Tech News for January 14

Innovation Labs Improve Local Governments From the Bottom Up

There is a wave of new innovation at the local level of government, and much of it is coming not from government but from citizens. This is happening through a rapidly proliferating ecosystem of civic innovation labs, platforms that connect citizens with each other and with government to share ideas, define community problems and find solutions. For cities, the challenge will be to learn from, adapt to and manage these new pathways to more effective government.

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Sacramento IT officials respond to cyberthreat from ‘Anonymous’

Officials are preparing Sacramento’s IT systems for a potential attack after a video attributed to the online hacktivist group Anonymous threatened to target the city. “City IT, as well as Public Safety IT, are aware of the threat,” Sacramento CIO Maria MacGunigal told StateScoop in an email. “And [they] are taking all appropriate precautions to protect City information systems.” She added police are investigating who might be responsible for the video.

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Self-Driving Cars in California Handed Control to Human Drivers Thousands of Times, Reports Show

Seven companies testing autonomous vehicles on public roads in California have reported to the state Department of Motor Vehicles that those self-driving cars handed control over to human drivers 2,704 times. Jessica Gonzalez, a spokesperson for the DMV, said that Cruise Automation, BMW, Honda and Ford were all exempt from submitting the reports because they haven’t held testing permits as long as the other companies. They will be required to report disengagements at the beginning of 2017.

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California Lawmaker Retracts Pharmaceutical Cost Transparency Bill

In a surprising last-minute move, the Bay Area lawmaker carrying legislation to increase the “transparency” of prescription drug costs in California on Tuesday pulled his bill off the Assembly Health Committee agenda, saying he didn’t have the votes. Assembly Bill 463, called the Pharmaceutical Cost Transparency Act of 2016, seeks to require public reporting of “select information” about the most expensive drugs — those priced at $10,000 or more — and the real costs for medications and treatments.

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AT&T launches push to install IoT technology in major cities

AT&T will soon begin installing Internet of Things-enabled technology in several of the country’s largest cities as part of a push to spread “smart city” innovations nationwide. The massive telecom company unveiled a plan last week at its Developer Summit in Las Vegas to develop a new “smart cities framework,” working with Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and the Georgia Institute of Technology to install connected devices in sections of those cities and on the university’s campus.

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California Prisons Prepare for New Electronic Health Record System

Electronic Health Record System (EHRS) implementation for the California state prison system is expected to proceed in full during 2016 and currently is being tested at women’s facilities in advance of a scheduled phased rollout at 34 adult institutions.  According to state records, the contract with Cerner was recently increased to $177 million — about $5 million more — to reflect project refinements.

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Two Dozen Lawmakers Join State Tech Caucus

The state Legislature’s Technology and Innovation Caucus on Wednesday introduced its 24 members and talked about how the new group could support California’s tech economy and introduce new bills, putting emphasis on the need for legislation that brings tech education to schools, and how they plan to maintain California’s national lead and reputation in tech industry.

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The California Public Utilities has requested a $5.3 million budget augmentation for 2016-2017 to implement a new platform for enterprise business applications. The CPUC reports it would procure project management services from outside contractors to support implementation, IV&V, as well as vendor services for the primary solution. CPUC envisions the solution would be built on an Oracle-based tool set.

This proposed project is moving through theCalifornia Department of Technology’s project approval process.

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Obama Was the Best President Technology Could Have Ever Wanted

Not only did Obama invoke the names of Grace Hopper, Sally Ride and other prominent scientists and technologists during his speech, but his invitation to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to the SOTU address symbolizes the importance with which Obama regards tech (and telling, perhaps, of his fondness for science and technology).

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