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The PJ Tatler

by
Richard Pollock

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October 6, 2011 - 6:41 am

As we remember Apple creator Steve Jobs, it is interesting to note that his legacy did not extend to innovation within the antiquated federal government. He may have changed the world, but not Washington.

Today the vast majority of government departments and agencies have firmly resisted Apple iPhones and Android smart phones. The wondrous, innovative Jobs could not penetrate the static and slow-to-change federal bureaucracy.

The federal government still is dominated by the use of the Canadian manufactured Blackberry, made by RIM.

Only this year, in an experimental program dubbed Federal Government 2.0 have a small number of government agencies entered the 21st century and tentatively moved to smartphones.

The federal workforce has been rebelling, even if it means using underground, “unsanctioned” smart devices

The 2.0 move to smart phones is going at a snail’s pace.  Only 50 iPhones and iPads are being used at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms.  There are about 5,000 ATF employees.

The State Department, which has been diplomatically slow on reacting to Libya and Syria, reports it is “testing” the use of iPhones and iPads.

The Department of Veteran Affairs is permitting some of its clinicians to voluntarily try out iPhones and iPads.

To get around the restrictions many federal employees carry two phones — a government issued Blackberry and an iPhone for personal use.  But this may cause security problems as many government workers see their secure and sometimes classified information bleed into the AT&T iPhone — and into the public domain.

As an innovator Steve Jobs may have changed the world. But unfortunately he had yet to make a real dent on our antiquated federal bureaucracy.

Richard Pollock is the Washington, D.C., editor for PJ Media and the Washington bureau chief of PJTV.
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