U.S. spies have become major consumers of social media, and the CIA - in keeping with its intelligence-gathering mandate - is watching YouTube, among other things.

"We're looking at YouTube, which carries some unique and honest-to-goodness intelligence," said Doug Naquin, director of the Open Source Center within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, in remarks to the Central Intelligence Retirees' Association in October 2007.

"We're looking at chat rooms and things that didn't exist five years ago and trying to stay ahead. We have groups looking at what they call 'Citizens Media' - people taking pictures with their cell phones and posting them on the Internet." - Informationweek.com

Data Dilemma

British public opinion is evenly split on national identification (ID) cards - 47 percent think they're a good idea while 50 percent don't.

The survey of more than 1,000 people assessed attitudes toward proposed government IT projects: a database of all UK children, a central register of personal information and fingerprints to support ID cards, and a database on British travelers.

Fifty-two percent of respondents felt uncomfortable with proposals on data sharing between government agencies, while 67 percent were in favor of the proposals to collect information on British citizens entering or leaving the country. - The Register

Beyond Voice

New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed into law a bill making the use of a wireless handheld telephone or electronic communication device, such as PDAs and BlackBerrys, by a motorist a primary offense.

Drivers found talking or text messaging with such devices will be fined $100-$250 for violating this statute.

However, no points will be assessed for the offense. New Jersey is the first state to make texting a primary offense - meaning officers can pull motorists over for it - according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The amended law took effect on Mar. 1, 2008. - New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety

Textual Comparison

According to a Deloitte Development-Harrison Group study conducted in October 2007, nearly 90 percent of 13- to 24-year-old Internet users surveyed said they sent text messages frequently or occasionally, compared to 44 percent of boomers.

The Need for Speed

U.S. Internet users are doing more of the things that consume bandwidth. As a result, fiber-to-the-home and faster cable modem technologies are fueling a new round of bandwidth envy.

According to a March 2008 report by Parks Associates, the percentage of U.S. households that have broadband services with speeds of 10 Mbps or higher will increase dramatically by 2012.

Karen Stewartson, Managing Editor Karen Stewartson  |  Managing Editor

Karen Stewartson is the managing editor of Government Technology. She contributes to Public CIO journal and Emergency Management magazine. Karen is a lifelong learner who has a penchant for words, puns, food and babies.