News Feature | January 21, 2014

Government IT News For VARs — January 21, 2014


The news includes a GAO report on how well government agencies respond to data breaches involving personally identifiable information. Also, a panel focusing on privacy issues related to Big Data will reach out to technologists and business leaders to see how these matters are handled in the private and public sectors.

GAO Makes Recommendations On Dealing With Data Breaches

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) performed a study on government agencies’ response to data breaches. The results of the study are published in “Agency Responses to Breaches of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) Need to Be More Consistent.” The GAO looked at procedures at eight agencies of varying sizes and makes 23 recommendations — most specifically directed to a particular agency —  on how to improve responses to data breaches involving PII.

New Big Data Privacy Panel Will Reach Out To IT Channel

President Barack Obama has announced the creation of a Big Data privacy panel as a part of NSA reform. A Nextgov article quotes Obama saying, “This group will consist of government officials who, along with the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, will reach out to privacy experts, technologists, and business leaders, and look how the challenges inherent in Big Data are being confronted by both the public and private sectors; whether we can forge international norms on how to manage this data; and how we can continue to promote the free flow of information in ways that are consistent with both privacy and security.”

Do New Gadgets Have Applications For Government Agencies?

A Government Technology article reports some of the innovations at the International CES global consumer electronics and consumer technology tradeshow held Jan. 6-9 in Las Vegas could benefit government offices. The article gives a sampling of new devices and products and their potential applications such as wearable technology, robotic vacuums, and water repellant to protect electronics.

Private Sector Best Practices Could Improve Federal Software Procurement Process

An Information Week article lists four ways to improve the federal software procurement process, patterned after practices in the private sector. The article says purchasing enterprise software, and then planning to customize it, is not the most efficient course of action. Agencies should abandon the one-size-fits-all approach and find products that adapt to their needs. They also need to consider future needs — perhaps mobile applications or a growing social media initiative — and select a system that can handle them. They should also request a demonstration of an application change from solutions providers before they buy, as well as an explanation of life cycle and total cost of ownership.  

An Argument For Open Data In Local Government

A Gigaom podcast provides the example of how Big Data is a benefit to Palo Alto, CA, and its citizens. Palo Alto’s CIO Jonathan Reichental points out open data should be available in usable formats, including machine-readable formats. He also says, “What we’ve found, just in the last few years, is industrious people will do smart things. They will take that data and reuse it and bring forward new capabilities.”

Government IT Talking Points

A Nextgov article details how the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau took its idea of making proposed rules more accessible to the public than publication in the Federal Register. Part of the team’s development of eRegulations was studying private sector reading tools that manage large blocks of text. The pilot site, launched in October 2013, helps users find proposed regulations by section and refer to definitions as they read. One regulation is on the site now, with the technology team considering improvements before adding more data, and the White house has recognized this work related to the goals of the Open Government Partnership. The agency says it was able to launch in the sight in just a little more than a year because it has software coders on staff and could keep most of the work in house.

For more news and insights, visit BSMinfo’s Government IT Resource Center.