- By Judi Hasson
- May 21, 2001
Where's Gauss Going?
Word on the street is that Rear Adm. John Gauss, who is retiring as
head of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, is in line to be the
next chief information officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs. If
only we had a dollar for every "No comment" or "Don't know" we've received
in the past two weeks about this move.
But stay tuned. VA Secretary Anthony Principi swears to get things moving
at the VA, and the CIO job might just be filled by the time this gets into
Delete Before Opening
Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah) has been outspoken about the need for improved
federal information security practices. And he kept talking even after one
of his own staff members fell victim to the most common security mistake,
opening an infected e-mail message. The staff member spread the "homepage"
virus a worm that brings a user to a porn site and then e-mails the site
out to everyone in the user's address book to people in Washington, D.C.,
and the senator's home state.
Although news organizations reported that constituents received the
e-mail, they did not know all the details, Bennett said last week at a Washington
security conference. Information support staff tracking down the unlucky
recipients found that elementary schools across Utah were among the addressees.
We're sure Bennett's staff is getting a refresher course on not opening
unexpected e-mail attachments.
The SEC Wants You
Because the Internet has changed investing, the Securities and Exchange
Commission is using an online survey to find out how investors are using
electronic media to make investment decisions. "As technology continues
to transform the securities markets, I'm asking investors to share their
experience and expectations with us," said SEC Acting Chairwoman Laura Unger.
The survey, available on the World Wide Web at www.sec.gov/news/headlines/websurvey.htm,
takes about 10 minutes to complete, and it will be available until July
1. It asks investors about their knowledge and experience, their expectations
of brokerage firms, their trading frequencies, and how they assess risk.
The SEC has hired InfoQuest Technologies Inc., Harrisburg, Pa., to conduct
the survey and tabulate the responses. Information, however, will be confidential
and anonymous, and the SEC noted that the information would not be used
for any other purpose. Any investor too timid to complete it online can
fill out a paper version.
A Kinder, Gentler IRS
The Internal Revenue Service is trying hard to become even more user
friendly. Terry Lutes, head of the IRS' Electronic Tax Administration, said
at a recent conference that the IRS is about to award a contract to redesign
its Web page to make it friendlier for visitors. He also said he is meeting
with Madison Avenue executives to come up with ways to convince taxpayers
that online filing is safe, secure and worth doing. This comes at a time
when electronic filing fell short of its goals for the 2001 tax-filing season.
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