The Circuit

Cyber Limbo

Edwin Levine, the interim CIO at the Environmental Protection Agency, doesn’t think he’s in a state of limbo even though he’s not confirmed and not even an acting CIO. With Congress itching to get out of town and politics being what they are, his nomination to replace Al Pesachowitz as CIO has gone nowhere, and won’t until January ? and only if Democrat Al Gore is elected president.

But that didn’t stop Levine from moving to Washington, D.C., to work.

"From my perspective, I’m not in limbo internally. I’m allowed to sit on the CIO Council. I am not frustrated at all. The administrator has brought me in to help run the office," said Levine, who has worked in Florida and Washington state developing IT policies. We have one thing to say to Levine: Keep your fingers crossed Nov. 7.

Speaking of the EPA...

The agency is the latest to make a major push toward e-government. It’s planning to issue a proposed regulation this month that would establish a process for regulated companies to file data electronically and use digital signatures. The final rule, however, won’t be issued for a year, according to Don Flattery, director of the outreach and communications staff for the Office of Environmental Information. In the meantime, the EPA said it is "committed to ensuring that regulated companies will be able to report electronically under all major environmental programs by 2002."

Rules of the Online Road

The Justice Department, along with a technology trade association, is launching a Web site to teach children about online ethics and cybercrime. Attorney General Janet Reno noted that the Internet is central to everything from commerce to recreation these days, and "unfortunately, criminal activity exists online just as it does in the streets." She said the site (www. cybercitizenship.org) is a place where kids can learn the rules of the online road.

The Web site, co-sponsored by the Information Technology Association of America, is starting out as an aid to parents trying to educate their children about the Net. Eventually, it will include activities for children and their teachers. We don’t think Mr. Rogers needs to worry, but it is a very important issue. Kudos to Reno.

Christie’s Community

We’re not quite sure what supermodel Christie Brinkley has in common with public housing, but that didn’t stop her from appearing at the unveiling of a new HUD Web site to give citizens environmental information about their communities. The site is called HUD E-Maps (www.hud.gov/emaps). It was created by marrying HUD’s Community 2020 software to EPA databases. It enables citizens to find out what’s going on in the environment in their communities, including tracking air pollution and toxic waste sites.

We couldn’t reach the supermodel, but HUD spokesman Lee Jones said Brinkley is a personal friend of HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo and his wife, Kerry Kennedy Cuomo. He said Brinkley got involved in environmental issues a few years ago trying to shut down a nuclear power plant near her Long Island home. And after pinpointing her neighborhood on the new site, "she said she’s going to be very busy in the next few months," Jones said.

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