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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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Biggest federal crowdsourcing challenges aren’t technical

September 13, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The greatest challenges that federal agencies face when trying to draw crowdsourced information from citizens on social media aren’t technical; they’re organizational, political and legal, an analyst at the U.S. Agency for International Development’s GeoCenter said Thursday. Shadrock Roberts’ team worked extensively with USAID attorneys before launching a crowdsourcing project ...

Benghazi Attack Brings Online Gamers Together

September 12, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Online communities can be sensitive places during a crisis. I wrote in April, for instance, about how the rapid spread of Facebook rumors was robbing some military widows of what small comfort they might have taken from receiving the military’s traditional in-person notification of their husbands deaths. Wednesday’s killing of ...

Government Printing Office adopts internal XML system

September 12, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Government Printing Office is adopting a new system that will manage and publish congressional bills and other publications entirely in a pared down and machine-readable XML format, the company providing the system announced Wednesday. GPO plans to launch a “proof of concept” for the new system with congressional bills ...

Does the Federal CIO Shop Need Bold Vision or Implementation?

September 12, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow It’s an old trope in government that too much change all at once can start to yield diminishing returns. That’s why government executives who make major changes are often succeeded by managers who, either by temperament or necessity, focus on implementing their predecessor’s big initiatives, making sure all the new ...

GoDaddy outage briefly took down FedBizOpps, three other GSA sites

September 11, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The hours long outage at GoDaddy.com Monday briefly took down four General Services Administration websites, among them FedBizOpps.gov, which posts information and specifications for billions of dollars in federal contracting opportunities, a spokesman said. GSA did not contract directly with GoDaddy to host the sites or for anything else, agency ...

How the iPhone Changed Government and Society: A Quick Review

September 11, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow With Apple’s iPhone 5 slated to launch Wednesday and the tech world abuzz with rumors, now’s a good time to review how the indispensable smartphone has changed government and society. To start, note this May study from the Government Business Council, the research arm of Government Executive and Nextgov, which ...

White House seeks unified system to manage interns

September 10, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Executive Office of the President wants to retire the mélange of different programs it uses to manage internship hopefuls into a single unified system, according to solicitation documents released Saturday. The new system should at least be able to manage application materials from the roughly 3,650 people who apply ...

Getting the prize purse right in tech contests is a challenge all its own

September 7, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow What’s the toughest part about putting together a government-sponsored prize competition to develop new and innovative technologies? It’s not finding problems in need of a solution or drawing in competitors, according to Gregory Downing, executive director for innovation at the Health and Human Services Department. The toughest part is determining ...

Now’s the time for federal innovation, CIO says

September 6, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Tight budgets aren’t the only things putting pressure on federal technologists these days, federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel said Thursday. There’s also pressure from cyberattackers that’s “unprecedented in its scope” and pressure from citizens trained by the private sector to expect convenient, Web-based systems for all their transactions, he ...

Bringing the private sector into federal innovation

September 6, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Taking an innovative approach to social programs isn’t merely a matter of adopting new ideas, Jonathan Greenblatt said Thursday; it’s also about finding new funders. Greenblatt is director of the White House Social Innovation and Civic Participation Office, which is exploring ways to drive more financial support to social programs ...