Steven VanRoekel, U.S. Chief Information Officer.

Interview: White House forms strike force of top geeks for tough tech projects

A newly formed federal team called the U.S. Digital Service will help governmental agencies learn from the way modern tech companies develop, roll out and run large technology projects. The initiative was announced this week in Washington, D.C., by Steven VanRoekel, the U.S. chief information officer, who worked for many years at Microsoft, including a stint as Bill Gates’ strategy… Read More

Michael Mattmiller.

City of Seattle names Microsoft cloud privacy strategist Michael Mattmiller as new tech chief

The City of Seattle today named Michael Mattmiller its new Chief Technology Officer, bringing on a former developer to help head up the city’s Department of Information and Technology. Mattmiller replaces interim CTO Sabra Schneider, who temporarily took the reigns in April after Erin Devoto stepped down from the position in March. Schneider will return to her previous role as Director… Read More

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Oops! Washington state disposes of old computers without wiping medical records, tax forms and other confidential information

Medical records. Social Security Numbers. Employee performance evaluations. Those were just some of the confidential records found on old computers that several agencies in Washington state were sending to surplus, violating policies for properly wiping computer hard drives, according to a new report from the Auditor’s Office. “With the right knowledge of data retrieval, the confidential information… Read More

Nick Licata and Chris DeVore

Nick Licata vs. Chris DeVore: A debate over government support of startups in Seattle

Well, it’s not quite the “Rumble in the Jungle.” But Founder’s Co-op general partner Chris DeVore and Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata recently were brought together by the online news site Crosscut to debate the issues around the Startup Seattle Initiative. As you may recall, Licata attempted to torpedo the efforts to create a $151,000… Read More

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Commentary: Here are the problems with Seattle’s Startup Initiative

Editor’s Note: Nick Licata is a Seattle City Councilmember. Recently, a Seattle Times editorial lauded the Seattle City Council for requiring clear goals, measurable outcomes, effectiveness and accountability standards for funding projects in our 2014 budget. For the most part, we accomplished that this year. But one exception struck me as failing to meet all of… Read More

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Here’s how city government can help startups, according to outgoing Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn

From the time outgoing Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn took office in 2010 until today, Seattle’s startup scene has continued to grow. In those four years, McGinn has tried to figure out how government can support entrepreneurs in the area. He brought together industry leaders for an interesting roundtable last year, and then launched a “Startup… Read More

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Here’s how Seattle’s King County uses online public meetings to learn what citizens actually care about

Government officials often hold public meetings as a way to hear from citizens and find out what’s going on in the community. But with work, family, friends and other important obligations, it’s not easy for people to take time out of their day to attend these events. That’s why Seattle’s King County is using a… Read More

Dan Rosen

Startup leaders not happy with securities administrator’s support of regulations that could ‘cripple’ startups

Seattle angel investor Dan Rosen has worked hard in recent months to shed light on the potentially damaging effects that proposed regulations in the JOBS Act could have on startups, pointing out how the new rules would have the unintended consequence of making it harder for companies to raise money and potentially “cripple” angel investing in the… Read More

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President Obama pledges support for global startup efforts, taps UP Global to help support 500,000 new entrepreneurs by 2016

The government may be shut down. But you can’t extinguish the entrepreneurial fire that easy. In video remarks at the 4th Annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia today, President Barack Obama stressed the importance of entrepreneurship and he singled out Seattle non-profit UP Global (best known for its Startup Weekend events) to help carry… Read More

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Google unveils Constitute, a new project to view the world’s constitutions

Google wants to help the countries of the world write their next constitution. With a new project called Constitute, the search giant aims to make it easier to understand the world’s constitutions by creating a searchable, digitized database of every one. In addition, it has partnered with the Comparitive Constitutions Project to tag and categorize… Read More

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Portland mobile app-tester AppThwack partners with CIA venture capital arm

You know your startup is doing something right when the CIA’s investment arm decides to invest some money into the business. That’s exactly what has happened to Portland-based AppThwack, a small business of four employees founded by two former Intel employees that tests mobile apps for developers. AppThwack announced today a “strategic partnership” with In-Q-Tel (IQT), an… Read More

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Report: Amazon.com files federal complaint to preserve $600 million CIA contract

Amazon.com has filed a federal complaint over a $600 million contract to provide cloud computing services to the Central Intelligence Agency, a contract that competing bidder IBM disputes. A spokeswoman for Amazon.com said that the CIA, which initially pushed for Amazon Web Services, made the right decision initially. “We believe that the CIA selected [Amazon Web… Read More

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Socrata lands $18 million, continuing mission to unlock troves of government data

Seattle entrepreneur Kevin Merritt wants to help lead a transformation in government. Not by running for office, but through unleashing the mountains of data that government transportation departments, health departments and other agencies have amassed over the years. And today, Socrata is getting a big boost to deliver on that mission. The company just scored… Read More

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Microsoft wants government to provide more transparency for security requests

Microsoft is now joining fellow tech giants Google and Facebook in asking the U.S. government for more transparency in regard to government requests for national security information. Microsoft issued this statement a short while ago, noting that it would like to provide more information than what showed up in the company’s 2012 Law Enforcement Request Report published last March…. Read More

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This chart shows what’s royally messed up in the U.S. patent system

It’s been a huge week for patents — starting with This American Life’s follow-up on Nathan Myhrvold’s Intellectual Ventures and followed on Tuesday with President Barack Obama announcing plans to try to curb the activities of patent trolls. As part of Obama’s 5-point plan, the National Economic Council and the Council of Economic Advisers released a… Read More

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Watch out, Intellectual Ventures? President Obama says enough with patent shenanigans

Now, this could get rather interesting. President Barack Obama is expected to announce measures on Tuesday that could curb the practices of patent holding firms, reports The Wall Street Journal. The president’s foray into the debate over so-called patent trolls could have profound implications in the Seattle tech industry as Bellevue-based Intellectual Ventures is known… Read More

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.

Mayor McGinn on guns, jobs and upgrading Seattle PD’s IT

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn appeared on KUOW 94.9 FM this morning, discussing a wide range of issues related to the city’s police department, transportation initiatives, guns and, of course, the prospects of the city getting a NBA (and NHL) franchise. And while he only briefly touched on the city’s new startup initiative, he did mention… Read More

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Hey, civic hackers: Here’s your chance to build apps to help solve government challenges

The City of Seattle has a plethora of open data available and now they want your help in utilizing the information for apps and visualizations that help solve government-related challenges. As part of the National Day of Civic Hacking, the City is partnering with Code for Seattle for a one-day hackathon on June 1 at City Hall. Hackers… Read More