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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Social Security Websites Lead in Satisfaction, Treasury Trails

April 26, 2011 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Social Security Administration websites that allow users to apply for and calculatetheir benefits online and to find extra help paying for Medicare prescription drug plan costs topped a quarterly user satisfaction survey of government websites released Tuesday. Specialty websites generally topped the list with departments' and agencies' main sites ranking...

Coming IT program managers will be senior leaders

April 26, 2011 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A cadre of newly codified federal information technology positions known as IT program managers will likely be highly paid and highly ranked, with broad authority to manage major technology development initiatives, specialists say. Generally, IT program managers should oversee a single large-scale information technology initiative that involves multiple teams working...

FEMA's operating systems don't communicate effectively, despite major IT investments

April 22, 2011 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Federal Emergency Management Agency still doesn't have the information technology capacity to deal with a major disaster response six years after Hurricane Katrina exposed weaknesses in the system, according to an audit released on Tuesday. FEMA began a major push in 2007 to integrate all of its disparate IT...

Energy Department Site Goes Down in Amazon Cloud

April 21, 2011 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A cloud computing service managed by Amazon that crashed Wednesday also brought down an Energy Department site aimed at sharing clean technology practices with the private sector. A note on the site Thursday afternoon said it was "temporarily down" and that engineers were "working aggressively to restore service." Amazon's...

Amazon cloud crash endangers federal websites

April 21, 2011 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Parts of Amazon's cloud computing service crashed Wednesday night, bringing down or disrupting several popular websites and endangering some federal sites that purchase space in the cloud. By Thursday afternoon, the only federal site affected by the crash was an Energy Department website devoted to sharing clean energy practices with...

Terrorist Threat Alerts Go Social

April 20, 2011 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The next time you hear about a heightened threat of terrorists hijacking passenger trains or hiding bombs in cargo containers, it's as likely to come from a Facebook post or a friend's re-tweet as from an official government announcement or an old-fashioned email. The Homeland Security Department retired its vague...

New terror alert system aims for wide exposure via Web

April 20, 2011 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Homeland Security Department's new terrorist threat alert system, scheduled to come online April 26, is aimed at simplifying the concept as well as expanding the places where people can find the alerts, including social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Soon after the new alert system was announced...

From New terror alert system aims for wide exposure via Web

April 20, 2011 The Homeland Security Department's new terrorist threat alert system, scheduled to come online April 26, is aimed at simplifying the concept as well as expanding the places where people can find the alerts, including social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Read the whole story on

Kundra Backs Up Obama on 'Broken' IT

April 19, 2011 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Federal CIO Vivek Kundra is interpreting some unscripted comments from his boss knocking government IT as a challenge rather than an indictment. "The President is absolutely right," Kundra said in a statement. "When we came into office, Federal IT was undeniably broken. These problems weren't created overnight and they won't...

Auditor finds security gaps in nuclear lab's information systems

April 19, 2011 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Lawrence Livermore National Nuclear Laboratory isn't adequately protecting some vital national security data and federal managers are improperly allowing contractors to make some decisions about sensitive information, according to an auditor's report released Tuesday. In some cases, contractors have made "security-significant" changes to the computer systems that store information...

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