Congress does something useful, welcome to 2015 [Government IT News]

Congress has actually done something useful, blocking the release of Internet domain and address administration. Of course, it's all part of Congress blocking everything Obama, but still, you take your wins where you can find them. Plus lots of international gov news.

ZDNet's worldwide team provides global 24/7 technology news and analysis. In addition to my own coverage analysis here in the ZDNet Government column and on ZDNet's DIY-IT, every week I'll bring you a selection of the best government-related articles posted by our intrepid reporters and analysts. Here are some of the most interesting from the last week.

Top stories this week

Congress blocks ICANN transition. Good.
The "Cromnibus" budget bill blocks the Obama administration's plans to relinquish control of Internet domain name and address administration. We're all better off this way.

What's wrong with the Washington State data center?
Facility sits mostly empty after more than two years.

Microsoft Azure government cloud now generally availableMicrosoft's Azure Government cloud is now generally available to U.S. government customers. A CRM Online government cloud offering is still on track for early next year.

FCC broadband reclassification will cost consumersA study shows that Title II reclassification of broadband in pursuit of net neutrality brings with it federal, state and local fees that would be over $100 per year in many areas.

Other government coverage around ZDNet

Fitbit metadata not required for data-retention scheme
Health devices that track a person's every movement will likely be left out of the Australian government's proposed mandatory data-retention regime.

Cybersecurity spending: Here's where the money goes
Tackling state-sponsored attacks on critical infrastructure and the defence supply chain remain top priorities, according to newly published figures.

Facebook to Dutch regulators: What's the privacy problem? Nothing's changed
Facebook has called into question the reasons behind the Dutch regulators decision to investigate upcoming changes to its privacy policy.

Telcos and law enforcement split over data-retention period
Telecommunications companies have argued that the period of mandatory data-retention in Australia should be less than two years, while law-enforcement agencies have indicated that they would like the data retained for as long as possible.

Bitcoin not a financial product: ASIC
Bitcoin and other digital currencies are not financial products, meaning that a licence is not required to operate a digital currency trading platform, according to the Australian corporations regulator ASIC.

Ministry mega merger faces IT challenges
Some systems are yet to be scoped following the merger of four large New Zealand government departments in 2012.

Data retention may have helped police in Sydney siege: Abbott
Although the man involved in a fatal siege in Sydney on Monday was well known to police and out on bail, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said that retaining every Australians' telecommunications data for two years may have helped police in the incident.

Dutch watchdog slams brakes on Facebook's new privacy plan
The Netherlands' data regulator has asked Facebook to hold off implementing a revised privacy policy until it can take a look at whether it complies with local law.

Google facing €15m Dutch fine over privacy changes
Dutch regulator threatens search giant with fines if it doesn't smarten up its unified privacy policy.

Liberal MP calls for increased intelligence powers
The chair of the joint committee on intelligence and security, Dan Tehan, has said that Monday's gunman incident in Sydney has reinforced the need for increased police powers and intelligence surveillance.

Brazil tops banking malware list
Number of attacks peaks driven by attempts to steal money online during the World Cup.

Australia's security agencies quiet on metadata definition
Australia's leading national security and intelligence agencies will not reveal the communications data they want retained by telecommunications companies until discussions with those companies have concluded.

LG gains NSA security certification for G3
LG has gained the NSA's NIAP validation for its flagship smartphone to be used by the US government.

Europol seize 292 domain names in counterfeiting crackdown
25 law enforcement agencies across 19 countries involved.

FBI warns of 'destructive' malware following Sony hack
The US agency has warned US businesses to stay alert due to the discovery of some particularly nasty malware in the wild -- while North Korea refuses to deny involvement.

StealthGenie spyware seller fined $500,000 in landmark conviction
The ruling marks the first-ever criminal conviction concerning the advertisement and sale of mobile device spyware applications.

UN moves to strengthen digital privacy
The United Nations has adopted a resolution on protecting digital privacy that for the first time urges governments to offer redress to citizens targeted by mass surveillance.

NSA partners with Apache to release open-source data traffic program
The National Security Agency has released a new open-source program for data network interoperability.

FAA to impose restrictions on commercial drone use
The FAA's anticipated ruling on commercial drone use is expected to impose a number of tough restrictions.

Zero Day Weekly: WhatsApp, Blackphone, Citadel hits password managers
A collection of notable security news items for the week ending November 21, 2014. Covers enterprise, controversies, reports and more.

Will Let's Encrypt threaten commercial certificate authorities?
The new free certificate authority is a great idea, as far as it goes. Should Symantec and the other big CAs be worried? Probably not.

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