Issa launches investigation into USPTO telework abuse

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee announced Tuesday it has launched an investigation into alleged abuses of telework privileges at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Issa claims telework abuse and fraud has been a significant contributor to the massive backlog of patent applications and said such activity appears to be widespread.

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.

FAA looks to create Center of Excellence for drone research

Now that the Federal Aviation Administration has opened all of its unmanned aircraft systems test sites, the agency will attempt to increase its information-gathering capability by partnering with universities to create a UAS center of excellence.

Inside the FAA’s newest drone test site

The sixth and final Federal Aviation Administration-approved testing facility for unmanned aircraft systems became officially operational Wednesday in Blacksburg, Virginia.

FAA rule for model aircraft too narrow, commenters say

As the Federal Aviation Administration prepares to issue guidelines for how it will handle unmanned aircraft systems, the agency is tightening what constitutes a model aircraft so there’s no confusion between the two.

5 IT legislative initiatives that went nowhere before recess

As August begins, the inhabitants of the Capitol building are skipping town for five weeks. In its exit, the legislative branch left several IT bills left unfinished on the table and will have less than two months before November’s midterm election and about four months until the 114th Congress takes office to address some of the major technology issues.

Twitter bots like @congressedits expose agency Wikipedia behavior

A Wikipedia monitoring tool called @congressedits makes it easier to identify potentially politically motivated edits. Advocates claim it can benefit the public.

VA reform bill heads to POTUS’ desk, but what about IT?

The VA reform bill provides funding to expand health care capacity and calls for an independent review of VA operation, including VA’s IT systems.

Senate bill attempts to modify FERPA in era of big data

In introducing the Protecting Student Privacy Act of 2014, Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah would amend the 40-year-old FERPA provisions to ensure that student data handled by private companies is protected.

Reps. take new aim at IT procurement reform

­As the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act awaits action on the Senate floor, four members of Congress are taking a different approach to federal IT procurement reform. Introduced by Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., the Reforming Federal Procurement of Information Technology Act (RFP-IT Act) aims to reform the federal IT procurement process by making it easier for innovative businesses to compete for government projects and establishing a new office to improve federal IT accountability. Eshoo is a ranking member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee in the House Energy & Commerce Committee and co-chairs the Congressional Internet Caucus. One of the bill’s provisions would establish the…

Problem IT threatens progress at Social Security Administration

After more than $280 million spent over six years on an IT project that has yet to be completed, two recent studies have said the Social Security Administration’s faltering IT investments could jeopardize future modernization efforts.

Has Google made NTIS irrelevant?

Before there was the Internet, there was the National Technical Information Service. But now that there is an Internet with virtually unlimited storage capacity and powerful search engines, some in Congress think it might be time to delete the NTIS from the list of top-level government domains.

Significant national security challenges remain 10 years after 9/11 commission report

A decade after the 9/11 Commission issued its final report on the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States, the threat from global terrorism may be more pronounced than ever, with major new vulnerabilities emerging in cyberspace and a Congressional homeland security oversight system plagued by duplication and turf battles.

Significant security flaws in Treasury Department, FDIC computer systems

The GAO released two reports last week that detailed security weaknesses in two federal agencies that are responsible for U.S. financial information.

Senate defense spending bill slashes IT by half-billion, uplifts cyber

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed a fiscal year 2015 Defense Department spending bill Thursday that would cut defense IT spending by a half-billion and reduce President Obama’s military budget requests by $1.4 billion overall.

DOD stands out in software license management

The Government Accountability Office last week released a report recognizing DOD’s software license management plan as satisfactory in effectively meeting four statutory requirements set forth by section 937 of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2013.

Anne Rung nominated for OFPP administrator

In an internal email to OMB employees, Deputy Director for Management Beth Cobert said if confirmed by the Senate, Anne Rung, currently a senior adviser at the agency, would bring “a wealth of experience” to the position.

Amazon files for FAA exemption for delivery drones

In December, Amazon’s CEO announced the company was exploring a drone-based delivery service that could deliver some packages in as quickly as 30 minutes. Less than a year later, the company is ready to take that plan to the next level. In a letter Wednesday to the Federal Aviation Administration, the online shopping giant requested an exemption under section 333 of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act to operate an unmanned aircraft system before the agency’s official guidelines are released.  “Amazon shares Congress’ goal of getting small aerial vehicles (a.k.a., small unmanned aircraft systems, or “sUAS”) flying commercially in the United States…

House passes DHS bill to enhance social media use in disasters

Communication during emergencies has changed drastically in the past decade, evidenced by the use of tools like Twitter to spread important information during crises. Taking advantage of that shift, the House of Representatives passed legislation by vote of 357-19 Tuesday requiring the Department of Homeland Security to form a social media working group to provide guidance and preparedness for social media use should an attack occur.

Obama will veto bill if cuts to energy tech remain

President Barack Obama will veto the 2015 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act if cuts to technology-related funding are not removed, according to a statement released Wednesday by the White House.

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