Google Commits $20 Million to Fund Tech for People With Disabilities

NBC News,  Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Google has launched an initiative to support emerging technologies that help people with disabilities live more independently. The Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities program announced Tuesday will award up to $20 million in grants to nonprofits that work on assistive technologies. The grants will be funneled through Google's charitable arm, Google.org.

Microsoft’s new cloud offering targets government

Kenneth Corbin, CIO,  Wednesday, May 27, 2015

As government CIOs mull their prospects in the cloud, Microsoft is trying to shed its image of a proprietary, license-driven software behemoth. For the last several years, Redmond has been talking up its efforts to develop cloud services and applications and expand its developer ecosystem, and now, the company is positioning its technology as a hub that can bind together and support disparate systems, applications, operating systems and cloud environments.

Big Data's infinite harvest

Edward Luce, Financial Times,  Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Without really digesting it, we have made a Faustian bargain. They [Google and Facebook] give us free computing power — beyond our wildest imagination — and we reveal ever more about ourselves. The more Google knows about you, the better it teases out preferences you never realised you had. It is an asymmetric exchange. Big Data has our profiles but few of us know how extensive that is. We should nevertheless embrace the bargain with open eyes. We are not Big Data’s customers but its product.

Government-as-a-Platform – Former White House CIO argues the case for sharing data with private sector

Derek du Preez, diginomica,  Friday, May 22, 2015

Government-as-a-Platform is at the forefront of the public sector’s agenda. Just a year ago and barely anyone had even heard of the term, but it seems that you can’t go to an event today without it being the topic of a lot of conversations. Which is a good thing, considering that there are very few (if any) examples of living, breathing, all-encompassing government platforms.

National treasure Stephen Fry publicises video about making technology work for everyone

Megan Titley, Stroud News,  Friday, May 22, 2015

Acclaimed actor Stephen Fry has tweeted a video about how disabled people are excluded from digital content to his 9.7m followers as part of a social media campaign. Commissioned by the award-winning Fix the Web project the animation explains how to improve the accessibility and avoid design issues which marginalise people with special needs. Fix the Web helps people facing accessibility issues, such as disabled and older people, to report problems with websites.

Happy Global Accessibility Awareness Day: A roundup of accessibility resources

Nonprofit Technology Network,  Thursday, May 21, 2015

Recall a time when you encountered one of those websites where it was hard to read and navigate. You wanted to get some basic information or perhaps complete a simple transaction, and you ended up spending a lot longer than necessary, or maybe even left the site in frustration. For many people with disabilities, this is a daily reality when they encounter the common problem of non-accessible websites. In recognition of these challenges, May 21 is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD).

International privacy standards for governments and schools?

Bradley Shear by Bradley Shear, Law Office of Bradley S. Shear
Thursday, May 21, 2015

While many think of state and local governments as just repositories of public records, they also store massive amounts of highly sensitive personal information, including tax returns, family services files, student records and health data. And as state and local governments move more data to the cloud, privacy concerns become paramount. It is imperative governments establish robust privacy standards for cloud storage to prevent the misuse of personal data. Moving forward, governments should require their vendors to follow the recently adopted International Standards Organization (ISO) 27018 cloud privacy guidelines. These standards foster transparency while increasing security and data privacy. Without adherence to ISO 27018, government entities — such as public schools, which collect, process, and archive tremendous amounts of student data — could have their data used for non-educational purposes.

Cloud Adoption Among Government Entities to Skyrocket, Says Report by Forbes Insights and Microsoft

Forbes,  Thursday, May 21, 2015

”From Promise to Reality: How Local, State and Federal Government Agencies Achieve Results in the Cloud,” a new report released today by Forbes Insights, in association with Microsoft, provides strong evidence that when it comes to cloud adoption, government agencies are fast approaching a tipping point. Many groups are moving from mere “toes in the water” to a true “cloud first” orientation, and the number and form of cloud installations in government is poised for explosive growth.

Fed Cloud Computing Caucus Report Outlines Plan to Increase Cloud Services Adoption

Laura Stotler, TechZone 360,  Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The U.S. government has been slowly making a migration to the cloud since the Cloud First policy was instated in 2011, but the going has been tough and there has been a certain amount of resistance to making such drastic changes. Congress is trying to speed up the process and encourage cloud migration with a new report courtesy of the Congressional Cloud Computing Caucus.

How To Modernize IT Without Leaving Legacy Behind

Julie Urban, B2C,  Wednesday, May 20, 2015

One of the big challenges facing government agencies today is the need to use updated cloud technologies whenever possible, per The Cloud First policy. This policy mandates that agencies take full advantage of cloud computing benefits to maximize capacity utilization and minimize cost. An underlying issue that comes with the implementation of cloud technologies is that Government agencies need to find a standardized way of fielding capabilities that don’t work that well in cloud.