Pulse


Pulse

By GCN Staff


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


Texas taps app for reporting alcohol violations

Texas taps app for reporting alcohol violations

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has released a mobile app that lets users not only search the agency’s entire public data system but also submit complaints they see in businesses licensed by the TABC.

The TABC:Mobile app uses GPS technology identify nearby TABC-licensed bars or restaurants. Users can view a location's license/permit status and expiration date as well as its Handgun Warning Sign requirement. Violation information, if applicable, displays by status, type, date, description, disposition, suspension date range and civil penalty amounts.

The app also includes information about the responsibilities of license/permit holders for the public, government agencies, alcoholic beverage industry professionals, wholesalers, distributors and retailers.

"TABC:Mobile serves as a direct line of communication between TABC and the public from anywhere at any time," TABC spokesman Chris Porter said. "It's our hope that this new tool will keep those lines of communication open while promoting the safe and lawful sale of alcohol in Texas."

Neubus Inc., an Austin-based technology company, helped build the application, according to The Texas Tribune. Neubus works with government agencies to help convert documents to electronic systems, according to its website.

Posted on Aug 30, 2016 at 1:36 PM0 comments