Encryption was a hot issue this week. FBI Director James Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee about the struggle of both counter-terrorism and law enforcement efforts in accessing information on encrypted devices, such as cellphones. And Reps. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., and Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, introduced the ENCRYPT Act as a means of combating the push for decryption.

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The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission awarded Salient CRGT a task order with a two-year contract for roughly $1.44 million to provide the agency with Master Data Management and Enterprise Data Exchange services. Maureen Conley, NRC public affairs officer, said, “This project utilizes a private cloud, not a FedRamp compliant service.”






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The White House is looking to fill the Federal CISO position in the very near future. The posting for the job, which is designed to establish the direction of Federal cybersecurity policy and strategy in accordance with the Federal CIO, closes on Feb. 26.






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President Obama unveiled plans for addressing Federal cybersecurity issues, including a 35% increase in the cybersecurity budget. But Tom Kellermann, Chief Cybersecurity Officer for Trend Micro, worries that the plan is “completely insufficient” to address the cybersecurity needs of the nation.






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The Department of Veterans Affairs is moving aggressively to institute a new system to plan and manage IT projects, effectively replacing the agile development methodology championed by former chief information officers Roger Baker and Stephen Warren. VA CIO LaVerne Council told a MyVA Advisory Committee meeting last week that she has hired the second of three senior executives to lead the new IT Account Management organization.






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The White House is threatening to veto HR 1675 if it passes the Senate, after the House of Representatives passed the Small Company Disclosure Simplification Act that would not require most U.S. companies to file machine-readable financial statements.






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Ashkan Soltani, the former CTO at the Federal Trade Commission who joined the White House in December to advise U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith, is stepping down after being denied a security clearance. Soltani played an active role in the Washington Post’s reporting on the National Security Agency surveillance programs leaked to the media by Edward Snowden.






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In a new report, the Government Accountability Office said some of the definitions provided to Federal agencies for reporting spending data under the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 are inadequate, and “could lead to inconsistent reporting.”






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The Data Transparency Coalition is changing its name to Data Coalition and opening a new research center as it gathers steam to push to standardize and publish all government information as open data.






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The State Department’s Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources has redesigned its main Web portal for making data on U.S. government foreign aid available to lawmakers, international aid organizations, and the general public. But a major effort is underway to improve the quality of the data collected and the site’s analytics capabilities.






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FedRAMP Fast Forward, a Federal IT industry advocacy group, today published a six-step plan to reform and improve the cloud security certification process known as the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP).






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Shawn Kingsberry, who led the first Federal technology system, Recovery.gov, to the cloud, will head Unisys Corporation’s global government practice division. Kingsberry will provide guidance to Federal clients as they transition from manual and analog processes to digital government techniques.






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A new report by the Congressional Research Service found flaws in keeping track of the size of Federal agencies, and noted that the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security are having trouble recruiting and training cybersecurity professionals.






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Will the Federal government’s embrace of Silicon Valley actually achieve anything of importance? In a column published in Federal Computer Week, Cisco Systems executives Alan Balutis and Stuart Robbins raise concerns about a government partnership with Silicon Valley that is in danger of producing little more than a few new shiny apps and websites.






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A MeriTalk survey finds that Federal agencies are in need of an efficiency jump-start, and 78 percent of Feds believe DevOps will help agencies innovate faster responses and services. Legacy systems are slowing agencies down, and new apps just add to the inertia.






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Federal agencies could save $40.7 billion in annual productivity by switching from legacy voice systems to a Unified Communications solution, a new MeriTalk survey found.






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