News

US Marshals gathering mobile data with plane-based devices, reports WSJ

The U.S. Marshals Service is using devices that mimic cellphone towers on airplanes to gather information from thousands of mobile phones on the ground, reports the Wall Street Journal in a Nov. 13 expose based on interviews with anonymous sources with close knowledge of the program.

First phase of state consultations to be finished before fiscal 2016, FirstNet head says

The First Responder Network Authority has set a goal of finishing the first phase of consultations with state government officials – a critical component in developing a nationwide, wireless broadband public safety network – by the end of fiscal 2015, the head of the congressionally mandated, independent organization said.

FirstNet OKs $86.2M for continued development of nationwide, public safety wireless network

Up to $86.2 million can be spent in fiscal 2015 to help support development of a high-speed, nationwide public safety wireless communications network, following passage of a resolution Nov. 17.

New fed app helps mobile users find critical info during severe storms, power outages

A new Energy Department-developed app gives smartphone users the ability to find fuel and look up power outages during extreme weather events. It's part of the Obama administration's efforts to help people become more prepared.

Governmentwide models, policy templates needed to advance federal mobility, says report

Agency mobility efforts would benefit from shared models and templates that are approved and endorsed by the federal chief information officer and CIO council, according to a whitepaper (pdf) published by the MITRE Corporation and the Advanced Technology Academic Research Center.

FCC delays incentive spectrum auction until early 2016, citing lawsuit by TV broadcasters

Federal regulators recently announced that they will delay a spectrum auction, which would resell television airwaves to wireless carriers, until early 2016, citing a lawsuit from broadcasters.

Debate continues over use of 5.9 GHz band for DOT's talking cars program

Considerable debate continues over whether channels in the 5.9 gigahertz band should be shared or solely dedicated to new passenger vehicles wirelessly exchanging information with each other, according to a recent Congressional Research Service brief.

IRS mobile device inventory inaccurate, finds IG

The Internal Revenue Service has not effectively kept up with changes in its wireless device inventory, according to a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report (pdf) dated Sept. 19 but only released publicly Nov. 5. While 94 percent of IRS employees eligible for BlackBerry smartphones, cellphones or wireless aircards were appropriately assigned the devices, the agency had trouble keeping accurate documentation updated.

Heavier test model spurs Army to shed weight requirement in radio solicitation

The Army wants to buy as many as 60,000 tactical manpack radios, but the service altered course after low-rate production orders resulted in 17-pound test radios – twice as heavy as those currently in use. A new request for information specifies they must now weigh closer to eight pounds, but not more than 12.

Medical supplies are just a text away with new Peace Corps app

A new mobile application will help Peace Corps volunteers keep medical supplies stocked and establish a more efficient resupply process for overseas medical staff. It was challenging for volunteers working in remote locations to request medical supplies and overseas medical staff were spending up to eight hours a week responding to requests via email, phone and text.

Ohio man pleads guilty to scheme of selling pirated copies of Android mobile apps

A 28-year-old Ohio man admitted Nov. 3 that he participated in a scheme to distribute more than a million pirated copies of copyrighted Android mobile device applications, worth more than $1.7 million, the Justice Department said.

Cyber threats, malware escalating for Android mobile device users, says joint Kapersky-Interpol report

More than 98 percent of mobile cyber threats target Android mobile device users, with about 175,000 new unique malicious programs detected in the first half of 2014 alone, according to a new joint Kapersky Lab and Interpol report released Oct. 6.

Tenn. school district's tech policy violates constitutional rights, civil liberties groups say

A public school district is under scrutiny for a "fundamental misunderstanding" of students' constitutional rights by overly restricting what they can do with technology and the Internet, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Calif. patrol officers steal, share nude photos from female suspects' cellphones, warrant states

A years-long "game" of stealing and trading nude photos from suspects' cellphones has come to an end for several California Highway Patrol officers, who have been accused of misconduct.

 

New Android-based mobile app lets Army soldiers SWET water needs

The Army will be fielding a smartphone app to help soldiers better determine their drinking water needs so they can carry just enough to stay hydrated.

Options for law enforcement to get around smartphone data encryption

Several options may be available to law enforcement officials concerned that recent actions by companies to protect and encrypt data on smartphones and other mobile devices could impact their investigations, according to a recent Congressional Research Service brief.

Mobile app exploits Chilean public transit payment system

The Chilean government has blocked some 18,000 public transportation cards after detecting that transit users fraudulently added money to the cards with an Android-based application.

More Americans use mobile for previously PC-based tasks, report finds

Americans are turning more frequently to mobile devices to perform activities they used to rely on desktop and laptop computers for, according to a new report.

FCC needs to do more work on text-to-911, trade group says

A Federal Communications Commission proposal to make it easier for people to text emergencies to 911 call centers earned support from the Telecommunications Industry Association, but also warnings.

How two US agencies used responsive web design to improve mobile access to content

Two agencies – the Energy Department and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, or DFAS – recently presented a webinar showcasing their efforts in implementing a responsive web design and the difficulties they faced.