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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

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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FCC Releases Small Biz Cyber Planner 2.0 to Empower Small Businesses with Customizable Cybersecurity Plans

by Jordan Usdan, Kevin Almasy, and Maya Uppaluru, Public Private Initiatives
October 17, 2012 - 04:54 PM

Small businesses are more dependent on the Internet than ever before, but 83 percent don’t have a formal cybersecurity plan to protect against cyber threats [1]  As larger companies improve cyber defenses, American small businesses are becoming more vulnerable targets.  According to Symantec, they were subject to hundreds of millions of cyber threats in just the first few months of 2012.[2] A typical cyber-attack that infiltrates a small business can cost, on average, close to $200,000 – enough to put many of them out of business.[3]

This week, the FCC is re-launching the Small Biz Cyber Planner 2.0, an online resource to help small businesses create customized cybersecurity plans. Originally launched in October 2011, it 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 Cyber Planner 2.0 features new details about cyber insurance to mitigate interruptions to business and financial loss from cyber-attacks, best practices on spyware, including how to avoid advanced versions of spyware and what immediate steps to take in case of infection, and recommendations to install new software systems that enable remote cleaning and tracking of laptops and mobile devices in the case of theft.  The FCC is also releasing an updated one page Cybersecurity Tip Sheet. The quick resource features new tips on creating a mobile device action plan and on payment and credit card security.

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FCC Acts on Key mHealth Task Force Recommendations to Spur Adoption of Wireless Health Technology

September 25, 2012 - 10:35 AM

In today's connected world, it's surprising to learn that more than 60% of doctors use a fax machine as a predominant form of clinician communication and only 1 in 5 doctors use a smartphone as part of their work. While email and smartphone use alone could create greater efficiencies for doctors, the promise of mHealth goes far beyond this to encompass innovations such as remote patient monitors that automatically send diagnostic information – such as fetal heart rate, blood pressure, or glucose levels – back to doctors and databases.

These innovations not only have the potential to save money across the U.S. health care system, but they could fundamentally transform patient care and improve health care delivery.


The co-chairs of the mHealth Task Force.
The co-chairs of the mHealth Task Force are Dr. Julian Goldman, Medical Director of Biomedical Engineering, Partners Healthcare System; Robert Jarrin, Senior Director of Government Affairs, Qualcomm; and Douglas Trauner, CEO, Health Analytic Services, Inc ( The event was moderated by Robert Atkinson, President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.


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Chairman Genachowski Touts Promise of Digital Learning and Applauds National School Speed Test Launch

by Jordan Usdan, Maya Uppaluru, Kevin Almasy, Public Private Initiatives
September 12, 2012 - 04:32 PM

A recent study by the LEAD Commission found that 92% of teachers believe that technology is very important in helping students become more engaged and active participants in their own learning. As access to technology in the classroom becomes a necessity rather than a luxury for our nation’s students, we must do everything we can to ensure that we don’t leave anyone on the wrong side of the digital divide.

This is why Chairman Genachowski applauded today’s launch of the National School Broadband Test at this morning’s “Education Drives America” Bus Tour Kickoff Event at Sequoia High School in Redwood City, CA. The test is being conducted by EducationSuperHighway, an educational non-profit dedicated to ensuring that every K-12 school in America has high capacity (100MB+) Internet.

EducationSuperHighway is asking the nation’s teachers, administrators, and students to take one minute to run a broadband performance test that will automatically post results to a public database. It’s as easy as going to their web site, entering your school name, and hitting “Go”. Those interested in participating in the speed test can go to

In addition, yesterday at the LEAD Symposium on Technology in Education at Stanford University, the Chairman challenged education technology leaders to work together with government to remove Internet bandwidth as a constraint on education and innovation in our nation’s schools.

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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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Cutting-edge Health IT in the District at Children’s National Medical Center

by Jordan Usdan, Deputy Director, Public-Private Initiatives
March 30, 2012 - 03:11 PM

Last week I accompanied the Chairman for a tour, technology demonstration, and dialog on health IT and telemedicine at Children’s National Medical Center here in Washington, DC. 

We at the FCC, through the National Broadband Plan, Rural Health Care Pilots, and other telemedicine initiatives, are engaged in policymaking to improve the quality, efficiency, and availability of health care through communication technology.

I’ve read the news articles, policy briefs and heard from health IT professionals here at the FCC. But, nothing rivals witnessing firsthand how health IT is revolutionizing hospitals and doctors’ offices.

The first stop on the tour was the nurses’ station in the emergency department.  A half dozen LCD panels each listed the name, condition, wait time, heart rate, and status (pending laboratory and radiology studies) of the admitted patients.  This was previously tracked on a whiteboard in a static fashion. Moreover, all of this data is stored for quality analysis in patient records.

Next, we visited the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit where each room had a touchscreen with secure access to the patient’s essential aggregated health information.  We also learned that doctors can remotely monitor the live data feed from medical equipment from their home office or on their smartphone.

We then received a demonstration at Children’s National’s telemedicine center. Children’s National has affiliate offices regionally, nationally, and internationally that allow for telemedicine consultations with Children’s National’s expert doctors. This enables doctors to see more patients and saves travel time for both the patients and doctors.

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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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Low-Cost Broadband, Computers for Millions of Students, Families

by Josh Gottheimer and Jordan Usdan, FCC Chairman's Office
December 14, 2011 - 03:49 PM

Yesterday, at a public school in Washington, DC, joined by cable and technology executives and nonprofit leaders, FCC Chairman Genachowski announced an unprecedented effort to help close the digital divide, bringing low-cost broadband and computers to millions of low-income Americans.

Right now nearly one-third of the country – 100 million Americans – doesn’t have high-speed Internet at home.  Compare that to Singapore and Korea, where broadband adoption rates top 90 percent.  Minorities and low-income Americans are the hardest hit by this divide.  Research shows that cost, relevance, and digital literacy are the primary reasons many people aren’t connecting. Whether we're talking about jobs, education, or health care, in this day and age, getting online is a necessity, not a convenience. 

The “Connect to Compete” effort will offer millions of families eligible for the National School Lunch Program discounted $9.95/ month broadband Internet, $150 laptop or desktop refurbished computers, and free digital literacy training.  This represents a $4 billion in-kind offering for tens of millions of Americans. And it won’t spend any taxpayer dollars.

Yesterday, President Obama said: “This important partnership between my Administration and American businesses represents a major step towards closing the digital divide -- connecting more families to the 21st century economy, creating new jobs and unleashing new opportunities, and helping America win the future.”

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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

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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