In response to steadily increasing smartphone use, the Department of Homeland Security has revamped its website to make it more mobile friendly.
In 2015, over 22 percent of visitors to DHS.gov accessed the website via cell phone or tablet, DHS said. While the website was originally optimized for desktops, the new modifications make it compatible with tablets and smartphones, “making it easier to get the information you need – wherever you are – in the format appropriate for your device,” DHS said.
According to a DHS spokesperson, frequently requested pages include the National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin, Freedom of Information Act Request Submission Forms, “How Do I…?” information, press releases and blog posts.
DHS also has several resources with important information that can be utilized by a number of individuals from basic citizens to emergency officials. The new mobile-friendly format eases viewing resources such as the Emergency Communications page, the Active Shooter Preparedness, Emergency Services Sector Resources and Resources for Fusion Centers, a spokesperson stated.
Other changes to DHS.gov include reformatting over 9,000 pages to simplify presentation, updating slideshows and image carousels and optimizing for faster and more accurate results from internal and external search engines.
According to the Pew Research Center, almost two thirds of Americans own smartphones, and 10 percent use their mobile devices as their primary way to access the Internet. States are also adapting to smartphone users by making more services such as secure payment available to citizens through mobile applications.
Posted on Jun 07, 2016 at 2:06 PM0 comments
As part of its five-year cybersecurity broad agency announcement, the Department of Homeland Security is looking for industry partners with mobile application security know-how.
DHS acknowledges that mobile applications have become more susceptible to cyberattacks and that securing these useful platforms is of the utmost importance. It has identified the need to improve the app vetting process and the ability to update apps with current threat and vulnerability data along with the need to protect against future variants of current malware.
The Mobile Application Security Research and Development project seeks a series of automated and secure-by-design tools for mobile apps that assist developers, analysts and security or network operators.
The goals of the first topic area -- continuous validation and threat protection for mobile applications-- are actionable threat and vulnerability analytics as well as mobile situational awareness. DHS seeks enterprise mobility management solutions that secure mobile applications against vulnerabilities and future threats and should help security/network operators defend the IT enterprise and enable the development of secure mission-centric apps for mobile platforms.
The second topic area -- integrating security throughout the mobile application lifecycle -- focuses on mobile app development platforms that can help developers ensure security and functionality are reliable and optimized to support mission needs.
An industry day is scheduled for June 9, in Arlington, Va. More information is available here.
Posted on May 31, 2016 at 1:28 PM0 comments
What: “2016 Socrata Open Data Benchmark Study,” a survey designed to better understand the current attitudes and opinions on the open data environment among publishers and users of open data in government.
Why: As city, state and federal agencies have release datasets on city budgets, police use-of-force incidents, public transit and even aeronautical data, better understanding of different approaches, benefits and impacts of opening data can foster more efficient development.
Findings: The majority (83 percent) of all respondents said their agency’s goal is to make the most important and useful data open. Federal agencies went further, with 56 percent of respondents saying they’re working to make as much of their data as open as possible. Investment in open data continues, with a quarter of all respondents saying their agency plans to invest more on open data by the end of 2016.
One-fifth of respondents say that reducing the costs of government employee work is the top benefit of open data, with 50 percent of respondents at both the state and federal levels agreeing that open data helps cut spending by reducing staff time spent on maintaining records and responding to information requests.
Read the full report here.
Posted on May 18, 2016 at 12:49 PM0 comments
The Boston City Council is testing Google Hangouts as a platform for remote testimony on the mayor’s proposed budget, hoping to increase transparency and include more feedback from residents. During each hearing, up to 10 people can testify through the Google app.
Hangouts is the Google’s messaging application that lets users make voice and video calls. In order to use Hangouts, users need a microphone and camera on their computer, laptop or smartphone and have to sign into their Gmail accounts -- or sign up for one. Users of the Hangouts option will have to sign up with their name and contact information just as if they were to testify in person.
Boston has been a frontrunner in using digital tools for civic engagement. Last year the city’s Office of the Parking Clerk began letting out-of-towners use Skype to appeal tickets they’d received. Two-way video is also used in Pima County, Ariz., where the Development Services Department offers a remote inspection program through Skype for clients that need building inspections done quickly or at a specific time.
Posted on May 06, 2016 at 2:09 PM0 comments
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance halted more than 239,000 suspicious refund claims during income tax season, which saved more than $400 million, an 18 percent increase over the same time last year.
The state uses predictive analytics to review personal income tax returns and determine when a refund request should be processed or postponed for further review. With this model, the state has saved more than $4 billion since 2003.
“The system enables us to target our efforts at questionable claims while efficiently processing the vast majority of returns,” New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Jerry Boone said
Last year, New York rejected 286,777 refund requests, which saved more than $500 million. Since 2008 the state has been able to save at least $248 million per year with more than 181,000 refund requests being rejected annually.
Posted on May 03, 2016 at 1:46 PM0 comments