News in Brief

McClure to Veris, Microsoft in court, tech transfer at Los Alamos and more


David McClure

McClure joins Veris Group

David McClure, former associate administrator at GSA's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, is taking his 25 years of federal IT experience to the private sector as chief strategist at Veris Group LLC.

"I am excited to join such a dynamic company with great leadership and a superb reputation in cyber and cloud support services," McClure said in a statement. "I look forward to navigating the changing federal IT market dynamics and advancing existing and new services with industry partners."

After exiting government on May 30, McClure spent much of the summer road-tripping with his wife in their "luxury motor coach," and had hinted from the get-go that he would be staying in the federal IT arena.

In his new role, McClure will work with state and federal agencies on their cloud and modernization initiatives, according to a Veris Group statement.

Microsoft spurns court order for foreign emails

In a case that is being closely watched by U.S.-based cloud computing providers, Microsoft announced it would not comply with a court order from a federal judge to release emails sought by the government that are stored on data centers overseas.

Microsoft is appealing an order from Lorretta Preska, chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, to turn over the emails to federal prosecutors. Microsoft and other cloud providers are worried about the negative business consequences of applying U.S. law and legal orders to material stored on overseas systems -- particularly when it comes to marketing to large foreign governmental and institutional customers.

Preska set a deadline for Sept. 5 for prosecutors and Microsoft to agree on the next steps. Microsoft could be held in contempt of court if it does not comply.

Los Alamos secures data encryption tech transfer deal

Los Alamos National Laboratory has signed its biggest technology transfer agreement ever with a private cybersecurity company, for its next-generation secure data encryption technology.

The agreement with Whitewood Encryption Systems Inc. brings the potential for secure data encryption to the mainstream marketplace after nearly 20 years of development at the national-security science laboratory, said a Sept. 2 Los Alamos statement.

Boston-based Whitewood is a wholly owned subsidiary of Allied Minds. The parent company announced Whitewood's formation on Aug. 26, only days ahead of the Los Alamos announcement.

According to the lab's statement, the agreement provides exclusive license for several Los Alamos-created quantum-encryption patents in exchange for licensing fees.

The technology, called quantum key distribution, harnesses properties of light to generate random numbers, creating cryptographic keys at lightning speed, according to the lab. Allied Minds said Whitewood would use the LANL technology as the foundation of its initial product, a scalable quantum key management system.

Quantum-based systems can develop cryptographic keys based on the random polarization state of light particles known as photons. According to Los Alamos, any third-party attempts to eavesdrop on secure communications between quantum key holders disrupts the quantum system itself, so communication can be aborted and the snooper detected before any data is stolen.

NASA developing air traffic control for drones

NASA researchers are working on "a drone traffic management program that would in effect be a separate air traffic control system for things that fly low to the ground," the New York Times reports. The development efforts are taking place at the agency's Moffett Field in northern California.

"One at a time you can make them work and keep them safe," NASA's Parimal H. Kopardekar told the Times. "But when you have a number of them in operation in the same airspace, there is no infrastructure to support it."

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