Business model becomes a focus at first-ever FirstNet industry day

As a next step in developing a nationwide public safety broadband network, more than 425 people from federal, state and local jurisdictions plus associations and vendors mingled May 14 in person or via webcast.

NTIA chief: Spectrum sharing key to 'explosive demand' for wireless airwaves

Lawrence Strickling recently told an audicence at the International Symposium on Advanced Radio Technologies that recent studies support the need for spectrum sharing.

Mobile devices eclipse computers when it comes to Google searches

Searches are often driven by "need-to-know information" rather than passive consumption, "which aligns with a lot of the information and resources government agencies provide on their digital properties," according to the DigitalGov post.

Apple, Google and massive alliance tell Obama not to weaken encryption, introduce 'backdoors'

The companies were among more than 140 civil society groups, corporations, trade associations and security and policy experts urging President Obama to promote rather than undercut data encryption technology. 

Emergency calling not required for inactive cellphones under FCC proposed rule

The Federal Communications Commission is looking for feedback on whether cellphones that haven't been activated should be required to connect to 911.

'Least privilege' is key to securing mobile devices, says FTC official

The principle of least privilege, which holds that "every program and every user of the system should operate using the least set of privileges necessary to complete the job," is key to ensuring and maintaining security in a mobile world, says an FTC official.

Wireless industry urges feds to release more spectrum to sate consumer needs, drive growth

The study said U.S. consumers and businesses spent $172 billion on wireless service in 2013. In turn, the wireless industry's employees, its suppliers and their employees generated more than $400 billion in total U.S. spending.

Verizon, Sprint agree to pay $158M in consumer refunds, fines for mobile cramming, says CFPB

Some "unscrupulous" third-party merchants obtained consumers' telephone numbers to cram illegal charges, ranging from one-time fees of 99 cents to $4.99 to monthly subscriptions of $9.99. 

Federal court says no warrant needed to get cellphone location data

A much larger 11-member panel revisited the case, saying that Davis doesn't own the cellphone records because they were created by a third party telephone company for legitimate business purposes.

Pew: Smartphone usage varies among races

Although the digital divide in terms of technology haves and have-nots has narrowed, new research reveals racial differences in usage.

NPS makes park websites mobile friendly

Just as more people are getting back into the great outdoors this spring, the National Park Service has made its park websites mobile friendly.

USGS launches mobile data collection app to help threatened piping plover populations

The bird was listed as threatened along the Atlantic Coast in 1986. And, although their numbers have more than doubled since then, climate change is introducing new threats to their habitats.

FirstNet Board issues draft RFP for nationwide public safety broadband network

The First Responder Network Authority Board approved a draft request for proposals with the expectation that it will collect enough feedback to issue a final one by year's end.

Infrastructure changes essential to supporting wireless growth, FCC commissioner says

To support the growing number of wireless devices and networks they use, changes to spectrum infrastructure are necessary, said Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Michael O'Rielly.

UPDATED - FirstNet needs to fully assess risks, address costs and develop ethical standards, GAO says

The report said that the entity, known as FirstNet, has taken several steps to establish its organizational structure, planning the communications network and consulting with stakeholders, but could face challenges in these areas.

DARPA seeks proposals to extend life of sensors benefiting warfighter, Internet of Things

The Near Zero Power RF and Sensor Operations program seeks to develop wireless, electromagetic, physical and other types of "event-driven" sensors that will "continuously and passively monitor the environment and activate an electronic circuit only upon detection of a specific signature."

National Cancer Institute finds smoking cessation success via text messages

It turns out texting can be good for you. The SMS messages, or texts, that a behavioral health program from the National Cancer Institute sends doubles the likelihood that someone will quit smoking, data shows.

NIST issues identity management considerations for FirstNet

As work moves forward on a nationwide public safety broadband network, the National Institute of Standards and Technology released guidelines for addressing identity management across the new system. 

Mobile phone ownership surges in sub-Saharan African countries, new Pew Research report finds

About two-thirds or more surveyed in seven African countries said they owned a mobile phone with South Africa and Nigeria ranking highest in ownership – with nine in 10 owning a phone.

New feature on FEMA mobile app lets users get weather alerts for up to 5 locations

The weather alert feature expands the app's existing functionality, which includes a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps that display shelters and disaster recovery centers, and safety tips for surviving disasters.