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An American who worked at the same intelligence contractor as NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been charged with the theft of classified documents. Harold Martin, 51, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, was arrested in late August after the FBI raided his house and storage shed, allegedly finding a number of top secret documents he …
Two "leaks", thefts, or whatever one wants to call them depending on political leaning from the same contracting company. I can understand once, but now twice? I think Booz Allen Hamilton should be removed as a contractor as there is something seriously wrong with their vetting procedures.
Why should Booz Allen be removed as a defense contractor? While they may have hired him, it is the government (not BAH) who provides security clearances. It's only BAH's responsibility to ensure an employee is qualified for clearances. On top of this, once hired and put to work, a government representative, along with a government security manager verifies an individuals clearance and is responsible for reading them into particular programs (if appropriate).
To say Booz Allen is responsible is ignorant.
The coincidence is BAH is often contracted to find the cyber professionals to put in very sensitive positions. If you want to blame anyone, blame the current White House administration... who, instead of providing proper training to military and civilian cyber professionals, would rather pay substantially more for a contractor to find people. This is the real problem; because even after they're hired... they aren't provided with training to upgrade and maintain certifications, get the latest training, etc.
..and finally, because contracted work isn't permanent, and the pay isn't comparable to the same commercial positions, the best cyber professionals stay far away from contracted government work, because they can get paid 2 to 3 times more and have permanent employment working for a commercial company.
So again, blame the Obama administration. While they have published and updated a lot of cyber security regulations, etc. They don't provide the country with the best professionals available.
@Aodhhan, got my downvote!
You are right, it is the government's fault that they hire subcontractors, however, they have for decades, not just under Obama, under braindead father and braindead son as well, same for any president between the two.
The thing is, it is more expensive than hiring direct because you feed a sub contractor and employer ... which means that the administration has some kind of incentive to give sub contractor + employer tax money, not sure what that may be ....
Have an upvote for general correctness. However, I will make a few additional observations.
Federal government agencies like NSA are constrained by both staffing limits and general schedule compensation limits. The first may keep them from hiring enough people to accomplish their mission, and the second may reduce their ability to hire enough people in technical specialties that are especially well compensated in the private sector. It is very likely that both of these constraints bear on the NSA, as well as some other agencies; the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency seems likely to be another example.
This situation is not the fault of the Obama administration alone. The Congress, in its sometimes misguided effort to (appear to) reduce the size of the federal government, is fully complicit. Furthermore, it certainly extends at least two administrations back, to the Clinton administration, and probably back further to that of Reagan. Democrats and Republicans are about equally culpable.
The solution is, and always has been, to increase appropriations without increasing staffing limits, ignoring the fact that, as another poster noted, that it increases the cost of federal government operations quite substantially. As this post notes, it also allows agencies to hire people to critical positions at rates above what the general schedule will allow. According to his claims, Edward Snowden was paid far more than the GS-12 or 13 rate that would be the range for his job, based on his known CV. More often, however, contractor employees receive less, and sometimes much less, than the GS rate for their positions. The contractor firm bills substantially more than they pay the employee (they are in business to make money, and actually incur expenses for management, payroll, and sometimes fringe benefits). It is not uncommon for them to bill more than the fully burdened cost of a civil service employee in a position.
I've worked on both sides. As a manager, I found the ease of filling vacancies under an existing contract extremely helpful, but the low rate paid in some cases was quite distasteful, and I encouraged contractor employees to apply for civil service vacancies that came up. The contractor employees we got, though, were as good on average as the civil servants. Later, as a contractor employee (under the same contract) I was paid on a par with my civil service counterparts. My employer was a subcontractor to the primary, whose contract limited them to a rate that may well not have allowed both them and my employer a profit. That probably did not bother either of them, as they supplied quite a few others at lower rates and could make their contracts profitable as a whole.
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American lawmakers held a hearing on Tuesday to discuss a proposed federal information privacy bill that many want yet few believe will be approved in its current form.
The hearing, dubbed "Protecting America's Consumers: Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen Data Privacy and Security," was overseen by the House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Therein, legislators and various concerned parties opined on the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA) [PDF], proposed by Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA).
Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft often support privacy in public statements, but behind the scenes they've been working through some common organizations to weaken or kill privacy legislation in US states.
That's according to a report this week from news non-profit The Markup, which said the corporations hire lobbyists from the same few groups and law firms to defang or drown state privacy bills.
The report examined 31 states when state legislatures were considering privacy legislation and identified 445 lobbyists and lobbying firms working on behalf of Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft, along with industry groups like TechNet and the State Privacy and Security Coalition.
A woman in the US has been charged with murder after she allegedly tracked down her boyfriend using an Apple AirTag and ran him over after seeing him with another lady.
Gaylyn Morris, 26, found her partner Andre Smith, also 26, at Tilly’s Pub in an Indianapolis shopping mall with the help of the gadget in the early hours of June 3, it is claimed.
A witness said Morris had driven up to him in the parking lot and inquired whether Smith was in the bar, stating she had a GPS tracker that showed he was inside, according to an affidavit [PDF] by Detective Gregory Shue. Morris, the witness said, subsequently spotted Smith within the establishment.
Brave CEO Brendan Eich took aim at rival DuckDuckGo on Wednesday by challenging the web search engine's efforts to brush off revelations that its Android, iOS, and macOS browsers gave, to a degree, Microsoft Bing and LinkedIn trackers a pass versus other trackers.
Eich drew attention to one of DuckDuckGo's defenses for exempting Microsoft's Bing and LinkedIn domains, a condition of its search contract with Microsoft: that its browsers blocked third-party cookies anyway.
"For non-search tracker blocking (e.g. in our browser), we block most third-party trackers," explained DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg last month. "Unfortunately our Microsoft search syndication agreement prevents us from doing more to Microsoft-owned properties. However, we have been continually pushing and expect to be doing more soon."
Oracle has been sued by Plexada System Integrators in Nigeria for alleged breach of contract and failure to pay millions of dollars said to be owed for assisting with a Lagos State Government IT contract.
Plexada is seeking almost $56 million in denied revenue, damages, and legal costs for work that occurred from 2015 through 2020.
A partner at Plexada, filed a statement with the Lagos State High Court describing the dispute. The document, provided to The Register, accuses Oracle of retaliating against Plexada and trying to ruin the firm's business for seeking to be paid.
The world's governments are eager to let someone else handle their IT headaches, according to a recent Gartner report, which found a healthy appetite for "anything-as-a-service" (XaaS) platforms to cut the costs of bureaucracy.
These trends will push government IT spending to $565 billion in 2022, up 5 percent from last year, the analyst house claims. Gartner believes the majority of new government IT investments will be on service platforms by 2026.
"The pandemic sped up public-sector adoption of cloud solutions and the XaaS model for accelerated legacy modernization and new service implementations," Gartner analyst Daniel Snyder said in a release. "Fifty-four percent of government CIOs responding to the 2022 Gartner CIO survey indicated that they expect to allocate additional funding to cloud platforms in 2022, while 35 percent will decrease investments in legacy infrastructure and datacenter technologies."
A US task force aims to prevent online harassment and abuse, with a specific focus on protecting women, girls and LGBTQI+ individuals.
In the next 180 days, the White House Task Force to Address Online Harassment and Abuse will, among other things, draft a blueprint on a "whole-of-government approach" to stopping "technology-facilitated, gender-based violence."
A year after submitting the blueprint, the group will provide additional recommendations that federal and state agencies, service providers, technology companies, schools and other organisations should take to prevent online harassment, which VP Kamala Harris noted often spills over into physical violence, including self-harm and suicide for victims of cyberstalking as well mass shootings.
A group of senators wants to make it illegal for data brokers to sell sensitive location and health information of individuals' medical treatment.
A bill filed this week by five senators, led by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), comes in anticipation the Supreme Court's upcoming ruling that could overturn the 49-year-old Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing access to abortion for women in the US.
The worry is that if the Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade – as is anticipated following the leak in May of a majority draft ruling authored by Justice Samuel Alito – such sensitive data can be used against women.
Some authorities in Europe insist that location data is not personal data as defined by the EU's General Data Protection Regulation.
EU privacy group NOYB (None of your business), set up by privacy warrior Max "Angry Austrian" Schrems, said on Tuesday it appealed a decision of the Spanish Data Protection Authority (AEPD) to support Virgin Telco's refusal to provide the location data it has stored about a customer.
In Spain, according to NOYB, the government still requires telcos to record the metadata of phone calls, text messages, and cell tower connections, despite Court of Justice (CJEU) decisions that prohibit data retention.
Apple's Intelligent Tracking Protection (ITP) in Safari has implemented privacy through forgetfulness, and the result is that users of Twitter may have to remind Safari of their preferences.
Apple's privacy technology has been designed to block third-party cookies in its Safari browser. But according to software developer Jeff Johnson, it keeps such a tight lid on browser-based storage that if the user hasn't visited Twitter for a week, ITP will delete user set preferences.
So instead of seeing "Latest Tweets" – a chronological timeline – Safari users returning to Twitter after seven days can expect to see Twitter's algorithmically curated tweets under its "Home" setting.
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