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Joseph Marks

Staff Correspondent Joseph Marks covers government technology issues, social media, Gov 2.0 and global Internet freedom for Nextgov. He previously reported on federal litigation and legal policy for Law360 and on local, state and regional issues for two Midwestern newspapers. He also interned for Congressional Quarterly’s Homeland Security section and the Associated Press’s Jerusalem Bureau. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s in international affairs from Georgetown.
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Senate Passes Bill Demanding Uniform Coding for Agencies' Spending Data

April 10, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Senate passed the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act on Thursday, raising the likelihood the spending transparency measure will become law. The DATA Act, sponsored by Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, would require agencies to use a uniform coding system for federal spending data so internal auditors ...

Government-Run Competitions Should Be About Markets, Not Prizes

April 10, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Running a prize competition in government or industry is about “understanding where the market’s going in 10 years and trying to make it go there in three years,” Christopher Frangione, vice president for prize development at the X Prize Foundation, told members of Congress on Wednesday. That means government agencies ...

GSA Announces Plan to Simplify Federal Contracting

April 10, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The General Services Administration’s contracting division is developing a new Web platform and business structure to bring more expertise to complicated acquisitions, the agency said on Wednesday. The new initiative, called Category Management, will involve assigning a Federal Acquisition Service manager in charge of each of several acquisition categories, such ...

Here Comes GSA's Next Governmentwide Telecom Contract Vehicle

April 9, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The General Services Administration’s information technology contracting office is seeking industry feedback on plans for the next governmentwide contract vehicle for telecommunications and related services. GSA is in the process of developing Network Services 2020, or NS2020, a slate of approved vendors offering everything from basic telephone and data services ...

New Data.gov Section Profiles the Companies That Use It

April 8, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The government’s digital information repository Data.gov launched a new section on Tuesday focused on companies and nonprofits that are using government data to fuel their businesses. The page titled Impact offers brief profiles of 22 companies that consume open government data, including the companies’ financing and number of employees as ...

How Technology Failed to Fix Kenya’s Election

April 7, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow It’s perhaps the most common story in all of government technology: A challenge arises; new technology seems to offer the perfect solution; but something happens between concept and execution that makes that technology seem more like a culprit than a savior and that leads people to complain the old analog ...

Former NASA Web Manager Is Crowdfunding Her Discrimination Suit Against the Agency

April 7, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow As a Web manager and open government lead at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Megan Eskey used social media and other innovative approaches to publicize NASA activities. Now she’s using those same tools to publicize a discrimination complaint against her former employer and to crowdsource funds to support her suit and ...

Sometimes the Best Big Data Questions Raise the Biggest Privacy Concerns

April 4, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow One useful definition for the unstructured data that underlies most existing and theoretical big data projects is that it was often collected for some purpose other than what the researchers are using it for. That definition was provided by Chris Barrett, executive director of the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute during a ...

Remember the HealthCare.gov Woes? State Exchanges Had the Same Problems

April 3, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A parade of executives managing state online health care marketplaces shared stories with Congress on Thursday that echoed the turbulent tale of the federal site HealthCare.gov. Troubles included glitchy launches, conflict with vendors and patchwork personnel changes. The fixes and workarounds instituted by state exchanges often included hiring 100 or ...

Census Needs Better IT Plans for 2020, Auditor Says

April 3, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The U.S. Census Bureau should keep a more diligent testing schedule for information technology initiatives related to the 2020 census or it risks not having a firm plan in place by a 2015 deadline, according to an auditor’s report released on Thursday. Census plans to improve technology in 2020 include ...