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Category Archives: Congress

Statement by the ODNI on Retention of Data Collected Under Section 215 of USA PATRIOT Act

July 27, 2015: “On June 29, 2015, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approved the Government’s application to resume the Section 215 bulk telephony metadata program pursuant to the USA FREEDOM Act’s 180-day transition provision. As part of our effort to transition to the new authority, we have evaluated whether NSA should maintain access to the historical metadata after the conclusion of that 180-day period.  NSA has determined that analytic access to that historical metadata collected under Section 215 (any data collected before November 29, 2015) will cease on November 29, 2015.  However, solely for data integrity purposes to verify the records produced under the new targeted production authorized by the USA FREEDOM Act, NSA will allow technical personnel to continue to have access to the historical metadata for an additional three months.  Separately, NSA remains under a continuing legal obligation to preserve its bulk 215 telephony metadata collection until civil litigation regarding the program is resolved, or the relevant courts relieve NSA of such obligations. The telephony metadata preserved solely because of preservation obligations in pending civil litigation will not be used or accessed for any other purpose, and, as soon as possible.”

Wireless carjackers can exploit vulnerabilities in cars, trucks, SUVs

Wired: “[Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek’s] full arsenal includes functions that at lower speeds fully kill the engine, abruptly engage the brakes, or disable them altogether. The most disturbing maneuver came when they cut the Jeep’s brakes, leaving me frantically pumping the pedal as the 2-ton SUV slid uncontrollably into a ditch. The researchers sayContinue Reading

Big Spending by Google Facebook and Amazon on Federal Lobbying

ConsumerWatchDog: “Google trimmed its spending on lobbying in the second quarter by 13 percent to $4.62 million, according to disclosure forms filed today with the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, but still significantly outspent other tech giants. Google spent $5.29 million on federal lobbying in the second quarter of 2014 and $5.1 millionContinue Reading

Improving Program Management in the Federal Government

A White Paper by a Panel of the National Academy of Public Administration sponsored by the Project Management Institute July 2015 Improving. Program Management in the Federal Government. PANEL – Peter Marshall, Chair; Dan Chenok; Joseph Wholey. “…The recent high-profile failure of the Healthcare.gov launch is just one example from a long list of troubledContinue Reading

GAO Reports – DOD Business Systems Modernization, Insider Threats, Patient Protection, Senate Public Records, Space Launch System

DOD Business Systems Modernization: Additional Action Needed to Achieve Intended Outcomes, GAO-15-627: Published: Jul 16, 2015. Publicly Released: Jul 16, 2015. Insider Threats: DOD Should Improve Information Sharing and Oversight to Protect U.S. Installations, GAO-15-543: Published: Jul 16, 2015. Publicly Released: Jul 16, 2015. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Observations on 18 Undercover TestsContinue Reading

Congressional Voting Turnout is at Lowest Mark Since 1978

“The 2014 congressional election turnout rate of 41.9 percent was the lowest since the U.S. Census Bureau first began asking Americans about voting and citizenship status in 1978. The 2014 voting rate was 7.0 percentage points lower than in 1978 and down from the 45.5 percent that reported voting in the 2010 congressional election. TheseContinue Reading

CRS Report – Women in Combat, Issues for Congress

Women in Combat: Issues for Congress, Kristy N. Kamarck, Analyst in Military Manpower. July 14, 2015. “Over the past two decades of conflict, women have served with valor and continue to serve on combat aircraft, naval vessels, and in support of ground combat operations. The expansion of roles for women in the armed forces hasContinue Reading

CRS Report, The Dark Web

Dark Web, Kristin Finklea, Specialist in Domestic Security. July 7, 2015: “The layers of the Internet go far beyond the surface content that many can easily access in their daily searches. The other content is that of the Deep Web , content that has not been indexed by traditional search engines such as Google. TheContinue Reading

New EFF Tool Makes Emailing Congress Just a Few Clicks Away

“The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has created a new tool that makes emailing your congressional lawmakers a quick and easy process. Democracy.io simplifies and streamlines the current fractured system for contacting lawmakers, allowing you to message your two senators and your representative from a single website. “Democracy thrives when the voices of Internet users areContinue Reading

2015 Long-Term Budget Outlook

CBO -“The long-term outlook for the federal budget has worsened dramatically over the past several years, in the wake of the 2007–2009 recession and slow recovery. Between 2008 and 2012, financial turmoil and a severe drop in economic activity, combined with various policies implemented in response to those conditions, sharply reduced federal revenues and increasedContinue Reading

Federal Reserve Monetary Policy Report July 15 2015

Monetary Policy Report submitted to the Congress on July 15, 2015, pursuant to section 2B of the Federal Reserve Act “The overall condition of the labor market continued to strengthen over the first half of 2015, albeit at a more moderate pace than in 2014. So far this year, payroll employment has increased by aboutContinue Reading

Twitter archive project at LC deemed a failure

Politico: “In the spring of 2010, the Library of Congress announced it was taking a big stride toward preserving the nation’s increasingly digital heritage — by acquiring Twitter’s entire archive of tweets and planning to make it all available to “How Tweet It Is!” the library said in an exuberant blog post, which generated fanfareContinue Reading