The Joint Authorization Board branded ServiceNow with its coveted FedRamp Provisional Authority to Operate certification. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company has more than 100 U.S. Federal government customers.

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The U.S. and European Union agreed to a data privacy deal known as the Privacy Shield that would ensure greater protection of personal data moving across the Atlantic. The deal, which replaces the Safe Harbor Agreement, implements stronger regulations and repercussions in data exchange between the U.S. and Europe.

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The Department of Defense continues to push forward with efforts to bolster its IT system. The Army awarded a $5 billion Information Technology Enterprise Solutions 3 Hardware contract for IT hardware, software, and other services, to 17 companies.

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Fight for the Future protesters gathered outside the FBI building in Washington, D.C., to stand against a court order that Apple create a program that would allow FBI officials to access the San Bernardino shooters’ phone. Apple CEO Tim Cook refused to comply with the order, creating a standoff between the company and the FBI.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has collaborated with the University of Montana and other organizations to use Google Earth Engine to create an interactive, online map tool that integrates layers of data to identify and pinpoint elusive species damaging western habitats.

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The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate handed out its first award from the Innovation Other Transaction Solicitation, which encourages nontraditional companies to come up with unusual ideas to protect national cybersecurity.

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Tech Data released Tech Data Cyber Protect, a program aimed at providing subscription-based cybersecurity solutions to cash-strapped government agencies. IBM provides the security software and Tech Dataprovides the services.

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The Defense Department has made two high-profile IT moves — in the same week President Obama announced he would dedicate more than $19 billion to secure Federal IT systems — showing its dedication to cybersecurity and infrastructure.

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President Obama appointed two industry leaders to head his Cybersecurity National Action Plan. Tom Donilon, former National Security Adviser, will serve as the chairman of the committee and Sam Palmisano, former CEO of IBM, will serve as the vice chairman.

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A group of senior IT executives and former CIOs are attempting to direct the presidential candidates’ attention to the urgent needs of IT policy in the Federal government. They released a report, titled “Tech Iconoclasts – Voting for America’s Success in a Network World,” an open letter to the candidates that outlines five key needs in Federal IT and recommends policy to address these needs.

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Alongside the release of the proposed 2017 budget, the White House released its annual Analytical Perspectives of that proposal. MeriTalk spotted five important trends in the IT world and describes how the Federal government plans to address them.

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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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