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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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Secret Service seeks commercial portal to access law enforcement networks

July 25, 2012 The Secret Service is looking for a commercial alternative to its in-house system for accessing two crime databases, according to solicitation documents posted Monday. The commercial system must access the National Crime Information Center, a database for federal, state and local law enforcement, and the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System, ...

Something You Meant to Say? Don’t Let Death Stop You.

July 24, 2012 The pharaohs once built massive tombs to telegraph their wealth and power to future generations. A Twin Cities company is now offering a more cost effective alternative, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune: a gravestone-embedded QR code that takes smartphone wielding cemetery walkers to a website with information about the ...

FDA seeks data mining tool to track adverse drug reactions

July 24, 2012 The Food and Drug Administration is in the market for a data mining tool that will gather information on adverse reactions to vaccines and other drugs, according to solicitation documents posted Monday. The agency expects the new tool to collect better information about potential problems with drugs that FDA already ...

Satisfaction with government websites inches up to a record high

July 24, 2012 Customer satisfaction with federal websites hit a new high in the second quarter of 2012, but remains slightly below the average for all online and offline businesses measured by the consultancy ForeSee, the company reported Tuesday. The margins in both cases are so small as to be nearly nonexistent. Average ...

Memories of North Dakota Drones

July 23, 2012 My colleague Rebecca Rosen over at the Atlantic Wire picked up an interesting article from Sunday’s Minneapolis Star Tribune about a Predator drone housed at the Grand Forks Air Force Base being lent to local police during a standoff. The subject of the standoff, farmer Rodney Brossart, may be the ...

Video: Longest running Earth-imaging satellite turns 40

July 23, 2012 During four decades in operation, NASA’s Landsat satellite system has tracked the destruction of tropical rainforests, the loss of conservation areas to forest fires, and the shrinking of lakes and inland seas due to irrigation. The longest-running Earth-imaging satellite also has provided free data for researchers studying everything from climate ...

USAID considers medical tracking technology in Haiti

July 20, 2012 The U.S. Agency for International Development’s Haiti mission is considering a program to outfit “a large, but yet-to-be determined segment of the Haitian people” with smart cards to track them from doctor to doctor during the medical referral process, according to an announcement on the government’s grants and contracts website. ...

Streaming Data is One Thing, Interpreting It is Another

July 20, 2012 The first audience question during the inaugural General Services Administration webinar on implementing the federal digital strategy hit on one of the major thorns in the government’s new push for open data. Why should I open up my data, the questioner asked, when someone can simply grab that data and ...

Biggest Barriers to Online Elections Are No Longer Technical

July 20, 2012 The greatest barrier to online voting isn’t the technology but accounting for the possibility of fraud and intimidation when poll watchers aren’t monitoring the actual event, an elections expert said Thursday. Full-fledged online voting in Estonia and a pilot program in Norway have found a creative fix by allowing voters ...

Half of technology leaders are bullish on big data

July 20, 2012 About half of technology experts think the gathering and analysis of troves of big data will produce a “huge positive” for society, while about 40 percent think it will produce a “big negative,” a study released Friday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found. Big data generally refers ...