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  • Seal with a Pen

The Upbeat: Websites and Cybercrime

While most of the news this week has focused on the unprecedented, premature leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion regarding the abortion debate, I've made it a point to avoid social issues in my coverage. Some Americans see this development as a bad thing, some see it as a good thing. Nevertheless, despite the near-constant barrage of coverage regarding the Supreme Court, I have been able to find some reporting on other, unrelated developments with broad and bipartisan appeal.

This week is Public Service Recognition Week, which is supposed to be a celebration of all of the great things that public servants do to help society keep moving each and every day. Public servants don't just sit back and collect passive income in a Washington call center; plenty of them go out each day, at every level of government, to provide our electricity, maintain the safety of our transportation, apprehend criminals, provide medical services, beautify our cities, fight fires, and so much more. Public Service Recognition Week isn't very well known, however; I didn't even learn about it until today, demonstrating how muted this week's celebrations have been. I hope that everyone can recognize that it's not public servants who are responsible for the policies we don't like, and that many are workers who simply seek to do their jobs. No matter our feelings on government, it is inappropriate to shoot the messenger. I'm glad, and proud, to be able to say thank you to all those who strive to serve the people. Thank you.

-- Seal with a Pen home page (Credit: personal screenshot) helps the government help you. It's commonly understood that government services are complex and hard to understand for the average citizen. The General Services Administration (GSA), a part of the government that seeks to help the rest function better and more efficiently, wants to change that however: and the plan is to use the internet to let Americans access all government services through one streamlined website. If that sounds ambitious, that's because it is. The website already exists -- it's called, appropriately enough, but the next step is to integrate more and more services, and the GSA is moving slow in order to make sure they get the job done right. The goal is to improve life for all Americans: the director of the Technology Transformation Services at the GSA, Dave Zvenyach, said that Americans "shouldn't have to understand … all of the different nuances and different agencies... You can get it done at and sort of move on with your day." Read more: (Government Executive)

Congress passes a few simple bills. While the limited productivity of Congress in solving our country's problems might seem comparable to a dripping of a leaky faucet to a person in desperate need of water, that dripping is at least more than nothing. This past week Congress passed just two bills, one from a Democrat and one from a Republican. The first of these bills will allow the government to better assess and categorize reports of cybercrime, hopefully enabling faster, more effective responses to major hacks, which have the capability to steal large sums of money, shut down power plants and even damage nuclear processing facilities. The second of these bills renames a Border Patrol station in honor of a fallen agent, Donna M. Doss. Read more: (First bill, The Hill), (Second bill, press release from Senator John Cornyn)


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