U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra working to allow consumer devices in government

By on June 1, 2011 at 4:30 AM.

U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra working to allow consumer devices in government

Remember back in 2009 when it was a big security concern that Obama wanted to continue using his BlackBerry instead of a more secure Sectera Edge smartphone? The White House may begin relaxing its strict requirements to allow some employees to carry consumer devices, according to The Washington Post. Reportedly, lots of government employees already enter the White House daily with personal devices sharing a pocket with their government-issued BlackBerry smartphones. “The line between work and home in terms of technology is beginning to blur,” Vivek Kundra, the United States’ chief information officer said, noting that government workers “despise” government issued devices. Kundra has begun discussing the possibility of allowing government employees to carry the device of their choice, whether it’s an iPhone or an Android powered device; private app stores could then be used to install secure applications on those platforms. Similarly, the U.S. General Services Administration may look to other consumer technologies to save money — the group estimates that its plan to move 17,000 of its employees to Gmail could save 50% in expenses over the next five years. The switch to consumer devices is already proliferating on Capitol Hill: The Washington Post said that Congress already allows the iPhone and iPad on the floor of the House, about 300 Pacific Northwest National Laboratory employees have switched from a BlackBerry to an iPhone, and the ATF has roughly 50 iPhone/iPad units, and has plans to bump that number to 100. More →

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Google's software battle with U.S. government heats up

By on April 14, 2011 at 3:04 AM.

Google's software battle with U.S. government heats up

New details emerged recently in the battle between Microsoft, Google, and the U.S. government’s choice of default software. Here’s the rub: Google filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government in November 2010 alleging that the Department of Interior didn’t give its Google Apps Premier a fair shake before choosing to use Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite-Federal for all of its employees. That’s the tip of the iceberg, as the story gets a bit more complicated. See, in order for the software to be certified for government use, it needs to get a FISMA stamp from the General Services Administration (GSA). Google Apps Premier was certified in June 2010, but it appears that a subset “Google Apps for Government,” — introduced later — has yet to receive that certification. According to Business Insider, Google assumed that since its Google Apps for Government product was more secure the original FISMA certificate would fit the bill. Technically, it sounds like that alone is reason enough for the government to choose Microsoft’s suite, making Google’s entire lawsuit moot. But we’re sure we’ll hear more from the Google defense. Hit the jump for a testimony from the GSA’s David McClure while speaking to U.S. Senator Tom Carper. More →

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