Circuit

Cyber forecasts. Caution online. Helping hands. Amber alerts. 20/20 vision.

Cyber forecasts

A devastating cyberattack on the Internet or the nation's power grid is likely to occur sometime during the next decade, said scholars, industry officials and technology experts who responded to a recent survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

More than two-thirds of the 1,286 participants said they expect such an attack. According to the survey, many of those who spend time on the Internet also agreed with a prediction that Web logs would radically change the news and publishing industry. Only 32 percent of the survey participants agreed with a prediction that Internet voting would be secure and widespread by 2014.

Caution online

Ever wary that Big Brother may be watching, even officials at unions representing federal employees recently warned Web site visitors to use caution.

At one point last month, we found this prominent, red-lettered notice on the Web site of the American Federation of Government Employees: "IMPORTANT: This information should not be downloaded using government equipment, read during duty time or sent to others using government equipment because it suggests action to be taken in support or against legislation." The notice has since been removed.

What? Is this no longer an issue?

Helping hands

Members of the CIO Council, American Council for Technology, Industry Advisory Council and Information Technology Association of America are holding their first joint event Jan. 25 to help soldiers returning from Iraq transition to civilian careers.

The price of admission is a donation to support veterans as they jump-start new careers. The event will take place at the Army-Navy Club in Arlington, Va., and will feature representatives of the Department of Veterans Affairs' IT internship program, which helps veterans establish new careers.

Among the suggested donations are laptop computers, gift certificates for furniture and clothing, and dry-cleaned suits and other business attire.

Amber Alerts

The Amber Alert network is a success because of information and communications technology, according to officials who recently marked the ninth anniversary of the incident that was a catalyst for creating the system.

Justice Department officials also announced a national public awareness campaign, in which the National Association of Broadcasters will issue public service announcements featuring John Walsh, host of America's Most Wanted, and Ed Smart, father of Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped in Utah and found months later.

The system was named for Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old Texas girl abducted and murdered in 1996. The acronym "Amber" also stands for America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response.

New Jersey State Police officials say technology contributes to almost every aspect of Amber Alerts.

"With the touch of the key, ...we're connected with the Department of Transportation," which relays messages to changeable message boards. Those boards connect with the Port Authority bridges in New York and Philadelphia, said Lt. Kevin Rehmann of the New Jersey State Police.

20/20 vision

Radio shock jock Don Imus brought his nationally syndicated radio show to Washington, D.C., last Thursday for the inauguration. One of the sponsors of the program was EzGov, an e-government technology and services company.

Unfortunately for EzGov, Imus had some trouble reading the company's name.

"It looks like an eye chart or something," Imus said.

Well, as they say, as long as they get the name right and spell it correctly.

Got a tip? Send it to jhasson@fcw.com.

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