News in Brief

Streamlining storage, an Adobe CTO, a China cyber offer and more

astonished man in data center

Report: Billions could be saved by streamlining storage

The government’s data center consolidation policy promises to save $5 billion by 2015 by eliminating redundant servers, but according to a new report from MeriTalk and data management firm Actifio, costs could be reduced even further if agencies focus on eliminating multiple versions of stored information.

The online survey of 152 federal IT managers found that 27 percent of the average agency's budget for data storage went to nonprimary data -- or copies of documents, applications, virtual machines, video surveillance and more.

According to the report, that means about $2.7 billion is being spent to store potentially redundant and unneeded data, a figure that is expected to rise in the future.

Adobe names public-sector CTO

Adobe Systems has named one of its own to its new public-sector chief technology officer position.

On June 30, company officials announced that John Landwehr "will spearhead Adobe's initiatives to help the government ecosystem better digitize workflows and services, creating forward-looking digital and mobile experiences for the enterprise and the public." His appointment is effective immediately.

Landwehr has been at Adobe for more than 12 years and is moving to CTO from his role as vice president of digital government solutions. He has also served as senior director for enterprise security and mobile solutions, and group manager of security solutions and strategy.

U.S. ready to resume China cyber dialogue

The United States is prepared to resume a cybersecurity dialogue with China that was abruptly canceled last month, the Associated Press reported. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel told AP that U.S. officials will raise the idea of resuming the talks during a meeting next month in Beijing.

China nixed the cybersecurity working group shortly after the Justice Department indicted five Chinese military officers in May on charges of stealing U.S. trade secrets. A senior White House official recently told FCW that White House leaders are hopeful that China will rejoin the working group.

A&M drone tests get off the ground

One of the Federal Aviation Administration's six federal unmanned aircraft system test sites has conducted its first flights. The Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence and Innovation at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi conducted a series of flights along Texas' Gulf Coast June 25-26.

The flights were the first to be completed by the center after the FAA approved it to operate as a federal UAS test site.

Center officials said researchers ran missions with the university's RS-16 Arcturus unmanned aerial vehicle, which was launched by catapult from a mobile operations center into 450 square miles of airspace near Sarita, Texas. The UAV, which has a wingspan of 13 feet, was monitored by a piloted aircraft as it flew over Padre Island and the Gulf of Mexico. The FAA requires that the RS-16 remain visible to human observers on the ground or in the air at all times under visual line-of-sight rules.

The center said the mission gathered video, ultraviolet and thermal imaging data from the onboard multispectral camera for university researchers monitoring coastal habitats and shoreline changes.

FBI ID system raises privacy concerns

Privacy advocates are pressing the FBI to immediately conduct an assessment of its biometric-based Next Generation Identification system because of "serious privacy and civil liberties concerns."

In a June 24 letter, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Electronic Frontier Foundation, American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations urged Attorney General Eric Holder to "quickly complete an updated privacy impact part of a broader effort to examine the goals and impact of NGI."

A coalition of more than 30 organizations has long opposed the biometric ID program, which includes millions of facial, iris and fingerprint images. They said the FBI has not conducted the required NGI privacy assessment, despite promises made in 2008 to do so, and the FBI's plan to have NGI at full operating capacity in fiscal 2014 makes the assessment imperative.

The groups said that by 2015, the FBI database could contain as many as 52 million facial images, more than 4 million of which would have been taken for noncriminal purposes, such as employment background checks.

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