ZDNetGovWeek: The government shutdown blues, Facebook users get vocal, and more

ZDNetGovWeek: The government shutdown blues, Facebook users get vocal, and more

Summary: We've got a lot of top stories this week, beginning with the American government's shutdown of the American government. For that, and more than the usual level of government fun and outrage, read on.


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

Facebook: 17M users generated 45M posts about gov't shutdown already
The social network also found that male users have been more vocal about the shutdown than women.

Iranian cyber warfare commander shot dead
The Commander of the Iranian Cyber War Headquarters has been killed, but there are conflicting reports of whether assassination is suspected.

Here comes the government shutdown and Obamacare spam
A recent predictable surge of domain name registrations related both the US government shutdown and the new health care law, a.k.a. Obamacare, is a sign that malicious emails and web sites are to come.

Is Congress catastrophically broken, or is it doing exactly what it was designed to do?
What if this is a condition Adams and Jefferson coded for, and what if we're now running an error handling routine built into America's operating system?

After Silk Road seizure, FBI Bitcoin wallet identified and pranked
In the the arrest of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, the FBI seized around 26,000 Bitcoins. The FBI's 'wallet' has been identified and is now the target of micropayments with pointed messages.

DOJ's non-ironic arguments rejecting Google, Facebook user data transparency requests
On Monday the US Department of Justice rejected the formal request of Google, Facebook and other Internet giants to share government user data requests with the public with some unsettlingly non-ironic arguments against data transparency.

Director of National Intelligence: Leaked documents painted an inaccurate picture
In a direct statement castigating the press for misleading coverage, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper provided some background on why the Intelligence Community tracks online communications tools and technologies.

Unsealed docs show what really happened with Lavabit
Now that the court documents have been unsealed, there's no need to guess whether Lavabit shut down because of Edward Snowden.

US federal agents shut down Silk Road website
American authorities say they have busted an online black market for drugs, hitmen, hacker tools, and more, arresting the suspected mastermind of a nefarious bazaar called Silk Road.

Other government coverage around ZDNet

Welcome to the Internet that time forgot
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has shuttered many web sites, including time.gov, as part of the government shutdown. The NIST Internet Time Service will stay up.

Facebook outage threat highlights ignorance of Brazilian lawmakers
Those in charge urgently need to understand that the free flow of information is the core of the country's infrastructure.

HP Cloud selected to host USPS authentication services
HP to provide a virtual private cloud as the underpinning for the secure authentication platform.

13 Anonymous members indicted over Operation Payback
13 suspected members of the hacktivist collective Anonymous have been indicted by U.S. federal authorities.

Optus nabs NSW shared services mobile services contract
Optus will provide mobile services to the NSW Department of Finance and Services, taking the contract that had been held by Telstra.

Facebook could be taken down in Brazil
The social networking site has been told to remove allegedly offensive content or face consequences.

Tax office embarks on NZ$1.5 billion IT transformation
The eye-watering bill is as much as the New Zealand government invested in its nationwide Ultra-Fast Broadband network rollout.

Cashing in on Indian politician Narendra Modi with themed-phones
With the BJP party's Narendra Modi securing his candidacy for the upcoming 2014 general elections in India, it was only a matter of time before political propaganda material was to be produced. But a Gujarat-based group has taken it to another level.

The global clash to capture your cash
From the takedown of Silk Road to the endless propaganda pushing the 'inevitable' cashless society, governments and financial institutions are manoeuvring to monitor your money. Whoever wins, you lose.

French police move from Windows to Ubuntu Linux
The big reason the French Gendarmerie made the Linux move? It saved them 40 percent in total cost of ownership over Windows.

U.S. gov't argues tech companies should not be allowed to report data request figures
The U.S. government doesn't want Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and other major technology companies to disclose figures on how many requests it makes for user data.

Topics: Government, Government Asia, Government AU, Government US, Government UK, Privacy, Security


David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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  • My favourite was ...

    ... "is Congress catastrophically broken, or working by design?"

    Indeed the idea of implementing a grid-locked, control system is so brilliant that I am suggesting it or other applications:

    1. Navigational control: let's put it in spacecraft, aeroplanes and cars. If a conflict arises, we'll just have the device crash.

    2. Industrial plants and nuclear devices: if a conflict arises and global danger looms ... we'll just wait and see how things pan out. everything will be OK once the nuclear Winter is over.

    3. Economic controls: you've got the idea ... we'll just let it all collapse and screw the entire planet.

    Can we start with Gewirtz's salary?
    • Missed one ...

      ... let's use the principle on ALL computers ... not just NASA machines.
      Yeah, let's have them all crash.
      (No comments please from MAC fanbois that MSFT have done a pretty good job with this already - mine and David's is a serious suggestion.)
  • Presumably this week's roundup will have no items ...

    ... or maybe retitled 'ZDNET non-Government week'.
  • Alone again

    I see I am pretty much alone in addressing important world events ...
    ... and that everyone else is too busy commenting on the efficacy of the Start menu in Windows 8(.1) or the merits of Cook as APPL CEO.

    I wonder ... if I snook up while no one was looking ... could I get you to swallow the red pill by mistake?
    • We've already commented on the articles themselves

      So why argue about the wrap-up?
      John L. Ries