The Circuit

Where Is He Now?

What ever happened to John Koskinen, who led the federal government

through the Year 2000 bug? Well, he's as busy as ever, taking his considerable

management skills to help the Washington, D.C., school system.

At the request of district Mayor Anthony Williams, he's helping restructure

the way the school system operates, Koskinen told us in a recent e-mail.

Although it is not clear what he plans to do in the long-run, he said

he's working with the district schools focusing on "structural impediments

primarily in the procurement, finance, personnel and budget areas. We hope

to have recommendations available to all the interested parties by early

July."

He's also planning to return to his travel itinerary, which he interrupted

to help President Clinton fight the Year 2000 bug.

"The trips are a completion of the sabbatical I was on after I left OMB

as deputy director for management.... [It] was interrupted by the request

that I return to the White House to oversee the Year 2000 transition. We

spent three weeks in April in Australia and New Zealand and are off for

two weeks in June to Eastern Europe, the Netherlands (for two Euro 2000

championship soccer games) and London. Then I have to figure out what I'm

going to do when I grow up. I'm as interested as anyone to see what happens

next."

Meanwhile, Koskinen said he did not personally experience the latest

computer virus. "The "love bug' did not bite any computers in my family,

although my daughter, who's a case worker for Samaritan Ministries, did

get the e-mail. She didn't open it since it came from an odd source," he

said.

Congress to the Rescue

Seeking advice from high places and informed people, the new Web site,

PlanetGov.com, has named an advisory board of former members of Congress

and other public servants. The Web site is the newest portal for government

professionals, offering government news and career information. Among the

list of luminaries are former Reps. Vic Fazio (D-Calif.) and Susan Molinari

(R-N.Y.), former OMB director James King, former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder

and retired Gen. Robert Senewald, now a senior fellow at the National Defense

University. Looks like those folks have some time on their hands.

Tom Cruise Goes High-Tech

It seems that even Tom Cruise and his band of spies know a little bit

about technology and show it off in his new movie, "Mission: Impossible

2." In several scenes, his top lieutenant is frantically trying to hook

up with the Global Positioning System satellites to track an agent, conveniently

injected with a homing device hidden in a tattoo.

GPS provides positioning and timing information for data ranging from defense

to weather systems. Movie viewers never get an explanation of what GPS is,

but they do get to see neat satellite technology that can beam images to

laptop computers.

Is this for real? Not yet, our intelligence sources say.

Although the technology can monitor the coordinates and movements of

taxi drivers in downtown Baghdad, it has yet to be fine-tuned for virtual

videos. But stay tuned.

Maple Leaf Outrage

Canadian outrage over a government database that contained information

on every citizen has led the government to dismantle the system. The giant

archive was created by a program linking tax, health and other agency systems

into a jobs and welfare database controlled by the Department of Human Resources.

Parliament members, private citizens and the media quickly and sharply criticized

the Big Brother-like collection of personal data.

As a result, Human Resources Minister Jane Stewart returned tax information

her agency collected and eliminated the program that accessed the computer

files of other agencies. "Given public concerns about privacy issues in

this era of advanced and constantly changing technology, I have chosen an

approach that addresses future threats to privacy," she said in a statement.

Our neighbors to the north just may give the U.S. government some pause

about collecting information in a single database.

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