Fedwire Briefs

Privacy neglected on fed Web sites

Most federal agencies do not adequately protect the privacy of individuals on their World Wide Web sites, according to a report released last week.

The Center for Democracy and Technology, an advocacy group that follows IT issues in Washington, D.C., found that nearly half of the 46 Web sites it studied this month had not posted a privacy policy. CDT cited the CIA, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Veterans Affairs as having particular concerns regarding privacy. CDT, which said it did not systematically assess the quality of the privacy notices, also found that eight federal Web sites had posted privacy policies but required users to follow a link or two to find them.

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Y2K fund fight brewing

When he returns from Kosovo this week, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, is expected to begin discussions about Senate plans to reallocate $973 million in emergency funding that Congress last year gave agencies to fix computers for the Year 2000 bug.

Last week the Clinton administration testified that the Senate is taking money earmarked for Year 2000 problems - a move that could adversely affect agencies' efforts to fix computers. Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah), chairman of the Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem, was alarmed after hearing the testimony and told members of the administration that he will "do what he can'' to avoid cuts from the special fund.

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White House seeks R&D funds

Neal Lane, director of the president's Office of Science and Technology Policy, last week asked for support for the administration's request for research and development spending before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee's Science, Technology and Space Subcommittee. Despite tight constraints on discretionary spending, Lane said the administration recommends spending nearly $40 billion on civilian R&D, or 51 percent of Clinton's fiscal 2000 budget proposal of $78.2 billion for R&D.

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FAA to buy ATC upgrades

The Federal Aviation Administration has said it will buy air traffic services and technology to modernize the antiquated system that air traffic controllers rely on to separate aircraft flying over the ocean. Currently, oceanic air traffic controllers spend 70 percent of their time manually processing the positions of aircraft. Controllers and FAA officials last year expressed interest in capitalizing on existing international systems such as the Australian and Canadian oceanic systems [FCW, Nov. 16, 1998].

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