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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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SBA's loan system troubles could complicate reorganization

February 10, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Small Business Administration is behind schedule on five of six planned improvements to its Loan Management and Accounting Systems and costs for the overall project have risen about 20 percent since 2010 to $28 million, a recent Government Accountability Office report said. That's a common story with federal information ...

Turning government data into private sector products is complicated business

February 9, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The government launched its massive data set trove Data.gov in 2009 with a clear mission: to put information the government was gathering anyway into the hands of private sector and nonprofit Web and mobile app developers. Once that data was out, the White House imagined, developers would set about turning ...

Outgoing CTO ruffles some feathers praising citizen innovators

February 8, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow An event to mark federal Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra's last day in office Wednesday briefly turned into a debate about the nature of government innovation. Chopra spent most of what amounted to a farewell address at the Center for American Progress praising citizens who had launched new businesses or ...

Interior rebids cloud email contract

February 8, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Interior Department issued a new solicitation for cloud email services Tuesday. The department withdrew an earlier solicitation in September 2011 after a yearlong legal battle during which Google challenged Interior's award of the $59 million contract to Softchoice, which offers a Microsoft-based system. A federal judge agreed to dismiss ...

Leave 'Em Laughing: U.S. Embassy in Syria Posts Cartoon to Facebook

February 7, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The U.S. Embassy in Damascus' only statement to Syrian citizens since pulling up stakes in what appears to be a nascent civil war is...a cartoon. The State Department evacuated the Damascus embassy Monday amid rising violence between Arab Spring protesters and President Basher Assad's regime. It wasn't clear at the ...

One-Fifth of Americans Getting Campaign News on Facebook

February 7, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow This post has been updated to correct a statistic about newspapers as a source of election news About 20 percent of Americans are learning something about the presidential campaign on Facebook, compared with 42 percent who are getting some election news from their local daily newspapers, according to a study ...

No easy answers on Twitter's new censorship policy

February 7, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The headline and opening paragraphs of this story were changed to more accurately characterize the sources' positions on the issue. Experts were split Tuesday on whether Twitter's new policy to allow country-specific censorship represents a fundamental failure to protect free speech, is simply the price of doing business globally, or ...

U.S. could maintain virtual presence in Syria

February 6, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The closing of the U.S. embassy in Damascus on Monday in response to escalating violence may not mean an end to the State Department's virtual ties with Syria, experts told Nextgov. Even from outside the country, State officials could continue to interact with Syrian citizens on Facebook and Twitter, they ...

Social media aids diplomacy, disaster response

February 3, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow U.S. embassies used to pass important security alerts to Americans abroad through word of mouth, Janice Jacobs, assistant secretary of State for consular affairs, said Friday. Embassy consular sections relayed those warnings, called "warden messages" through pre-organized phone trees or by actually knocking on doors, she said. Later, embassies began ...

Shared services require a solid business case, IT leaders say

February 2, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The key to developing a successful shared services strategy is figuring out where pooling resources can bring the greatest benefit and making a solid business case for it, government information technology leaders said Thursday. If executives aim too high, the IT leaders said, they'll be stymied by agencies and divisions ...