New regs for Friday: Whistle-blowers, energy efficiency, banks

Friday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for whistle-blowers, energy efficiency and banks.

Here's what is happening:

Whistle-blower: The Department of Defense is making changes to whistle-blower regulations for the employees of federal contractors, in the wake of Edward Snowden's revelations.

The Defense Acquisition Regulations System announced the new rules Thursday. The rule is designed to protect whistle-blowers at government contractors and subcontractors from retaliation by their companies. This would include policies and procedures for filing and investigating complaints, and remedies for whistle-blowers who are retaliated against.

The rule goes into effect immediately.

"A firm accused of retaliating against an employee whistle-blower is likely to be required to furnish human resources documentation to disprove the accusation," the agency said.

Basel III: The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency at the Treasury Department is making changes to rules for national banks and federal savings associations. 

The new rules would make sure that these banks comply with the global Basel III rules for financial institutions. 

The rule goes into effect in one month.

Energy efficiency: The Department of Energy is considering new energy conservation rules for computer and battery backup systems to improve the household use of energy around the country.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the Energy Department announced Thursday it is determining whether to include new rules for computer systems under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.

The agency noted that the average household is likely to use more than 100 kilowatt-hours of energy each year.

FCC: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is moving forward with a plan to test how economic incentives can advance next-generation networks in rural areas of the country that oftentimes lack such advanced technology.

The FCC will provide Connect America funding to deploy high-speed and scalable IP networks.

The rule goes into effect in one month.

Military uniforms: The Department of Defense is moving forward with new restrictions on the textile components that the military receives from the Afghan forces to make uniforms.

The department's Defense Acquisition Regulations System announced the new rules Thursday. They go into effect immediately.