Technocrat | November 27, 2018: The Zuck Hits the Fan

What’s New This Week:

The Zuck Hits the Fan

Fallout continues from an explosive New York Times investigation into how top leaders at Facebook handled (or didn’t handle) Russian disinformation campaigns on their platform aimed at interfering with U.S.elections. Facebook’s leadership is again, on the defensive amid a renewed round of withering criticism–with some calling (again) for Mark Zuckerberg to step down or for the FTC to crackdown.

And who doesn’t love a good dogpile? Last week Apple CEO Tim Cook joined the fray, doubling down on his criticism of Zuckerberg from earlier in the year while calling on the new Congress to finally bring regulation of tech companies, saying it was “inevitable.” This follows a Pew Research Center report that found Americans are increasingly skeptical of the fairness and effectiveness of the algorithms powering their technology–especially those with real-world consequences.

The federal government also has trust issues. The Office of Personel Management has implemented only two-thirds of the 80 cybersecurity recommendations that the Government Accountability Office put forwardfollowing the devastating cyber breach, reported by OPM in July 2015, that exposed the security clearance information of more than 20 million federal employees and their families. According to GAO’s report, OPM still hasn’t reset some passwords that were established before the breach.

All the more reason to get your IT shop in order. A recent analysis showed that the Defense Information Systems Agency may award more than $27.5B in IT contracts next year. Who said you can’t put a price on security? On DISA’s wish list are major upgrades to the Pentagon’s classified and unclassified networks.

Two recently released solicitations that would establish a new requirement called Department of Defense Network (DoDNET) and are intended to provide defense agencies with a stepping-stone to MilCloud 2.0 and other cloud programs. Bloomberg Government estimates that the solicitations combined could be worth anywhere from $100M – $200M.

Looking for all the details? Bloomberg Government’s Chris Cornillie has the latest on DoDNET and the Pentagon’s cloud strategy in this week’s exclusive story.

Thanksgiving is officially over. Shake off the remnants of that lingering food coma and check out the other news you need to know this week.

Get Smart

“A lot of the criticism around the biggest issues has been fair, but I do think that if we are going to be real, there is this bigger picture as well, which is that we have a different world view than some of the folks who are covering us.”

—Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, disputing negative coverage about his company.

Read more on CNN Business.

Strategy & Leadership

Lock Who Up? Ivanka Trump Used Her Personal Email for Government Business

Email is hard. Ivanka Trump drew unflattering comparisons to her father’s attacks on Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, after it was reported she sent hundreds of emails last year to White House aides, Cabinet officials, and her assistants using a personal account. Read more.

NSF Wants to Help You Futureproof Your Career (With an App!)

Thanks to emerging technology, federal employees should expect to see their jobs change significantly in the coming years. Dorothy Aronson, the National Science Foundation CIO, worries that agencies aren’t doing enough to help employees prepare, so NSF kicked off a competition to build an AI app that matches people to future jobs. Read more.

The Pentagon Spent $1B on an Audit–and Failed

Points for trying? As expected, the Defense Department failed its first-ever audit as investigators found weak information technology security that could endanger weapon inventories and equipment mislabeled in far-flung warehouses.

Eye on Security

The U.S. Finally Has a Defense Agency Devoted to Cybersecurity

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Act of 2018 was signed in mid-November, establishing the first agency devoted to defending U.S. infrastructure from both cyber and physical attacks. Read more.

IRS Failed to Protect 11,000+ Taxpayer Records, Audit Says

The IRS failed to activate protections for the victims of at least 89 data breaches, leaving at least 11,406 U.S. taxpayers without protection from fraudulent tax filings, the Treasury’s internal watchdog said. Read More.       

Beyond Legacy

 A Look at the Direction of Federal IT Modernization in 2019
A recent survey found 53 percent of feds think we’re at a positive tipping point for modernization, but they also say agencies don’t appear to be preparing their workforces for new technologies. Read more.

How Agencies Are Modernizing Their Approach to Hiring Through Technology
The traditional 8-to-5 work schedule at most government agencies is not attractive to modern workers. Many agencies are using technology in innovative ways to attract new talent–despite the government’s image problem. Read more.

Next Tech

Four Technologies a Cyber Moonshot Should Include

The Trump administration is preparing to launch a “moonshot” proposal to enhance cybersecuritycapabilities, and a leading industry group is urging the government to invest in four key technologies to do it.  Read more.

Senate Bill Would Help Retrain U.S. Workforce for AI Skills

The Lifelong Learning and Training Account Act—sponsored by Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va. and Chris Coons, D-Del.—proposes creating tax-preferred savings accounts to which businesses or employees can contribute to fund new training efforts and improve their occupational skills. Read more.

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