►The data system that will be used to collect information on Obamacare applicants has been tested and certified as secure after concerns were raised last month about whether millions of Americans’ personal information would be protected when the system goes live October 1, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), reports Reuters. An HHS report last month pointed out that the system, which will be “the largest personal data integration government project in the history of the republic,” failed to meet critical security testing. The federal system, called the Hub, will be used to determine eligibility for government subsidies for the new healthcare plan. Security requirements include access controls and authentication to help prevent hackers from viewing personal information, such as tax records. "The completion of this testing confirms that the Hub complies with federal standards and that HHS and CMS have implemented the appropriate procedures and safeguards necessary for the Hub to operate securely on October 1," Reuters quotes CMS as saying.
►Thirteen Arkansas school districts can continue using teachers, administrators, and other staff as armed guards, a state board decided Wednesday, according to Fox News. The schools’ licenses were suspended last month after a state attorney said that the licensing law they relied upon was intended for private businesses, but the Arkansas Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies decided to allow the schools to identify as private security firms. Over the next two years, the state will look into licensing laws that could allow schools to employ their own staff as armed guards.
►Russian and U.S. foreign ministers will hold talks in Geneva over the plan to dismantle Syria’s chemical arsenal, reports the BBC. Teams of experts will be present, as the disarmament process could be long and highly complex. Syria has tentatively agreed to concede control of its chemical weapons, but Western officials remain skeptical. Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has outlined three main phases of the disarmament proposal: Syria must join the Chemical Weapons Convention, which outlaws the production of the weapons; Syria must reveal where it stores the weapons and details on the program; and experts will have to decide exactly how to destroy the weapons.