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Blog Posts by Jordan Usdan

FCC and Public-Private Partners Launch Smartphone Security Checker to Help Consumers Protect Mobile Devices This Holiday Season

December 17, 2012 - 03:33 PM

More than 20 million Americans will unwrap a new mobile device this holiday season, but most smartphone users admit they don’t know how to protect themselves from mobile security threats. With mobile cyber attacks increasing every year (threats increased 367% in 2011), it’s important that consumers stay protected against growing risks such as viruses, malicious apps, and mobile device theft.

To assist the more than 120 million American smartphone owners, today the FCC launched the Smartphone Security Checker, an online tool to arm consumers with security steps customized by mobile operating system. The tool is the result of a public-private partnership between government experts, smartphone developers, and private IT and security companies. Partners include DHS, NCSA, FTC, CTIA, Lookout, BlackBerry, Chertoff Group, Sophos, McAfee, Symantec, and others. The smartphone Security Checker is available at www.fcc.gov/smartphone-security.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said, “With less than half of smartphone owners using passwords to protect their devices, this new tool will be of particular value to millions of Americans. The holiday gift-giving season is a perfect time to remind consumers to take simple steps, like setting a password, to protect themselves from mobile security threats.”

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FCC Begins Search for Health Care Director and Launches New Health Website

by Jordan Usdan and Maya Uppaluru, Public-Private Initiatives
December 13, 2012 - 11:16 AM

Today, the FCC posted the official vacancy announcement for a Director of Health Care Initiatives. In September, Chairman Genachowski announced that the FCC would soon undertake a search for a new position to coordinate the agency’s numerous health care technology related initiatives, in response to a recommendation by the mHealth Task Force

Filling this position is an important step in the FCC’s ongoing mission to expand access to health care applications through wired and wireless broadband.  The Director of Health Care Initiatives will lead the agency’s efforts in facilitating and promoting communications technologies and services that improve the quality of health care for all citizens and help reduce health care costs; facilitating the availability of medical devices that use spectrum; and ensuring hospitals and other health care facilities have required connectivity.

The Director of Health Care Initiatives will push forward on the many continuing health-related initiatives at the FCC, including:

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National PC Donation and Recycling Drive to Address the Digital Divide

August 21, 2012 - 02:56 PM

Owning a computer and gaining access to the Internet is not a luxury, but a necessity in today's world. The digital divide is growing as Americans who are "offline" cannot fully participate in the digital economy and are left behind in important areas such as education and health care. Yet, nearly 60% of low-income households do not have a desktop or laptop computer at home and 100 million Americans have not adopted broadband at home.

Americans without a computer or broadband at home often cite the cost of a PC (10%) and/or broadband service (15%) as major barriers to adoption. However, there is an untapped resource of discounted high quality computers that could curb these figures: the millions of corporate PCs that are prematurely retired every year.

Businesses in the United States annually donate about 3% of the 40 million PCs replaced each year. Of these 40 million PC’s, over 12 million are less than a few years old and remain used-but-useful. These PC’s, once refurbished and installed with the latest software, can connect low-income families, schools, and public computing center users to the digital world.

On August 7, Chairman Genachowski and executives from Connect2Compete, Redemtech, and representatives from LULAC announced a nationwide computer donation and recycling call-to-action, called “PC Pledge 100,” to help narrow the digital divide for low-income families across the country.

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FCC Chairman: Digital Textbooks to All Students in Five Years

February 3, 2012 - 01:04 PM

Chairman Genachowski and Secretary DuncanWednesday, at the first-ever Digital Learning Day Town Hall in Washington, DC, FCC Chairman Genachowski and Secretary of Education Duncan challenged states and the education and technology industries to get digital textbooks into the hands of all students in five years. Barriers to adoption of digital textbooks include: antiquated state procurement rules, lack of device and content interoperability, and connectivity costs. 

Six months ago, Genachowski and Duncan launched an effort with business and education leaders to help schools make the transition to digital textbooks. At yesterday’s event, this collaborative presented them with the “Digital Textbook Playbook,” a resource for schools making the move to digital learning.  As a next step, Genachowski and Duncan announced a meeting in March 2012 with education CEOs, state officials, and nonprofit leaders to advance the national adoption of digital textbooks.

The FCC has been working since the 1990s, via its E-Rate program, to connect every library and classroom in America to the Internet. Now it is time for the next broadband-enabled learning revolution; digital textbooks offer lessons personalized to students’ learning styles and aptitudes that enable real-time data and feedback to parents and teachers. Key facts:

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FCC Launches the Small Biz Cyber Planner

by Jordan Usdan and Josh Gottheimer, Chairman's Office
November 17, 2011 - 09:53 AM

The FCC is launching the Small Biz Cyber Planner, an online resource to help small businesses create customized cybersecurity plans. This is the result of an unprecedented public-private partnership between government experts and private IT and security companies, including DHS, NCSA, NIST, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, The Chertoff Group, Symantec, Sophos, Visa, Microsoft, HP, McAfee, The Identity Theft Council, ADP and others. The online tool is available at FCC.gov/cyberplanner.

By almost any measure small businesses have an outsized impact on our economy and it is critically important that small businesses, a vibrant engine for job and idea creation, are secure using the many broadband enabled tools they need to efficiently run their businesses. According to a survey released in October, 2011 by Symantec and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), two-thirds of U.S. small businesses rely on broadband Internet for their day-to-day operations.  

However, the Symantec survey also found that 85 percent of small businesses think their companies are cyber-secure, but barely half of these businesses actually have a cybersecurity strategy or plan in place and nearly 80 percent say they lack a written Internet security policy. With larger companies increasing their online defenses, small businesses are now the low hanging fruit for cyber criminals and many may have a false sense of security.

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