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
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
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
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
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.