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Joseph Marks

Staff Correspondent

Joseph Marks covers government technology issues, social media, Gov 2.0 and global Internet freedom for Nextgov. He previously reported on federal litigation and legal policy for Law360 and on local, state and regional issues for two Midwestern newspapers. He also interned for Congressional Quarterly’s Homeland Security section and the Associated Press’s Jerusalem Bureau. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s in international affairs from Georgetown.

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Lawsuit Says GSA Discriminates Against Blind Contractors

5:05 PM ET A group of blind federal contractors filed a lawsuit against the General Services Administration this week over a contractor website they say shuts out the visually impaired. The System for Award Management website, SAM.gov, contains numerous buttons, checkboxes, drop-down menus and “mouseovers” that federal contractors must navigate each year in ...

The RFP for the U-2 Spy Plane Was Just Two Pages Long

April 23, 2014 Federal Communications Commission CIO David Bray dropped an interesting piece of government contracting arcana last week during a panel discussion on the past and future role of government chief information officers. The conversation had turned to the acquisition process and how its complexities can sometimes prevent agencies from buying the ...

Buying Facebook Ads Could be a Bad Call for Agencies

April 22, 2014 Buying Facebook advertising to reach a broader audience may be a bad bet for government agencies -- even if the money’s available and outreach is the mission, according to a new blog post from the General Services Administration’s digital government team. The blog post from GSA’s social media lead Justin ...

BYOD Cost the Energy Department More Than Supplying Government Phones

April 22, 2014 Some Energy Department divisions were too liberal with stipends they paid contract employees under contractor-operated bring-your-own-device plans, an auditor has found. As a result, the department sometimes compensated those contract employees more for supplying their own smartphones and tablets -- which were often loaded up with unlimited voice and data ...

Want to Know How Developers Use Your Agency's Data? Ask Them.

April 21, 2014 Among the mandates in President Obama’s Open Data Policy is a requirement that agencies query the people and companies that use their data to find out what information they’d like released and in what formats. A proposed upgrade to the HealthData.gov website would go one step further, asking users to ...

Flagging Tweets Didn't Weigh Down Late Obamacare Enrollments

April 18, 2014 Nearly 1 million additional Americans registered for Obamacare health insurance coverage between the original close of enrollment on March 31 and Thursday, when the Obama administration announced late registrants had brought its tally up past 8 million enrollees. That final surge took place without the massive social media push that ...

Three Things Federal CIOs Say About CIO Authority

April 17, 2014 Government chief information officers looking to exercise authority wisely can be easily undone -- by senior leaders who don’t understand the value of improved technology, by contracting rules that diminish that value or for a host of other reasons, officials said on Thursday. The Association for Federal Information Resources Management ...

How Government Data Could Make College Cheaper

April 16, 2014 The Education Department is looking for advice on how the private sector and nonprofits might use government-gathered data to make higher education cheaper, more accessible and a better value for the cost. The department wants feedback from developers on how they could use APIs, also known as application programming interfaces, ...

Senate Passes Bill Demanding Uniform Coding for Agencies' Spending Data

April 10, 2014 The Senate passed the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act on Thursday, raising the likelihood the spending transparency measure will become law. The DATA Act, sponsored by Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, would require agencies to use a uniform coding system for federal spending data so internal auditors ...

Government-Run Competitions Should Be About Markets, Not Prizes

April 10, 2014 Running a prize competition in government or industry is about “understanding where the market’s going in 10 years and trying to make it go there in three years,” Christopher Frangione, vice president for prize development at the X Prize Foundation, told members of Congress on Wednesday. That means government agencies ...