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Joseph Marks

Senior Correspondent Joseph Marks covers cybersecurity for Nextgov. He previously covered cybersecurity for Politico, intellectual property for Bloomberg BNA and federal litigation for Law360. He covered government technology for Nextgov during an earlier stint at the publication and began his career at Midwestern newspapers covering everything under the sun. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and a master’s in international affairs from Georgetown University.
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Would you rather check the weather in space or sort data?

January 24, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow This story is part of Nextgov’s Building Better Apps project. From the Mars Curiosity Rover’s more than 1.2 million Twitter followers to the Johnson Space Center’s string of trending YouTube parodies, NASA has been a leader in the nexus between government and new technology. The space agency’s forays into the...

NASA’s space weather app has great images but lags on engagement

January 24, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow This story is part of Nextgov’s Building Better Apps project. NASA’s Space Weather Media Viewer mobile app is filled with compelling images of the sun and other celestial bodies, some of them updated minute by minute. The app’s designers could have done a better job, though, explaining just what the...

NASA’s Satellite Insight gaming app isn’t educational or fun

January 24, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow This story is part of Nextgov’s Building Better Apps project. NASA’s Satellite Insight mobile app aims to teach users about satellite data collection and give them a fun gaming experience at the same time. It fails on both counts, our reviewers said. Players of the Tetris-like game are instructed to...

We the People petitioners typically wait three months for a reply

January 23, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow On average, it takes White House officials nearly three months to pen responses to citizen petitions filed on its We the People website, once those petitions cross the threshold for an official reply. The average wait time dropped markedly, though, after the White House raised its threshold for a petition...

An entire Senate on Twitter. Really.

January 23, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Twitter entered inauguration weekend with a couple of big political announcements: Not only would First Lady Michelle Obama take up the micro blogging site during her husband’s second term, but all 100 senators in the 113th Congress would be tweeting too. That’s a huge increase from the opening of the...

Budget authority and executive titles come in for scrutiny in IT reform debate

January 22, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Government chief information officers without authority over their agencies’ technology spending are like “toothless tigers,” former Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., testified Tuesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee he once chaired. The committee’s current chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., plans to introduce legislation this Congress that would give...

Ombudsman helps keep the peace during the FOIA process

January 18, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow When things go sour between an agency’s Freedom of Information office and someone seeking documents, the problem is as likely to be a communication breakdown as it is to be about differing interpretations of FOIA law, open government officials said Thursday. That’s where the Office of Government Information Services, a...

FOIA Online gets mixed marks at three months

January 18, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A new digital system for managing Freedom of Information Act requests to the Commerce Department and a handful of other federal agencies deserves an A+ for making it easier to file FOIAs, Amy Bennett, assistant director of the transparency group Open The Government, said on Thursday. FOIA Online deserves a...

CIO Council to agency IT shops: Get smart on social media and open government

January 17, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow This story has been updated. Every federal agency’s information technology shop should include workers with expertise in social media, open government and cloud computing. That's according to new guidance from the federal Chief Information Officers Council. The updated Clinger-Cohen Core Competencies and Learning Objectives released by the council Thursday said...

New tactics emerge on We the People

January 16, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Is We the People an organizing tool or a communication tool? That’s a question I’m still trying to figure out more than 16 months after the White House petition site launched and in the wake of a number of high profile petitions and responses (read: secession and gun control) in...