Gov 2.0 Roundup (Week of September 24)

The Federal Communication Commission embraces Drupal, the White House Press Secretary presses on in the face of a Twitter bug, IT professionals share the failures that helped lead to their ultimate
successes, and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act is in the process of getting a makeover in this, the first Fall edition of the Gov 2.0 Roundup.

—The White House uses it. So do the Department of Commerce and the Department of Energy. Recovery.gov uses it too, and now the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced
that it’s jumping on the bandwagon. What are we talking about? Open source content management system Drupal, of course! Earlier this week, the FCC announced its decision to begin converting its current website to the Drupal platform. FCC officials believe that the move is a step towards bringing their online foundation into the modern age, which is “a key stage in redesigning
and rebuilding FCC.gov.”

—“From time to time, I have no doubt that there will be those that want to gum up the system and things like that. I don’t hesitate to continue to use it,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs after a Twitter bug had caused many accounts, including Gibbs’, to distribute tweets consisting
of a string of nonsensical letters and numbers. And the White House wasn’t alone in pushing through despite the issue—FEMA, NASA and the State Department were among the federal agencies that continued to tweet despite news of the bug. Gibbs continued that if we all were afraid of an occasional computer glitch, then “we would all be writing on parchment, or we’d be sending letters in the mail as press releases, which we used to do not too long ago. So it’s the vagaries of doing business.” Kudos on keeping your cool, Secretary Gibbs!

—Get out of the way. Nurture your learning tree. And never stop studying. These are just some of the lessons learned (and shared) by the government IT professionals interviewed in a fantastic article at Government Computer News. The article interviews six government IT practitioners to find out
about the failures they faced that had a big impact on their ultimate success. For example, NASA’s current CIO Linda Cureton shares a story about working as a manager at another government agency,
and what she realized when the moved on and everything at the organization reverted to the way it had been before the got there. Cureton realized that while she did a good job of managing, she “didn’t really bring people to the point where they could take over and keep the work going.” As a result, she made the effort to change her managing style at her next job. Ten years after she’s moved on, she can still see the impact that she had on the organization. It’s worth a few minutes this afternoon to read the whole article.

—Earlier this week, the Senate Judiciary Committee took a look at updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act that was originally created in 1986—and considering that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was two years old at the time and cellular phones were the size and weight of car batteries, it’s easy to see why the act may need to be revisited. Chairman Patrick Leary’s opening statement perfectly captures the situation when he says that “Today, ECPA is a law that is often hampered by conflicting privacy standards that create uncertainty and confusion for law enforcement, the business community and American consumers. For example, the content of a single e-mail could be subject to as many as four different levels of privacy protections under ECPA, depending on where it is stored, and when it is sent.” It will be exciting to see how the Senate, industry partners, technology providers, privacy advocates and civil liberty attorneys all work together to develop an updated version that meets the needs of our technologically interesting time.

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