Fedwire Briefs

Bell Atlantic gets WITS extension

The General Services Administration last week awarded Bell Atlantic Federal a contract worth up to $33.5 million to continue service under the Washington Interagency Telecommunications Systems. A Bell Atlantic spokeswoman said the contract will extend from today, when the existing WITS contract held by Bell Atlantic expires, until GSA awards the long-awaited WITS 2001 follow-on contract, expected later this summer. The contract also calls for two six-month option periods that GSA may exercise while agencies on the WITS network make the transition to WITS 2001.

The spokeswoman said the original WITS contract had been extended twice, which is the maximum number of extensions allowed under the terms of the contract. Consequently, GSA was forced to award this bridge contract last week, she said.

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DOT announces privacy policy

Transportation Department officials last week announced plans to protect the privacy rights of visitors to agency World Wide Web sites.

Measures include making sure data transmitted by a visitor to a DOT Web site will not include information that would identify the visitor personally, although the department may collect other information, such as a visitor's organization, the date and time of the visit, and the pages the visitor browsed. Moreover, the department's policy prohibits it from sharing e-mail it receives except in the case of a law enforcement investigation.

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GAO plugs end-to-end Y2K testing

A General Accounting Office official last week repeated calls for agencies to complete wide-scale testing of their systems for the Year 2000 computer date problem.

Joel Willemssen, GAO's director for civilian agencies information systems, testified at a hearing held in Topeka, Kan., by the House Government Management, Information and Technology Subcommittee.

In testimony, Willemssen stressed that agencies must work "early and continually with their data-exchange partners to plan and execute effective end-to-end tests" of interrelated computer systems. He also testified that progress among federal agencies in their Year 2000 work remains uneven.

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