The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) has far-reaching government benefits as well as hurdles that must be addressed to ensure its success, according to authors of the research paper “The Data Act: Vision and Value.”

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Due to its relatively new and complex nature, there is no straightforward method for categorizing a cyberattack as a digital act of war, according to witnesses at a House Oversight Committee hearing.

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One of the major problems facing the cybersecurity of the nation’s critical infrastructure is a lack of personnel, according to witnesses at both the House Homeland Security Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Both committees held hearings on the security of critical infrastructure in the U.S.

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Small businesses are prime targets for today’s hackers, according to witnesses testifying at the House Small Business Committee. “According to a recent report by Verizon Enterprise, over 70 percent of attacks occurred in businesses with fewer than 100 employees,” said Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio.

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From 2006 to 2015, 6,700 firearms were transferred to individuals with prohibiting domestic violence records that should have prevented them from obtaining weapons. The Government Accountability Office stated that better analysis of Federal Bureau of Investigation data could help lead to improved background checks on domestic violence cases.

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Commercial data services can help the efficiency of program integrity activities for certain government agencies. The Government Accountability Office stated in a June 30 report that agencies can focus their efforts on other tasks if they allow commercial data service providers to offer Web and phone-based services to authenticate taxpayers’ identities.

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An update to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, specifically Rule 41, which could automatically take effect in December, is once again bringing up concerns of privacy and security in the digital world. “The changes in Rule 41 leave Americans […] more exposed to threats, and, of course, put at risk their liberty,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. “Our lives are lived online; most of our most private information is stored on the cloud.”

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Government IT has a problem with planning better solutions, not coming up with ideas for those solutions, according to Federal CIO Tony Scott. “Ideas are not the problem in Washington; Washington is full of ideas. What Washington doesn’t have…is a good implementation plan for those ideas,” Scott said at a Citrix cybersecurity event.

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The Internet of Things will soon transform the way transportation and infrastructure operate in the United States, according to witnesses at the Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security hearing.

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Farmers are concerned about some aspects of the Federal Aviation Administration’s recent regulations regarding unmanned aerial vehicles. Robert Blair, vice president of agriculture for Measure, one of the nation’s leading drone operators, specifically addressed the regulation that states a UAV operator must fly his or her drone within a line of sight. […]

States are beginning to feel neglected in the creation process of FirstNet, a broadband network intended to provide wireless communication for first responders, according to witnesses at the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet hearing. […]

Federal agencies 18F and the U.S. Digital Service (USDS) are desirable in theory but confusing and misdirected in practice, according to members and witnesses at the House Oversight Committee hearing on Friday.

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Proponents of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA) worry that a change in presidential administration could derail the progress made to release Federal financial data to the public.

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The Social Security Administration—the agency that holds personal data on every American citizen, living or dead—is starting to look a lot like the Office of Personnel Management right before foreign hackers pulled off the largest data breach in government history. And that has lawmakers on Capitol Hill worried.

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Politics and blame stand in the way of Federal IT modernization, according to comments made at the House Oversight Committee’s hearing on legacy IT systems. Congressmen said they were disappointed and baffled over the degree of outdated technology in Federal agencies, some in mission critical systems.

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State-Federal collaboration is going to be essential in combating state and local cyber threats, according to witnesses at a cybersecurity congressional hearing. “States have constantly ranked their cyber capabilities among the lowest capabilities,” said Rep. Dan Donovan, R-N.Y. “What is preventing us from reaching an appropriate level of cybersecurity?”

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Ransomware attacks, which the FBI estimated could cost the United States $1 billion this year, have “become a real plague on the Internet,” according to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. As these attacks are becoming more sophisticated and destructive, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary addressed whether law enforcement has the right tools to foil them.

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NASA’s progress meeting the requirements of FITARA has been anything but out of this world. Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voiced disappointment at the mediocre progress made by most agency chief information officers, but NASA, arguably the most high-tech of all Federal agencies, was the only one to receive an F.

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The sun could pose the largest digital security risk to U.S. critical infrastructure, according to witnesses at a House Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee. “All critical infrastructure sectors are at risk from EMP [electromagnetic pulse],” said Brandon Wales at DHS. […]

Applicants for Federal security clearances may want to double check their Twitter feeds, as agencies could soon be moving forward with investigations into applicants’ social media accounts. The biggest obstacle to these investigations, however, is not privacy concerns, but rather data security.

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The General Services Administration has announced the establishment of a third service branch, known as the Technology Transformation Service, that will be centered around GSA’s 18F digital service organization and will actively provide technology services to other government agencies.

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There are wide discrepancies in satisfaction among Federal employees at various agencies, and Congress wants to know why. “We don’t have a culture of performance recognition in government,” Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, told the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Hearing.

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Consumers comprehensively think that more needs to be done to protect their data, according to a study published by Purple Insights on behalf of ACT the App Association. But do they trust government or tech companies more? […]

Dave Powner, director of IT issues at the Government Accountability Office, profiled the upcoming agency scorecard on FITARA and discussed the Federal government’s continuing difficulties with data center consolidation and legacy IT modernization.

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Internal Revenue Service cybersecurity is woefully inadequate, and Congress is to blame, according to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. “Congress has sat back and watched while criminals have come in and preyed on taxpayers,” Wyden said at a Senate Finance Committee hearing.

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The General Services Administration is pushing Congress to get behind a plan to establish a third service branch, known as the Technology Transformation Service, that would be centered around GSA’s 18F digital service organization and would actively help manage the $3.1 billion IT modernization fund proposed by the White House, MeriTalk has learned.

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Cyber Command’s influence may not be as expansive as some think, according to its commander, Adm. Michael Rogers. “The Department of Defense is not resourced, nor is it tasked with defending every single computer structure in the U.S.,” he said.

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The Agriculture Department’s Flip Anderson is the only known agency-level FITARA director–an indicator of both the level of importance USDA has assigned to the new law and the resources necessary to manage the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act compliance correctly.

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