IT Confidential: The Internet Giveth--And Taketh Away
The Defense Department last week decided to shelve its online voting initiative. The Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment came under fire when several security experts published a report that concluded the Internet and current software applications are inherently too insecure to provide a trustworthy platform for voting. Serve was designed to test Internet voting as a way to make it easier for the 6 million military personnel and other U.S. citizens overseas to participate in national elections. A pilot of 100,000 voters was planned for November's presidential election. Now, Defense says there are too many security questions. "We will continue to investigate technologies to cast ballots over the Internet," a department spokeswoman says, but Internet voting will take place only "if it can be shown that the integrity of the election can be ensured."
CigarWise Magazine, a new online pub, last week said it had to pull the lead article in its inaugural issue--"The Internet V. The Cuban Embargo," described as "an exposé detailing the popularity and ease of purchasing Cuban cigars through the Internet"--because of threatening phone calls and mail received by the writer. CigarWise publisher Vaagn Arakelyan said in a statement, "Apparently, the story has upset readers who engage in Internet purchasing of Cuban cigars through a third party (located in a country that does not ban the import or export of Cuban agricultural goods)."
Robert McFarland is the new assistant secretary of IT at the Department of Veterans Affairs. McFarland comes to the VA from Dell, where he was VP of government relations. McFarland also is a Vietnam vet. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony Principi said in a statement: "The important work of honoring our veterans and safeguarding their records [is] in good hands."
Mark Forman has been tapped for the board of directors of Corio, one of the leading (i.e., still standing) application service providers. Forman left the top technology job in the federal government last summer to become executive VP of worldwide services at Cassatt, an enterprise-software startup founded by former BEA Systems chairman and CEO Bill Coleman.
Microsoft associate general counsel Richard Wallis will take over later this year as chairman of the American Bar Association's antitrust section, according to The Associated Press. The AP report said the position is "an unusual role for a corporate lawyer." Also, the report said the ABA group is organizing opposition to a congressional plan for "aggressive oversight by the courts of antitrust settlements," such as the one entered into with Microsoft.
"First thing we do," says one of the followers of the rebel Jack Cade in "Henry VI, Part 2," "let's kill all the lawyers." Just kidding! Some of my best friends are lawyers--well, maybe not my best friends. Have a favorite Shakespeare quote, or an industry tip? Send it to email@example.com or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about problems versus opportunities on the Internet, or government technology's revolving door, meet me at InformationWeek.com's Listening Post.
To discuss this column with other readers, please visit John Soat's forum on the Listening Post.