Pulse


Social media use growing in law enforcement

Social media use growing in law enforcement

A new report looks at law enforcement’s current social media practices and processes and how the usage landscape has changed over the last two years.

The LexisNexis 2014 Social Media Use in Law Enforcement survey solicited feedback from 496 participants at every level of law enforcement – from rural localities to major metropolitan cities and federal agencies.  Some key points include:

  • Eight out of 10 law enforcement professionals actively use social media as a tool in investigations
  • The most common use is for crime investigations (63 percent)
  • More than half (51 percent) are using social media for crime prevention activities
  • 40 percent use it to monitor special events
  • 34 percent use it to notify the public of crimes, emergencies or disasters

Read the full report and associated infographic.

Posted on Dec 02, 2014 at 8:53 AM0 comments


States leveraging group purchasing for procurement efficiency

A recent analysis of state and local government and education spending finds that although the number of bids has declined, overall spending has increased.

The Onvia State & Local Procurement Snapshot for Q3 2014 analyzes contracting activity across the nation.

Compared with the same quarter last year, the Q3 2014 analysis finds a 3.2 percent decline in opportunity volume, or the number of state, local and education bids and RFPs submitted for open bidding by government agencies, which indicates slowing growth. 

However,  a decrease in opportunity volume does not necessarily indicate a decrease in state and local government spending, according to Paul Irby, a market research analyst at Onvia.  "What we're seeing happen much more often now is one agency awarding a contract to a vendor, then several agencies purchasing off of that single contract for future purchases."

The firm analyzed procurement activity of a sample of cooperative purchasing agencies across the country and saw a 16 percent increase in their procurement volume over the prior year. “Many of these contracts will be purchased off of many times, resulting in a decrease in opportunity volume even if spending is equal to or higher than last year,"  Irby said.

Onvia's Snapshot analyzed several other trends in state, local and education agency procurement for the period, including:

  • A noted decline in telecom contract volume compared to last year, which could be related to both an ongoing migration to VoIP services and the shift from agency-provided wireless devices to government agency BYOD adoption.
  • A 10.5 percent decline in opportunity volume among education agencies. Education is one of the sectors most strongly impacted by cooperative purchasing initiatives as districts aim to pool purchasing activity in an effort to negotiate better pricing and increase procurement efficiency.

With an increase in cooperative purchasing activity resulting in fewer contracts of greater potential value and with higher state and local tax revenues expected to increase overall government spending in 2015, competition among government vendors is also on the rise, the report said. 

Readers can download the full report from Onvia.

Posted on Dec 01, 2014 at 11:51 AM1 comments


NIST revises cryptographic specs

NIST revises cryptographic specs

NIST is requesting comments on its revision of SP 800-90A, Recommendation for Random Number Generation Using Deterministic Random Bit Generators.

This guidance specifies techniques for generating random bits using deterministic methods, based on either hash functions or block cipher algorithms.

According to the announcement, the revision removes the previously approved Dual_EC_DRBG that was based on the use of elliptic curves and includes other changes that are listed in the final appendix of the document.

Comments should be sent to rbg_comments@nist.gov with "SP 800-90A comments" in the subject line by Dec. 31, 2014.

Posted on Nov 21, 2014 at 10:18 AM0 comments


Mozilla releases Firefox browser built for developers

Mozilla releases Firefox browser built for developers

Mozilla released what it calls the first browser for developers.

 Firefox Developer Edition includes tools for building, testing and scaling all from one place, eliminating the need to, “bounce between different platforms and browsers, which decreases productivity and causes frustration,” according to the announcement by Dave Camp, director of developer tools at Mozilla.

Among features built into the browser are:

A distinct theme that includes quicker access to the developer tools.

Experimental developer tools, including the Valence add-on, used to  connect the Firefox developer tools to other browsers such as Chrome on Android and Safari on iOS.

A separate profile. Run the Developer Edition alongside a different release or Beta version of Firefox.

WebIDE, Develop, deploy and debug Firefox OS apps directly in the browser or on a Firefox OS device.

Responsive design view: See how a website or web app will look on different screen sizes without changing the size of the browser window.

In addition, Firefox Developer Edition replaces the Aurora channel in the Firefox Release Process. Like Aurora, features will land in the Developer Edition every six weeks, after they have stabilized in Nightly builds.

By using the Developer Edition, devs can gain access to tools and platform features at least 12 weeks before they reach the main Firefox release channel.

Posted on Nov 18, 2014 at 10:48 AM0 comments


Expedition 39 flight engineer and NASA astronaut Steve Swanson activates the Veggie plant growth system and Veg-01 experiment in the Columbus module on the International Space Station.

Galactic Grant Competition to fund space station research

Massachusetts announced a “Galactic Grant Competition” for life science companies based in the commonwealth to conduct research on the International Space Station.

The grant competition will be open for applications from Dec. 1, 2014 through April 3, 2015 and will encourage companies to take advantage of the distinct attributes of the ISS research platform for life sciences initiatives.

The competition is funded by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), an investment agency that supports life sciences innovation, research, development and commercialization. For this competition, MLSC is working in partnership with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, a nonprofit organization responsible for managing and promoting research onboard the ISS U.S. National Laboratory.

"Massachusetts-based companies will have a unique opportunity to access the International Space Station – a one-of-a kind platform for applied research projects that will help bring new therapies and cures to market," said Susan Windham-Bannister, president and CEO of the MLSC.

Interested companies and researchers are encouraged to attend information sessions that will take place December 2014 through February 2015. Up to $500,000 is available to support flight projects from any life sciences company with operations in Massachusetts.

An additional $50,000 will be invested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education initiatives that will aim to connect Massachusetts students to the ISS with unique content and student research opportunities.

Posted on Nov 14, 2014 at 10:48 AM0 comments