By Brian Robinson
If you Washington types ever thought about what it would be like to actually work for Twitter, rather than just experience it through your thumbs, now is the time to find out. The company is looking for a “government liaison.”
This will be the company’s first DC employee — in fact, the first outside of Twitter’s small San Francisco office — and “the closest point of contact with a variety of important people and organizations looking to get the most out of Twitter on both strategic and highly tactical levels,” according to the job announcement.
The reverse side of that is that the person appointed will also be expected to feed Twitter execs with ideas of how to spread the microblogging services to politicos. It could be an important base for the company’s future, given the current mania for all-things Twitter.
Again, according to the announcement, the successful candidate will “help set the culture and approach of a fledgling public policy department and be an important part of our very small company.”
Take the “very small” bit with a pinch of salt. Yes, Twitter only employs about 200 people, but that doesn’t relate to anything in the world of the Internet. More importantly, take a look at the growth of the company as reported by GigaOM: 65 million tweets a day for a total of 2 billion so far.
Suffice to say, the eventual Twitter liaison will be a very sought-after contact in DC.
Posted on Jun 09, 2010 at 2:16 PM0 comments
The administration is trying to take cybersecurity to the next level with an R&D program aimed at producing what it sees as game-changing technologies that will “significantly enhance the trustworthiness of cyberspace.”
It will kick off the new program at an event May 19 in Berkeley, Calif., where people from agencies that make up the Federal Networking and Information technology Research and Development (NITRD) program will explain the program’s goals. It will include a webcast.
Basically, it will split the research into three areas: tailored trustworthy spaces, which are “sub-spaces” in cyberspace that support different security policies and services for specific kinds of interactions; something called moving target, which will increase the cost of any asymmetric attack, presumably to make attackers think twice before they act; and cyber economic incentives, which will look at the economic principles needed to encourage good practices.
The NITRD is one of the older continuing R&D efforts in government, going all the way back to the 1991 High Performance Computing Act, and it’s had a good success rate. Cybersecurity was a focus for it well before it became the hot issue it now is.
The NITRD isn’t proposing this three-step program as a be-all for cybersecurity, but it does expect it to be a precursor for different ways of thinking about the problems of cybersecurity, and a way of “provoking” novel solutions.
(Hat Tip to govinfosecurity.com
Posted on May 17, 2010 at 1:09 PM0 comments
I miss the days of the old Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), which regularly put out reports about science and technology issues that were well researched, informative and managed at the same time to irk many people on Capitol Hill and elsewhere whose political and ideological tilts they upset. Fun times!
So, of course, Congress had to get rid of it. Certainly the usual suspects, such as cost, redundancy and so on, were rounded up to defend the decision. But there was no doubt that the OTA-as-irritant was the biggest factor.
Given the generally lousy track record that Congress has had since those days in debating and deciding on science and technology issues, I think the case has been made many times over for the return of the OTA, or something similar. And indeed, many have tried to argue for that, so far without success.
Here's one more, which tries to take into account the Obama Administration's push for open government. The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is suggesting in a new report that the U.S. takes up the European experience with Participatory Technology Assessment (pTA).
The new-agey moniker notwithstanding, the center says that there are now 18 European technology agencies that are flourishing using pTA, which takes account of the views of lay people as well as those of experts. Also, it points out, the use of pTA has already been proven in the U.S. by various university groups and other non-profit organizations.
This kind of thing was impossible during the age of the OTA because the means just didn't exist to collect these lay views, at least not easily. With social media and the Internet, those barriers have disappeared.
The report's author, Dr. Richard Sclove, is pushing for the creation of a nationwide network that will incorporate pTA. Count me in.
Posted on Apr 30, 2010 at 2:24 PM0 comments