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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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The government wants your big data ideas

October 3, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A trio of agencies on Wednesday launched the first public challenge stemming from a $200 million White House investment in March in big data research and analysis. The Big Data Challenge will be focused on developing new software and algorithms that mine government datasets for valuable insights, said Suzi Iacono, ...

Watchdogs give multi-agency FOIA portal a thumbs up

October 1, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A cross-agency Freedom of Information Act request portal that launched Monday has been getting positive reviews so far from transparency groups. Sunshine in Government called the new system, which accepts, tracks and processes FOIA requests for the Environmental Protection Agency, the Commerce Department and the National Archives and Records Administration, ...

Agencies rush to award millions in IT contracts

October 1, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Federal agencies finalized millions of dollars in information technology awards in advance of the close of the 2012 fiscal year this weekend, including a cloud computing services contract from the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology that could reach $9 million. The first order under NIST’s indefinite delivery-indefinite ...

What do Smokey Bear, traveling feds and children have in common? Their own federal apps.

October 1, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The government is in the midst of an all-out push to make information available to citizens anywhere at any time and to make customer service competitive with the private sector. To that end, federal agencies have launched more than 100 custom-built mobile applications and mobile-adaptive websites in recent years. In ...

Tech Roundup

October 1, 2012 Cold Fusion Nearly half of federal agencies are not sharing documented incidents of potential terrorist activity with U.S. intelligence centers, according to officials in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The Homeland Security and Justice departments since 2008 have been teaching federal officials and police to deposit, through ...

Willing to Fail

October 1, 2012 How do you spur innovation in government? Be willing to fail. How do you make government willing to fail? Make failure cheap. That’s the idea behind Development Innovation Ventures, run by Maura O’Neill, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s chief innovation officer. The program takes a venture capital approach to ...

Bill would require agencies to report cloud computing progress

September 28, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Bipartisan legislation introduced in the Senate would require federal agencies to publish annual reports on their progress shifting computer infrastructure to cheaper and more nimble cloud computing. The 2012 Cloud Computing Act also would require agencies to provide updates on other goals described in the Office of Management and Budget’s ...

Signs of Innovation at RFP-EZ

September 26, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Radically reforming how government operates is a tall order. Plenty of projects have worn the mantle of innovation but fallen into the same old bureaucratic traps. The five intern-run projects collected under federal Chief Technology Officer Todd Park’s Presidential Innovation Fellows program may yet end up in that category, but ...

GSA may have to start over on governmentwide cellphone plan

September 25, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A decision posted Tuesday by the Office of the Comptroller General could complicate the government’s goal of saving billions of dollars by consolidating contracts for mobile phone services. The General Services Administration failed to prove that several vendor requirements it included in its Wireless Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative were standard ...

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly About Government Data Storage

September 25, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The past few days have demonstrated benefits and some pitfalls related to the government’s shift to nimble cloud-based storage for much of its computer services. The good news: those promised money savings are starting to appear and demonstrate the government’s technology shop has some hope of fulfilling its promise to ...