Facing the Future of Biometrics

With many of us using our faces to "open" our phones, biometric technology has become an everyday consumer technology. Capitalizing on the comfort and ease of use of facial recognition, government agencies are looking to incorporate it (and other biometric methods) into their modern cybersecurity plans and approaches but are realizing implementation in a government setting raises a host of complications.

Interest in facial recognition is strong

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report in August of 2021 that detailed current and planned use of facial recognition technology by federal agencies. In a survey of 24 departments and agencies it found that 18 reported using the technology and 10 reported plans to expand their use of it. Continue reading

Are We There Yet? The Future of Modernization

There's no shortage of mandates and guidance related to modernization-PMA, Technology Modernization Fund, FITARA, Cyber EO, CX EO-pushing the government to update how they deliver services online, but what does it really mean, and what is involved?

Modernization in government began with transforming data centers and integrating cloud computing into government IT architectures and moved on to improving customer experience. Agencies have made inroads in all areas. The recent FITARA scorecard showed that data center consolidation goals have been completed. Cloud efforts have moved from Cloud First to Cloud Smart in an effort to ensure cloud was just not a checkbox but was being used to transform how the government consumes and distributes IT services. Citizen Experience (CX) has been a priority across three administrations with the next generation of CX efforts outlined in an executive order. These modernization efforts have resulted in billions of dollars in cost savings and increased efficiency for a government workforce that is now telework friendly, but the work is not done. Continue reading

Recognizing and Celebrating Women in Technology

March is Women's History Month, a time to reflect on the contributions women have made to history, culture, and society. The technology industry is one area where the contribution of women has been greatly under-reported. In fact, some of the innovations that are the cornerstone of today's tech were developed by women. Continue reading

Breaking Blockchain Free of Cryptocurrency

Blockchain may be best known for its role in enabling cryptocurrency to be tracked. While the use of cryptocurrency is still in its infancy, blockchain technology is proving to be applicable in a number of non-currency use cases.

Improving Public Transportation

The Federal Transit Administration is looking for ways to use blockchain as a way of "gamifying" decisions around transportation options. A proposed project, "blockchain-enabled transit incentivization," would, via an app, offer tokens to commuters who reserve a parking place or agree to use another mode of transportation. Using real time data about availability of parking, traffic congestion, and more, the app could change the incentives offered - making public transport a more appealing (and lucrative) option for people in transit. Blockchain could support the payment of those who chose incentivized public transit options as well as those who are using parking. The system could also promote equity in access to parking or other resources by factoring in a user's location or personal circumstances. Continue reading

Changes Coming to FITARA Scorecard

The results of the 13th FITARA scorecard, a program developed in 2015 to measure and incentivize agencies to meet key IT modernization goals, were released in January leading to a discussion of what is next for this measurement program.

The latest results showed modest improvements, but scores for the most part have remained steady over the past two measurement cycles. On this scorecard, 13 agencies maintained the same scores from July 2021 with seven earning higher marks. A handful of agencies received lower overall marks, due primarily to their inability to transition from a legacy contract vehicle to the new preferred government-wide Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) for telecommunication technology. A March 31, 2022, deadline to move 90% of work to EIS should push many of these scores back up for the next report card.

Knowing there is still a lot of work to do in terms of modernization, the committee that oversees the program has begun discussing new measures to better reflect the current state of government IT and support recent executive-level initiatives around modernization, security, and customer service. Continue reading