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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

Hacking Congress

Hacking The Hill, By Shane Harris, National Journal, 12/19/2008. Also available at: http://www.nationaljournal.com/njmagazine/cs_20081220_6787.php.

It seems that it is “exceptionally difficult to protect congressional computers in a uniform fashion” and one panel has determined that Congress cannot manage cyber-security.

Data breach at USDA

USDA exposes citizen data

These data breaches at various government entities have been happening so frequently that they don’t even seem all that shocking anymore. But, of course, exposure of American citizens’ data is serious business, especially when it’s related to those citizens’ receipt of federal aid.

Since I’m not a hacker, I have to wonder: how did the private information of so many people became available to the public via the open Web? What measures are in place, or are lacking, in terms of protecting this information at the federal level? The USDA owes us an explanation.

2006 Federal Information Security Management Act reports

More troubling news…

Government Receives a C-Minus on Information Security Efforts

Recent Info Security Report, Walking Directions, Intro to Loki

OK, time for my first post of resources. We’ll begin with three.

1) Last week OMB released the, “FY 2006 Report to Congress on Implementation of The Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002”
144 pages; PDF.

“The FISMA report contains the results of information security and privacy performance metrics reported by agency Chief Information Officers, Inspectors General, and Chief Privacy Officers in their annual FISMA reports for Fiscal Year 2006, the first year to include information about privacy performance data.

In FY 2006, 88 percent of all systems operated with complete Certification and Authentication (C&A), and 88 percent of all systems operated with tested contingency plans. In addition, 77 percent of all systems operate with security controls tested within the last year. ”

+ News Release

+ Full Text

2) Ask.com note.
Ask.com’s map and aerial imagery program provides both dynamic routing/re-routing and also walking directions. I think if you’ve ever walked and then driven in a large city, you learn quickly how different they might be.
Here’s an example of a route in NYC.

+ Example

A) Note the “pins” labeled 1-3. You can dynamically change the location (what the routing is based on) by simply dragging them to a new location. You can add new locations (10 total) by finding the location, right clicking and selecting “add location.”
B) Note the route is outlined in blue/purple color, on the left side toggle between walking and driving. See the route change.

3) Have you tried Loki? It’s a free tool for PC’s. It falls in the location-based services category.

+ Loki.com

Download the app. It then utilizes wi-fi (assuming you have a wi-fi connection) to identify where you are located. Then, select maps, local info (like movies, dining) etc. I’ve used it many times with great success and here at my house it’s within about 200 feet. Of course, in some locations it does NOT work. You can also enter an address in by typing.

If you look at the galley of “channels” you can find all sorts of databases to use Loki with. I haven’t seen one (this would be cool) that would tell the person about government at that location. Congress district, representation, polling places, etc.

cheers,
gary

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