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*** It's not the return of the Office of Technology Assessment, but Congress is getting some impressive technologist staff support. TechCongress' new class of Congressional Innovation Fellows includes experts in identity management, advanced analytics, user experience and software design. The majority also have previous government experience, ranging from 18F to the Navy SEALs.

There are eight fellows in the 2019 class -- which, according to TechCongress, outnumbers the full-time congressional staff who have "formal technical training." The fellows will be embedded in legislators' personal offices, committee staffs or legislative support agencies like the Congressional Budget Office.

*** The IDEA Act is headed for President Donald Trump's desk after the Senate approved the House-passed version without amendment.

Officially known as the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act, the legislation would set minimum usability and security standards for federal websites, and push agencies to -- as the House sponsors, Reps. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) put it -- "meet the public's needs with a few simple clicks online rather than drawn out phone calls or in-person visits." For more on the IDEA Act, see Khanna's October interview with FCW.

*** Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) plans to introduce legislation this week to set standards for the federal government to follow when purchasing internet of things devices. The bill creates security requirements that eliminate hard-coded passwords and require updatable software and firmware in IOT devices. The bill it is similar to legislation introduced by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), the Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act, but narrows the IOT device definition to exclude laptops and smartphones.

Posted on Dec 13, 2018 at 12:45 AM


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