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How Palantir is supporting government's fight against COVID-19

Palantir is helping the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention synthesize vast sets of disparate health data to better understand how the novel coronavirus is spreading. While the Silicon Valley company is not involved in the harvesting or storage of health data, it is working with the CDC and HHS to provide its Foundry suite of tools to analyze the agencies’ COVID-19 data, sources told FedScoop. Palantir’s past work with federal agencies, like U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has raised concerns with privacy advocates. “We are not mining the data, we are giving them the platform, analytical tools, and supporting data pipelines to enable them to do their own modeling,” Courtney Bowman, lead global privacy and civil liberties engineer for Palantir, said in a statement. Jackson Barnett has more from Palantir.

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Bill Marion is leaving the Air Force

The Air Force's senior-most civilian IT official is leaving the service after almost three decades. Deputy CIO Bill Marion will depart at the end of April, he told FedScoop, with plans to move home to Austin, Texas, and take a role in industry. He couldn’t yet reveal his next role but said it will be closely tied to digital transformation, “on the other side of the wall, if you will.” Marion told FedScoop: “I came in as an intern almost 20 years ago — so at the lowest level of the Air Force to the senior civilian in the cyber community. So it’s been a crazy ride from that perspective. And I couldn’t be more thankful and proud of an Air Force career.” Billy Mitchell has more on Marion's departure.

DOD looks to spread AI ethics across department

The Pentagon's Joint Artificial Intelligence Center wants DOD personnel to serve as “Responsible AI Champions” in support of the its new principles for AI ethics. A new pilot program brings together a “cross-functional group” of personnel from across the department to receive training on AI and DOD’s new ethical principles from JAIC staff who represent different parts of the AI development lifecycle. The intent is that when these trainees go back to their normal jobs, they will be “champions” for AI and the principles. Jackson has more on DOD's "AI Champions."

A new office at NOAA for unmanned systems

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is working to promote the safe and efficient use of unmanned systems, or what it calls UxS, that its scientists rely on to collect environmental data. The agency is launching a new Unmanned Systems Operations Program that will reside within the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations and cover UxS training, cybersecurity and acquisition. “With the creation of this new program, we will be better positioned to transition these technologies into operational platforms that will gather critical environmental data every American relies upon,” said Rear Adm. Michael Silah, director of NOAA’s Commissioned Officer Corps and the OMAO, in an announcement. Dave Nyczepir has the news.

FCC's plan for telehealth during coronavirus

After receiving its chunk of the recent coronavirus recovery package from Congress, the FCC is planning to create a $200 million fund for hospitals to enhance telehealth networks as they struggle to serve patients with the virus. The fund is essentially a grant program that will allow nonprofit, educational and other approved hospitals responding to the pandemic to quickly apply and receive funding up to $1 million to support telehealth networks. Hospitals will be able to purchase a range of technology, from endpoint devices, telecommunications services and broadband connectivity, according to the FCC. For-profit hospitals will not be eligible to apply, a senior FCC official said. More from the FCC.

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