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IT Confidential: Privacy, Security, Identity Still Matter

McGinnis says that E-government presents 'a complex challenge'

Mark Forman, who had been associate director for IT and E-government in the Office of Management and Budget, last week became administrator of the new Office of E-Government and IT within OMB, which still makes him the federal government's top CIO. "When my job was created, the listing of responsibilities was crafted from a report on the best practices of a CIO, and most of those still are true," Forman said in a press briefing. The recently enacted E-Government Act, which established the new post, obliges Forman to work with state and local governments, the public, and private and nonprofit organizations to improve government performance through collaborative use of IT. "The E-Government Act not only locks this into statute," Forman said, "but makes sure this initiative will last into the next administration and beyond."

Speaking of E-government, a survey released last week by the Council for Excellence in Government shows that almost half of Americans polled strongly agree that government will provide them with better services if they submit personal information to government Web sites. However, nearly the same number believe they risk security and privacy by doing so. "Americans want easy, efficient, and effective E-government," council CEO Patricia McGinnis said in a statement. "Just as important, they want their privacy protected. Striking that balance is the next important evolution in the E-government revolution and will require the efforts of both government and the technology community to apply the appropriate safeguards and build trust in using government Web sites."

Leslie Vadasz, who led Intel's design teams that helped build the first DRAM chip, will retire June 1 as the head of the chipmaker's venture-capital arm. Vadasz, 66, was the No. 3 employee at Intel and a member of the company's founding team in 1968. Design teams led by Vadasz also developed the first erasable, programmable read-only memory and the first microprocessor. Vadasz was on Intel's board from 1988 to 2002, when he reached the board's mandatory retirement age. Intel VP John Miner will succeed Vadasz as president of Intel Capital, which Vadasz established in 1991.

U.S. lending institutions are losing more than $1 billion each year to identity theft, a figure that's likely to grow short-term, according to a report by TowerGroup. The rate of ID theft has increased steadily over the past three years, according to statistics from the Federal Trade Commission, which says more than 160,000 U.S. citizens were victims of ID theft last year, and roughly 300,000 people have had their identities stolen since 2000.

Take my identity--please! Or maybe we can just swap identities for a while. Send recent photo, bank statement, and Social Security number--or just an industry tip--to or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about security, privacy, or identity theft, meet me at's Listening Post:

To discuss this column with other readers, please visit John Soat's forum on the Listening Post.

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