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Mohana Ravindranath

Staff Correspondent Mohana Ravindranath covers civilian agency technology and IT policy for Nextgov. She previously covered IT for the Washington Post, and her work has also appeared in Business Insider and the Philadelphia Inquirer. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.
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DHS Mulling Blockchain at the Border

November 8, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Homeland Security Department is investigating ways the decentralized ledger system used to track transactions that use bitcoin and other virtual currencies could be used at the nation’s borders. Customs and Border Protection is working with Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate on potential use cases, and is advising a...

Russian, Chinese Companies Win Intel Community's Facial Recognition Contest

November 8, 2017 A Russian company whose software is used to match facial photos to individual identities has $25,000 from the U.S. intelligence community. NTechlab, based in Moscow, is best known for building a product called “FindFace” that let users surreptitiously take photos of strangers and match them to their online social media...

Watchdog: Agencies Find Old Development Habits Die Hard

November 7, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Despite a history of over-budget, large-scale tech failures like the Healthcare.gov rollout, federal agencies still struggle when taking an incremental approach to software development projects, a watchdog report found. The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act requires agency chief information officers to certify that internal investments are put toward incremental...

Russian, Chinese Companies Win Intel Community's Face Recognition Tech Contest

November 7, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A Russian company whose software is used to match facial photos to individual identities has $25,000 from the U.S. intelligence community. NTechlab, based in Moscow, is best known for building a product called “FindFace” that let users surreptitiously take photos of strangers and match them to their online social media...

VA To Run Massive Survey of High-Risk Vets

November 6, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Today’s electronic health records rarely tell a patient’s complete story, and the Veterans Affairs Department could benefit from knowing about the social and behavioral factors affecting patients outside the clinic, a new project posits. The VA is considering surveying 10,000 veterans across the country about any factors in their lives...

Fate of Chief Data Officers Relies on Which Data Transparency Bill Passes

November 3, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Two versions of legislation that would require agencies to make their data more transparent are under consideration by Congress, but only one requires all agencies appoint chief data officers. The Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary Government Data Act, originally sponsored in the House by Reps. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, and Derek...

Be Funny and Other Tips from TSA's Social Media Team

November 2, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A large chunk of the Transportation Security Administration’s work happens online, before travelers reach the X-ray machines and bag scanners. Every day, the @AskTSA account fields hundreds of questions and concerns on Twitter and Facebook Messenger from soon-to-be travelers who often send pictures of items and asking if they’ll be...

DHS Wants Tech to Scan Your Face as You Drive to Mexico

November 2, 2017 The Homeland Security Department wants technology that can passively scan the faces of foreign nationals crossing the U.S. border by car, ensuring that the individuals who enter the country are the same ones who leave it. DHS’ Silicon Valley outpost is hosting an industry day Nov. 14 to solicit solutions...

Evidence-Based Policy Bill Would Require Chief Data Officers for All Agencies

November 1, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A bipartisan effort to back federal policy with facts and figures is underway. Rep. Paul Ryan, D-Wisc., introduced the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act Tuesday, which would direct federal agencies to use data to evaluate the effectiveness of its programs. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., introduced a companion bill to the...

DHS Wants Tech to Scan Your Face as You Drive to Mexico

November 1, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Homeland Security Department wants technology that can passively scan the faces of foreign nationals crossing the U.S. border by car, ensuring that the individuals who enter the country are the same ones who leave it. DHS’ Silicon Valley outpost is hosting an industry day Nov. 14 to solicit solutions...