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Wiretapping and Cloud Security
Source: Securosis blog

In another case of unintended consequences, now come warnings that the Obama administration’s call to Internet service providers and other firms to make it easier for the FBI to tap into online communications could damage attempts to tighten security in the cloud.

Security research firm Securosis says the proposal, aimed at denying terrorists and other groups the advantage of encrypted communications, will create “a single point of security failure within organizations and companies that don’t have the best security track record to begin with."

The administration’s proposal specifically targets peer-to-peer communications, requiring companies that deliver those types of services to redesign them to allow interception. There are only a limited number of ways to do that, Securosis says, and each creates new opportunities for security failures that bad guys could likely detect using some fairly basic techniques.

The Promise of Offshore Wind Energy
Source: New York Times

Data centers and servers account for nearly 2 percent of total U.S. electricity consumption and are among the fastest-growing energy consumers in the country, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. So news of promising renewable energy and grid improvement projects, especially along the crowded Atlantic seaboard where government and private-sector data centers abound, is always welcome.

An innovative plan backed by Google and a New York financial firm seeks to build a $5 billion underwater transmission backbone for offshore wind farms, reports Matthew Wald in the New York Times. The 350-mile line would run in shallow trenches on the seabed in federal waters 15 to 20 miles offshore, from northern New Jersey to Norfolk, Va.

“Conceptually, it looks to me to be one of the most interesting transmission projects that I’ve ever seen walk through the door,” said Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which oversees interstate electricity transmission.

Relinking Mind and Body
Source: SMU Research blog

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is famed for its prowess at delivering increasingly effective ways for warfighters to do their jobs, and it seems that DARPA is as determined to look after U.S. troops' minds and bodies.

The latest effort is a $5.6 million award to Southern Methodist University to fund its Neurophotonics Research Center’s development of two-way fiber-optic communication between prosthetic limbs and peripheral nerves. The research could give amputees an effective way of feeling their artificial limbs as much as possible, which could revolutionize their freedom of movement and agility.

With that and other developments in technology-enabled brain/body links, it’s no longer science fiction to believe that people with shattered limbs and minds can be made almost whole again.


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FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

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