Pulse


Pulse

By GCN Staff


White House experiments with augmented reality

White House experiments with augmented reality

Not many people get to visit the White House, but thanks to a augmented reality application from the White House Historical Association, the experience is a little more accessible.

After downloading the app, titled 1600, users are prompted to pull out a $1 bill and point their phone or tablet’s camera at it.  Animations of the White House and surrounding lawn then pop up, and  Press Secretary Josh Earnest describes why the building is important.

There aren’t many practical applications for the 1600, but White House stressed the importance of trying out new technology.

“From hosting festivals on the South Lawn to allowing people to explore its rooms via Google Street View, President Obama has used traditional events and new technology to open up the doors of the White House to more Americans than ever before,” Earnest said in a statement.

Following this summer’s popularity of Pokemon Go, conversations began about how government could leverage the AR technology.

Pokemon Go could be used to increase civic participation by residents who could point out potholes or graffiti as they play the game, Miguel A. Gamiño Jr., the current CTO for New York City, wrote on Medium while he was serving as the CIO of San Francisco.

“If we think bigger,” Gamiño wrote, “it seems the potential is not the game itself, but rather the platform that’s using augmented reality to motivate a highly engaged base. What if the platform allowed local governments to add a digital layer to any streetscape? We could intentionally leverage it to communicate planned street closures, permitting applications for businesses, or a whole host of things we currently struggle to communicate for better interactions with our constituents.”

AR and virtual reality could play a big role in understanding data, Michael Thomas, a software architect at SAS, suggested. “By using VR and AR hardware and software to look at the information produced by visual analytics programs, the government could instantly map data into a representation inside of a virtual environment.”

Posted on Dec 06, 2016 at 9:54 AM0 comments


GSA opens digital communities for AI and virtual reality

GSA opens digital communities for AI and virtual reality

The General Services Administration has launched two new Digital Communities -- interagency platforms where federal managers can share, develop and implement strategies for new technologies. Digital Communities have nearly 10,000 memberships across  16 mission areas, which now include the Artificial Intelligence for Citizen Services Community and the Virtual/Augmented Reality Community.

The AI Community will cover the use of technologies such as chatbots and natural voice recognition systems to make public services more responsive and open. Agencies can work together to test the latest in AI and share best practices on related security and policy.

The Virtual Reality Community will explore how citizens interact with advanced video and audio through virtual and augmented reality. Collaborators can conduct research, discuss pilot programs and develop virtual services, like applications for treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Along with these new communities, GSA also announced the U.S. Digital Registry portal. Launched earlier this year, the registry serves as an application program interface-generating repository that allows agencies and citizens to confirm the official status of third-party sites, social media platforms and mobile apps.

With the new dashboard, users can search and export data on all registered federal government accounts and mobile applications by agency, platform or tag, according to DigitalGov.

Posted on Oct 27, 2016 at 11:40 AM0 comments


DOD launches full-scale bug bounty program

DOD to launch full-scale bug bounty program

After a successful bug bounty pilot program earlier this year, the Department of Defense is expanding its use of bounty hunters to help identify security issues within its digital assets.

DIG IT AWARDS

Hacking the Pentagon for patriotism and profit

The Hack the Pentagon program was a finalist for GCN’s 2016 dig IT Awards because for its innovative use of private-sector talent and best practices to improve critical Defense Department systems. Read more.

On Oct. 20, DOD awarded two contracts for crowdsourced vulnerability discovery and disclosure programs: one to bug bounty platform provider HackerOne and another to cybersecurity company Synack. The department intends to launch challenges and find security researchers who can better detect cyber risks in DOD applications, websites and networks.

Building on DOD’s “Hack the Pentagon” pilot with HackerOne earlier this year, the partnership will allow DOD to run more bug bounty challenges to protect public-facing assets and domains. Hack the Pentagon, led by the Defense Digital Services, was the federal government’s first bug bounty program, and drew 1,410 vetted hackers submitting more than 1,000 vulnerability reports. 

By the end of the pilot, the DOD paid 138 bounties for confirmed vulnerabilities in the five sites tested, bringing the overall cost for the effort to  approximately $150,000. According to Pentagon officials, discovering the same security vulnerabilities through traditional methods could have cost $1 million.

The contract with Synack will leverage a private, managed bounty incentive model using only highly vetted researchers who will focus on the department’s sensitive IT assets.

“By partnering with these leading crowdsourced security companies, we can take a much more innovative, diverse, scalable and effective approach to better protect and defend our digital assets,” Office of the Secretary of Defense spokesman Mark Wright said.

The contracts combined are valued at $7 million and are expected to cover up to 14 challenges and reward hundreds of security researchers.

Posted on Oct 21, 2016 at 1:24 PM0 comments


LinkNYC cuts off browsing on curbside kiosks

LinkNYC cuts off browsing on curbside kiosks

Web browsing on New York City’s new curbside internet hotspots has been suspended.

According to a statement by LinkNYC, the free web browsing will be disabled on the kiosks because “some users have been monopolizing the Link tablets and using them inappropriately, preventing others from being able to use them while frustrating the residents and businesses around them.” The other features – the free phone calls, maps, device charging, and access to 311 and 911 -- will continue to be available, the company said.

The web browsing feature was suspended eight months after the first kiosks were installed to provide free, high-speed Wi-Fi via 7,500 stations across the five boroughs by 2020.

Posted on Sep 15, 2016 at 1:05 PM0 comments


California launches open source data portal

California launches open source data portal

California has launched a new open source, open data portal with 24 datasets that include information on the economy, transportation, water and other areas of interest for citizens and researchers.

The portal, data.ca.gov, runs on DKAN, an open-source data management platform built by Nücivic, a New York-based software company. The tool is based on Drupal’s CMS and allows the user to decide what visualizations to show and create groups to organize data. DKAN was chosen after a competitive bidding process, according to Lynda Gledhill, a spokesperson for the California Government Operations Agency.

The Department of Technology’s Office of Digital Innovation will be running the data portal operations.

“This effort represents the next logical step in our open data work,” recently appointed Chief Data Officer Zachary Townsend said. “DKAN is not just an open source solution; it’s the best tool we’ve found to support our efforts to make the state’s data assets more accessible through visual, compelling stories.”

Posted on Sep 07, 2016 at 1:52 PM0 comments