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The Justice Department said on Monday that it had cracked the iPhone 5c of one of the gunmen in the December terrorist shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., without Apple’s help. The DOJ received aid from an unnamed third party.

Apple had been fighting a court order compelling it to help the FBI break into an iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, which set off a roiling debate about security and privacy within the government and the wider world. While the announcement ends the federal government’s immediate battle with Apple, there are still many unresolved questions, as The New York Times notes.

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The research arm of the U.S. Department of Energy has made several breakthroughs that could fundamentally change battery and energy-storage technology, according to the unit’s chief.

Ellen Williams, director of department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), gave few details on the breakthroughs the agency has made through its research and investments but described them as game-changers in the energy market. Entrepreneurs and philanthropists such as Bill Gates and Elon Musk have been pursuing advances in energy-storage technology.

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The Defense Department named Eric Schmidt, the former executive chairman of Google, as the chairman of the new Defense Innovation Advisory Board. The board is an effort to inject a culture of innovation into the DOD by tapping innovators from the private sector, in Silicon Valley and beyond, according to the Pentagon, and is similar to the Defense Business Board,  which offers the department advice on best business practices from the private sector.

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“Open government fights against corruption and results in innovation, the reduction of the digital gap and a strengthened relationship between the State and its citizens, creativity, participation and social inclusion,” according to Luis Guillermo Solis Rivera, the president of Costa Rica.

Rivera writes frequently about the role open government plays in democracy for the Open Government Partnership blog (opengovpartnership.org), one of FedTech’s 50 Must-Read Federal IT Blogs. See the full list at fedtechmagazine.com/top50blogs.

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The federal government annually spends more than $9 billion on software, a number U.S. CIO Tony Scott and Chief Acquisition Officer Anne Rung are looking to reduce.

The Office of Management and Budget has released draft guidelines on how federal agencies should purchase and manage software licenses. The guidelines are part of an effort to streamline and coordinate software purchases across the federal government. 

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Microsoft will end support for SQL Server 2005 on April 12, forcing users to switch to another SQL Server version or put themselves at risk for security breaches. For those ready to make the switch, SQL Server 2014 provides a number of benefits over the 2005 edition.

Microsoft touts several improvements:

• 100 times better query performance
• 30 times faster online transaction processing
• 13 times faster than SQL Server 2005

 

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The average person will own 4.3 mobile devices in 2020, according to a 2014 report from Strategy Analytics.

To prepare for that growth, agencies need a plan to manage employees who will use those devices for work. CDW understands the drivers behind that growth and can help agencies prepare forward-thinking strategies to more proactively manage mobility. Readers can download “Transforming Obstacles into Opportunity with Mobility Solutions” online at fedtechmagazine.com/totalmobilitymanagement.

 

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