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White House Announces Mobile Security Guidelines

U.S. CIO VanRoekel says future for government is one where mobile is the default computing platform; highlights accomplishments of Digital Government Strategy.

Mobile Government: 10 Must-Have Smartphone Apps
Mobile Government: 10 Must-Have Smartphone Apps
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White House officials announced a series of new resources and initiatives, including new mobile security guidelines, designed to support the administration's vision of delivering government information securely anytime, anywhere and on any device.

Speaking Thursday, on the one-year anniversary of the White House's release of its Digital Government Strategy, U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel said the new initiatives are intended to continue building on many of the accomplishments of the strategy over the past year.

In a joint statement, VanRoekel and federal CTO Todd Park announced that the White House Office of Management and Budget had published the first government-wide set of mobile computing security guidelines. The guidelines include a baseline of standard security requirements for mobile computing, a mobile computing decision framework for federal agencies and a mobile security reference architecture.

[ Learn what new technologies former U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra sees as priorities for government. Read 'Third-Wave' Tech Tools Reshape Agencies: Kundra. ]

The documents are significant not only in spelling out ways for agencies and industry to develop safer mobile products for use on government networks, but also because of the active roles played by the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in developing them, VanRoekel said in a press briefing with reporters.

"This work ... really sets the foundation in place for the next phase of federal computing," said VanRoekel.

"The future for us is one where mobile is the default computing platform," he said.

In a separate, but related development, the federal government also formally released a new catalog of more than 400 government datasets, available to developers in machine-readable form. In addition, the government's federal data portal, Data.gov, has transitioned its central catalog to an open source platform, called CKAN. Both changes are intended to make it easier to publish, share and use public data.

In addition, VanRoekel announced the implementation of a government-wide digital analytics program across all federal websites. "That means for the first time, we have insight about what information the public is looking for, where they're looking for it and if they're able to find it -- essential to our goal of easing access to government information," he said.

That effort is part of broader moves to make government websites "screen agnostic," said VanRoekel, making government content easily accessible whether viewed on a mobile phone or big screen TV. He said USAJobs.gov, USA.gov and WhiteHouse.gov are among the first government sites to move in that direction.

The new initiatives are the latest in a series of developments that were prompted by the Digital Government Strategy that was unveiled by VanRoekel and Park at a technology investor event in New York last May.

Most notable among them is President Obama's recently released executive order and open data policy that make open and machine-readable the new default for government data.

But the strategy has also been responsible for addressing a total of 29 objectives aimed at four broad goals: managing data instead of documents; sharing platforms to reduce costs; focusing on enabling end users; and ensuring information is delivered safely and securely anytime, anywhere and on any device. VanRoekel and Park highlighted those accomplishments in a May 23 blog post.

A White House website summarizes all of those objectives and provides links to the resulting responses and deliverables.

Asked what comes next, with the Digital Government Strategy's milestones now complete, VanRoekel said, "we're going to continue building on the security reference architecture. Right now, the specifications that came out today are for a government (mobile) device on a government network," but he expects to see that expanded to include bring-your-own-devices.

"We'll also have a maniacal focus on the open data policy," he said.

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