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Cyber-hygiene with a hard shell

There are lots of places military personnel cannot take an off-the-shelf mobile device, given the security limitations on the average phone or tablet. It's an inconvenience, and it's also a bit of an operations problem for the Department of Defense, which wants to improve the mobility of all its personnel. The Air Force and DISA are looking to address the problem not with software, but literally with hardware — a phone case that ensures the device's cameras and microphone are completely blocked from gathering sight or sound. The project, which is in pilot phase, also involves collecting biometric information to authenticate the user. Jackson Barnett has the details.

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Another pandemic job for Palantir

The Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded a nearly $5 million contract to Palantir for its Gotham data-sharing software, already used by the HHS Protect system that is informing the White House's coronavirus task force. The Veterans Health Administration will use the software to track and analyze COVID-19 outbreak areas and make “timely” decisions using supply chain capacity, hospital inventory and social services data, according to the contract. The Department of Health and Human Services awarded two contracts totaling $24.9 million to the Silicon Valley company for similar services. Dave Nyczepir reports.

TTS to the rescue

The General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Services was founded to help agencies across government adopt modern technologies. So it’s no surprise that demand for TTS’s services is growing in the midst of a pandemic, as agencies face major challenges using tech to support their response efforts and continuity of operations. TTS Director Anil Cheriyan joined FedScoop for an exclusive videoconference interview to detail his organization’s latest efforts and its governmentwide support during the pandemic. “This is the time for our teams to really shine,” he said. Bill Mitchell spoke with Cheriyan.

DOJ's battle with Apple continues

Federal law enforcement officials said Monday they have unlocked the iPhones of the perpetrator of a terrorist attack at a Navy base — and they sharply criticized Apple for not granting them access to those encrypted communications. Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray used the moment to urge Silicon Valley companies to write software that allows investigators to access encrypted communications with a warrant — a proposal that technology firms and security experts have rejected for years. Wray did not detail the technique used by FBI officials to unlock the phones, but said it was “not a fix for our broader Apple problem." Sean Lyngaas has more at CyberScoop

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