Set-Asides

FACNET not be all end all

The Federal Acquisition Computer Network (FACNET) the mandated governmentwide systems architecture for conducting business electronically is only appropriate for certain contracts according to a General Accounting Office report released this month.

For example FACNET is not suitable for contracts that do not require agencies to provide widespread electronic publication of solicitations such as for local on-site support.

The report also found that FACNET is not suitable for procurements that rely on sensitive or classified information because it is not secure enough and it is not suitable when alternative purchasing methods are quicker such as purchase-card procurements.

The White House supports a broader interpretation of electronic commerce to include technology that is not part of FACNET. The Senate Defense authorization bill would repeal mandated use of FACNET.

SSA issues smart card report

Counterfeit-resistant Social Security cards will cost millions of dollars to produce and will raise policy issues about privacy and the potential for the card to become a de facto national identification card according to a Social Security Administration report filed with Congress last week.

In its report SSA noted that "the cost of issuing an enhanced card to 277 million [Social Security] number holders ranges from $3.9 million to $9.2 million depending on the card option selected " including plastic cards and cards with photos secure bar code stripes magnetic stripes and a computer chip.

Some lawmakers say the current Social Security card is not proof of the bearer's identity or citizenship and has no transaction value. "The extent [to which] the public would accept an enhanced card and comply with reissuance will depend largely on the perception of the acceptable uses of the [Social Security number] and card and the...benefits" of a new card the report said.

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