In the wake of the numerous sophisticated cyberattacks that managed to steal credit and debit card data from various retail stores in the U.S., President Obama on Friday signed an executive order to improve security for credit cards and payment systems used by the government, The New York Times reports. More →
Wondering why Reddit’s servers are crashing right now? President Barack Obama has joined Reddit and, as long as the site stays up, is hosting an AMA (ask me anything). Questions posed by Redditors so far cover the President’s stance on SOPA, how he feels about gun laws, and whether he believes a roll of toilet paper should face in or out. Have a question for the President of the United States? A link to Obama’s AMA follows below. More →
Aneesh Chopra will step down from his position as the United States chief technology officer. The move is expected to be imminent and, while it’s unclear what Chopra’s next step will be, Fedscoop says sources have speculated Chopra is interested in running for political office or working as the head of a major technology firm in the Washington, D.C. area. Chopra was appointed U.S. CTO in April 2009 by President Obama. Fedscoop said possible replacements for Chopra’s position include Veteran Affairs CTO Peter Levin, Homeland Security chief information officer Richard Spires or Department of Health and Human Services CTO Todd Park. More →
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 →
The AP reports that U.S. President Barack Obama will “double the available amount of wireless communications spectrum over the next 10 years in an effort to keep up with the ever-growing demand for high-speed video and data transmission to cell phones, laptops and other mobile devices.” The plan, which will call for the auctioning off of 500 MHz of federally owned spectrum, will be put into a Presidential Memorandum to be signed today. The White House, in an official statement said: “This initiative will catalyze private sector investment, contribute to economic growth and help to create hundreds of thousands of jobs.” The AP went onto report that revenue generated from the auction would go to “public safety, infrastructure investments and deficit reduction.” More →
Yes, we can! Maybe all the hootin’ and hollerin’ about Barack’s quandary regarding the status of his BlackBerry actually ended up helping the President keep the addictive device. For personal use only, Mr. Obama’s BlackBerry will still be in commission, though we do hope he opts to upgrade to a Bold or 8900, at least (give us a call Mr. President, we’ll hook you up)! It will make it more worthwhile since he will be forced to use an awkward and clunky-looking Sectera Edge, which has been approved by the NSA for official use, as a business device. As if this news wasn’t the best free advertising anyone can get, the folks at RIM must be bursting with glee. While we’re all familiar with the device that has been like an appendage for Obama, you might be interested in taking a peek at the Sectera Edge, so hit the jump for an image and details!
Late last year, there was a buzz going on after the election regarding President-elect Barack Obama’s BlackBerry. If you haven’t already noticed, the 87xx series device was attached to his hip nearly every second of the campaign. After the election, people began wondering how he’d feel about giving it up. Like George W. Bush before him, email is a service that has to be given up by the Commander In Chief due to security reasons. Can you imagine going four years or more without writing a personal email? Still, security trumps all else, especially for our nation, and the President-elect is being forced to give up his beloved ‘Berry.
“I’m still clinging to my BlackBerry,” Mr. Obama said Wednesday. “They’re going to pry it out of my hands.”
In the event that emails, text messages and phone records need to be subpoenaed for court, privacy and security could be compromised. We also know that persistent and fervent hackers could probably hack into Obama’s BlackBerry if they really tried. It’s not likely Obama will be able to keep his BlackBerry, but he’s going to fight it regardless of the results. We’re torn on this one: We’d like for our new President to be able to keep his favorite gadget, but in this case it’s better to be safe than sorry.
According to a widely circulating report by the Wall Street Journal, Google has apparently changed its stance on net neutrality and has asked internet service providers for a fast track for its content. The proposed plan, internally called OpenEdge, would place Google servers within each provider’s network allowing near immediate access to Google content. Such a request is contrary to Google’s previous net neutrality stance and opens the door for an internet where influential companies get fast access and everyone else gets slower access. The article at WSJ continues to elaborate upon this threat to net neutrality by citing how other companies, in particular Microsoft, Yahoo, and Amazon and prominent Internet scholars have also softened their stance on net neutrality. Though other companies and individuals may be wavering on net neutrality, Google has responded to the WSJ article and strongly reaffirmed its firm stance on net neutrality.
If you are at work and you see the private mobile phone records of President-elect Barack Obama, no matter how enticing, you must resist the urge to take a quick peek. Several Verizon Wireless employees succumbed to that temptation and have found themselves in a heap of trouble. According to a press release on Thursday, a number of employees were caught browsing through Obama’s cell phone records. The mobile account was for a flip phone, rumored to be a Razr, that had been inactive for several months. The records that were breached included call times, phone numbers of incoming/outgoing calls, numbers of text messages sent/received, etc. The employees in question reportedly did not have access to the content of any email, text or voice messages. Verizon initially put all employees who had access to Obama’s account on leave while it conducted an investigation. Late on Friday, Verizon announced that the matter was publicly closed, appropriate federal law enforcement agencies had been contacted and the offending employees were fired. An internal investigation is continuing to see if the information was shared only amongst internal employees or if the information was sent to any outside third parties.
Sorry for straying from our regular content, but we felt compelled to remind readers that today is November 4. The official Bold launch is hardly the only interesting news – today also happens to be the day we will elect our 44th President. If you are registered to do so, please, do us and yourself a favor. Take a break at some point today, head down to the polls and vote. Obama/Biden, McCain/Palin, BG/Jibi, whatever. Just vote. This election will already go down in history for a variety of reasons and it will likely be the most important election of our lifetime. Do your part. If making history isn’t enough incentive, hit the jump and listen to our friends over at Cornell University. They want you to vote so badly, well, you’ll see.