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Privacy concerns during COVID-19

As the federal government responds to the coronavirus pandemic, it's counting on many tech and telecom companies to share data to help combat the spread. And with that, experts worry, the personal information of many Americans may be handed over to agencies without consent. The rapid spread of the coronavirus could prompt companies to share data at an unprecedented scale — “hundreds of thousands of data points from hundreds of thousands of individuals,” said Albert Gidari, director of privacy at the Center for Internet and Society. The government has no way under existing law to compel companies like Google or Facebook to disclose location information to fight a pandemic, but the public is left to trust that if the companies do so voluntarily, they do so responsibly. And for now, it’s unclear exactly what's happening and why. Dave Nyczepir has more on coronavirus privacy.

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Leidos moves forward with $6.5B DODIN contract

Leidos is cleared to move forward with work under a $6.5 billion contract with the Defense Information Systems Agency to support the operation and defense of the Department of Defense Information Networks (DODIN) and Defense Information System Network (DISN). The Government Accountability Office last week denied General Dynamics IT’s protest of the Global Solutions Management – Operations II (GSM-O II) contract, which DISA awarded to Leidos in December. GDIT argued in its protest that the agency improperly evaluated and awarded the contract, and “engaged in misleading negotiations,” which the company said led it to raise its price under the contract. More from Billy Mitchell.

DOD electronic health record rollout paused

A lot of major IT programs are being delayed around the federal government as agencies turn their resources to the COVID-19 response. DOD will have to pause any new work under its Military Health System (MHS) GENESIS program but still aims to remain on schedule with modernizing the back-end IT, the department said last week. “There are currently no changes to the schedule,” Cori Hughes, director of program integration, told FedScoop in an email. “We have made a few adjustments to our daily activities to ensure we do not distract our providers from their efforts to support the current pandemic.” Jackson Barnett has this one.

Commercial e-marketplace awards pushed back

Another program that's delayed: The General Services Administration has to pump the breaks on awarding commercial e-marketplace pilots, citing a shift of resources to support the government’s coronavirus response. The agency is prioritizing “certain activities to support the immediate needs of the federal government,” said Laura Stanton, deputy assistant commissioner for category management in the Information Technology Category. “We will continue to move forward as we are able, recognizing that many of our acquisition professionals are prioritizing COVID-19 response work over other acquisition initiatives,” Stanton continued. “Our goal is to make the contract award in the coming months.” GSA had anticipated issuing an award at the end of March or shortly thereafter. Dave has more on the e-marketplace delay.

Bill Marion set to leave Air Force

The Air Force's senior-most civilian IT official is leaving the service after almost three decades. Deputy CIO Bill Marion will depart at the end of April, he told FedScoop, with plans to move home to Austin, Texas, and take a role in industry. He couldn’t yet reveal his next role but said it will be closely tied to digital transformation, “on the other side of the wall, if you will.” Marion told FedScoop: “I came in as an intern almost 20 years ago — so at the lowest level of the Air Force to the senior civilian in the cyber community. So it’s been a crazy ride from that perspective. And I couldn’t be more thankful and proud of an Air Force career.” Billy spoke with Marion.

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