by / August 31, 1998
Ongoing Crime

I was glad to see that Government Technology discussed the ongoing problem law enforcement is having with high technology ["Next-Generation Crimes, Next-Generation Justice," July 1998].

What was absent from the article is what government is doing to stem the tide of this new area of crime. Federal, state and local law enforcement officers from all over the country are learning to deal with high technology as used by criminals. As with most policing, law enforcement is currently reactive to high-technology crime. However, we are increasing our responsiveness to meet the needs of our victims.

At the local level, our victims range from misdemeanor e-mail threat cases to complicated interstate Internet scams. Your "Trend No. 4: Counterfeiting" (of checks) is an almost daily occurrence. Law enforcement's ability to respond to high-tech crime is under-reported and often viewed as of little importance in our violent society. As technology progresses, law enforcement must ensure it is capable of responding to technology-related crimes. Most agencies currently have little ability to respond to technology crimes. Throw in the need to properly collect evidence from computers, and you have a seemingly insurmountable task for small agencies. Even large agencies are finding it difficult to respond due to the costs related to training and time invested in personnel.

With all these problems up front, there is a core group of people nationwide that is committed to solving at least some of these problems. Through several groups -- such as The International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists, The National White Collar Crime Center, SEARCH (a federally funded training facility), the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and organizations like the High Technology Crime Investigators Association -- law enforcement is getting the skills necessary to combat the technology currently being used against our communities. Much is being done and more needs to be accomplished.

Todd G. Shipley, CFE
Detective Sergeant
Computer Crimes Unit
Reno, Nev., Police Department


I finally found some time to read GT's May [1998] special edition. Wow! Your articles were fantastic -- informative, lively, thought-provoking. Too many journalists, when writing about IT and its possibilities, inject so much jargon into their articles that they obfuscate the point they are trying to make.

After reading this edition, I felt more positive about the future of technology and its role in our world. Things are happening so fast now; just when I think I'm beginning to understand how things work, I learn that most of what I know is obsolete. I love change; I embrace it; I help facilitate it, but there are times when I feel overwhelmed by it. It is motivating to read about other leaders who are successfully channeling and managing change in their areas.

I look forward to reading more of your articles. Thank you.

CJ Walters
North Carolina Attorney General's Office
Project Management

Excellent article on project management in the public sector! ["Building a Template," May 1998] As a roving state project manager with 25 years of project experience, I can vouch for the importance of the "canons" preached in your article.

There is a possible additional factor to consider: user accountability of a project's success. "User" is defined to be the group paying for the project, including the "little people" on teams and committees. Too often, the users are passive and don't take responsibility for the outcome of a project, presuming they can disassociate themselves from the project, if necessary. Frequently, the pressure is squarely upon the PM to whip up user involvement and participation. Not a good sign.

I stumbled upon some tools that help with user participation -- especially during the critical initial-planning phase. For one example, try Project KickStart. Such tools engage users in the important strategic "visualization" steps and help identify risks and milestones. If given such responsibility early in a project, the users contribute more and support the PM stronger.

Philip Coombs
GILS Project Manager
Washington State Library
Africa Telecom

As a result of the GII Award media attention, I was invited to present at the Africa Telecom 98 [May 4-9, 1998]. Monday was the opening of Africa Telecom 98, where I presented our SC Family Preservation and Child Welfare Network Web site, which was a semi-finalist winner recently in the GII Award Contest for children. Many people from all over the world were there, and I showed your site. Nelson Mandella opened the Telecom. I took lots of pictures and sent the pictures to the Web that afternoon, and they were on the WWW before noon that day -- almost realtime.

You can view the photos by going to "Kathy Belew's South Africa pictures." Beautiful place and people. Lots of poverty, but they seem happy. Lots of violence, but it's a way of survival.

In my program, a lady from Egypt presented a Web site for children, and a lady from Australia presented a Web site for women victims of violence. Learning lots.

I learned of the GII contest through your site. Your site has changed my life forever and many others too.

The University of SC is very proud to be a part of improving access to services using the Internet to improve quality of life for others. Thank you for helping us do that more.

Kathy Belew
University of South Carolina
Semi-Finalist, Global Information Infrastructure Awards, Children Category
Real Business

In reference to Michael Asner's article "Tendering Advances" [April 1998]: Conducting real business-to-business commerce online requires more than an attractive Web home page. You also need easy ordering and payment options, security, database management, customer service and lines to your legacy systems. Because the development of a complete interactive commerce infrastructure takes time, your business may still be waiting to tap into this new and highly profitable sales channel.

While you delay you're losing potential revenues -- and the opportunity to strengthen relationships between you and your customers.

Jimmy Castro
Greater Austin, Texas, Chamber of Commerce
Network History

I just finished reading your "History of Communications Networks" [June 1998], great article. I read hundreds of industry publications and summarize the best articles in a monthly report we distribute to all our employees. I have gotten in the habit of reading a few paragraphs of an article and moving on.

Your article was a rare treat, I read every word. Needless to say it will be included in this month's news review. Just wanted to pass along my appreciation of a job well done.

Gayla Huey
Marketing Specialist
MFS Network Technologies
Washington Y2K

In the April [1998] edition of Government Technology, an article appeared on page 12 [Technology News, Y2K Watch] titled "Potential Litigation Big Concern at California Y2K Summit." In the article, Russ Bohart made a statement, "Although some states, like Nevada and Washington, have used legislation to protect them from Y2K liability -- and California has some similar bills moving around the Legislature -- we in government can still expect to be sued."

I just wanted to take this opportunity to clear up any misconceptions regarding Y2K liability in the state of Washington. Y2K liability legislation was introduced in the 1998 Washington state Legislature, however the bill was not reported out of committee.

John Saunders
Manager, Year 2000 Program Office
Washington State Department of Information Services

September Table of Contents

Letters to the Editor my be faxed to Dennis McKenna at 916/932-1470 or sent via e-mail. Please list your telephone number for confirmation. Publication is solely at the discretion of the editors. "Government Technology" reserves the right to edit submissions for length.