INFORMATION

Site Map - Government

Intelligence program

- Congress moves ahead on intelligence reform bills

A Shocking State of IT Security

- Throwing money at information security has never been a particularly effective way of preventing or solving IT problems. Indeed, the Department of Energy (DOE) is finding that throwing $2.7 billion (the amount estimated for fiscal year 2004) at its computer security issues may not do the job

FTC Fights Spam With Carrot and Stick

- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been at the forefront of efforts to contain the onslaught of spam that still plagues e-mail in-boxes across the world. Most of its efforts have relied on using legal action as a stick. Now it's trying the carrot as well.

Healthy Body, Healthy Networks

- The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently announced 33 new projects through its Cyber Trust program, which promotes research into more secure computer systems.

A Web of Intelligence Networks

- Getting government agencies to share security information means first identifying the networks involved. A congressional briefing by the Government Accountability Office identified nine agencies and 34 networks that support homeland security functions (two of these networks are still under development). The briefing outlines each network and gives examples of how they might work together for counterterrorism efforts. Information Technology: Major Federal Networks That Support Homeland Security Functions is available via SM Online.

Better Controls for Contractors

- Before contract employees can enter the U.S. Coast Guard headquarters, they must be fingerprinted and pass a rigorous screening process.

FTC Fights Spam With Carrot and Stick

- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been at the forefront of efforts to contain the onslaught of spam that still plagues e-mail in-boxes across the world. Most of its efforts have relied on using legal action as a stick. Now it's trying the carrot as well. The report first notes that it is still too early to assess the effectiveness of the law, which has been in effect for slightly less than a year. There are some "significant hurdles" facing the FTC in these cases, according to the report: identifying the source of spam, developing enough evidence to hold a person liable for spam, and obtaining monetary rewards (the theoretical maximum civil penalties are typically mitigated by factors such as the defendant's ability to pay, for example). Read A CAN-SPAM Informant Reward System: A Report to Congress report.

State Perspective - Massachusetts

- Interview with Juliette N. Kayyem, Massachusetts' undersecretary of public safety for homeland security.

Nuclear security

- While the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has bolstered security at nuclear plants since 9-11, the GAO cannot yet say whether each plant "has taken reasonable and appropriate steps to address the new design-basis threat," which establishes the maximum terrorist threat that a facility must defend against. Security plans reviewed by GAO lacked "important site-specific information," including where responding guards were to be stationed. Moreover, the GAO noted that the NRC isn't sharing with plants lessons learned from inspections at those plants.

Identity theft.

- FTC addresses the appropriate proof of identity needed by consumers to block identity theft.

Background checks

- In an expansion of the state's program to require fingerprinting for government agencies, a new Arizona law (formerly H.B. 2073) requires that child protective service (CPS) workers obtain fingerprint clearance cards.

Volume Speaks Volumes about Homeland Security

- Can you guess which of the following groups, offices, and councils are part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)? The Homeland Security Council. The Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism. The Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Office. The Terrorist Threat Integration Center. The Homeland Security Advisory Council. The answer is the Homeland Security Advisory Council, but don't feel too bad if you were wrong (the others, respectively, are under the White House, the State Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Central Intelligence Agency). The creation of the DHS centralized many functions related to terrorism and homeland security, but others remain in separate departments. Security professionals who would like to understand these various functions and how they fit together may want to get the Homeland Security Deskbook, a looseleaf volume by the attorneys at Venable LLP that explains the organization of homeland security functions both within and outside the DHS. Link to the bookseller.

Quick Bytes: DVD deterioration

- CDs and DVDs give businesses a space-saving way to archive data and an easy way to retrieve it. But what standards must these media storage formats meet? The Government Information Preservation Working Group, made up of experts from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the DVD Association, is devising requirements for archival-quality CD and DVD media and making specifications for meeting these requirements. NIST is also developing a test for media manufacturers to determine whether their products meet these criteria. @ Link to the project and a research paper from NIST via SM Online.
 




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