Tech News for January 13

State of the Union 2016: Obama Emphasizes Innovation, Tech’s Role in Government

On Jan. 12, President Barack Obama gave his final State of the Union address to the nation — a fact advertised on the White House State of the Union website, which parallels the tone of the speech itself. Though the president is on his way out, it’s not about him — it’s about what he did and what America needs to do for the future. “For my final address to this chamber, I don’t want to talk just about the next year,” Obama said. “I want to focus on the next five years, 10 years and beyond.”

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SAE Cybersecurity Standard Seeks to Shield Vehicles from Hackers

SAE International will release J3061, the world’s first standard for automotive cybersecurity, the organization says, in the first quarter of 2016. J3061 addresses the vulnerability of connected vehicles to hacking, which in some cases can lead to loss of control. The standard seeks to secure all forms of connectivity in private and commercial vehicles, said Lisa Arrigo, who moderated a Dec. 3, 2015 webinar about the development.

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Apple boss Tim Cook clashes with US government over encryption

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has challenged the US government to adopt a policy of “no backdoors” in its approach to the encryption technology used by his company and other technology firms. Cook made his comments at a recent meeting between US administration officials and technology companies including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Twitter, Dropbox and Cloudflare as well as Apple.

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Autonomous car makers hand over data on glitches and failures to California DMV

If you want to build a self-driving car and test it on public roads in California, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles says that every year you have to submit a disengagement report—basically a list of every time the human driver had to take over for the car. This year, Bosch, Delphi, Google, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, and Volkswagen Group were required to submit disengagement reports, and the results are largely what you’d expect from a novel and complicated technology.

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Clashes on California water resume in DC with introduction of drainage bill

U.S. lawmakers from California have more political turbulence ahead of them with the introduction Tuesday of a bill to settle a long-running San Joaquin Valley irrigation drainage dispute. The legislation by Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, would implement a sweeping drainage settlement reached between the Obama administration and the Westlands Water District. It also reignites some of the same regional and partisan conflicts that have dogged past water bills.

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CES 2016: Ideas, Opportunities and Barriers for Government (Industry Perspective)

The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held annually in Las Vegas, touts itself as “the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technology.” At first glance, CES — held this year from Jan. 6 through Jan. 9 — may not appear to be a place where government IT professionals meet, but that is certainly not the case.

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CompTIA Excellence in Cybersecurity Award Presented to Congressman Mac Thornberry and U.S. Navy’s Chris Kelsall

CompTIA, the Computing Technology Industry Association, today presented the CompTIA Excellence in Cybersecurity award to Congressman Mac Thornberry (TX-13), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and Chris Kelsall, Branch Head, Cyber Workforce, U.S. Navy. CompTIA created its Excellence in Cybersecurity Awards to recognize Members of Congress and Federal Agency Program Managers who have the foresight to use federal dollars wisely to improve the cybersecurity skills of those who work for the U.S. Government. “Chairman Thornberry has been instrumental on Capitol Hill in pushing for increased cybersecurity training and certification within the Department of Defense community,” said Todd Thibodeaux, President and CEO, CompTIA.

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Research shows increased proliferation of endpoints for IT service providers

The extent of the proliferation of endpoints and how IT service providers (ITSPs) are reacting to it has been revealed in a new survey released by IT management provider Autotask. More than half of the 1,100 global ITSPs polled (55%) said they have seen ‘significant’ or ‘steady’ endpoint growth, with four in five respondents saying they rely on cloud delivery to manage and secure endpoints.


A California police department is using software to decide if you’re about to commit a crime

We’re not at “Minority Report” levels of law enforcement just yet, but police departments may be getting close. A new piece of software in place at the Fresno Police Department in central California uses huge batches of data, ranging from criminal history to Twitter feeds, to assess how likely someone is to commit a crime and whether the police ought to keep tabs on them.

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Could controversial ‘smart gun’ technology be the cure to America’s gun violence epidemic?

The problem of gun violence in America has already resulted in the deaths of 398 people this year, a figure which has caused the country’s politicians to look to the world of tech for an answer to the shooting epidemic. As part of his recent executive actions to curb gun violence, President Obama called for three federal agencies – the Department of Defence, the Justice Department, and the Department of Homeland Security – to step up research into ‘smart gun’ technology, with the aim of preventing the “accidental discharge or unauthorised use of firearms.”

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Pilots rely too much on automated tech, DOT says

While automakers are still in the midst of developing driverless tech for cars, pilots are already relying too much on automated systems. According to the Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration isn’t even making sure they’re properly trained on how to manually fly planes. In the audit report published by the agency, it said that “several recent accidents, including the July 2013 crash of Asiana Airlines flight 214” can prove that. Those instances showed that pilots who typically rely on automation can be prone to errors during emergency situations and in any event wherein they have to switch to manual controls.

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How Can California’s Political Disclosure IT Systems Improve?

Although California has some of the leading laws on political disclosure, there is still work to be done regarding access and data search systems, according to findings this week from the National Institute on Money in State Politics. The nonpartisan, nonprofit organization publicly issued a report on Jan. 11 on the topic of improving California’s political disclosure systems. A second report was also released, which looked at the rules and their actual implementation in five cities and two counties in the state, both funded by a grant from The James Irvine Foundation.

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Consumer Affairs Gets Ready to Move 8 More Boards onto BrEZe

Barring a last-minute delay, the California Department of Consumer Affairs will be migrating on Jan. 19 eight more boards, bureaus and committees onto the BrEZe online licensing and enforcement system. According to the department, the data that refreshes the system’s online lookup functionality will be paused from the Jan. 14 through Jan. 20.

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California Adding Satellite Voice Services to CALNET 3

California is procuring satellite services within CALNET 3 and is seeking to award this new category to multiple vendors. In an invitation for bid dated Jan. 8, the California Department of Technology says the the CALNET 3 Subcategory 10.1 and Subcategory 10.2 contracts for satellite telecommunications are intended to be similar to and eventually replace the contracts individual state agencies have agreed to for their own use.

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Standards Are Crucial to Successful Open Data Policies

I recently moderated an event for the National Governors Association at the Harvard Kennedy School. In one session, performance management expert Bob Behn told a group of governors’ chiefs of staff that one of the most basic but often overlooked aspects of an efficient organization is a shared definition of key terms. Simple words can take on significantly different meanings to different people, and if a standard definition for these words is not set, collaboration is stifled by miscommunication.

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Cybersecurity 2016: Out with the Old, in with the New

In 2015, we determined that the important criteria of cybersecurity include the need for proactive defensive approaches, what weaknesses exist in current cybersecurity technologies, how even billion-dollar systems are being hacked, the current and future dangers if we don’t fix these problems, and the need to do this all in milliseconds. To tackle all of this is a tall order, but as I will discuss in my opening session on Jan. 26 during the four-day ITEXPO in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., we can do this. And here’s a sneak preview.

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The State Worker: Brown’s $350 million carrot

Asking the Brown administration about state labor contract negotiations is like asking Coca-Cola for its soft drink recipe. Fuggeddaboutit. So it was surprising last week that Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed 2016-17 budget dangled $350 million “to fund potential employee compensation increases.” That’s on top of approximately $383 million committed to raises bargained a few years ago. The reason: Brown is starting talks with 15 bargaining units with contracts that expire this summer and he wants them to start paying into the state’s retiree health fund.

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D.C. mayor names new CTO, unveils open data policy

Washington, D.C., is moving to overhaul its IT operations, placing a special focus on open data. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Tuesday that Archana Vemulapalli, chief technology officer of facilities management company Pristine Technologies, will become the district’s new CTO. She’ll replace interim CTO David Bishop, who was filling in after Tegene Baharu resigned in October. The mayor also unveiled a slew of new open data initiatives that Vemulapalli would be charged with leading. Chiefly, Bowser showcased a draft open data policy that would create a chief data officer position within the Office of the Chief Technology Officer.

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