The Federal government currently lacks the empowered leadership necessary to address U.S. cyber vulnerabilities, according to former Federal experts testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “For the entire apparatus, there currently isn’t an empowered, either an individual or an agency, to do what I think is necessary,” said Samantha Ravich, senior adviser for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and former national security adviser for Vice President Dick Cheney.






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Congress will be busy with future tech initiatives and members have high hopes for the potential of current programs, according to two congressmen who spoke June 7 at MeriTalk’s Cloud Computing Brainstorm. Congressional IT leaders Reps. Will Hurd, R-Texas, and Gerry Connolly, D-Va., talked about the future of major IT initiatives such as FedRAMP, the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act, FITARA, and executive leadership, offering insight into the shape of IT developments in the coming months.






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Reps. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., and Scott Taylor, R-Va., introduced the Hack the Department of Homeland Security Act, a bill that would establish a bug bounty program that encourages white-hat hackers to search for and report vulnerabilities within DHS systems.






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Government officials predict that though getting all Federal agencies to comply with the recent Cybersecurity Executive Order and the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) bill will be difficult, the outcomes will be very beneficial for government.






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Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., introduced the Balancing the Rights of Web Surfers Equally and Responsibly (BROWSER) Act of 2017, which requires Internet service providers to get permission to sell users’ data.






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Only two Federal agencies, the departments of Commerce and Education, have created plans that address all four elements outlined by the Office of Management and Budget’s 10 year-old memorandum requiring agencies to reduce exposure of Social Security numbers.






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President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget, released on May 23, provides for $228 million of IT modernization funding through the General Services Administration, as laid out in the Modernizing Government Technology Act that passed the House last week.






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