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

FirstNet Serves Those First on the Scene

FirstNet is a nationwide wireless broadband network for first responders being built and deployed through a first of its kind public-private partnership. FirstNet was borne out of the September 11, 2001 tragedy where it became clear that the radio systems police, fire, and paramedics relied on did not easily operate across agencies. First responders also could not rely on land and mobile phone lines as they were overwhelmed by a high volume of calls. The 2004 9/11 commission report cited this lack of connectivity as a fundamental problem for first responders and pushed for solutions to be developed quickly to support everyday public safety activities as well as response to catastrophes.

The development of FirstNet began in 2012 when the First Responder Network Authority was established and a law was put in place that allocated 20 megahertz of spectrum and $7 billion to establish a broadband network dedicated to the nation's first responders. FirstNet was launched in 2018.

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Senate Committee Examines Government Meetings

Originally posted on Meetings & Conventions by Cheryl-Anne Sturken

On Jan. 14, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a hearing on "Examining Conference and Travel Spending Across the Federal Government," and M&C listened in, following the no-holds-barred proceedings, which at times were downright contentious.

The committee, led by Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.), heard testimony on the steps being taken to cut government meetings spending from Beth Cobert, deputy director of management for the Office of Management and Budget; Dan Tangherlini, administrator of the General Services Administration; and inspectors general for the Department of Justice, the General Services Administration and the Internal Revenue Service.
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House report details reduced government spending on conferences

Originally posted on LasVegasSun.com by 

WASHINGTON - Nearly two years ago, stories of a pricey Government Services Administration conference in Las Vegas sparked a federal inquiry into how taxpayer dollars were being spent on federal meetings.

Now, House officials are announcing that not only has GSA conference spending gone down by 88 percent, but the government saved $219 million since fiscal 2010 on conference costs.

The report, issued by House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica, R-Fla., focuses on federal conference spending by the GSA, Internal Revenue Service, Veterans Administration and Defense Department.

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Federal conference spending is leaving Las Vegas

Originally posted on USAToday.com

WASHINGTON -- With its kitschy crooners, blackjack tables and luxury hotel rooms, Las Vegas is a popular destination for trade shows, tourists and newlyweds.

But no longer, it seems, with bureaucrats.

Federal agencies have all but abandoned Las Vegas and other resort destinations -- including Hawaii and Orlando -- for government meetings and conferences, following a number of high-profile agency travel scandals and budget cutbacks.

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