Monday, June 30, 2008

Potomac Tech Culture

East Coast Blogging quotes a Zach Goldfarb's account a NVTC event and a social media event. Goldfarb was struck by the fact that there was no overlap of attendees of the two events.

Since they were held on the same night at the same time, it is a little difficult to see how anyone could attend both events, unless you were a reporter whose business it was to cover both events.

East Coast Blogging
makes this very improbable assertion:
As I have stated before, government contracting does not lend itself to a lot of innovation.

The US Government? The government whose Census Dept. funded the development of the original Univac computer? The Government whose ARAPA net was the forerunner of the Internet? The government with a long history of funding the most advanced technology? The government who funded a revolution?

Government contracting is a unique world of long sales cycles for fast changing technology, low profit margins, and an improbable mix of the most outdated and most advanced technology.

Introduction to e-discovery

What every IT manager should know about e-discovery
The key to surviving e-discovery requests is preparation based on knowledge of what is expected, what is considered reasonable, when asked to locate and provide electronically stored information.

This article is a good choice for those just learning about e-discovery. We are headed into litigious times, so now is a good time to learn about litigation support issues.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Federal Reserve credibility meltdown

Barclays warns of a financial storm as Federal Reserve's credibility crumbles

US central bank accused of unleashing an inflation shock that will rock financial markets, reports Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

Barclays Capital has advised clients to batten down the hatches for a worldwide financial storm, warning that the US Federal Reserve has allowed the inflation genie out of the bottle and let its credibility fall "below zero".

A bad sign. A very bad sign.

Friday, June 27, 2008

New to me local tech blog

DC Startup Blog

Added to the Tech on the Potomac RSS reader.

iPhone open to independent developers

Apple To Developers: We Want Your Apps
In the email sent to developers, Apple tells them to download the 8th version of the SDK, which was recently made available. This new version provides developers with the tools they need to finalize their applications and test them. It also directs them to a special portal that provides detailed instructions on how the submission process works, how to maximize exposure, and other vitals.

Training for iPhone development is available locally though About Objects.

Enterprise search, a non-existential endevor

Mark Hall alerts us to a new study coming out from AIIM on enterprise search. It seems that because companies store data in so many places, or "silos" as we say in IT, it is necessary to use multiple search engines to find anything. Ideally, companies should build content management systems that would eliminate, or at least reduce silos.

The coming storm of litigation may speed up this process.

Note - Hall points to Carl Frappaolo's interesting Taking AIIM blog.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Great name for an electronic evidence blog

Ride the lightning

Hosted email and the fourth amendment

It seems that email hosted by a third party is considered private, even if the business pays for the service.

Something to think about before outsourcing your business communications.

Software to manage legal "holds"

Is Preservation in E-Discovery Overrated?
One thing is statistically certain with that number of custodians: the legal hold will not be followed to perfection. If I were more mathematically inclined I’d say it could be reduced to a formula along these lines:

Legal hold compliance *decreases* exponentially as you multiply:

* The number of custodians
* The length of time the legal hold is in effect
* The types and volumes of potential ESI that may be relevant
* The presence of individuals who don’t want data to be preserved due to their own perceived errors/foibles/omissions

The answer, in my mind, doesn’t lie in a better mouse trap to manage the vagaries of the legal hold process. No, the best way to take the risk out of the legal hold process is to move very rapidly from preservation to collection.

This is going to be closely litigated as more and more security contractors are dragged into court, one way or another.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The coming boom in e-discovery

Sub-Prime Scandal Focuses Attention on E-Discovery
E-discovery is firmly in the spotlight following the arrest of two former Bear Stearns fund managers yesterday for alleged securities fraud.

The two former execs, Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin, were taken into custody for their alleged roles in the collapse of two hedge funds which triggered the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Media reports suggest that an email allegedly sent by Cioffi to Tannin may be the smoking gun in the case, underlining the growing importance of e-discovery.

It is not just the sub-prime crisis. The last eight years have been a season of abuse of power both in the public and private sector. Major advances of technology will be financed by the coming investigations.

Edit -
Archiving and the Limitations of E-Discovery

2010 census in jepordy

Census Damage Control
Preparations for the 2010 census are a shambles.

Committees in the House have been holding hearings to vet the problems and monitor progress. But with each hearing, it becomes more obvious that prospects for a robust census are unlikely to improve considerably unless and until the next president brings in new leaders. They are needed at the Commerce Department, which includes the Census Bureau, and at the bureau itself, which — like so many federal agencies — has been mismanaged and demoralized during the Bush years. ...

This is a very serious matter. In addition to redistricting, the numbers produced by the census department are used by businesses for a wide variety of planning purposes.

Demands for public safety are perhaps louder now and that may argue for better background checks. But what is not debatable is that a decision to fingerprint should have been made years ago, and budgeted for accordingly, in term of money and time.

Huh? Why do we need to fingerprint federal workers? This isn't security theater so much as fear theater, and we need to get rid of it.

Online advertising and online communications

Major Brands Are Slow to Move Their Sponsorship to the Web
Although the University of Phoenix continues to shell out a large sum of money on selling itself -- it spent more on advertising last year than it did for faculty compensation, according to its annual report -- Wrubel is focused on changing how its story is presented.

Like other companies marketing online, the University of Phoenix is considering and adopting new Web advertising strategies, some of which blur the line between advertising and programming.

Being everywhere on the Web, after all, is not the same as being understood or valued.

Wrubel wants to encourage faculty members to have blogs so that when a person searches on a given subject, the results might lead them to the University of Phoenix. He speculates that the company could produce reality-TV "webisodes" involving people going back to school -- a way to find and engage the target audience.

Employee blogging is the most obvious way to build an online presence and influence search results. It is going to take a while for that to sink in.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Assessing the Gilbane report on social media

Gilbane Dishes on Social Media in the Enterprise in New Report
Maybe the most disappointing part of the report is that small companies were not surveyed for the report. While it does make sense that larger organizations do have a great need for collaboration and information sharing, smaller organizations may take more risks and do more innovative things with social media technologies because they are able to implement faster and make changes faster than larger organizations. We may be missing some important aspects of social media use in business by not hearing from this group.

It is hard to dismiss the thought that small companies were not surveyed because small companies are not prospects for Gilbane's services.

As in so many other things, small companies are leading the way in adoption of social media.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Great moments in national security

Exclusive: New batch of terror files left on train
Secret government documents detailing the UK's policies towards fighting global terrorist funding, drugs trafficking and money laundering have been found on a London-bound train and handed to 'The Independent on Sunday'.

The government papers, left on a train destined for Waterloo station, on Wednesday, contain criticism of countries such as Iran that are signed up to the global Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body created to combat financial crime and the financing of terrorism.

Obviously our British friends are behind the times. In America it would have been a laptop with 40 gigabytes worth of secret documents.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Case study in combatting online smears

US elections: Barack Obama recruits team to tackle web smears
Barack Obama is recruiting senior staff to a new unit which will combat virulent rumour campaigns on the internet that threaten to cost him votes in the presidential election against John McCain.

The unit is part of a huge expansion of Obama's campaign team as he shifts from the Democratic nomination race to the campaign for November's election.

I think we will all be watching this very carefully. Sooner or later, we will all have to respond to this sort of thing.

Edit -
Fight the Smears
Fighting lies and rumors on the Web: Obama provides a clinic for PR pros

e-discovery comes to ning

Yes, there is an e-discovery group on ning, a sure sign of the times.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Destruction of evidence

Detainee-Trial Evidence Was Allegedly Destroyed
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, June 8 -- The Pentagon urged interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to destroy handwritten notes in case they were called to testify about potentially harsh treatment of detainees, a military defense lawyer said Sunday.

Lt. Cmdr. William Kuebler, the attorney for Toronto-born Omar Khadr, said the instructions were included in a 2003 operations manual shown to him by prosecutors. He said they suggest that the United States deliberately thwarted evidence that could help terrorism suspects defend themselves at trial.

Are we do understand that not only was someone dumb enough to put destruction of evidence in writing, but that they included it in a manual?

We are going to spend decades investigating the misconduct of the present administration. Expect major advances in evidence recovery, e-discovery, litigation support, along with precdent setting rulings.

It is a great time to be in legal and criminal justice technology.

Friday, June 06, 2008

The cost of lies

Richard Clarke: 'Someone should have to pay' for Bush administration lies
"Prominent Democrats said today that impeachment was not a remedy to this," Olbermann continued. "Is there some other kind of remedy?"

"There may be some sort of truth and reconciliation commission process," Clarke said, referring to the system used in South Africa to expose and resolve the atrocities of the apartheid era. "If you come forward and admit that you were in error ... then you are forgiven. Otherwise, you are censured in some way."

"I just don't think we can let these people back into polite society," continued Clarke, "and give them seats on university boards and corporate boards and just pretend that nothing ever happened, when there are 4000 American dead and 25,000 Americans grievously wounded. ... Someone should have to pay in some way for the decisions that they made to mislead the American people."

War Crimes is going to become a specialty within crisis communications and reputation repair. Corporations will recover, but individual careers will be wrecked, some justly, some unjustly.

Stalker marketing

Leaked Report: ISP Secretly Added Spy Code To Web Sessions, Crashing Browsers
An internal British Telecom report on a secret trial of an ISP eavesdropping and advertising technology found that the system crashed some unsuspecting users' browsers, and a small percentage of the 18,000 broadband customers under surveillance believed they'd been infected with adware.

Few people detected Phorm in BT's secret trials

Congress urged to investigate ISPs over user tracking

Clearly Internet service providers are going to learn the hard way that their customers are not chattel and may not be treated as such.

Privacy protection is going to be the next killer ap. Your more clueful venture capitalist is already looking around for entrepreneurs with solutions to this problem.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

They doth protest too much

PRSA Sounds Off on CBS Commentary: Analyst Says McClellan Lied Because He's in PR, Where 'Misinformation' is the Guiding Standard
CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen took some ugly shots at the PR profession with his commentary on "CBS Sunday Morning" this weekend about Scott McClellan's new book: "There is nothing funny about this past week's revelations that former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan lied to the American people about certain vital policy decisions within the Bush Administration… But in every tragic drama comes a moment of comedic Zen. And in L'Affair McClellan, that has come from the public relations community, where some now wonder whether the former flack violated the 'ethics' of his craft. Apparently, an industry the very essence of which is to try to convince people that a turkey is really an eagle has a rule that condemns lying."

He continues: "The Public Relations Society of America states: 'We adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and truth in advancing the interests of those we represent…' This clause strikes me as if the Burglars Association of America had as its creed 'Thou Shalt Not Steal.' Show me a PR person who is 'accurate' and 'truthful,' and I'll show you a PR person who is unemployed.

"The reason companies or governments hire oodles of PR people is because PR people are trained to be slickly untruthful or half–truthful. Misinformation and disinformation are the coin of the realm, and it has nothing to do with being a Democrat or a Republican," Cohen asserted.

PRSA chairman and CEO Jeffrey Julin fired back at Cohen and CBS in a letter this week, claiming Cohen unfairly challenged the integrity of the industry.

So what was PRSA saying in 2003, when it might have made a difference?

Victoria Clarke Named 'PR Professional of the Year' By PRSA; Former Department of Defense Spokesperson to Speak At Society's Int'l Conference.
The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) has named former Department of Defense spokesperson and current CNN political analyst Victoria Clarke as the Society's 2003 "PR Professional of the Year." Clarke will receive the award on Monday, October 27 at the Society's 2003 International Conference in New Orleans.

PRSA's Public Relations Professional of the Year Award honors the very best public relations work for...

I want to ask Jeffrey Julin and the entire executive board if they are proud of the award the gave to Clarke for her role in deceiving our country into war. This is one of the reasons I let my membership in PRSA lapse. We should have called Clarke out on her lies, not rewarded them.

The fact is that our industry played a hideous role in the events that led up to the disastrous Iraq war and we have yet to come to grips with it.