Good morning tech

Executive Notes

OMB will address agencies’ financial systems one by one. After calling for a government-wide halt last month to all overhauls of agencies’ financial systems, OMB will begin meeting with agencies individually this week to discuss the best path forward, NextGov reports. Federal chief information officer Vivek Kundra’s team is expected to prod agencies to reduce the size and the scope of their undertakings. Industry experts have pointed out that a major reason agencies struggle with updating their financial systems is that financial management as a whole in the government is heavily stovepiped and poorly managed; many agencies lack basic knowledge of how their various bureaus and offices process financial transactions.

Technological disasters caused by hubris. The presidential oil spill commission will be looking for signs of technological arrogance that may have caused the oil spill, pointing out that advancements in deep-sea drilling capabilities have far outstripped the technology used to clean up after spills, according to an AP report. “It just hasn’t kept pace,” said William Reilly, co-chair of the commission. Those advancements may have contributed to more risk-taking by oil companies. “It kind of creeps up on you,” Energy Secretary Steven Chu told the AP. “Then suddenly you realize that now only robots can do what people used to do because the drilling is so deep.” Stanford physics professor Douglas Osheroff said the incident reminds him “an awful lot” of NASA accidents like the space shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003.

Court Notes

Judge OKs iPhone class action against Apple, AT&T. A federal judge will allow a monopoly abuse lawsuit against Apple and AT&T’s mobile phone unit to move forward as a class action, according to the AP. “The lawsuit consolidates several filed by iPhone buyers starting in late 2007, a few months after the first generation of Apple’s smart phone went on sale,” the report says. At issue is Apple’s practice of “locking” iPhones so they can only be used on AT&T’s network as well as “its absolute control over what applications iPhone owners can and cannot install on the gadgets.” The actions hurt competition and drove up prices for consumers, the lawsuit claims.

Recording industry pans decision to slash music-sharing fine. The recording industry panned a decision by a federal judge Friday to slash a fine slapped on a student who downloaded music illegally, cutting the file sharer’s fine from $675,000 to $67,500. “With this decision, the court has substituted its judgment for that of 10 jurors as well as Congress,” the Recording Industry Association of America said in a statement. The RIAA said it will “contest this ruling” but declined to say whether it planned to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, according to the Boston Globe.


“A handheld is going to be so 2010 by the time we talk about the 2020 census.”

—Census Director Robert Groves on using technology to improve the decennial count. (NextGov)


14 million — Dollars in revenue Microsoft estimates its conference will generate for Washington, D.C.


…12 p.m. Americans for Technology Leadership hosts a luncheon on the role of information technology in the economic recovery. (Hotel Monaco, Paris Ballroom, 700 F St., N.W., Washington, D.C.)


JUMP BALL: The White House is going after deputy Secretary of State Jacob Lew to serve as Peter Orszag’s successor as director of the Office of Management and Budget, according to WaPo columnist Al Kamen. Lew held the job under President Clinton. But the move is hardly a done deal; it seems Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is not too keen on the thought of Lew leaving Foggy Bottom.

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