News and notes from around the federal IT community.
FDA expands access to medical device data
The Food and Drug Administration is expanding the data on medical device performance available through its application programming interface openFDA. The agency is adding device classifications and company registrations to its database, which already offers information on product recalls and adverse events, according to a blog post on the agency's website.
The API allows developers to write apps based on FDA data going back to 1976. New categories such as pre-market and supplementary approvals and device clearances are now available.
Officials noted, however, that the FDA has changed some of the types of information it collects, which means long-term comparisons of companies and devices might be difficult. Additionally, any data that could potentially yield personally identifiable information is scrubbed from publicly available records.
DHS looks to develop cyber 'drawbridge'
The University of Oregon will develop a cyber "drawbridge" to help defend financial institutions, news organizations and government agencies against large, sophisticated distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks under a $1.38 million contract with the Department of Homeland Security.
DHS officials said organizations cannot manage traffic flow to their networks because their Internet service providers do it for them. By putting an electronic drawbridge at the ISP traffic point, organizations could work more closely with ISPs to shut down the deluge of DDoS messages that can swamp networks.
The drawbridge project will become part of the DHS Cyber Security Division's larger Distributed Denial of Service Defenses program.
A new team approach to IT R&D
A series of new integrated product teams will cut across a variety of the Department of Homeland Security's research and development activities, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a Sept. 2 statement. The goal is to unify the agency's technological R&D efforts under the department's overarching "Unity of Effort" initiative.
Johnson said the teams will coordinate and prioritize R&D in a number of areas, including aviation security, biological threats, counterterrorism, border security, cybersecurity and disaster resilience.
DHS Undersecretary for Science and Technology Reginald Brothers will lead the effort, with the direct involvement of senior leaders of DHS' operating components.
"These IPTs will help our department better achieve a comprehensive understanding of all our research and development activities, and continue our move away from decisions made in stovepipes," Johnson said.
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