News Feature | November 1, 2013

Government IT News For VARs — November 1, 2013

By Bernadette Wilson, associate editor, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @bernadeditor

BSM-Mobile Device

This week, a Senate bill would make “stalking apps” illegal, vendors are navigating the GSA’s new reverse auction online tool, and government IT professionals want some say in future technology projects — in light of the performance of HealthCare.gov.

Bill Would Make “Stalking Apps” Illegal

A Post Bulletin article reports technology has made stalking easier. U.S. Sen. Al Franken from Minnesota has sponsored a bill that would ban “stalking apps.” Stalking and wiretapping are already illegal, but according to the article, apps can be installed in moments and operate invisibly to the cell phone’s user. They can provide remote access to information and even track location. The bill, which has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, would make it illegal for a company to make and operate a stalking app on a cell phone.

Vendors, Providers Can Bid In Real Time With Reverse Auction eTool

A Lexology.com article explains the General Services Administration’s (GSA’s) new online tool that allows federal agencies to use a reverse auction process to procure commodities and services. ReverseAuctions.gsa.gov allows vendors and providers to bid in real-time, with the contract usually going to the lowest bidder. The article states, “This auction approach — which is essentially a lowest-price, technically-acceptable (LPTA) procurement with the pending low price visible to competitors during the course of the competition — has the potential to significantly impact the way that federal agencies purchase products and services through the Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) program.”

Hacker Scanned Internet For Vulnerable Computer Systems

An nj.com article states the hacker arrested October 28 who stole large amounts of data and personal information of U.S. service men and women said his purpose was to “disrupt the operations and infrastructure of the United States government.” The investigation revealed that the hacker and his conspirators used an automated program to scan the Internet looking for vulnerable computer systems and then planned their attacks in Internet chat rooms.

Police Use Predictive Technology To Anticipate Crimes

A bctv.org article tells how Reading, PA police are using predictive policing technology to detect where future crimes will occur, based on past crimes. The article says the system is based on the technology used to predict aftershocks from earthquakes.

Software Enables Officer-To-Officer Contact, Real-Time View

A Daily Nebraskan article illustrates the University of Nebraska-Lincoln police force’s use of officer-to-officer contact software, installed in its computer-capable cruisers. The solution allows all the officers with the program — including those from surrounding communities — to see, in real time, what the others can see. The program also has crime statistics database capability and connects the officers to dispatch centers for emergency calls.  

Government IT Talking Points

A nextgov.com article chimes in on the failure of HealthCare.gov. The article states government technologists are “arguing that chief information officers and other technologists should have a seat at the table” when decisions about IT are made.

A National Journal article says HealthCare.gov issues aren’t due to a lack of technical skill, rather “straightjacketed by federal bureaucracy and regulations.”

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