Panel nixes IRS modernization funds

The Senate Appropriations Committee's subcommittee in charge of Internal Revenue Service funding voted July 11 to deny the agency's request for $500 million for future modernization projects.

Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.) chairman of the Treasury Postal Service and General Government Subcommittee said lawmakers want "a more concrete plan of action" before earmarking the money.

Otherwise the panel provided the funds that the IRS requested including $1.3 billion for information systems operations. The subcommittee provided funds specifically for IRS Year 2000 upgrades Campbell said but he did not say whether those include last month's request for an additional $258 million.CERT HP issue security warnings

Two new security vulnerabilities - one affecting mainstream browsers and another found in a Hewlett-Packard Co. workstation - were reported last week.

The Computer Emergency Response Team published an advisory directing users to disable the JavaScript software language used by some Netscape Communications Corp. and Microsoft Corp. World Wide Web browsers. The language contains a bug that enables remote users to monitor another user's Web activities even if the browser is behind a firewall according to the advisory.

Netscape posted a patch for the problem for users of the 3.02 version of its Navigator software but the updated version still may be affected by the flaw. Patches for its new Communicator browser are not yet available. The bug affects Windows 95 and NT versions of Microsoft's Explorer browser.Separately HP issued a security bulletin last week advising users of HP 9000 Series 700 and 800 models running versions of HP-UX 9.x and 10.x to patch a vulnerability that allows local users to gain root privileges commonly reserved only for system administrators. These machines are sold on the Navy's Tactical Advanced Computer 4 contract and HP's Navy TAC blanket purchase agreements.

Patches are available via the company's Web page or from the following e-mail address: support@us.external.hp.com. HCFA extends stop-work order on MTS

The Health Care Financing Administration has extended a stop-work order on development of its Medicare Transaction System until Aug. 15 in order to review proposed changes to the system.

On April 4 the agency issued a 90-day stop-work order to contractor GTE Government Systems Corp. and told the vendor to focus on only the managed-care module of MTS the first of six planned releases.

Andersen Consulting a subcontractor on the GTE contract will now develop that module according to GTE.MTS will replace nine systems used to process Medicare claims with a single unified system. James to join Litton/PRC

William C. James director of architecture technology and interoperability for the Air Force next month will join systems integrator Litton/PRC Inc. as vice president in charge of communications and information infrastructure working on commercial and government accounts.

For the last two years James has been a member of the Air Force's Communications and Information office where he has overseen the service's newly formed chief information officer support staff.


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