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NewsBytes... USA Today on government security, more on Army bloggers, and WIT awards

A bunch of stuff out there today.

* USA Today has an editorial suggesting that the government mishandles personal information.

Our view on information security: Can't anyone in Washington keep private data private? [USAToday, 5.10.2007]
As agency foul-ups multiply, it's time for some accountability.

If there's a way that personal data entrusted to the government can be lost, stolen, breached or otherwise compromised, you can bet federal agencies will find it. In fact, they probably already have, judging by the welter of high-profile embarrassments in the past year.

OMB's Clay Johnson has the opposing view.

Opposing view: We're adding protections [USAToday, 5.10.2007]
Government moving aggressively to prevent more security breaches.

By Clay Johnson

The federal government is responsible for handling a large volume of personal information to do everything from processing tax returns to issuing grants to managing Social Security and Medicare benefits. Billions of records are maintained to ensure essential services work effectively and efficiently.

* Slate.com has this piece on the Army bloggers:

Literary Battle Fatigue [Slate.com, 5.9.2007]
The Army can regulate soldiers' blogs and letters—but it shouldn't.

As a legal matter, the Army's case for its new regulations is bulletproof (sorry). The military has near-total authority to make regulations in this area, because federal law exempts the military from the procedures other agencies must follow to make rules, and because courts almost always defer to military expertise in these cases. Given past precedent, it's virtually certain that no court would overturn these rules in favor of a soldier's First Amendment rights. But the easy legal analysis here masks a much harder policy question: How much speech should the Army tolerate from its troops? In answering, we must consider the extent to which military blogs, articles, and e-mails have helped to bridge the country's growing civil-military divide—and in fact actually helped the war effort....

The war against al-Qaida and Islamic fundamentalism is as much a war of ideas as a war to be fought by our military. Right now, even Donald Rumsfeld agrees that fight is being won by al-Qaida. One cannot run a Google search for Iraq without calling up dozens of jihadi videos and blogs (in Arabic and English) that portray the war from the other side's perspective. By imposing these Draconian regulations on its own troops, the Army has taken its best soldiers out of the fight and ceded this ground to the enemy.

* Women in Technology seeks 'Heroines'

Women in Technology, an organization supporting women in the DC technology community, has opened nominations for its Heroines in Technology Awards, which honor women and businesses for both their work in the local technology sector and commitment to community service.

The nominations deadline is August 15. Winners will be honored at an awards dinner Nov. 2 in Reston, VA.. Proceeds from the dinner will support the D.C.-area March of Dimes programs.

Last year's Individual Heroine in Technology Award was presented to Melany Smith, the president of Silver Spring-based Mel's Computer Help.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on May 10, 2007 at 12:16 PM


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