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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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This Group Could Make (or Break?) FOIA Reform

December 12, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A proposed advisory committee to modernize how agencies comply with the Freedom of Information Act could herald a major improvement in relations between government agencies and the researchers, journalists and others who seek documents from them, a privacy advocate says. If the committee is poorly composed or led by agencies ...

Issa Charges Sebelius with Criminal Obstruction of HealthCare.gov Investigation

December 11, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow This story has been updated to include comment from Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the oversight committee's ranking member. The lead congressman investigating HealthCare.gov’s dismal performance during its first two months online ratcheted up the executive-congressional conflict on Wednesday, accusing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of criminal obstruction of ...

Proposed Budget Deal Offers Stability for Federal IT

December 11, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The budget deal struck late Tuesday by House and Senate negotiators should offer some predictability for government information technology shops if it wins approval but won’t make it any easier to hire top IT talent into government, analysts said on Wednesday. The deal includes $63 million to roll back part ...

Far More People Sought Copies of Health Law Than Enrolled in Plans Online

December 11, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Here’s an interesting data point: About 3.6 million people retrieved online copies of President Obama’s health care reform law from the Government Printing Office during October and November while only one-tenth that many people enrolled in new insurance plans through HealthCare.gov and state exchanges. That’s at least a small indication ...

Outsourcing the Small Stuff, Too

December 11, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The philosophical question that hangs over HealthCare.gov’s disastrous first two months, experts say, is whether government is capable of doing big things. A related issue that’s often missed by digital government drop-ins is how adept the government has become at not doing some small things either, opting to outsource them ...

Only 137,000 People Got Insurance Through HealthCare.gov Last Month

December 11, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Nearly 365,000 Americans selected new insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act during October and November, but only 137,000 of those people fully enrolled in a plan through HealthCare.gov last month, the federal government's troubled online marketplace, according to figures released by the Health and Human Services Department on Wednesday. ...

Phone Apps Help Government, Others Counter Violence Against Women

December 10, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Smart and mobile phones have helped authorities solve crimes from beatings that occurred during the London riots to the Boston Marathon bombing. A panel of experts gathered on Monday said the devices can also help reduce and combat rapes and other gender-based violence. Smartphone apps and text messaging services proliferated ...

Reagan Administration Emails Were the Dawn of Digital Transparency

December 9, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Among the items in the Obama administration’s second action plan delivered to the international Open Government Partnership on Friday was a plan to use new auto-search tools to help clear Reagan-era White House email for declassification and release. Readers may be surprised to learn email was widely enough used during ...

What the First Income Taxes Tell Us About HealthCare.gov

December 9, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The search for a historical analogy for HealthCare.gov, the Obama administration’s online health insurance marketplace that nearly imploded upon launch, usually ends with social security, Medicare or Medicare Part D, a prescription drug plan. Those programs required building new bureaucracies and collecting information from large swaths of the nation’s citizens. ...

Using Search Tools to Declassify Presidential Docs - Starting With Reagan's

December 9, 2013 The White House plans to speed up the declassification of presidential records by launching new tools to search and automatically analyze documents for possible release, according to the Obama administration’s second round of commitments to the international Open Government Partnership published on Friday. The CIA and the National Archives and ...