business Reporting Language. The idea is that the information would become more accessible on the Web, and to the public at large. The information would be available in a format that Web applications and spiders could more easily interpret than a simple text of PDF file. As a result, it would become more accessible to the public in a more timely fashion -- rather than being buried and obscured in a database.
In a 2007 interview at Google with YouTube's News and Politics Editor Steve Grove, Obama said
"If we can apply technology to some of the biggest issues we face, [such as ] health care, energy, or education, then we can leap over some of the problems that have been plaguing us for a very, very long time. And one of the things that I've seen is that technology gets pushed aside as something separate, when in fact, it's really an opportunity to make progress that we haven't seen in a long time."