FTC announces awards for hackers who want to silence robocalls

There is a wide swath of America beyond tired of hearing from “Rachel from Cardholder Services.” On the other hand, the Federal Trade Commission is happy to hear from Rachel time and time again. Earlier this month, the FTC, along with the help of DEF CON attendees, created ways to attract and gather data on “Rachel” — a notorious automated telemarketing scheme known as a “robocall” — so law enforcement and researchers can figure out what makes robocalling still so prevalent despite the existence of a national “Do Not Call” list. The FTC announced the winners of its “Zapping Rachel”…

GSA picks Valiant for enterprise IT security contract

The General Services Administration this week awarded Valiant Solutions a $33 million contract to serve as the agency’s first line of enterprisewide defense against cyber attacks.

USPS loses database and backup in hardware failure

The United States Postal Service lost the digital version of an entire database that records and monitors security incidents due to a hardware failure with the hard drive that stored both the database and its backup. Now the only record the agency has of those incidents resides in five large file cabinets in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Can the federal acquisition process support innovation?

There is widespread agreement that the federal government’s process for acquiring goods and services needs to change to enable agencies to keep pace with the rapid pace of technology development. But there is growing concern that the government cannot truly support innovation without a dramatic simplification of the rules.

White House looks to case studies to increase value of innovation investments

From NASA’s private sector competitions to promote the future of commercial space travel to the Department of Veterans Affairs’s invitation for ideas to ease restrictions on nontraditional contractors, the White House released a new document Aug. 21 jointly produced by the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy highlighting an array of innovative contracting case studies in federal government.

NSF awards $20 million for two experimental cloud projects

The projects, called Chameleon and CloudLab, are part of the CISE Research Infrastructure: Mid-Scale Infrastructure-NSFCloud program and are meant to be complementary to typically industry-driven cloud development, just like NSF’s involvement during the genesis of the Internet.

David Bray on FCC’s cloud adoption

FCC Chief Information Officer David Bray recently sat down with FedScoop as part of the Cloud Innovation Heroes campaign, presented by Intel and Amazon Web Services, to talk about his agency’s adoption of cloud computing.

Feds, industry brainstorm future of government efficiency

Government and industry IT leaders gathered Thursday at FedScoop’s Sixth Annual Lowering the Cost of Government With IT Summit to brainstorm ways agencies can leverage emerging technologies to create a more cost-effective and smarter government.

Postal Service geo-fence tech promising, but not quite ready

Geo-fence technology could make the U.S. Postal Service more efficient, but it’s not quite ready for prime time, according to an August 14 report from the USPS inspector general. Geo-fence technology leverages global positioning system signals to create virtual geographic zones that ensure delivery personnel stay on schedule and on their routes. According to the IG, the Postal Service is currently developing and testing a delivery management system (DMS) that includes geo-fence technology to improve efficiency. Under the system, if a delivery driver ventures from a predetermined route, a supervisor would receive an email or text message alerting them of the deviation. With…

NHTSA begins to explore vehicle-to-vehicle communications

Technology that could save more than 1,000 lives on the road per year is one step closer to reality after the Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released an advance notice of proposed rule-making about vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology.

Feds working to overcome challenges, early failures in public-facing mobile apps

As agencies continually release public-facing mobile apps to better serve American citizens, the directors and strategists behind their creation are the first to admit there is room for improvement.

18F publishes guidelines for open source contribution

As 18F continues to emphasize its belief in open source federal IT development, the organization last week published a contributor’s guide to help those reusing and sharing its code.

Here’s how you can help NASA shine a light on photos of Earth’s cities

Can you identify a city just by looking at its lights from space? NASA would like to hear from you.

Could providing government services save the post office?

Even as the financial situation for the United States Postal Service continues to grow more dim, the agency could look to providing services for government agencies to cut costs governmentwide and bring some additional revenue to the in-debt postal provider.

NASA taps massive coding community for deep space solutions

NASA’s National Tournament Lab is working with TopCoder, a community of more than 630,000 developers, designers and scientists to find solutions from everything to faster email delivery from space to monitoring astronaut health.

SEC investigates sensitive information disclosure

The Securities and Exchange Commission did not properly guard sensitive information from a September 2013 meeting and executive session, according to a report from the agency’s inspector general’s office.

“A review of Commissioner Aguilar’s desk telephone records disclosed four calls placed to one of Lynch’s telephone numbers between September 12 and 19, 2014, including one telephone call made approximately 35 minutes after the conclusion of the executive session,” the IG report states.

FCC establishes deadlines for text-to-911 services

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 Friday to require all wireless carriers and some messaging services to allow people to text 911 in the event of an emergency.

The new rules called for all providers to allow texts to emergency services by Dec. 31, 2014 and all 911 call centers, known as public safety answering points (PSAPs), to implement the ability to receive messages by June 30, 2015.

HP to pay USPS $32.5 million for overcharges

According to a release from the Justice Department, the tech company agreed to pay the Postal Service $32.5 million amid allegations that HP overcharged USPS between 2001 and 2010. HP allegedly failed to comply with pricing terms established in a contract between the two entities.

Army leads the way in small business contracting

The Small Business Administration announced Aug. 1 that the federal government reached its small business contracting goal for the first time in eight years, and the U.S. Army was a critical force behind that success.

OPM finalizes phased retirement plan with little change

The Office of Personnel Management released its final ruling on phased retirement Thursday, allowing federal employees with decades of service under their belts to work part time while accruing partial retirement benefits, almost identical to the plan’s draft introduced last summer. Eligible federal workers can begin applying for phased retirement in 90 days.

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