Pulse


Pulse

By GCN Staff


Universities beef up cybersecurity, identity theft research

The University of Texas at Austin will open a center to offer research, programs and workshops to help the public better understand the threats of identity theft, fraud and privacy.  The university said its outreach would initially involve groups most at risk to the threats: senior citizens, children and small business operators.

The resources would be funded with a $5 million appropriation from the Texas legislature, the largest state investment in identity theft protection in the country, according to the university.

The project is being managed by of UT’s Center for Identity, an inter-disciplinary research center that draws from the university’s business, law, engineering and computer science departments for a focus on identity management, privacy and security.

Leveraging the resources of The University of Texas and those of its public and private sector members, the Center aims to forecast threats and deliver solutions that define and protect identity in physical and cyber environments.

Susan Combs, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, who is on the center’s board of advisors and chairs its child ID task force, called identity fraud “an increasingly common occurrence and a huge expense for state and federal government.”

“Smarter, more informed consumers lead to less fraud, theft and abuse of identity information,” she added. “We believe this effort can help prevent millions lost to the state of Texas as a result of identity fraud cases.”

The resource center, which was announced at the Center for Identity’s third annual ID360 conference, is expected to launch in the summer of 2014.

Meanwhile, the University of Connecticut is planning to expand an existing research center it operates on hardware security with the help of a multimillion-dollar investment by cable operator Comcast Corp., according to the Hartford Courant.

The state has been plagued with security breaches in the last year, according to the report, which said 400 breaches affected half a million residents.

The UConn program, named the Center of Excellence for Security Innovation, will lead research into the IT components of cybersecurity, with six professors and seven doctoral candidates dedicated to work at the center.

Mark Tehranipoor, director of the Comcast-UConn partnership, said his goal is to make the center "a national authority for hardware, software and network security,” according to the Courant. 

Posted on Apr 15, 2014 at 8:22 AM0 comments


NARA crowdsources video captioning

Language and accessibility barriers for online videos are being broken down by an online tool that allows individuals, communities and organizations to caption and subtitle videos.

Amara, a toolset created by the Participatory Culture Foundation (PCF), a non-profit dedicated to creating open video tools and services, lets users create, edit and manage production-ready subtitles. It is being used internally by a number of premium content organizations, including Netflix and the National Archives and Records Administration.

NARA is currently using Amara’s crowdsourcing techniques to find volunteers to caption its older analog videos to make them accessible to the hearing impaired.

The cloud-based Amara editor enables the easy creation of subtitles and makes quality control, editing and publishing changes simple, according to PCF.

First, users add the URL of their video into their team space on Amara. The tool’s workflow system allows users to assign tasks, such as creating captions, translating, reviewing and giving final approval. Once the subtitles have been through the review process, Amara automatically syncs with video hosts like YouTube. Users can also use Amara’s API to collect the completed subtitles.

Posted on Apr 15, 2014 at 10:49 AM0 comments


GPS satellites improve position accuracy, deter spoofing

The Air Force will soon begin early implementation of the GPS Civil Navigation message and will use the process to help develop new countermeasures against spoofing, according to an article in Aviation Week.

GPS satellites will begin early broadcast of the more accurate navigation messages on the new civil L2C and L5 signals.

The L2C signal will enable "dual frequency," which will increase position accuracy and provide fast initial location.  L5 -- the international "safety of life signal" for aviation --  will enable moving from landmark and radar-based navigation to GPS-guided approaches and landings.

These upgrades improve anti-jam capabilities for the warfighter and improve security for military and civil users around the world.

The early implementation of the message broadcast is expected to begin in April 2014 and help development of user equipment compatible with the civil signals. The pre-implementation phase will also help the Air Force find new ways to protect against the growing threat of spoofing, in which vehicles can be put off course by counterfeit signals, Aviation Week reported. 

Posted on Apr 14, 2014 at 9:55 AM0 comments


Coastal flooding challenge uses cross-agency data

NASA recently announced a new challenge focusing on coastal flooding to encourage entrepreneurs, technologists, and developers to create visualizations and simulations that will help people understand their exposure to coastal-inundation hazards and other vulnerabilities.

The challenge will be included as part of the third annual International Space Apps Challenge, which will be held from April 11-13. It was developed by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and is based on cross-agency data.

The aim of the Coastal Inundation in Your Community challenge is to create tools and provide information so communities can prepare for coastal catastrophes.

“Solutions developed through this challenge could have many potential impacts,” said NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan. "This includes helping coastal businesses determine whether they are currently at risk from coastal inundation and whether they will be impacted in the future by sea level rise and coastal erosion."

Many federal data sets are now available that illustrate the hazards of coastal inundation. As part of the Climate Data Initiative, the government has gathered data sets related to coastal vulnerability and the impact of future climate changes on flooding. The data sets will be available on climate.data.gov.

The data comes from NOAA, NASA, the Federal Emergency Management Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, the departments of Commerce and Defense as well as from New York and New Jersey. 

The purpose of the larger International Space Apps Challenge is to contribute to space exploration missions and improve life on earth. Participants introduce these solutions by developing mobile apps, software, hardware, data visualization and platform solutions. They will have access to over 200 data sources, including data sets, data services and tools.

The challenge will be hosted at 100 locations over six different continents. 

Posted on Apr 10, 2014 at 8:40 AM0 comments


Group seeks tech-based solutions to sticky government issues

Got an idea for using technology to make government run better? It could win you $10,000 from the 2014 Better Government Competition.

The Better Government Competition is a project of the Pioneer Institute, a non-profit and non-partisan research organization focused on improving public policy in Massachusetts. Ideas and innovations from the federal level are welcome, however, particularly when focused on information-sharing, fraud detection, reducing energy costs or streamlining agencies' reporting, licensing and regulatory processes. The focus of this year's contest is "leveraging technology to transform the public sector." Potential areas to address include:

  • Improving information-sharing between federal, state, and local governments.
  • Detecting and prevention of fraud in public benefits programs and the improvement of administration and oversight of such programs, resource and referral practices, identity verification, and cybersecurity.
  • Reducing the administrative burden and expense of complying with government reporting, licensing,
  • Addressing traffic congestion problems that affect all major cities in the United States with intelligent traffic solutions.
  • Reducing energy costs incurred by government agencies.
  • Using technology in education from virtual classrooms to technology for school safety measures, administrative work, and CORI checks
  • Improving wireless communications for law enforcement and health care  providers.

The deadline is fast approaching; submissions in the form of short "idea papers" must be received by April 16. And determining what your ethics officer thinks of such a contest is up to you!

Posted on Apr 09, 2014 at 11:22 AM0 comments