One of Washington’s leading good-government organizations formally asked the Pentagon to investigate financial conflicts of interest in the Defense Department’s best-known research branch.
The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) asked for the inquiry after news reports that Darpa handed out $1.75 million in contracts to a company owned in part by agency director Regina Dugan and her relatives. What’s more, Dugan is owed $250,000 by her family firm, RedXDefense. POGO wants to verify that Dugan had nothing to do with the contracts, and to determine if “any Darpa employee” dealing with the company knew of its connections to the woman at the top.
In a letter to the Pentagon inspector general written on Monday, Danielle Brian, POGO’s executive director, calls for an investigation that goes beyond Dugan, who recused herself from any dealings with RedXDefense upon becoming director.
Brian cites recent comments from Kaigham “Ken” Gabriel, Dugan’s deputy, calling financial conflicts “prevalent” at the agency, since Darpa’s highly technical work requires it to recruit talent from many of the firms and researchers who bid on its contracts.
“We urge the DoD IG to immediately pursue an audit to ensure that Darpa selects and awards grants and contracts with integrity,” Brian writes in the letter to Inspector General Gordon S. Heddell. Perhaps “more stringent measures” are needed to prevent potential conflicts of interest.
via Watchdog Group Asks Pentagon to Investigate Darpa Chief | Danger Room | Wired.com.
AT&T’s bandwidth cap for DSL users, which went into effect on May 2, limit users to just 150 gigabytes per month before the fees start piling up. While they claim the limitations are intended to ensure every user has adequate bandwidth at all times, critics say their intent is to force businesses into an artificially restricted business model that commoditizes bandwidth.
“In the world of broadband data caps, the caps recently implemented by AT&T are particularly aggressive,” the groups explained. “Unlike competitors whose caps appear to be at least nominally linked to congestions during peak-use periods, AT&T seeks to convert caps into a profit center by charging additional fees to customers who exceed the cap. In addition to concerns raised by broadband caps generally, such a practice produces a perverse incentive for AT&T to avoid raising its cap even as its own capacity expands.”
Others have suggested the move by AT&T, which followed a bandwidth capping scheme by Comcast, is also an affront to online movies provider Netflix, which has far and away trumped other video services owned by the network providers. The vast majority of mobile broadband plans are similarly limited, although those caps are typically far more restrictive than home-based broadband. GA_googleFillSlot(“Raw_Embedded_300″);
“The lower cap for DSL customers is especially worrying because one of the traditional selling points of DSL networks is that their dedicated circuit design helps to mitigate the impacts of heavy users on the rest of the network,” they continued. “Together, these caps suggest either that AT&T’s current network compares poorly to that of a major competitor circa 2008 or that there are non-network-management motivations behind their creation.”
via With 56% of American Internet connections now capped, advocates ask FCC for probe | The Raw Story.