FCW Insider: Jan. 3

The latest news and analysis from FCW's reporters and editors.

The federal government is looking to industry for feedback on setting up a portal where security researchers can warn agencies about bugs in their internet-accessible systems. The request is just one piece of a plan led by the Department of Homeland Security to facilitate vulnerability disclosures to government. Derek B. Johnson has the story.

Data on travel, immigration and enforcement from DHS will be used by the Census Bureau in a plan to determine the number of immigrants and non-citizens residing in the U.S. as part of the 2020 population count. The move comes with security and privacy risks. Adam Mazmanian has more.

The General Services Administration's inspector general said two labor pricing tools the agency's acquisition service uses are flawed. The agency said the alternatives could be worse. Mark Rockwell explains.

Quick Hits

*** The General Services Administration is expected to refresh its Multiple Award Schedule solicitation on Jan. 15, according to a late-December posting on the agency's blog. The refresh is the next step in plans to consolidate the 24 buying schedules on the Multiple Award Schedule into a single schedule by the end of 2020. The refresh also will include new regulations on the acquisition of Chinese-made telecommunications gear and the re-mapping of some legacy Special Item Numbers used to acquire goods and services.

*** The popular social video app TikTok is now banned by the U.S. Army on government-owned devices. The move followed a push by the Defense Department to get rid of the application, which is owned by the Chinese technology firm ByteDance. Army spokeswoman Lt. Col Robin Ochoatold Military.com that TikTok "is considered a cyber threat." In October, Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) wrote to the acting director of national intelligence seeking more detail on potential risks posed by the widespread use of TikTok.

*** A pending Secret Service program to monitor the social media activity of job applicants during background checks could introduce false or inaccurate information into the process, according to a new Privacy Impact Assessment. The program tasks a third-party contractor with reviewing publicly available social media information to screen applicants for evidence of four categories of misconduct: unlawful sexual deviant behavior, unlawful violent behavior, unlawful racist acts and membership in a terrorist organization or information depicting acts of terrorism. 

While Secret Service officials say they will only use the information as a starting point for investigating misconduct, the assessment did find a risk that such social media information could be inaccurate and thus result in "a negative outcome for hiring selectees, contractors or employees undergoing reinvestigation."

NEXT STORY: FCW Insider: Jan. 2

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