FBI to access social media data in search of bad guys


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  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it is looking to use social media tools to monitor possible domestic threats. The FBI has issued a request for proposal from vendors for the software tools it needs to access lawfully-collected information from social media subscription services. It said virtually every incident and subject of FBI investigative interest has a presence online, and having early detection capabilities will help it mitigate the magnitude of any harm caused by terrorists, foreign intelligence services, or criminal organizations. (FedBizOpps)
  • The Federal Communications Commission has issued new rules banning foreign-based robocallers from using fake caller IDs. In 2018 alone, the Federal Communications Commission received more than 52,000 consumer complaints about caller ID spoofing, where scammers make their phone number appear to match the organization they are pretending to represent. After laws were passed making it illegal to use fake caller IDs, fraudsters stayed a step ahead by moving their call center operations outside the country. In response, Congress closed that loophole by adding text messaging to the mix. Now, the FCC is pushing the phone industry to implement a framework to authenticate caller IDs. (FCC)
  • Defense Secretary Mark Esper has launched his own review of the department’s multibillion-dollar JEDI Cloud contract. In a statement, the Pentagon said it would not make an award of the up-to-$10 billion contract until the new secretary’s review is finished. A spokeswoman said it’s part of his commitment to “safeguard taxpayer dollars.” It’s not clear how long the examination will take, or whether it will affect the acquisition schedule. Defense officials had already said that they don’t intend to award the contract until late August. Amazon and Microsoft are the two remaining contenders. (Federal News Network)
  • Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) and Congressman Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) have introduced the Safeguarding Student Veterans Act to protect veterans using the Post 9/11 GI Bill.  The bipartisan legislation aims to provide better coordination between the departments of Education and Veterans Affairs to ensure student veterans aren’t blindsided by an unexpected school closure. Recent closures by ITT Technical Institute and the Education Corporation of America left thousands of students on the GI Bill in the lurch. The bill requires VA to alert vets about schools that are at risk. (Cummings.house)
  • The inspector general at the Department of Veterans Affairs sees good progress with VA’s three crisis line call centers. The Veterans Crisis Line has improved with a new governance structure, permanent leadership and more thorough training.  VA also named a permanent leader for the Veterans Crisis Line, and it moved the crisis line under VA’s Office of Mental Health Services and Suicide Prevention Program. The IG says the Atlanta, Georgia, crisis line center resolved previous staffing issues, and that VA has piloted new training for crisis line responders in Atlanta, and used it as a model to train responders at its new crisis line center in Topeka, Kansas. (VA)
  • The Office of Personnel Management has set its priorities for the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program ahead of the 2020 open season. It encouraged health insurance carriers to continue to keep premium increases low or minimal. OPM also urged insurance carriers to expand mental health provider networks and promote evidence-based pain management practices over opioid use. OPM said the number of opioid prescriptions issued to FEHBP participants was down consistently over the past three years. The 2020 open season will begin later this fall. (OPM)
  • Four Democratic senators want the director of national intelligence to review whether the Executive Office of the President is complying with government-wide security clearance policies. The ranking members of the Senate Intelligence, Judiciary, Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees wrote to President Donald Trump asking for the review. Only the president can direct such a review to occur. Senators said they’re concerned Executive Office officials have extended temporary clearances beyond the usual six-month time frame. They also said the office overruled unfavorable adjudication recommendations from career employees.  (scribd.com)
  • The Postal Service’s Board of Governors finally has enough members to form a quorum. The Senate approved three members before leaving for their August recess, bringing its total headcount to five. The board, which selects the postmaster general and approves business decisions for the Postal Service, hasn’t had a quorum since December 2014.
  • The longest inspector general vacancy in government is no more. The Senate confirmed Mark Greenblatt to serve as the Interior Department’s first permanent IG in more than a decade. Greenblatt will take over for Mary Kendall, who served as acting IG for the last 10 years, and is now the top watchdog for Amtrak.
  • The Commerce Department moved on to its second acting chief information officer in seven months. Current acting CIO Terryne Murphy is heading to a new position in the government. Commerce announced in an email obtained by Federal News Network that André Mendes, the CIO of the International Trade Administration, will take over as acting CIO when Murphy leaves on Aug. 16. Meanwhile over at the Energy Department, Rocky Campione replaced Max Everett as CIO. Everett left in July to be the vice president and CIO of the Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Convention. (Federal News Network)
  • Cisco Systems has agreed to settle a whistleblower’s claim that it improperly sold video surveillance software with known vulnerabilities to the Defense Department, marking the first payout on a False Claims Act case brought over failure to meet cybersecurity standards. The claim said Cisco was warned in 2008 that flaws in video equipment software could allow unauthorized access to gain administrative control of entire networks. Cisco paid $8.6 million to resolve the case, with most of that going to the federal government and more than $1 million going to the whistleblower.  ( Reuters)
  • The Senate has filled two key management and policy roles in the White House. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy and the Office of Science and Technology Policy have permanent leadership for the first time in more than two years. Michael Wooten fills the OFPP administrator role, replacing Anne Rung who left in October 2016. Michael Kratsios is now the federal chief technology officer and associate director of OSTP, replacing Megan Smith, who left in January 2017. (Senate.gov)

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