CTOvision.com http://www.ctovision.com Context for the CTO, CIO, CISO and Data Scientist Thu, 24 Apr 2014 23:27:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9 CTOvision researchers provide context on disruptive technology. The widely read CTOvision blog draws on an extensive network of contacts to continuously assess the most disruptive technologies. We interview enterprise CTO, CIO and CISO leadership and the technology innovators driving the nation's capability continuously forward. Our deep insights into Big Data, Cloud Computing, Mobility, Cyber Security, BYOD, and government IT are all leveraged to produce our CTOvision. Please enjoy. CTOvision.com clean CTOvision.com bob@ctovision.com bob@ctovision.com (CTOvision.com) CTOvision provided technology context for and by enterprise technologists, especially the CTO Technology, Tech News, CTO, CTOvision, Federal, IT, Government, Gov2.0, BYOD, Big Data, Cloud Computing CTOvision.com http://ctovision.com/wp-content/uploads/CTOvisionPodcast4.jpg http://www.ctovision.com Protecting BigData Inside and Out: Learn from Cloudera engineers in DC 7 May http://www.ctovision.com/2014/04/protecting-bigdata-inside-learn-cloudera-engineers-dc-7-may/ http://www.ctovision.com/2014/04/protecting-bigdata-inside-learn-cloudera-engineers-dc-7-may/#respond Thu, 24 Apr 2014 23:10:48 +0000 http://www.ctovision.com/?p=49540 By Bob Gourley

The next in a series of technical talks provided by Cloudera focuses on protecting Big Data. This breakfast session will be held 7 May 2014 at the Tower Club in Tysons corner. More from their invite is below: Protecting Big Data Inside and Out Big data is a key advantage in improving your security intelligence, […]

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By Bob Gourley

The next in a series of technical talks provided by Cloudera focuses on protecting Big Data. This breakfast session will be held 7 May 2014 at the Tower Club in Tysons corner. More from their invite is below:

Protecting Big Data Inside and Out

Big data is a key advantage in improving your security intelligence, from Medicare fraud to advanced persistent threats. The rapid modeling, faster time-to-action, and efficient discovery provided by big data lets you examine the wide spectrum of security controls present in your SIEM environment. Yet, big data is itself a member of this environment and requires controls for authentication, authorization, audit, and protection.

Rethink Security Controls

Organizations realizing the information advantage of an enterprise data hub (EDH) need tools that extend their security and governance controls to this mission-critical architecture. How can an EDH built with Cloudera enhance your organization’s ability to analyze information while providing the right compliance, oversight, and access?

Join us for the second of our three-part series on the power of Hadoop for your security missions:

> Comprehensive Authentication — How an EDH has strong industry-proven authentication options for rock solid communication.
> Granular Authorization — How you can complement general data access with fine-grained, role-based access management.
> Audit and Lineage — Why an EDH grants auditors and investigators unprecedented visibility to all data activity.

Learn how you can extend your policies and controls to your data with the end-to-end security, governance, and transparency of an EDH from Cloudera.

To register and to get more info see: http://ctolink.us/1eTYCT7

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USN Quarterly Industry Day at Charleston: What you need to know to compete http://www.ctovision.com/2014/04/usn-quarterly-industry-day-charleston-need-know-compete/ http://www.ctovision.com/2014/04/usn-quarterly-industry-day-charleston-need-know-compete/#respond Thu, 24 Apr 2014 22:41:13 +0000 http://www.ctovision.com/?p=49537 By Bob Gourley

Call me lazy, but I really like it when I attend a Government presentation and they include some information on exactly and precisely WHAT upcoming opportunities are available for Industry.   Details!  RFI?  RFP?  What quarter?  Contract type?  How much?Of course, Government is required to give Industry a forecast so that Industry can be prepared […]

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Call me lazy, but I really like it when I attend a Government presentation and they include some information on exactly and precisely WHAT upcoming opportunities are available for Industry.   Details!  RFI?  RFP?  What quarter?  Contract type?  How much?Of course, Government is required to give Industry a forecast so that Industry can be prepared to respond. It’s good for both Industry and Government. Sadly, it seems that as dollars get scarcer, th...


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Google Beats its own CAPTCHA http://www.ctovision.com/2014/04/google-beats-captcha/ http://www.ctovision.com/2014/04/google-beats-captcha/#respond Thu, 24 Apr 2014 22:28:52 +0000 http://www.ctovision.com/?p=49440 By ShannonPerry

When registering for email accounts online, have you ever had trouble reading those fuzzy letters and faded numbers that prove you are not a robot? Those tests happen to have a name, CAPTCHA – “Completely Automated Public turing tests to Tell Computers and Humans Apart” – and Google programmers have developed an algorithm that can […]

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By ShannonPerry

When registering for email accounts online, have you ever had trouble reading those fuzzy letters and faded numbers that prove you are not a robot? Those tests happen to have a name, CAPTCHA – “Completely Automated Public turing tests to Tell Computers and Humans Apart” – and Google programmers have developed an algorithm that can solve them. That is, the technology can interpret the image into letters and numbers.

Researchers at Google chronicled these impressive developments in an academic paper released April 14th. The project set out to develop software that could recognize multi-character text from imagery, in order to correctly read street names and numbers from Google’s Street View. More accurate addresses will mean better Google Maps, and better maps will mean happier Google users.

The team then applied the algorithm to its own CAPTCHA system to test the program’s strength, and the results are truly astonishing. The image below shows the hardest sample of CAPTCHA tests that researchers could get their hands on, and the algorithm read the text with 99.8% accuracy. Personally, I would be surprised if I read the text below with half as much accuracy.

The paper’s discussion indicates – while this program does diminish the efficacy of using distorted text by itself as a Turing test – that the algorithm does not negate CAPTCHA’s overall effectiveness. The team explains that the distorted text in Google’s Turing tests constitutes only part of the overall “Computer or Human” decision. Once again, Google demonstrates the remarkable possibilities of advanced programming.

 

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The Final DATA Act: Here’s What It Means, Here’s What It’ll Do http://www.ctovision.com/2014/04/final-data-act-heres-means-heres-itll/ http://www.ctovision.com/2014/04/final-data-act-heres-means-heres-itll/#respond Thu, 24 Apr 2014 13:00:48 +0000 http://www.ctovision.com/?p=49527 By HudsonHollister

Editor’s note: Hudson Hollister is the executive director of the data transparency coalition. His insightful update below covers issues of interests to technologists in and out of government. -bg Sweeping change and open data are dawning for U.S. federal spending. On Thursday 10 April 2014 the U.S. Senate passed the DATA Act — unanimously. In […]

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By HudsonHollister

Editor’s note: Hudson Hollister is the executive director of the data transparency coalition. His insightful update below covers issues of interests to technologists in and out of government. -bg

Sweeping change and open data are dawning for U.S. federal spending.

On Thursday 10 April 2014 the U.S. Senate passed the DATA Act — unanimously. In the House, Majority Leader Eric Cantor has signaled that he intends to bring the Senate bill through to final passage without changes. The House has passed the DATA Act twice already, so it seems likely that this bill will soon be on President Obama’s desk for his approval or veto.

We expect President Obama will join a unanimous Congress, the Government Accountability Office, the tech industry, all of the major nonprofit transparency advocacy groups and open data advocates from across the spectrum — and sign the DATA Act.

No further changes are expected. Nearly three years after Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) first introduced it, we now know what the final DATA Act will look like.

So, what does this final bill mean? What will happen after it becomes law? On April 29, the Congressional sponsors and executive branch implementers of the DATA Act will gather at the Data Transparency Summit to explore those questions. Join us if you are interested in the transformation of federal spending!

In advance of the Summit, here’s our summary of the final bill–and our first preview of a post-DATA world.

STANDARDIZE IT, PUBLISH IT!

From the beginning, the core of the DATA Act has been comprised of twin mandates to (1) adopt data standards across the whole landscape of federal spending and (2) publish the whole corpus online.

Data standards bring disconnected reporting regimes together. The Senate sponsors resisted strong pressure to water down the crucial data standards section. The final language is expressed in a new Section 4 being added to the existing Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA). Treasury and the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, acting together, “shall establish Government-wide financial data standards for any Federal funds made available to or expended by Federal agencies and entities receiving Federal funds.” This is a broad, powerful, and comprehensive mandate.

What data standards are Treasury and OMB going to establish? The final DATA Act requires them to adopt “common data elements for financial and payment information required to be reported by Federal agencies and [by] entities receiving Federal funds.” This is an invitation to transform the whole disconnected landscape of federal spending reports: financial, payment, and budget reporting by agencies and accountability reporting by grantees and contractors.

Can we be more specific about what data standards will be set up? Yes. Congress does not force Treasury and OMB to establish any particular identifier or format, but it does make its preferences clear. The data standards to be established must “incorporate a widely-accepted, nonproprietary, searchable, platform-independent computer readable format” and “include unique identifiers for Federal awards and entities receiving Federal awards that can be consistently applied Government-wide.” This language favors XML, XBRL, and the Legal Entity Identifier, but it doesn’t permanently impose those standards.

Federal spending is published for public scrutiny, consistent with the Obama Open Data Policy. The Senate sponsors refused to dilute the DATA Act’s publication requirement. The final language requires everything the executive branch spends, with carve-outs for classified information and information that would not be revealed in response to a Freedom of Information Act Request, to be published on USASpending.gov — at least on the appropriations account level. You’ll find this language in the new section 3(b) of FFATA.

The government must eat its own standardized dog food. New paragraph 4(c)(3) of FFATA requires that USASpending.gov must publish federal spending information using the same data standards that Treasury and OMB will establish. And new paragraph 2(c)(7) requires the data published on USASpending.gov to conform to principles set by President Obama’s May 2013 Open Data Policy.

The DATA Act has never covered the judicial or legislative branches. We’ll have to keep advocating truly comprehensive federal spending transparency.

What are Congress’ goals? They explain! The Senate sponsors added new language at the beginning of the bill expressing Congress’ purposes in passing this law. For the first time, government-wide data standards are an explicit purpose of the bill (item 2). For the first time, Congress says (in item 5) that it intends to expand the Recovery Board’s successful accountability platform to cover all government spending, which was a key goal of the first version of the DATA Act.

Inspectors general keep ‘em honest. So do we.  The final bill requires the inspector general of each agency and the Government Accountability Office to audit the quality of spending data reported by each agency–and that agency’s use of data standards. That’s in new Section 6 of FFATA.

And Treasury and the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) must consult with public-sector and private-sector stakeholders as they establish the new data standards. Who are the private-sector stakeholders? These organizations make a pretty good starting list.

CHALLENGES LIE AHEAD!

The text of the final DATA Act makes it clear where open data supporters must concentrate their advocacy over the next few years.

Treasury and OMB become the odd couple of data standards. One of the goals of the original DATA Act was to put one entity in charge of data standards for federal spending, government-wide. The final bill does not do this. Instead, it makes Treasury and OMB jointly responsible. This joint authority will make progress more difficult, but not impossible. Outside encouragement can help make sure the work gets done. Our Coalition will encourage supporters of open data in both Treasury and the White House to engage with one another. Congress will hold hearings on DATA Act implementation to provide air support.

Deadlines creep backward. Most deadlines have been moved backward in the final bill. Supporters of open data will have to be patient and stay engaged. Here’s the timetable.

  • Treasury and OMB have one year after enactment to issue guidance on government-wide data standards. (This deadline has not moved.)
  • Agencies have two years, rather than one, after the guidance is issued to report spending information consistently with the data standards.
  • USASpending.gov must publish all federal spending data, expressed using the data standards, three years after enactment, rather than one.

Payment-level disclosure isn’t required. The final bill does not directly mandate the disclosure of spending at the payment level. Treasury has separately promised this (details here), and payment-level disclosure would be consistent with the broad publication mandate, but supporters of open data will need to advocate separately for this necessary reform.
COMPLICATIONS ABOUND!

Mandatory data standards in grant and contract reporting? Probably maybe. Previous versions of the DATA Act directly required agencies to begin using the government-wide data standards for the reports they receive from grantees and contractors, no later than two years after enactment. The final bill makes the pathway to standardized recipient reporting a great deal more complicated.

Starting one year after enactment, OMB, or an agency it designates, must run a pilot program on the consolidation of grant and contract reporting. That pilot program will terminate two years later (or three years after enactment). See new Section 5 of FFATA. Ninety days after the pilot program finishes, OMB must report to Congress on how grant and contract reporting could be consolidated. One year after that, acting on insights from the pilot program and the report, OMB must issue guidance to the heads of Federal agencies as to how the Government-wide data standards shall be applied to grant and contract reporting.

Thus, we will probably not see a direct government-wide mandate for data standards in grant and contract reporting until four years plus ninety days after enactment. That’s several eternities in politics. We’ll have a new Presidential administration and a new OMB with new priorities. Standardized recipient reporting will not happen without steady advocacy by our Coalition and other supporters, every step of the way.

But there is reason to hope. The strong data standards mandate requires Treasury and OMB, right away, to start working on data standards for information “required to be reported … [by] entities receiving Federal funds” (new Section 4 of FFATA). That means, assuming Treasury and OMB do their job, that the necessary data standards will be ready to go, and available for voluntary adoption, even if not mandatory for some time.

The Recovery Board’s accountability platform survives, sort of. Our Coalition has called on Congress to preserve the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board’s accountability platform and extend it to cover all federal spending. You’ll find our arguments here.

The final DATA Act gives the Secretary of the Treasury an option whether to establish an accountability platform within the Treasury Department. See new subsection 6(c) of FFATA. If the Secretary of the Treasury decides to do that, all assets of the Recovery Board are to be transferred to the Treasury.

WE’RE READY TO GO!

Though it presents challenges and complications, the DATA Act is the most powerful government transparency mandate since Congress passed the Freedom of Information Action 1966. It’s also the first-ever legislative mandate for open data. The Coalition is ready to start assisting the executive branch in implementation, persuading Congress to stay engaged through hearings and oversight. We’re ready to rally the tech industry to create the solutions that will use standardized data to change government and society.

That all starts at the Data Transparency Summit. Join us and take part in the transformation of federal spending!

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Request Your Invite to the 20 May 2014 Andreessen Horowitz Fed Forum in DC http://www.ctovision.com/2014/04/request-invite-20-may-2014-andreessen-horowitz-fed-forum-dc/ http://www.ctovision.com/2014/04/request-invite-20-may-2014-andreessen-horowitz-fed-forum-dc/#respond Thu, 24 Apr 2014 02:45:14 +0000 http://www.ctovision.com/?p=49521 By Bob Gourley

Tim Dombrowski, partner at the highly renowned VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, has just provided us with an update on their 20 May 2014 technology and government event. Tim writes that: We have a great lineup of speakers that have recently confirmed including Marc Andreessen, General Keith Alexander, Ash Carter, Adrian Fenty, Gabe Klein, Gus Hunt, Benedict Evans, Dr. Andy […]

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Tim Dombrowski, partner at the highly renowned VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, has just provided us with an update on their 20 May 2014 technology and government event. Tim writes that: We have a great lineup of speakers that have recently confirmed including Marc Andreessen, General Keith Alexander, Ash Carter, Adrian Fenty, Gabe Klein, Gus Hunt, Benedict Evans, Dr. Andy Ozment and Eric Rosenbach. There will be some great conversations around the im...


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Amazon Hopeful that Fire TV will Spread http://www.ctovision.com/2014/04/amazon-hopeful-fire-tv-will-spread/ http://www.ctovision.com/2014/04/amazon-hopeful-fire-tv-will-spread/#respond Wed, 23 Apr 2014 22:17:17 +0000 http://www.ctovision.com/?p=49304 By ShannonPerry

Amazon released another new service – Fire TV – to further penetrate the home entertainment market. While an Amazon Prime account already provides members access to thousands of free TV episodes and movies through a web browser, Fire TV is a small black box that allows owners to watch Amazon videos on their HDTVs. With […]

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Amazon released another new service – Fire TV – to further penetrate the home entertainment market. While an Amazon Prime account already provides members access to thousands of free TV episodes and movies through a web browser, Fire TV is a small black box that allows owners to watch Amazon videos on their HDTVs. With Fire TV, Amazon presents another alternative to Internet video streaming options like Apple TV, the Roku 3, and Google’s Chromecast. ...


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Next Moves in the Battle Over Domestic Drones http://www.ctovision.com/2014/04/next-moves-battle-domestic-drones/ http://www.ctovision.com/2014/04/next-moves-battle-domestic-drones/#respond Tue, 22 Apr 2014 22:49:22 +0000 http://www.ctovision.com/?p=49510 By SeanLawson

There have been a number of important new developments in the battle over domestic drones in the United States this week, many of which lend support to the concerns that I have raised in my last two posts. First, the FAA has confirmed this week that it is launching an official investigation into the use of a drone, in […]

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By SeanLawson

There have been a number of important new developments in the battle over domestic drones in the United States this week, many of which lend support to the concerns that I have raised in my last two posts.

First, the FAA has confirmed this week that it is launching an official investigation into the use of a drone, in this case a small, multirotor aircraft, over the 4/20 rally in Denver, Colorado. Allen Kenitzer of the FAA told ABC News 7 in Denver that “Anyone who wants to fly an aircraft – manned or unmanned – in U.S. airspace needs some level of authorization from the FAA.” The ABC News 7 story goes on to claim, likely as a result of FAA misinformation, that “the [voluntary model aircraft guidelines] specifically exclude the flying of model aircraft for business purposes.” Finally, based on an FAA “fact sheet” about unmanned aircraft systems, the article says that use of such devices, which includes model aircraft, is prohibited “over densely-populated areas.”

This story supports my first concern, which is that the FAA’s purported ban on domestic “drones,” which includes everything from children’s toys to military Predator drones, is not only arbritrary and capricious, but also risks infringing First Amendment rights when enforcement action is taken against photographers and journalists.

In regard to FAA’s arbitrary and capricious attempts to enforce its purported ban, and as I noted previously, there is nothing in the voluntary guidelines for operation of model aircraft [PDF] that prohibits their use for business purposes. Additionally, though the voluntary guidelines recommend that a model aircraft operator “select an operating site that is of sufficient distance from populated areas,” it goes on to advise that one “not operate model aircraft in the presence of spectators until the aircraft is successfully flight tested and proven airworthy.” Determination of what is a “sufficient” distance and when the aircraft is safe to fly in the presence of spectators is left up to the operator, as these are voluntary guidelines. The guidelines cannot be read as providing a definite, enforceable prohibition against flying a model aircraft for business purposes, over a crowd, or both.

Next, as I mentioned in a previous post, FAA enforcement to date has been directed often against individuals and groups engaged in aerial photography or videography. In the Denver case, one can see what appears to be a camera hanging from the bottom of the multirotor aircraft in question, suggesting that its operators were engaged in aerial photography or videography. Attempts at banning or taking enforcement actions against individuals using these devices for photography or videography, especially if they are engaged in newsgathering activities, risks running afoul of the First Amendment.

The second important development comes from the Pew Research Center, which released the results of a survey on “U.S. Views of Technology and the Future.” It indicates that the American public remains highly skeptical of the use of drones inside the United States. Only 22% said that this would be a good thing, while 63% said that domestic drones would be a negative. As I noted last week, domestic drones, including model aircraft once considered toys, are now an object of full-fledged threat inflation. These numbers would seem to indicate that this threat inflation is working.

But, as Matthew Schroyer of the Society for Professional Drone Journalists noted, use of drones for purposes beyond surveillance and targeted killing, such as journalism, can serve as “the ‘good ambassador’ that opens the door to commercial and recreational drones.” Evidence may be emerging that this is the case.

One such use, which has gained a great deal of attention in the last month, is the use of model aircraft in search and rescue operations. The FAA garnered a great deal of negative press after it took action to stop a group of volunteers from using these devices for search and rescue. This week, the targeted group, Texas EquuSearch, filed a lawsuit against the FAA seeking to have its order lifted. The attorney in the case, Brendan Schulman, has already succeeded in winning a March ruling against the FAA after it sought to fine Raphael Pirker $10,000 for operating a styrofoam airplane for commercial purposes. That case is now under appeal, but prospects for the FAA are uncertain at best.

Again, all of this is not to say that there are no legitimate concerns when it comes to the use of unmanned aircraft, large and small, in the domestic airspace. Someone could have been harmed if the device in Denver had crashed into the crowd. But that does not mean that the FAA can suddenly claim that voluntary guidelines in existence for over thirty years say things they do not say. Nor does it mean that those voluntary guidelines are suddenly enforceable regulations. Legitimate safety concerns also do not mean that the FAA can arbitrarily ban, without following the proper procedures and without a higher level of scrutiny, use of this technology in activities that are otherwise constitutionally protected.

Finally, none of these actions by the FAA is addressing the concern that is likely the most important driver of public fear and skepticism: government use of drones. The outrage we have seen over the last month in the wake of the FAA’s action against Texas EquuSearch is an indicator that people can recognize and accept socially beneficial uses of this technology. The plethora of laws being proposed and passed in states around the country, however, is an indicator that peoples’ primary concern is government, in particular law enforcement, use of the technology for surveillance.

This is not a wholly unfounded fear. We know that drones have been an important surveillance tool used by the National Security Agency, for example, in U.S. counterterrorism operations overseas. We also know that there is increasing interest among domestic law enforcement agencies who would like to use drones for surveillance. One recent case, in which police used a drone with an advanced surveillance camera system on it to monitor an entire city, is certainly cause for concern.

Ultimately, however, it is important that we do not allow our fears to distract us from real dangers. A powerful new technology in the hands of the surveillance state is a real danger. Toy airplanes are not. Current attempts to ban the use of the latter by journalists and search and rescue volunteers does nothing to restrict the former. We also cannot allow fear to justify cutting corners when it comes to rule making, and certainly not to justify infringing constitutional rights in the process.

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CSG Invotas: Providing Security Automation and Orchestration Solutions to Global Cyber Market http://www.ctovision.com/2014/04/csg-invotas-providing-security-automation-orchestration-solutions-global-cyber-market/ http://www.ctovision.com/2014/04/csg-invotas-providing-security-automation-orchestration-solutions-global-cyber-market/#respond Tue, 22 Apr 2014 18:34:22 +0000 http://www.ctovision.com/?p=49497 By Michael Johnson

With this post we initiate coverage of CSG Invotas. CSG Invotas is a new division of CSG International which focuses on providing security automation and orchestration solutions to both public and private sector clients. Developed after years of working to automate security solutions for the federal government, CSG International decided to offer these solutions within […]

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With this post we initiate coverage of CSG Invotas. CSG Invotas is a new division of CSG International which focuses on providing security automation and orchestration solutions to both public and private sector clients. Developed after years of working to automate security solutions for the federal government, CSG International decided to offer these solutions within a separate business unit that launched just this year at RSA 2014. These solutions ar...

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