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Quick Hits: Dec. 3

*** The FBI has classified FaceApp -- the photo-altering application that went viral earlier this year -- as a counterintelligence threat because of the app developers' ties to Russia. The decision was made public in a letter to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) that was released on Dec. 2.  

"The FBI considers any mobile application or similar product developed in Russia ... to be a potential counterintelligence threat, based on the data the product collects, its privacy and terms of use policies, and the legal mechanisms available to the Government of Russia that permit access to data within Russia’s borders,” Jill Tyson, the assistant director of the FBI’s Office of Congressional Affairs, wrote to Schumer. 

Tyson also stressed that the FBI would take action if it determines FaceApp is being used to interfere in the 2020 elections.

*** The Army is conducting market research for commercial technologies as it evaluates the next generation of wearable technologies that can track the status and performance of warfighters. Washington Technology has more on the request for information and possible industry day. 

*** The Office of Personnel Management has issued a new set of guidelines aimed at solving any discrepancies between the federal wage pay scale and that of local and state minimum wage laws. In a memo sent to agency human resource directors on Nov. 27, OPM’s Associate Director of Employee Services Mark Reinholdt reiterated that General Schedule employees were subject to wage laws governed under the Fair Labor Standards Act rather than the laws determining minimum wage in their locality areas. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour.

“In the case of a Federal employee pay system under which the employing Federal agency has discretion in setting rates of pay, the agency may apply State and local minimum wages to covered employees as a matter of agency policy or through a collective bargaining agreement,” Reinholdt wrote in the memo. “There is no administrative authority under which OPM could allow State or local minimum wages to supersede GS statutory rates.”  

*** Amid an ongoing conflict between senators concerned about Chinese security threats and the Federal Thrift Investment Board’s investment in a fund that included companies close to the ruling Chinese Communist Party, Sens. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to intervene.

The letter, dated Nov. 22, came after the Board declined to revisit its  2017 decision to invest in the MSCI All Country World Ex-US Investable Market Index at its November board meeting last month. “There is no reason American taxpayer dollars should be used to prop up failing companies under the control of the Chinese Communist Party, which continues to steal our technology, abuse human rights and build up its military to compete with us,” Scott and Rubio wrote. “We write to you today to request you utilize your executive authority to immediately seek new qualified applicants to serve on the FRTIB and replace the current members whose terms have expired.” Both Scott and Rubio also co-sponsored the Taxpayers and Savers Protection Act, which would bar the Board from investing in indices that have ties to China.

Posted on Dec 03, 2019 at 1:01 AM


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