Could President Obama finally jump ship to Android, iPhone?
Adding insult to injury over BlackBerry's ongoing slide into oblivion, a US Department of Defense spokesperson has confirmed that "the White House Communications Agency, consistent with the rest of the Department of Defense, is piloting and using a variety of mobile devices" as a possible replacement for BlackBerry devices. Initial reports suggest Android devices are currently being tested, but not iPhones at this time.
Press release misinterpreted, devices to be used already on hand
News sites, including this one, seized upon a press release issued by the Department of Defense alluding to it using 80,000 BlackBerry devices for unclassified work. A clarifying statement from the Pentagon has denied any new purchases from the Waterloo manufacturer, and explaining that the 80,000 devices it noted using are already in the hands of the military, and are not, in fact, new purchases.
ATO expected to add 40,000 BlackBerry devices to fleet
BlackBerry today announced the US Defense Information System Agency (DISA) has given BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones with BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 the "authority to operate" order (ATO) on Department of Defense networks. The company claims that the two smartphones are the first of its products to be given the authority to operate under new IT guidelines.
Platforms getting separate approval
The US Department of Defense should grant two separate security approvals to iOS 6 devices and Samsung Galaxy phones in the coming weeks, according to sources for the Wall Street Journal. Apple's iOS 6 is expected to be vetted as safe for non-classified data uses, namely email and web browsing. Galaxy phones, meanwhile, will allegedly be judged as conforming to the DoD's Security's Technology Implementation Guide, allowing use by some military agencies for sending and receiving internal email.
Sequester holding up purchase, intended to replace failing devices
(Updated with more information from the Department of Defense) Electronista has discovered that the mobile device testing program currently underway at the Department of Defense has produced a pending purchase order for Apple hardware. Following completion of the first phases of the project, as well as a few other initiatives coming to fruition, the Department of Defense will be ordering just over 650,000 iOS devices from the Cupertino manufacturer following conclusion of the sequester.
Sources close to budget reveal $5 million savings with cancellation
With the US government sequester underway, many if not all, federal divisions are seeing budget reductions -- with the Department of Defense (DoD) seeing a mandatory 11 percent cut. Electronista has learned that the DoD testing program previously announced at the end of February will continue with Android and iOS devices, leaving BlackBerry 10 devices mostly out in the cold. The change in plan, and the near-complete cessation of the BlackBerry 10 testing is said to save the DoD millions in procurement and personnel costs.
Questions about implementation, old hardware linger
The Pentagon has issued a memorandum on Tuesday which, in theory, will ultimately enable the Department of Defense's (DoD) smartphone users to quickly share classified and protected data -- using the latest commercial off the shelf (COTS) technologies. The "device agnostic" plan relayed by DoD officials is intended to make things easier for users and boost classified data security at the same time, but Electronista has learned that the implementation is likely to be anything but smooth.
LightSquared considering DOD spectrum swap?
The LightSquared saga continues, with the latest having the company founder and billionaire Phil Falcone attempting to swap spectrum with the US Department of Defense, the Wall Street Journal claimed. The purported move is a last-ditch effort to make the network work, after the National Telecommunications and Information Administration said there is no way to make the network work without interfering with GPS signals. If the DOD spectrum swap doesn't go through, Falcone may look into selling the existing spectrum.
Dell Venue gets approved for use by DISA, DoD
Dell's Venue Android smartphone has followed in the footsteps of the discontinued Streak 5 tablet from the company in earning US government approval for use by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). It has thus become the first Android phone to get the honor following RIM's BlackBerry devices, as revealed by a DISA document. Department of Defense employees will get limited access to the device's features however, with no access to the Android Market and web browsing done only through a DoD proxy server.
Company still faces opponents
Just one week after a leaked draft of a government report pointed to ongoing interference problems with LightSquared's network, the US Department of Defense and Department of Transportation have issued a joint statement echoing the concerns. The agencies claim the network will not interfere with cellphones, however it has demonstrated "harmful interference to the majority of other tested general purpose GPS receivers."
Device meets DISA criteria
Dell's Streak 5 tablet has reportedly become the first Android device to receive official certification for the US Department of Defense. Although the device is no longer sold to the general public, Dell has reworked the tablet software to improve security. The adaptations have enabled the device to meet Defense Information Systems Agency criteria for use with secure but unclassified communications.
ATT and Verizon top US lobbying while Apple little
Incumbent carriers AT&T and Verizon spent the most money lobbying the US government in summer 2010 while Apple and some other technology firms spent relatively little, newly published disclosure reports have uncovered. The two both significantly increased their spending to $3.47 million and $3.83 million respectively, up from $3.18 million and $2.96 million a year ago. AT&T spent most of its time persuading the government on broadband expansion, calling cards and distracted driving rules, while Verizon's details were less focused and saw it spend on Congress, the Federal Trade Commission, the Internal Revenue Service and the White House itself.
US DoD bans removable storage in Wikileaks fight
The US Department of Defense has banned all forms of removable digital storage from being used on its computers in a bid to stop Wikileaks and similar exposures, an ironic leak from the military has revealed. A December 3 "Cyber Control Order" from Air Force Network Operations commander Major General Richard Webber has demanded that staff "immediately cease use" of writable CDs, DVDs, USB flash drives and other media for any system connected to SIPRNET, its secret system. Wired heard it was a direct response to an August review following the first wave of major leaks, which was made possible by PFC Brad Manning burning documents to a CD.
Departmenht of Defense orders 2,200 Sony PS3s
The US Department of Defense has recently ordered 2,200 more PlayStation3 gaming consoles to expand its supercomputer. The current device uses 336 PS3s in a cluster, all running Linux. The PS3s contain IBM's Cell microprocessor, and represent better value than other devices suitable for use in a supercomptuer with the chip. The official Justification Review Document shows the gaming consoles in question are the older, 160GB PS3s, as they have the ability to run another OS, unlike the new, slim PS3.