Homeland Watch: In Brief

Bed tracker goes regional

During an emergency, hospital computer networks usually can locate available beds within a community, but few systems track bed availability across regions and state lines.

In Washington's National Capital Region, for example, the systems for the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia are separate and not interoperable, said David Aylward, executive director of ComCare Alliance, a group of industry and emergency agencies.

The alliance is putting the final touches on open standards for interoperable bed-tracking systems that can combine information from disparate systems. "The standards can be used for everyday tracking of emergency room beds, and also during a disaster to locate [surgical] beds," Aylward said.

Fast-growing Flu Wiki to expand

The popular Flu Wiki site, which started in May 2005 to offer information and advice on avian flu (www.fluwikie.com), is experiencing a growth spurt and high traffic.

Web site founders announced this month it is about to become a non-profit agency. Publisher Melanie Mattson said Flu Wiki will "become the spine of a larger "metablog" or "metawiki," while maintaining its independence and content.
Immutable audits gain converts

Immutable audits gain converts

Cybersleuths need clues to find out who hacked a system, where and when they did it, and how. A solution gaining high-profile advocates, including John Podesta, former chief of staff to President Clinton, is immutable audit trails, which are permanent records of computer activity.

"One step the federal government can and should take to ensure the integrity of its own data is to institute a system that lessens the risk of data manipulation, increases the accuracy of recorded data, and more thoroughly tracks the use of data. Immutable audit logs are a system that can do that," Podesta said at the Cyber Security Alliance's Data Integrity Conference Jan. 18.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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