The U.S. Postal Service is seeking a company to help develop a program called the Internet of Postal Things. The Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC), part of the Postal Service's Office of the Inspector General (OIG), is looking for a supplier "who possesses expertise and critical knowledge of the Internet of Things, data strategy and analytics, and the Postal Service’s operations, infrastructure, products and services." The OIG is exploring ways for the Postal Service to benefit from the technology that provides "virtually unlimited opportunities to collect and process data from any device, infrastructure, machine and even human beings."
The idea was first raised at a January 28, 2014 meeting sponsored by the OIG and the Universal Postal Union. The "Internet of Things" concept is defined in the documents accompanying the OIG's solicitation as:
[T]he ability to embed sensors and other data collection technologies into physical objects, infrastructures, and the surroundings in which people live and businesses operate – is one of the latest technology revolutions that are affecting the nature of business.
The OIG acknowledges the issue of privacy and asks that respondents have "appropriate knowledge to assess the impact of privacy and transparency policies on the design of data strategies is also requested."
The documents note that the collection of data is nothing new for the Postal Service, and that the new technology will supplement and enhance the information already collected in various ways:
The U.S. Postal Service has always been a major creator of large datasets – from mail origin/destination information to quality of service data, and letter mail scans.
The application of sensors and other data collection technologies to the various components of the postal infrastructure (vehicles, mailboxes, machines, letter carriers etc.), combined with powerful software and analytical tools, could help the Postal Service bring data management to the next level. It would create new rich data sources that could help the Postal Service improve operational performance, customer service, create new products and services, and support more efficient decision-making processes. The “Internet of Postal Things” could also have a positive spillover effect on other adjacent non-postal sectors, as the information collected by and for the Postal Service could be useful to others.
The contract for the research and reporting for the Internet of Postal Things project is expected to be less than $100,000. The timeline calls for the work to be completed with various presentations and possibly a white paper on the subject before the end of 2014.
An eye-opening report from KMOV about an Obamacare contractor using taxpayer dollars to pay their employees to spend all day doing nothing:
"A billion dollar government contract involving hundreds of local workers at an Obamacare processing center ... But now employees on the inside are stepping forward, asking, Is this why we're broke? Some of them claim to spend most of their day doing nothing," reports a local St. Louis reporter.
The attempts of defenders of Obamacare to rouse the American people in favor of the doomed monstrosity have become more desperate and bizarre. The most recent example is taking place in Florida, where the sudden death of a young uninsured woman is being cited as an indictment of the Republican-controlled state legislature for refusing to approve the Medicaid expansion so generously being offered by the feds. If the woman in question had access to federally-mandated Medicaid, they argue, she would of course have gone in for preventative screening which would have revealed her cardiac abnormality and somehow saved her life. Once again, heartless Republicans are causing the death of innocents.
A security expert who has testified before Congress and spoken to the media about vulnerabilities of the Healthcare.gov website has weighed in on the website's latest security issue, which was first reported Thursday by THE WEEKLY STANDARD. David Kennedy, the CEO of TrustedSec, an information security firm, said that the unintended opening at Healthcare.gov detailed in the story would allow malicious scammers to fool users with a "website that’s legitimate to make them believe its something else." He said the existence of this potential pitfall on the site is "absolutely amazing," and added that "an attacker can basically create a functioning website and host any content they want there and under the umbrella of healthcare.gov."
At least three marketers of health-related or insurance products and services have taken advantage of the "data-set" feature at Healthcare.gov to give themselves a virtual presence on the federal government's Obamacare site. The ability to use a web address containing "healthcare.gov" may lend credibility and even imply endorsement by the government.
Americans are methodically dealing with the Kübler-Ross stages of Obama-care grief, with our national healing process moving briskly through roughly one stage per week: (1) denial upon realizing that the website HealthCare.gov didn’t work; (2) anger at the realization that the technical back-end of the exchanges is as dysfunctional as the front-end of the site; (3) shock at the cancellation of plans and increase of premiums; and (4) depression at the prospect of losing access to doctors, too.
While everyone else has spent the last few days obsessing about Gravity, the government shutdown, and the real possibility that the NFC East division champ will have six wins, it’s quietly been an interesting week for sociology nerds who think about marriage.
White House spokesman Jay Carney, an "essential" federal employee, can tell you how many people have visited the Obamacare website ("7 million") but he can't tell you how many people have enrolled in Obamacare:
In my recent WEEKLY STANDARDessay, “Privacy Be Damned,” I warned about the operational problems and privacy issues raised by the “health exchanges” that HHS will force tens of millions of Americans to use as of October 1 of this year. In that essay, I noted that “the HHS inspector general and the GAO have been snoozing on their watches.”
In a blog post published this morning, the White House explains why historic economic data has been updated. "The comprehensive revision to the national accounts, which is the first since July 2009, includes additional source data received by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, as well as methodological changes designed to better reflect the evolving nature of the U.S.
The Food and Drug Administration's Office of Criminal Investigations is soliciting bids for "Data Mining and Targeting Software" to help in its efforts to combat illegal trafficking in cigarettes and other tobacco products.
A new CNN poll finds that 66 percent of American adults believe that it's "right" for the Obama administration to analyze and collect Internet data. Only 33 percent believe the action is "wrong," and 1 percent have "No opinion."
In a Sunday evening statement, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Public Affairs Office released this statement, meant to clear up information on the National Security Agency’s data program.