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GCN : July 2015
OLDCOMPUTERS.NET [BrieFing] Managing travel expenses for govern- ment employees and contractors can be complicated, given that per diem rates vary by city and change every year. Certify, a provider of cloud-based travel and expense management soft- ware, has added the General Services Administration’s per diem services to its systems in an effort to simplify travel and expense reporting for fed- eral employees and contractors. With Certify’s new capabilities, administrators can configure travel and expense reporting requirements using the federal standard allowances established each year. Once configured, Certify calculates allowable reimburs- able amounts based on the date of the expense and the destination. Other variables that affect reimbursable rates — such as meal combinations, incidental expenses, reimbursable type and travel days — are also included. All calculations are compared to the most current GSA-supplied data to ensure accuracy and streamline the approval process. The new capabilities are included in the Certify Enterprise Plan and are part of the integrated Certify system, which also provides advanced reporting tools for greater visibility into travel and expense management. Administrators can easily see which employees are the most active travelers, which destina- tions they travel to most frequently, how much individual departments spend on travel and more. “Navigating the requirements for GSA per diems and reimbursement is anything but simple,” Certify President Robert Neveu said. “Now with avail- able GSA functionality, Certify makes travel and expense management easy for even the most complicated transac- tions and policies.” • A decoder ring for GSA per diems BY KATHLEEN HICKEY 10 GCN JULY 2015 • GCN.COM READ ME What: “Doomed to Repeat History? Lessons from the Crypto Wars of the 1990s,” a report by the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute. Why: The current friction over the public’s right to use mobile products with strong encryption is reminiscent of a conflict in the 1990s, dubbed the Crypto Wars. Tensions came to a head with the Clinton administration’s introduction of the Clipper Chip in 1993. The microchip provided strong cryptographic tools for consumer phones without sacrificing access by the law enforcement and intelligence communities. However, the public outcry over the government’s storage of each chip’s encryption key, known as “key escrow,” and a flaw in the system ended use of the chip in 1994. Takeaway: Since the Crypto Wars ended, an encryption-enabled ecosystem has become essential to the overall security of the modern network. But in the wake of Edward Snowden’s disclosures about government surveillance, technology companies have begun to adopt even greater encryption, and the government has revived many of the arguments it used in the 1990s to support key escrow. It seems “to have forgotten the lessons of the past,” the authors write. “ We may once again be on the verge of another war: a Crypto War 2.0. But it would be far wiser to maintain the peace than to begin a new and unnecessary conflict.” Full report: http://is.gd/ GCN_CryptoWars retro tech GCN was just 10 years old when the IBM ThinkPad debuted in 1992. Now Lenovo, which bought the brand in 2005, is mulling a back-to-the-future design for its business laptop workhorse. There are limits, however: Lenovo’s David Hill noted that few users likely miss the “original thickness of 56 mm,” and he named the 256-color 700c as his preference, rather than the monochrome 300 pictured here. BY GCN STAFF 0715gcn_006-010.indd 10 7/1/15 1:06 PM