GAO Reblog: Key trends with a major impact on our nation and its government

On September 13th, GAO shared their five-year strategic plan, which addresses 8 trends identified as having potentially negative effects on our society and government.

Read more here, or watch the video below to learn more.

 

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GAO Watchblog Reblog: Personal Information, Private Companies

The recent Congressional hearings on Facebook have highlighted the ways that companies collect and use personal information for marketing purposes.  So, what rights do you have to your own information?

The GAO outlined the lack of comprehensive legislation that addresses privacy in their 2013 report on the subject:

No overarching federal privacy law governs the collection and sale of personal information among private-sector companies, including information resellers. Instead, a variety of laws tailored to specific purposes, situations, or entities governs the use, sharing, and protection of personal information. For example, the Fair Credit Reporting Act limits the use and distribution of personal information collected or used to help determine eligibility for such things as credit or employment, but does not apply to information used for marketing. Other laws apply specifically to health care providers, financial institutions, videotape service providers, or to the online collection of information about children.

The current statutory framework for consumer privacy does not fully address new technologies–such as the tracking of online behavior or mobile devices–and the vastly increased marketplace for personal information, including the proliferation of information sharing among third parties. With regard to data used for marketing, no federal statute provides consumers the right to learn what information is held about them and who holds it.

These findings are still relevant today.

Read more here.

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GAO Watchblog ReBlog: Office Space

The federal government spends billions of dollars every year to operate and maintain the roughly 273,000 buildings it owns or leases. But we’ve reported for years on problems with how the federal government manages its real estate—in fact, federal real property management has been on our High-Risk list since 2003.

So, has anything changed? How effectively is the government using its real estate assets? Today’s WatchBlog explores our recent work on reducing office space in federal buildings and telework as a space planning tool.

Read more here.

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GAO WatchBlog ReBlog: The Internet of Things — Are we ready for 50 billion things?

Your Fitbit, TV remote, microwave, and other wireless devices that use a network to communicate are part of the “Internet of Things” (IoT). Their use is growing fast—some experts forecast that 25-50 billion devices will be in use by 2025.

But the IoT depends on the availability of a finite resource—the radio frequency spectrum.

Read more here about the GAO’s recommendations to the FCC to expand efforts to make more spectrum available, use it more efficiently, or expand spectrum sharing.

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GAO WatchBlog ReBlog: Updating Government Auditing Standards – The 2017 Yellow Book Exposure Draft

The Yellow Book is the book of standards and guidance for auditors and audit organizations, outlining the requirements for audit reports, professional qualifications for auditors, and audit organization quality control. Auditors of federal, state, and local government programs use these standards to perform their audits and produce their reports.

Today’s WatchBlog discusses the proposed updates, and explains how you can help!

We know. You’ve been waiting on pins and needles to read the 2017 Yellow Book Exposure Draft. Boy, we sure have!

Read more here to learn about the proposed revisions to the Yellow Book. If that’s just not enough, you can find an online version of the exposure draft here, ready to be perused at your leisure. The GAO is also seeking comments on the current exposure draft through June 6th, so you’ve got just over six weeks to compose a masterful letter on why and how the exposure draft does (or, perhaps, does not) meet your auditing needs and expectations. You can send those comments to YellowBookComments@gao.gov.

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GAO WatchBlog Reblog: 2017 High Risk List

This year, we added the federal government’s environmental liability to our High Risk List—our biennial report highlighting areas particularly susceptible to fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement, or needing a fundamental transformation.

When federal government activities contaminate the environment, the government’s on the hook for the cleaning bill. In 2016, this bill was estimated to be $447 billion, and the actual costs may be more.

Read more here, or watch the video below.

 

Want to know what else made the high risk list this year? Check it out.

 

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GAO WatchBlog ReBlog: The insights and analyses from mapping data

Geographic information systems (GIS) are powerful tools that display spatial information (such as locations on a map) in order to help us understand patterns and relationships about our world.

So, with National GIS Day on November 16th, the WatchBlog is looking at how this technology helps us communicate clearly and answer complex questions about loan programs, Amtrak service, and more.

Read more here about how the GAO is using GIS to analyze geographic data in meaningful ways.

 

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