Headlines from around the Web for Monday, Jan. 28, 2008
Compiled by Melanie Bender
The Washington Post
President Bush signed a directive this month that expands the intelligence community's role in monitoring Internet traffic to protect against a rising number of attacks on federal agencies' computer systems. The directive, whose content is classified, authorizes the intelligence agencies, in particular the NSA, to monitor the computer networks of all federal agencies -- including ones they have not previously monitored.
Government Computer News
On Feb. 1 the National Institute of Standards and Technology will release a list of validated scanners that check for Federal Desktop Core Configuration compliance. The scanners all use the Security Content Automation Protocol to automatically scan desktop computers and return the results, said Peter Mell, NISTâ€™s SCAP validation program manager, at an FDCC workshop held Thursday in Gaithersburg, Md.
After firing nine government employees for visiting "an egregious amount" of pornographic Web sites, the city announced this week that it has implemented a filtering scheme that would screen porn on all government computers. D.C. has begun putting technology in place that will block sexual content and notify users of the government's Web use and access policies.
Employment among African-American IT professionals rose by 10.3 percent in 2007, reaching levels not seen since the Internet boom. Still, the percentage of blacks among all employed IT workers is lower than it was at the beginning of the decade.
Eight years after the technology bubble burst, venture capital funding for networking start-ups is still hard to come by. Investors still taking a hit from the excesses of 1999 and 2000 have limited the amount theyâ€™re willing to spend on new companies in favor of later-stage players.
This month has at long last brought Philadelphia a new water-billing system to replace a 30-year-old mainframe application that had forced city workers to continue using punch cards. The billing-system initiative, known as Project Ocean, was once a high-priced mess for the city. But Philadelphia CIO Terry Phillis said the new system finally went live on Jan. 2.
The Boston Globe
In an effort to boost commuter rail ridership, The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority announced a pilot program yesterday that makes free wireless Internet access available along the Worcester/Framingham rail line to South Station. The MTBA began developing the service more than a year ago after Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray, then mayor of Worcester, suggested it.
The New York Times
Hand-held clickers are part of an increasingly popular technology known as an audience response system, which has been used for everything from surveying game show audiences to polling registered voters. That technology is now spreading to public and private schools across the country.
Pennsylvania has issued the first Governor's Report on State Performance, aimed at tracking the effectiveness of such state programs as welfare-to-work, tourism, alternative energy and more. The 180-page report was printed for lawmakers and cabinet members, but is available online to the general public on the state's Web site.