Here’s a frightening statistic: Apple Inc. now has more cash on hand than the entire United States federal government. As of Wednesday, July 27, the balance sheet for the US Treasury dipped down to $73.768 billion. That compares to the $76.156 billion Apple has in its deep coffers — a difference of $2.388 billion.So, how in the name of all that’s good and fiscally responsible in this world did such a thing happen? A wide variety of individual factors are at play, here, of course. But it comes down to one basic fact: Apple makes more money than it spends, while the US government spends more than it generates in tax revenue. In other words, Apple is doing a really good job at running itself, while the federal government is not.As you all surely know by now, Washington is stuck in a relentless gridlock over how to raise the national debt ceiling. If you haven’t yet grasped what the debt ceiling is, it works something like this: Imagine the entire US government pays … [Read more...] about Apple has more money than the US government
Us government accountability office
Some U.S. government agencies are using IT systems running Windows 3.1, the decades-old COBOL and Fortran programming languages, or computers from the 1970s.A backup nuclear control messaging system at the U.S. Department of Defense runs on an IBM Series 1 computer, first introduced in 1976, and uses eight-inch floppy disks, while the Internal Revenue Service's master file of taxpayer data is written in assembly language code that's more than five decades old, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.Some agencies are still running Windows 3.1, first released in 1992, as well as the newer but unsupported Windows XP, Representative Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, noted during a Wednesday hearing on outdated government IT systems.The government is spending more than US$80 billion a year on IT, and "it largely doesn't work," Chaffetz said during a House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing. "The federal government is … [Read more...] about US government agencies are still using Windows 3.1, floppy disks and 1970s computers
Yesterday, I published a piece on a US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report (GAO-10-8) that suggests a serious influenza pandemic could result in a massive spike in Internet traffic and that the US government may need to step in and act as an Internet traffic cop; limiting people's bandwidth or blocking bandwidth-intensive sites altogether.A vigorous debate over the practicality, effectiveness, and legality of this issue in the post's discussion thread. So, I though putting up a poll that allows people to quickly vote on the issue made sense. Let me know what you think. … [Read more...] about Poll: Should the US Government block sites/regulate Internet traffic during times of crisis?
Every year, the city of Louisville, Kentucky in the US hosts a massive fireworks display to celebrate the beginning of the Kentucky Derby Festival, a series of events leading up to the Kentucky Derby horse race. During the display, called Thunder Over Louisville, over 500,000 people cram into a several block area creating a traffic nightmare.Luckily, local police and emergency management officials are pretty good at managing the huge increase in traffic. They block certain streets, convert two-way roads into one-way roads, and do their best to manage the flow of traffic. Indeed, we've come to expect this type of government action during periods of heavy automobile traffic. It might be an inconvenience, but most of us understand it's necessary for the safety of everyone involved. But does the same hold true for the Internet?The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report (GAO-10-8) that suggests a serious influenza pandemic could result in a massive spike in Internet … [Read more...] about US Government may need to limit Internet use during flu pandemic, GAO says
If any vertical industry should have been immune from public cloud computing, it's government. Risk-averse and not particularly innovation or cost-driven, governments are most likely to play it safe with legacy vendors and legacy approaches to enterprise IT.But that's not what's happening. At least, not completely.While plenty of roadblocks remain to government cloud adoption, various states are showing the US federal government how to innovate and cut costs with the cloud.The tipping point for the federal shift to public cloud computing came from then US CIO Vivek Kundra, who declared a goal of shifting 25% of the federal government's $80 billion IT budget to the cloud. Though greeted with euphoria, the reality has been somewhat muted.As the US Government Accounting Office (GAO) found in a 2014 report, federal agencies increased the total number of cloud computing services implemented by 80 services, from 21 to 101. At the same time, they spent $222 million more on cloud … [Read more...] about States show the US federal government how to go big in cloud
Thanks to tougher encryption built into Apple's various operating systems, the company has been unable to comply with court orders from the US Department of Justice requiring the company to hand over iMessages in real time in a drug case, reports The New York Times.Of course, if you aren't a drug dealer, you probably don't need to worry too much about the DoJ trying to eavesdrop on your iMessages. But with hacks and government spying becoming more well known, especially in the aftermath of the Edward Snowden disclosures, knowing that your device is secure (even from a court order) can be reassuring.Apple uses end-to-end encryption with iMessage. This means that even if a message is intercepted between my device and yours, no one can read it. Not Apple, not the government, and not a hacker.Apple's iOS devices are encrypted too, starting with iOS 8 released last year. Without a fingerprint or PIN number, Apple says it can't break into an iOS device for any reason. The FBI says this could … [Read more...] about Apple fighting the US government on turning over encrypted iMessages
A new front has emerged in modern warfare, and it is not on the battlefield. Cyberwar and the digital arms race continue to advance as a threat faced by countries around the world. In June, NATO officially recognized cyberspace as an "operational domain" where conflict could occur.To face this growing risk, world leaders are evaluating and updating their approaches to cyberwarfare—preparing to do battle online as well as on the ground. To better posture the US against cyberattacks, the Obama administration is considering elevating the status of the Pentagon's Cyber Command and separating it from the National Security Agency (NSA), which would give the Cyber Command more authority regarding cyber initiatives. SEE: Inside the secret digital arms race: Facing the threat of a global cyberwar According to a report, originally published by Reuters, elevating the status of Cyber Command would give it more power to develop cyber weapons to deter attacks and punish cybercriminals who … [Read more...] about Is US Cyber Command preparing to become the 6th branch of the military?
On Monday, US President Donald Trump will meet with executives from some 20 major tech firms to discuss how the government can cut costs through improved IT. Executives from Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft, IBM, Mastercard, Intel, Qualcomm, Oracle, and Adobe will attend the meeting, according to a Reuters report.According to Reuters, White House officials said the Trump administration found an "economic opportunity" to save up to $1 trillion over 10 years by cutting government IT costs, improving IT to reduce spending, leveraging government purchasing power, and cutting fraud across government agencies. The US government spends more than $80 billion on IT annually, excluding classified operations, according to a 2016 US Government Accountability Office report cited by Reuters. Additionally, in 2015, the US government invested in at last 7,000 separate IT projects, with some agencies still using components of legacy systems that were at least 50 years old. SEE: Pay What You Want: … [Read more...] about 5 things Trump must discuss in meeting with Silicon Valley leaders to ensure US tech success
Reacting to concerns about the mass collection of photographs in police databases, U.S. lawmakers plan to introduce legislation to limit the use of facial recognition technology by the FBI and other law enforcement organizations.The FBI and police departments across the country can search a group of databases containing more than 400 million photographs, many of them from the drivers' licenses of people who have never committed a crime. The photos of more than half of U.S adults are contained in a series of FBI and state databases, according to one study released in October.Law enforcement agencies don't need a court-ordered warrant to search the database, members of the House of Representataties Oversight and Government Reform Committee noted during a hearing Wednesday.Yet, the facial recognition system spits out false positive results about 15 percent of the time, with inaccuracies higher when police search for African-Americans and other racial minorities, … [Read more...] about US lawmakers question police use of facial recognition tech
Yahoo has reportedly searched through all of its users' incoming emails with a secret software program that's designed to ferret out information for U.S. government agencies.The software program, which was created last year, has scanned hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI, according to a Tuesday report from Reuters.Yahoo reportedly created the program to comply with a U.S. classified government directive. It's unclear if the mass email searching program is still in use."Yahoo is a law-abiding company and complies with the laws of the United States," the company said in a statement.The mass email searches might go above and beyond other U.S. government requests for information. Internet and telecommunication companies have handed over customer data before, most notably under the NSA's PRISM surveillance program, which was publicized by leaker Edward Snowden. However, the Yahoo initiative was especially broad and … [Read more...] about Yahoo may have allowed US government to search user emails