The Circuit

Horn's Security Quiz

Some information technology execs are grumbling about the new plan by Rep. Stephen Horn (R-Calif.) to grade federal agencies on their information security programs.

Horn, chairman of the House Government Reform Committee's Government Management Subcommittee, has mailed a six-page document to 52 departments and agencies, requesting information about their policies, controls and security planning. The document went out just last week, and responses are due back by Aug. 18, with a hearing scheduled for Sept. 6 to release the grades. Besides complaining about the short deadline, agency heads say the criteria for success remains a mystery. "It's too broad a brush," lamented one security chief.

The basis of the grading system is still to be determined. "It will be "A' to "F.' Hopefully, we'll have a bunch of "As' and Bs'," said Bonnie Heald, spokeswoman for Horn.

Carlin's Case for Stickin'

U.S. Archivist John Carlin said he intends to stay in office to complete the creation of an electronic archive that would make government records available online "anytime, any place." That means he plans to be the nation's chief recordkeeper for at least another five years. Carlin, a former governor of Kansas, was nominated for archivist of the United States in 1995 by President Clinton but said he does not plan to depart when the president does in January. The National Archives and Records Administration is about two years into the complex electronic archive project, which should be ready in 2004 or 2005.

Energy Secuirty Spoof

Circulating in the Energy Department and elsewhere is a spoof on the security lapses at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where disks disappeared and security breaches are being investigated. Among the top 10 orders effective immediately, ostensibly from Energy Secretary Bill Richardson: Computer disks containing nuclear secrets will no longer be left on the picnic table at the staff commissary during lunch. From DOE: a rather frosty "no comment."

Dialing for Dollars

The Republican National Convention held in Philadelphia served as more than the launch pad for Texas Gov. George W. Bush's race to the White House. It was also where Sen. Spence Abraham (R-Mich.) launched the Abraham 2000 Mobile Edition — a wireless, interactive, Web-based drop box to his re-election campaign chest.

In an e-first, wireless technology is enabling his supporters to reach out and contribute to his re-election. They can do this by making financial contributions via Internet-enabled cell phones and personal digital assistants — handheld phones that also include some computer and networking features. Supporters logging on to will be able to follow campaign news and volunteer.

According to the Web site, Yahoo Internet Life magazine named Abraham the "No. 1 Net-Friendly Member of Congress" for his understanding of the Internet's potential. Anywhere Technology, a mobile Internet application development firm based in Hillsdale, Mich., built Abraham's wireless campaign site.

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