FedScoop http://fedscoop.com Federal technology news and events Tue, 16 Sep 2014 21:57:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Net neutrality fight goes vocal at first FCC roundtable http://fedscoop.com/fcc-roundtable-open-internet-policy/ http://fedscoop.com/fcc-roundtable-open-internet-policy/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 21:48:21 +0000 http://fedscoop.com/?p=63176 Michael Weinberg, the vice president of public technology nonprofit Public Knowledge, distilled months of written rancor over the Federal Communications Commission's forthcoming Open Internet policy down to two spoken sentences.

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net neutrality

The fight over net neutrality turned vocal Tuesday at the FCC’s first Open Internet roundtable

Michael Weinberg, the vice president of public technology nonprofit Public Knowledge, distilled months of written rancor over the Federal Communications Commission’s forthcoming Open Internet policy down to two spoken sentences.

“We are worried about what happens if the open Internet goes away,” Weinberg said during a roundtable discussion Tuesday at FCC headquarters. “What we need are clear, bright line rules that everyone can understand.”

What those rules should look like and how they should be implemented was the topic of discussion, as a number of industry leaders, academics and open Internet advocates were invited to speak as the commission considers new Open Internet policy guidelines.

Three panels discussed how a new policy could harm the existing Internet landscape, what services what would be impacted the most and how consumers would gather information about their Internet access under these new guidelines. The roundtable, the first of four such events, was held hours after the comment period on the new Open Internet policy closed. The agency said on Monday the topic received over 3 million comments, twice the number the FCC received over the “wardrobe malfunction” at the 2004 Super Bowl.

Mirroring what has been said for months, both companies that interact with the Internet’s end users and companies that move traffic argued that an open Internet is vital for U.S. innovation and the overall health of the economy. However, the methods for how the FCC should go about maintaining an open Internet were not as agreed upon.

“We depend on an open Internet ourselves,” said David Young, vice president of federal regulatory affairs for Verizon. “We have billions in business that depends on other people’s open Internet access. We have invested a lot of money building robust fiber networks that are continuously improving. But it’s not done yet. The demands on the broadband networks will continue and will need continuous and ongoing investment.”

Having unfettered access to those networks is something Althea Erickson, policy director at online craft retailer Etsy said is vital to startups who can’t afford to pay someone to mitigate the rules around paid prioritization.

“I think we know from our experience that speed really does matter,” Erickson said. “Delays of milliseconds means loss of revenue. At Etsy seller who has developed a special product thats unique may not be able to compete with an Amazon, because they couldn’t reach consumers. I don’t see where ISPs get to choose which of those products choose more quickly.”

Young said a lot of the hand wringing over paid prioritization was “worrying for something that has no basis in reality” and that if Internet service providers wanted it, it would have been in place years ago.

“The possibility [for paid prioritization] was allowed for a long time and didn’t occur,” he said. “It’s allowable now and is it not occurring.”

Weinberg was quick to point out that times changed, Internet use has exploded over the past few years and telecom companies have called for paid prioritization in the new rules.

“These are exactly the kind of agreements you would be searching out,” Weinberg said to Young. “We’re seeing it with AT&T, we see it T-mobile, we see it in wireside with Comcast. Competition does not give us openness.”

Julie Kearney, vice president of the Consumer Electronics Association, said she “fails to see harm” in paid prioritization, adding that “some packets may be more valuable than other packets,” such as those related to telemedicine.

“Maybe my outlook is rosy, but we see a lot of winners,” Kearney said. “I think the system is working for commercially reasonable paid prioritization.”

Services like telemedicine, VoIP and teleconferencing — known as specialized services — was discussed in a separate panel, with a number of panelists an open Internet is vital to the spread of these new technologies.

We also need to care greatly about specialized services, because we don’t know what some of them are going to be in the future,” said Jeffrey Campbell, Cisco Systems vice president of the Americas. “There are a lot of things operating across IP networks that might not touch human beings…How we deal with these services on top of communications services matters. The commission needs to set rules for specialized services to come to serve those needs.”

Campbell also said that there needs to be a balance when it comes to specialized services due to the fact that they cannot afford the latency periods that other consumer-facing services can survive.

“Outside of the enterprise world, we have to allow quality of service in some form,” Campbell said. “It’s not that these applications can’t work over basic Internet services, but you can’t have the highest quality at all times that some consumers may choose to want to have.”

Corie Wright, Director of Global Public Policy for Netflix, says that any service, specialized or otherwise, ultimately will suffer if ISPs are allowed to degrade broadband speeds as they see fit.

“Interconnection puts the ‘inter-’ into the Internet,” she said. “When an ISP allows the interconnection to congest consistently, the consumer doesn’t get the broadband she has been advertised or she pays for.”

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler was present for the panels, sticking around late Tuesday to ask questions regarding how mobile broadband should fit into the new rules.

The commission will hold another roundtable Friday that will focus on the enforcement and technological aspects of an open Internet.

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The FTC’s expanding cybersecurity influence http://fedscoop.com/ftcs-expanding-cybersecurity-influence/ http://fedscoop.com/ftcs-expanding-cybersecurity-influence/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 21:30:16 +0000 http://fedscoop.com/?p=63160 As the Department of Homeland Security awaits public comments on its voluntary framework initiative—due Oct. 10—the Federal Trade Commission has been making an aggressive push to expand its authorities and force companies that have lax security programs to bolster their defenses.

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The answer to who is in charge of the federal effort to bolster the nation’s cybersecurity posture may not be as difficult to uncover as previously thought. As the Department of Homeland Security awaits public comments on its voluntary framework initiative—due Oct. 10—the Federal Trade Commission has been making an aggressive push to expand its authorities and force companies that have lax security programs to bolster their defenses.

To be fair, the DHS-backed program, known as the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity and developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology with extensive input from the private sector, is only seven months old. But despite more than a year of development work and meetings around the country, nobody is really sure yet how many private sector firms have adopted the voluntary standards or what impact the standards have had on the nation’s cybersecurity posture. What is clear, however, is the number of massive data breaches is rising and so are the number of punitive enforcement actions by the FTC targeting companies that have failed to take appropriate measures to protect consumer information.

This year, the FTC pursued its 50th data security enforcement case against an audio transcription company that it alleges did not properly protect the personally identifiable information contained in 15,000 user files exposed on the Internet. In addition, the agency recently announced it will investigate last year’s Target data breach, and some lawmakers are now calling on the FTC to investigate this month’s reported hacking incident at Home Depot that may have compromised the personal financial information of tens of millions of consumers.

The FTC is gaining ground in the national cybersecurity debate due to an aggressive attempt to expand its authorities under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which prohibits unfair and deceptive acts or practices. The agency’s push for greater authority to regulate cybersecurity practices in the private sector won a major victory recently when a federal judge denied a motion to dismiss the FTC’s case against Wyndham Worldwide Corp. for failing to protect consumer information. According to a Sept. 11 report by the Congressional Research Service, the judge’s ruling effectively lends support to the FTC’s position that it possesses jurisdiction to regulate data security under its unfair or deceptive practices authority. And as new massive data breaches make the news, experts warn of additional FTC enforcement actions on the horizon.

“The FTC has already signaled that it sees a broad role for itself in data and cybersecurity,” said Megan Brown, a partner with Wiley Rein LLP in Washington, D.C. “The agency has been aggressively investigating and bringing cases, using an expansive approach to its legal authority. High-profile incidents like [the Home Depot and Target breaches] provide the agency with more rhetorical ammunition as it stakes out its territory.”

FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. (Photo: FTC)

FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. (Photo: FTC)

According to recent testimony by FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, the FTC has leveraged its deceptive practices authority to settle more than 30 cases challenging companies’ express and implied claims about the security they provide for consumers’ personal data. The agency has also settled more than 20 cases alleging that a company’s failure to reasonably safeguard consumer data was an unfair practice.

“The agency seems content to let enforcement actions set general expectations for private industry,” Brown said. “While this case-by-case approach tends to foster uncertainty about the adequacy of compliance measures, the private sector should expect more investigations and information requests, particularly in the aftermath of a high-profile incident.”

Todd C. Taylor, an attorney at Charlotte, North Carolina-based Moore & Van Allen PLLC, agreed that more high-profile data breaches would likely lead to more activity by the FTC, but the biggest indicator of potential FTC actions is the recent decision in the Wyndham case. “The Wyndham ruling will likely embolden the FTC to more aggressively go after retailers that have experienced data breaches,” Taylor said. “Whether they will do so in the case of Home Depot, Target or others remains to be seen.”

Some fear any increase in FTC activity that tries to enforce cybersecurity standards could be damaging, not only to industry but to the overall government-led effort to coordinate cybersecurity information sharing.

Vijay Basani, CEO of Acton, Massachusetts-based EiQ Networks Inc., said the FTC is not qualified to set and enforce security standards and the agency should not attempt to do so. “FTC’s mission is to ensure the rights of consumers, fair trade, accurate information in the market place and the elimination and prevention of anticompetitive business practices,” Basani said. “Cybersecurity is not one of FTC’s missions and as such FTC does not have expertise and knowledge to enforce and set cybersecurity standards. It is best left in the current voluntary effort managed by DHS, which deals with cybersecurity on a daily basis.”

“There is clearly a role for consumer protection agencies and legislators to play in turning up the heat on companies who have been seen as not having done enough to secure personally identifiable and highly valuable data,” said Steve Durbin, managing director of the Information Security Forum. “So, it is interesting to see the FTC now weighing in on this. While I am not sure that they should have a role to play in setting standards, there is certainly a space that they can occupy in enforcing data security that is consistent with their overall mission. The fact that the FTC is an independent agency is an added bonus, and should be recognized.”

There are currently eight bills pending in Congress that would impact FTC’s role in cybersecurity, including several that propose granting FTC the authority to promulgate information security standards, impose civil penalties on companies that fail to meet certain standards and authority to issue administrative rules.


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Todd Park could be subpoenaed to testify on Healthcare.gov breach http://fedscoop.com/todd-park-subpoenaed-testify-healthcare-gov-breach/ http://fedscoop.com/todd-park-subpoenaed-testify-healthcare-gov-breach/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 18:32:16 +0000 http://fedscoop.com/?p=63148 He may not be the chief technology officer of the U.S. anymore, but Todd Park, the technology lead under President Obama during the rollout of the Affordable Care Act last year, is already wanted back in Washington to answer for a recent breach of the Healthcare.gov website.

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U.S. CTO Todd Park Photo: Institute of Medicine

U.S. CTO Todd Park (File photo: Institute of Medicine)

He may not be the U.S. chief technology officer anymore, but Todd Park, the technology lead under President Obama during the rollout of the Affordable Care Act last year, is already wanted back in Washington to answer for a recent breach of the Healthcare.gov.

Late last week, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, set an official meeting for his oversight subcommittee Sept. 17 specifically so it could vote to issue a subpoena for Park to appear and explain the breach.

Park was asked to brief members of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee Sept. 10 without a subpoena. According to the committee and Chairman Smith, though, the White House canceled the meeting within 24 hours because “they did not want any official transcript of the discussion.” That led Smith to question, “What is the White House trying to hide?”

“The Obama administration has a responsibility to ensure that the personal and financial data collected by the government is secure,” Smith said. “Last week, news reports revealed that a hacker successfully breached the Obamacare website in July. And we don’t know how many other security breaches have gone unreported. The American people deserve transparency and accountability for the security of their personal information on HealthCare.gov. That is why the Oversight Subcommittee next week will vote to subpoena this information, compelling Mr. Park to testify under oath.”

It’s not the first time either that Park has been subpoenaed to testify on Healthcare.gov. After the website’s botched rollout last October, Congress issued a subpoena for his testimony in November, which led to a backlash and campaign in his support called “Let Todd Work.” While some lawmakers saw Park’s role as part of the problem, others like Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and Elijah Cummings, D-Md., came to his rescue.

“By all accounts, Mr. Park is an incredibly committed, honest, and dedicated public servant, and he does not deserve to be slandered for his efforts or unnecessarily impeded in his work,” they wrote in a letter to Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who issued the subpoena. “With the support of many others in the technology community, we respectfully request that you reverse your confrontational approach and accept Mr. Park’s offer to testify before the Committee next month.”

Issa, a staunch critic of Obamacare in general and constant vocal opponent during its technical troubles, also latched onto the controversy of the recent breach, which is reported to have occurred in July but was not revealed until earlier this month.

Though officials from the Department of Health and Human Services contend that the server breach was not a targeted one and no personal information was put at risk, Issa demanded more answers. In the aftermath of the attack, he summoned Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner to testify on the website’s security efforts in front of his House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, saying that “For nearly a year, the Administration has dismissed concerns about the security of healthcare.gov, even as it obstructed Congressional oversight of the issue.” He asked Tavenner to appear Sept. 18 in front of the committee and representative from the Government Accountability Office.

Though Park will be asked to speak for his time as Obama’s CTO and his efforts with Healthcare.gov, he’ll do so for the first time in a different capacity. In late August, Park stepped down from his role to move home to the Silicon Valley area and work as a tech adviser to the White House. Without much time lost, the White House filled Park’s vacant position with former Google executive Megan Smith.

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Will funding issues force FAA’s NextGen into a holding pattern? http://fedscoop.com/nextgen-implementation-cant-happen-without-stable-funding-experts-say/ http://fedscoop.com/nextgen-implementation-cant-happen-without-stable-funding-experts-say/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 18:13:18 +0000 http://fedscoop.com/?p=63150 The FAA's Next Generation Air Transportation System, called NextGen, is a monumental effort to modernize air travel in the United States. But after a decade of development work and a fair amount of progress at 1,600 airports around the country, funding issues could delay the full promise of NextGen.

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More than 1,600 airports across the country have some form of NextGen implemented and in use; however, further implementation could be limited by funding difficulties. Source: FAA

More than 1,600 airports across the country have deployed some form of the Next Generation Air Transportation System, called NextGen. Future deployments, however, could be limited by funding difficulties. (Source: FAA)

Despite almost a decade of work creating the Next Generation Air Transportation System, called NextGen, experts say the Federal Aviation Administration system designed to reduce air traffic wait times in the air and on the ground will not realize its full potential without a stable source of funding.

NextGen has seen partial deployments in more than 1,600 airports, but in order for a full launch, the FAA needs a more secure funding structure to ensure that the system is supported with an uninterrupted stream of funding.

“Money is the issue, but funding is the problem,” Paul Rinaldi, the president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, said. “Our [air traffic] facilities are running the safest, most efficient system in the world, but we have a funding problem. It’s broken.”

With another round of sequester cuts looming in October 2015, the difficulties of the March 2013 sequester and the October 2013 government shutdown made air traffic control generally difficult, Rinaldi said.

During the shutdown, air traffic controllers were considered essential employees and called into work without pay. Even though the shutdown only lasted a few weeks, the financial struggles set NextGen’s implementation and FAA operations back about nine months.

“Obviously morale takes a tremendous hit when you’re a controller and you’re told you’re essential, but you don’t get paid,” Rinaldi said. “We’re really concerned about the staffing of our facilities. It takes three to five years to certify a controller. If we do not stay on top of that, we will have problems.”

But the difficulties with the funding structure have prompted the FAA to do something else while implementation has been delayed – increase collaboration with industry.

“The FAA has taken a different approach as of late and has started working with industry,” said Matt Hampton, the Transportation Department’s assistant inspector general for aviation audits. “We’re kind of at a pivot point with NextGen. Today, I think we have a much firmer set of priorities.”

Captain Steve Dickson, the senior vice president of flight operations for Delta Airlines, said private industry has been building a new engagement model with the FAA and through the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics’ NextGen Advisory Committee.

“We’ve been working through the federal advisement committee process to develop after a task force in 2009 where more than 300 industry stakeholders came together over a seven month period,” Dickson said. “We followed that up with the stand up of the NextGen Advisory Committee.”

The conversation between Dickson, Hampton and Rinaldi, held Tuesday as a part of Airlines for America’s Aviation Policy Summit at the National Press Club, came on the heels of a keynote by Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., about an upcoming FAA Reauthorization and Modernization bill to amend and modify the 2012 version.

The bill, Graves said, will not come during this Congress, but it will be one of the first priorities for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the next Congress starting January 2015.

“Moving forward, we can’t do any concrete work, but behind the scenes the work is being done,” Graves said. “It’s a monumental task. We’ve got everything from those issues like NextGen, but we’ve also got a gazillion little tiny things to worry about like hangar use and lead-based fuel. There’s a thousand items out there, but the good news is we can get a lot of that worked out early and the rest of that is negotiated through committee work.”

Even if that happens successfully, there are still challenges to realizing the full promise of NextGen. Dickson said despite significant progress so far, the joint group of agencies working on NextGen has a lot more to do, especially in making a transition to a new system while airports and air traffic controllers are still using the current one.

“We’ve made a good bit of progress, but it’s mixed,” Dickson said. “Implementation is a difficult process. Transitions are always difficult, particularly when you look at the systems in the U.S. compared to anyone else in the world. It’s almost like trying to renovate a house while you’re still living in the house. You have to have a transition plan for what the house is going to look like.”

Although NextGen is a technology-heavy initiative that will bring smarter, global position system-enabled technologies and allow airports and air traffic controllers to more precisely track flights and keep them on more direct routes, Dickson said the most difficult part of implementation will be the process.

“It’s not so much about technology,” Dickson said. “It’s about how do we use these tools? How do we take all of that, put it together and improve performance in the system.”

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ViON’s Richard Breakiron on how emerging tech can lower government costs http://fedscoop.com/vions-richard-breakiron-emerging-tech-can-lower-government-costs/ http://fedscoop.com/vions-richard-breakiron-emerging-tech-can-lower-government-costs/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 17:28:28 +0000 http://fedscoop.com/?p=63163 Richard Breakiron, senior director of cyber solutions for ViON, discusses with FedScoop TV how government agencies can leverage emerging technologies to lower their costs.

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Richard Breakiron, senior director of cyber solutions for ViON, discusses with FedScoop TV how government agencies can leverage emerging technologies to lower their costs.

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New SEC office to focus on data-driven analytics http://fedscoop.com/secs-new-office-focus-assessing-financial-risk-data/ http://fedscoop.com/secs-new-office-focus-assessing-financial-risk-data/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 22:02:39 +0000 http://fedscoop.com/?p=63127 Data-driven assessment tools will be at the center of a new office within the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to a September 11 release from the agency.

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The headquarters of the SEC in northeast Washington, D.C. Source: Wikimedia

The headquarters of the SEC in northeast Washington, D.C.
Source: Wikimedia

Data-driven assessment tools will be at the center of a new office within the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to a September 11 release from the agency.

The Office of Risk Assessment, located within the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis (DERA) will coordinate the agency’s efforts to use of data tools to analyze risk and develop models to support activities across the SEC.

DERA was established in 2009 to develop risk assessment tools for the SEC and integrate financial economics and rigorous data analytics into the agency’s core mission. The agency’s website identifies the division’s mission as the SEC’s ‘think tank.’

“DERA relies on a variety of academic disciplines, quantitative and non-quantitative approaches and knowledge of market institutions and practices to help the Commission approach complex matters in a fresh light,” the website’s description says.

The Office of Risk Assessment will take that a step further, using data to improve the agency’s ability to provide more detailed assessments of risk.

“The Office of Risk Assessment will build on the existing expertise of DERA’s staff, which includes economists, accountants, analysts and attorneys, to provide sophisticated assessments of market risks,” Scott Bauguess, DERA’s deputy director, said in a statement.

The new office will be devoted to the development of tools similar to those already created under DERA. One of thosee tools, the Aberrational Performance Inquiry, led to eight enforcement actions on hedge fund corruption. The division has also previously developed broker-dealer tools to help the commission’s examiners allocate resources based on risk.

The new office will work with the SEC’s Enforcement Division’s Financial Reporting and Audit Task Force and the agency’s Division of Corporation Finance to develop a tool to assist in identifying financial reporting irregularity looking to discover potential financial fraud, according to the release. The Office of Risk Assessment will also support the agency’s work on the Financial Stability Oversight Council.

For now, the new office will be staffed by current DERA employees. The division will be on the lookout, though, for a new assistant director to lead the office.

“The establishment of this new office reflects the Commission’s ongoing focus on deploying data-driven analytics to assist in routing scarce resources to areas of the greatest risks to the market,” Bauguess said.

Bauguess and the SEC did not provide an additional comment by publication.

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Can the FTC protect consumers from the big data paradox? http://fedscoop.com/ftc-big-data-workshop/ http://fedscoop.com/ftc-big-data-workshop/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 21:54:17 +0000 http://fedscoop.com/?p=63117 Measuring the impact of big data on business, society and government is important. But how can you measure something that means so many different things to so many people? The Federal Trade Commission is seeking answers.

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big data

It could be a group of five or a group of 50, but if you asked a group of experts for a definition of big data, you’d be hard pressed to get a clear-cut answer. What’s clear is that whatever big data is, lines need to be drawn that shape how it impacts the public, industry and government.

How to measure this impact was the basis for the Federal Trade Commission’s big data workshop, which brought business leaders, academics and consumer advocates together Monday to discuss whether big data is helping or harming consumers.

Pamela Dixon, the founder and executive director of the World Privacy Forum says she could find examples of big data both offering help and causing harm, but it’s difficult to build policies off either side of the argument due to a lack of understanding as to what big data actually is.

“Big data is immature,” Dixon says. “There is no firm, scalpel-like, definition of big data. Show me an actual legislative definition of it. I know you can’t, because there isn’t one yet. So what do we do with that? We can’t just throw out the existing fairness structures. We need to use the existing fairness structures that we have.”

FTC commissioner Julie Brill spoke about how those current fairness structures — particularly the Fair Credit Reporting Act — should serve as benchmarks for new regulations aimed at companies that are creating alternative credit scores out of the data they are collecting.

“The use of new sources of information, including information that goes beyond traditional credit files, to score consumers raises fresh questions about whether these alternate scores may have disparate impacts along racial, ethnic or other lines that the law protects,” Brill said. “Those questions are likely to linger and grow more urgent…until the companies that develop these alternate scores go further to demonstrate that their models do not contain racial, ethnic, or other prohibited biases.”

Bias was a common thread throughout each panel, due to the fact that big data by practice divides and separates people into myriad of groups.

“As businesses segment consumers to determine what products are marketed to them, the prices they are charged, and the level of customer service they receive, the worry is that existing disparities will be exacerbated,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “Is this discrimination? In one sense, yes. By its nature, that is what big data does in the commercial sphere — analyzes vast amounts of information to differentiate among us at lightning speed through a complex and opaque process. But is it unfair, biased, or even illegal discrimination?”

Throughout the day, examples of inclusive and exclusive big data practices were on display. Gene Gsell, a senior vice president of SAS, spoke about how big data has helped serve people who haven’t been able to use banks or secure car loans by traditional means.

“One of the things that is driving change is the ability to process this data, the ability to collect it, the ability to do something with it,” Gsell said. “[Businesses] don’t say they want to discriminate. But we want to be able to predict.”

However, studies conducted by LaTanya Sweeney, a professor of government and technology at Harvard University who serves as the FTC’s chief technologist, show the line between discrimination and predicting consumer behavior is a tenuous one.

Sweeney conducted a study that found web searches for black names were 25 percent more likely than searches for white names to return ads suggesting the person had an arrest record, regardless of whether the person had ever actually been arrested. Another study Sweeney reviewed at the workshop showed ads for harshly criticized credit cards were often directed to the homepage of a popular black fraternity.

Regardless of the bias, Nicol Turner-Lee, the vice president for the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, said everyone needs to be aware that these practices are now a reality for anyone connected to the Internet.

“People have to understand that their data is being used for particular purposes,” she said. “Lets face it, the Internet is this big buffet of places. It’s not that simple to say ‘I’m going to the Internet for this or for that.’ When you give your email address on the Internet, there is an information service that’s taking that and making algorithms that tailored a search to you.”

Gsell says these tailored searches are not novel and more of an evolution of what businesses have been trying to do for the last century.

“Big data has been around for a long time, today there is just more of it,” Gsell said. “This phenomena is not something that just came into vogue. The industry gets more credit than what actually exists. Most people are overwhelmed with all of that data.”

Even if most businesses have yet to discover a way to harness all of the data they collect, Dixon argued that the collection alone is enough to create bias and policy is needed to protect the public from the negative impact that bias could have in their daily life.

“The moment a person is put into a category or is classified, that triggers a data paradox,” Dixon said. “The bottom line is when you classify an individual you trigger this and when that is triggered, we have to do something about it.”

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Fedmentor: NGA’s Ellen McCarthy on STEM future http://fedscoop.com/fedmentor-ngias-ellen-mccarthy-stem-future/ http://fedscoop.com/fedmentor-ngias-ellen-mccarthy-stem-future/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 21:01:14 +0000 http://fedscoop.com/?p=63128 Ellen McCarthy, the chief operating officer at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, shared her observations about the future of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and offered some timely advice for those who may be thinking about pursuing a STEM career in the federal government.

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Ellen McCarthy, the chief operating officer at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, shared her observations about the future of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and offered some timely advice for those who may be thinking about pursuing a STEM career in the federal government.

McCarthy spoke to FedScoop Sept. 9 at its first-ever Tech Town Hall event in Washington, D.C.

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Global security association helps translate NIST framework http://fedscoop.com/global-security-association-helps-explain-nist-framework/ http://fedscoop.com/global-security-association-helps-explain-nist-framework/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 20:41:30 +0000 http://fedscoop.com/?p=63118 The Information Security Forum, a U.K.-based association of leading companies from around the world, released a "mapping" document Monday that for the first time helps companies that currently use the ISF's standard of good practice—known simply as the standard—to guide their information security programs to know if they are in compliance with the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology's cybersecurity framework.

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The Information Security Forum, a U.K.-based association of leading companies from around the world, released a “mapping” document Monday that for the first time helps companies that currently use the ISF’s standard of good practice—known simply as the standard—to guide their information security programs to know if they are in compliance with the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology’s cybersecurity framework.

ISF standardsSince the release of the framework in February, neither NIST nor the Department of Homeland Security have been able to provide details on the number of private sector companies that have adopted the voluntary set of cybersecurity standards. William E. May, associate director for laboratory programs at NIST, opened a 45-day public comment period on Aug. 21 soliciting feedback that NIST hopes will shed some light on the private sector’s level of awareness about the framework and what, if any, impact it has had on security and risk management policies and procedures.

“With the newly created mapping between the NIST Cybersecurity Framework and The Standard, ISF members can now determine which of their current controls satisfy the corresponding control objectives in the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, and thus demonstrate their alignment with it,” said Steve Durbin, managing director of ISF, in a statement. “Using the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, together with The Standard and other information risk management tools, enables organizations of all sizes to effectively demonstrate to their stakeholders the progress they’ve made in building a robust cyber resilience approach.”

ISF’s standard of good practice is one of the most comprehensive guides for information security in the world. More than half of ISF’s 300 member companies are included in the Fortune 500 and span more than a dozen countries.

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 4.28.51 PMThe ISF standard is updated annually and “enables organizations to meet the control objectives set out in the NIST Cybersecurity Framework and extends well beyond the topics defined in the framework to include coverage of essential and emerging topics such as information security governance, supply chain management (SCM), data privacy, cloud security, information security audit and mobile device security,” ISF said in a statement. “Using the NIST Cybersecurity Framework – together with the ISF’s Standard of Good Practice and other information risk management tools – will enable you to effectively demonstrate to your stakeholders the progress you have made in building a robust cyber resilience approach.”

According to an information sheet on the new mapping, released by ISF, the benefits of leveraging the ISF standard to better understand where your organization’s level of compliance with the NIST framework are threefold:

  • You can rely on a well-established, robust control set with sufficient detail to address the control objectives in the framework.
  • The Standard of Good Practice covers not just technical topics, but includes operational and governance controls necessary to maintain a resilient information security program.
  • You can assess your existing security arrangements against the Standard of Good Practice controls to determine how well you are currently satisfying the control objectives in the framework.

You can find more information about ISF here.

 

 

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FedWire: GSA welcomes new Presidential Innovation Fellows, DARPA puts lasers on a chip and FCC contributes to National Health IT Week http://fedscoop.com/fedwire-gsa-welcomes-new-presidential-innovation-fellows-darpa-puts-lasers-chip-fcc-contributes-national-health-week/ http://fedscoop.com/fedwire-gsa-welcomes-new-presidential-innovation-fellows-darpa-puts-lasers-chip-fcc-contributes-national-health-week/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 18:27:26 +0000 http://fedscoop.com/?p=63114 Fedwire: GSA welcomes new Presidential Innovation Fellows, DARPA puts lasers on a chip and FCC contributes to National Health IT Week

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FedWireFedWire is FedScoop’s afternoon roundup of news and notes from the federal IT community. Send your links and videos to tips@fedscoop.com.

 

GSA welcomes third class of Presidential Innovation Fellows.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency develops microchip-based “lasers.”

Former FBI Laboratory director named vice president of identity intelligence at American Systems.

FCC celebrates National Health IT Week.

 

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