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06/10/2020
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Lawmakers send letter on protest surveillance

A large group of Democratic lawmakers has told federal agencies to stop any surveillance of the ongoing U.S. protests of systemic racism. In a letter published Tuesday, the 35 House members expressed concern with National Guard, FBI, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Drug Enforcement Administration tactics reportedly used to conduct surveillance of and share intelligence about the protests. "Government surveillance has a chilling effect,” reads the letter. “Downloads for encrypted messaging apps have spiked during recent demonstrations, showing a broad concern of surveillance among protesters.” Dave Nyczepir has the story.


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State Department seeks ‘clean path’ 5G networks

The State Department wants a complete exclusion of any forbidden, foreign IT vendors from its 5G technology. The department issued a request for information asking industry sources for advice on developing a "clean path" for its 5G networks. State defines that as "an end-to-end communication path that does not use any 5G transmission, control, computing, or storage equipment from an untrusted vendor." The solicitation follows Secretary Mike Pompeo‘s comments in late April about securing America’s diplomatic communication networks in line with the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which prohibits government use of Huawei, ZTE, Xiaomi, and other untrusted vendors from China. Billy Mitchell has the RFI.


VA's $16B EEHR still struggles with communication

The Department of Veterans Affairs has improved its communication around its development of a modernized electronic health record — but it still needs to do better, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. The report says the department took positive steps to create lines of communication — including “EHR Councils” comprised of doctors and other VA staff to give feedback — but those channels didn’t get enough information about the program. More communication would result in better feedback, the GAO said, citing interviews with clinicians. The report recommends the VA “ensure the involvement of all relevant medical facility stakeholders." The department concurred. Jackson Barnett has more.


A new CIO at SBA

The Small Business Administration has a new CIO, just weeks after losing its longtime IT chief Maria Roat to be the deputy Federal CIO. Keith Bluestein took over the role this week, joining SBA from NASA, where he was associate CIO for enterprise services and integration. This will be Bluestein's second stint at SBA. He was previously the deputy and acting CIO for SBA, managing information technology project delivery, advising agency leadership and ensuring personal identification verification compliance with White House mandates. More on Bluestein's return to SBA.


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