ZDNetGovWeek: Celebrating independence with scandals, spying, and squandered tax dollars

It's been a relatively quiet week in the land of gov, where most elected and appointed officials have taken a long weekend from Big Brothering to enjoy fireworks and hot dogs. Even so, there are always stories to get your blood pumping, and this week is no exception.

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

Celebrating independence in a land that spies on its citizens
As we come to this Fourth of July, some citizens are up in arms over what some might call another "long train of abuses and usurpations," as it was originally written in the Declaration. I'm speaking, of course, about the NSA/PRISM stink.

Don't worry, the U.S. government is tracking your snail mail, too
And here you were worried about your e-mail inbox. How's that for big data?

German minister: Stop using U.S. Web services to avoid NSA spying
Germany is one of the most privacy conscious nations in the world, with data and privacy laws stronger than any other in the EU. And amid the NSA spying scandal, the country's top security chief has warned users to simply avoid U.S. companies. Will that work?

Your tax dollars at work: State Dept blows $630K on Facebook Likes
There's just nothing about this story that's going to make you feel good. Sorry.

Google disappoints Congressman over Glass privacy concerns
Google's response to privacy worries displayed by U.S. legislators has left some members none the wiser.

WikiLeaks Party registered in Australia
As Australia nears the upcoming federal election, WikiLeaks has been officially registered as a political party.

California AG on data breaches: Companies should encrypt data
In 2012, around 2.5 million Californians were victim of a corporate data breach. But more than half of those affected could've been protected had their data been encrypted.

Other government coverage around ZDNet

FCC officially approves SoftBank-Sprint-Clearwire deal
The long wait for a decision is finally over.

Personal data accessed via WeChat used to aid crimes
A function available on the popular messaging app, which can locate users in the vicinity, has reportedly led to several criminal acts in China.

Qld IT strategy will prevent payroll system repeat: Walker
A repeat of Queensland Health's payroll debacle simply won't happen again, says the state's IT minister, thanks to a new IT strategy that is meant to halt problem projects.

S. Korea banks required to declare security breach
Financial regulator instructs local financial firms to disclose details in the event of a security breach, including the reason it happened, as part of efforts to beef up network security.

France has its own PRISM system: Report
As the US and the UK admit that they are intercepting data for intelligence purposes, an investigative report has revealed that the French government is doing the same.

Telstra secures AU$32m government internet gateway deal
Telstra will be responsible for migrating 11 Australian government agencies to a consolidated and secure internet portal.

South Africa prepares to launches smart ID card project
The South Africa government will introduce a new smart ID card later this month for access to public services.

India govt plans Aakash 4 tablet; but is Datawind on board?
The government is pushing ahead with development of the 4th iteration in its Aakash budget tablet project, but it remains to be seen if Datawind will stay the sole manufacturer, and if costs can remain low with higher requirements.

Mobile malware rises more than 25 times in China
Country's Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team finds the number of malware increased to more than 162,981 in 2012, with 82.5 percent targeting smartphones on Android operating system.

Dotcom and NZ PM face off over spy bill
Kim Dotcom and John Key have jousted over proposed spying powers, with the internet entrepreneur disputing the New Zealand prime minister's claims that he didn't know anything about him before a raid last year on his mansion.

S. Korea defense bans internal smartphone usage
Government agency unveils a mobile device management plan where staff will be required to install a smartphone app deactivating functions such as Internet connectivity and the camera, to prevent data leaks.

New roaming rules for Australian telcos
The ACMA has announced new rules to better inform Australians of the costs of using their mobile service while travelling overseas.

New York judge denies Sprint Nextel tax fraud lawsuit dismissal
Whistleblower claims that Sprint allegedly committed tax fraud may wind up in a lawsuit filed by the state of New York.

Data sovereignty a legitimate issue: UNSW
Concerns over where cloud data is stored has been played down by some, but a new research report from UNSW shows that data sovereignty is real, and can have an impact on businesses in Australia.

Electronic voting trials on the horizon for Queensland
One of the reforms coming out of state Cabinet meetings this week has been for the rollout of an electronic voting system to replace the ageing paper-based ballot.


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