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Tech As An Accessory, Wearable – Plus the Seven Gov Stories You Need To Know

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

You can find all of our programs online: DorobekINSIDER.com and GovLoop Insights at http://insights.govloop.com.

But up front: The Snowden challenge — how to trust and verify

From The New York Times: Spy Chief Says Snowden Took Advantage of ‘Perfect Storm’ of Security Lapses

  • The director of national intelligence acknowledged Tuesday that nearly a year after the contractor Edward J. Snowden “scraped” highly classified documents from the National Security Agency’s networks, the technology was not yet fully in place to prevent another insider from stealing top-secret data on a similarly large scale, The New York Times reports. The director, James R. Clapper Jr., testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, confirmed that the former N.S.A. contractor had used a web crawler, a commonly available and low-cost tool, to sweep up a huge trove of documents. “He knew exactly what he was doing,” Mr. Clapper said. “And he was pretty skilled at staying below the radar, so what he was doing wasn’t visible. Under questioning, Mr. Clapper made clear that while the N.S.A. has installed security upgrades, not all locations have the software and warning systems that could detect mass downloads of information. He did not address why the agency was not able to detect the web crawler, which indexed and copied all the data in its path. On Tuesday, for example, he warned that “there are no mousetraps that we could say that we can guarantee that we’ll never have another Edward Snowden.” “Our whole system is based on personal trust,” he continued.

The Washington Post: House passes ‘clean’ debt-ceiling bill, ending two-week showdown: The House approved a year-long suspension of the nation’s debt limit Tuesday in a vote that left Republicans once again ceding control to Democrats after a collapse in support for an earlier proposal advanced by Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). In a narrow vote, 221 to 201, just 28 Republicans joined nearly all Democrats to approve a “clean” extension of the government’s borrowing authority — one without strings attached — sending the measure to the Senate for a final vote, probably this week.

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. The New York Times: Creators Still in Demand on Health Care Website – “CGI Federal took a lot of criticism for its development of HealthCare.gov, but the website’s new contractor is busy recruiting CGI employees and the Obama administration may extend the company’s role.”
  2. WSJ: Top Executive at Security-Check Firm Resigns – “A top executive at the company that performed the most recent background check of former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden resigned after he was barred by the U.S. government last week from overseeing federal business that is now the focus of a fraud investigation.”
  3. Federal Times: Lawmakers: USIS used OPM relationship to deflect scrutiny – “USIS, the federal contractor under fire for allegedly submitting hundreds of thousands of flawed background investigations to the government, used its unusual relationship with the Office of Personnel Management to cover its tracks, congressional Democrats charged Tuesday.”
  4. Federal Times: GSA to close 24 data centers – “The General Services Administration plans to close 24 data centers in fiscal 2014, according to Acting Chief Information Officer Sonny Hashmi.”
  5. Government Executive: Senate Republicans in a Box on Veterans Benefits – “Senate Democrats are determined to get a bill reversing $6 billion in controversial cuts to veterans benefits through the chamber this week without offsetting the cost. Their message: Veterans have “paid in full” their debt to the nation and shouldn’t be used as budget pawns.”
  6. AP: House approves military pension bill – “The House voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to restore full cost of living increases to pension benefits for younger military retirees, responding eagerly to election-year pressure from veterans groups.”
  7. Defense News: SOCOM Targets Boost in Procurement Investments – “US Special Operations Command is looking to boost its procurement investments as operational costs come down after more than a decade of war, its commander said.”

Before we finish up… a few items from the DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder… yes, we’re trying to help you make your water-cooler time better too…

Regular readers know I’m fascinated by wearables. Yesterday, at AFCEA Bethesda, where I offer up some of my favorite apps, this week I mentioned my FitBit, which has transformed how I look at exercise. And it sure seems to me that there are government implications. GovLoop’s DorobekINSIDER got an early look at the potential with Bob Gourley, the former chief technology officer for the intelligence communities. And yesterday in GovLoop’s DorobekINSIDER water cooler fodder, I mentioned that the New York Police Department is at least testing out Google Glass. Today, two additional takes on wearables:

  • The Wall Street Journal: How fast will wearables take off? Device manufacturers appear to be operating on the assumption that humans of the near future will have eight arms. How else to explain the latest study by Canalys that shipments of devices worn on the wrist will exceed 8 million this year and rise to 45 million units by 2017. The smartband category currently includes Samsung Electronics Co. and Sony Corp. with Chinese firms like Huawei Technologies coming out with devices soon. Canalys analyst Daniel Matte tells the WSJ’s Juro Osawa that everyone is waiting for Apple Inc. “We are expecting Apple to push this [smart band] category forward,” he said.
  • Government Technology: Wearable Tech Is Set to Take Off: Much like the tablet computers and mobile phones that preceded them, wearable devices are believed by many to be a way to revolutionize field work — whether that’s building inspections, public safety or health care. Phil Bertolini, CIO of Oakland County, Mich., said he can easily envision a number of scenarios in which wearable devices could play a valuable role. “Government is loaded with people who have to inspect property, businesses, etc.,” he said. “Imagine the ability to perform a hands-free inspection with data traveling wirelessly to a back-end system. If this is possible, I could see building inspectors, assessors, restaurant inspectors and code enforcers using this technology.
  • InformationWeek: 7 Ways Wearables Will Go To Work Smartwatches, smartglasses, smart ID badges, and activity trackers will all find a home in the enterprise and change how we do our jobs.
  • The New York Times: For Wearable Computers, a New User Interface Challenge: Traditional user interfaces are often judged by the look and feel of software. But with wearable computers, the battery life of smart watches and computerized glasses could prove to be the most important aspect of these gadgets.

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