News Feature | July 9, 2014

Government IT News For VARs — July 9, 2014

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Government IT News For VARs

This week, the White House is launching a new assessment of IT performance, while the federal Cybersecurity Framework was fundamental in responding to the Heartbleed bug. Also, the Civil Liberties Board faced harsh criticism in the wake of their latest report, while ID cards are experiencing a fundamental transformation. And, MicroSoft is attempting to recoup some of its losses after the NSA spying allegations.  

How The White House Is Measuring IT Performance

As part of the new 15 Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goals, announced this spring, to “address the longstanding challenge of tackling horizontal problems across vertical organizational silos,” the White House's Office of Management and Budget quarterly will review agencies’ progress toward meeting their goals and will update with the latest results, OMB Deputy Director for Management Beth Cobert wrote in a recent blog post. According to Fed Tech Magazine, Agencies are required to deliver functionality every six months, the Government Accountability Office noted in a May report.

The Cybersecurity Framework's Role In The Heartbleed Saga

Fed Tech Magazine reported that the federal government’s Cybersecurity Framework was the guiding force behind the response to Heartbleed, the notorious security vulnerability in OpenSSL encryption software, according to White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel. The Department of Homeland Security played a central role in coordinating a response to Heartbleed for the dot-gov domain.

Civil Liberties Board Takes Heat for NSA Spying Report

As ecommercetimes reported, the latest report on NSA surveillance by the United States Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has caused a firestorm of scathing criticism. The report concludes that, while collection of information under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act “has been valuable and effective in protecting the nation's security and producing useful foreign intelligence,” in regards to particular aspects of surveillance of U.S. citizens, there are a number of privacy concerns. The board has listed 10 policy recommendations to strengthen privacy safeguards.

The Future Of Government ID Cards

Nearly a decade ago, the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12) established the goal of “secure and reliable forms of identification” for government employees and contractors, and this goal has not yet been met. This article looks at some of the new technologies in place that are trying to address this transition. They include bidirectional radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags that can be read by sensors located in campus buildings; the advent of smart cards; and technologies using near field communications.

Government IT Talking Points

Foreign concern about NSA spying is affecting the cloud market, and Microsoft is fighting back, as this article from Government Technology illustrates. A blog post by Microsoft vice president Matt Thomlinson explained that the new center is designed to provide participating governments an opportunity to review source code of the company’s “key” products, assure integrity of the software, and confirm there are no backdoors. The move is an effort to reassure foreign organizations that the American software and devices remains secure. 

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