Tech News for February 5

Jerry Brown selects California’s first medical marijuana chief

California has found its czar for medical marijuana. On Thursday, Gov. Jerry Brown announced the appointment of Lori Ajax, currently the chief deputy director of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, to the newly-created post overseeing the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation in the Department of Consumer Affairs.

[sacbee.com] 2/4

Daniel Borenstein: Plan to shore up CalSTRS doesn’t work as billed

Two years ago, Gov. Jerry Brown pushed through a 32-year plan to shore up the California State Teachers’ Retirement System. He said the state, school districts and teachers would share responsibility to “fully fund” the $74 billion shortfall of the nation’s second largest pension system.But it may not work out that way. The state Legislative Analyst’s Office says the “abstract” calculation CalSTRS uses to implement the deal produces unexpected results.

[contracostatimes.com] 2/4

Cal Fire gets more money for fire protection: Gov. proposes 750 new positions

For next fiscal year, which begins July 1, Gov. Jerry Brown has recommended a $200 million increase for the Cal Fire budget. The agency’s total would be $2.1 billion compared to $1.9 billion in fiscal 2015-16

[idyllwildtowncrier.com] 2/4

Pushing education forward with education technology standards

Recently, the U.S. Department of Education released the 2016 National Education Technology Plan (NETP). Technology has improved dramatically since the last update of the plan in 2010. Mobile devices and relatively inexpensive high-speed Internet access have served as platforms for numerous advanced education technologies. Yet despite these gains, new education technologies have not revolutionized schools as some once thought was possible. The growing digital divide in the access to these advanced technologies is also an area of concern.

[brookings.edu] 2/5

Cisco Spends $1.4 Billion on Jasper IoT Platform

If you’ve ever wondered how serious Cisco Relevant Products/Services really is about the Internet of Things (IoT), just consider its acquisition of Jasper Technologies Inc. Jasper delivers a cloud Relevant Products/Services-based IoT service platform that can connect millions of smart devices — and Cisco is shelling out $1.4 billion to get its hands on the technology.

[cio-today.com] 2/4

Cognitive cloud computing can transform companies: Ginni Rometty

Virginia Rometty, chairman, president and chief executive of US information technology giant IBM, said India had the potential to grow at 10 per cent annually for the next two years. This century could, she felt, be India’s. Speaking at IBM’s flagship customer event, ‘Think Forum’, she spoke at length about IBM’s cognitive cloud computing system, Watson, and how it had the potential to transform companies across the board. Watson is an artificially developed intelligence that works in natural languages. Currently, it is being applied in 36 countries and at a little more than 5,000 companies in the world.

[business-standard.com] 2/5

Government appoints former Guardian CIO Andy Beale as deputy chief technology officer

The government has appointed former CIO of the Guardian News and Media Group Andy Beale (pictured) as its deputy chief technology officer (CTO). Beale, who joined the government in November 2012 after five years as a technology director at The Guardian, will move from his current role as director of common technology services at the Government Digital Service (GDS) to take up a new post as deputy to government CTO Liam Maxwell.

[computing.co.uk] 2/4

Challenge contests and prize competitions lead to better, cheaper technology

The U.S. government should use more contests, challenges and prizes to find technological innovations and savings, according to two government officials who oversee federal research and development efforts. At Thursday’s PeaceTech Summit in Washington, D.C., Ann Mei Chang, the executive director of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Global Development Lab, and Jason Matheny, the director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, said federal challenges and prize competitions often unlock innovations that are rare in traditional federal contracting — and cheaper.

[fedscoop.com] 2/4

The government’s encryption plans remain impossible to decipher

The first serious look at the government’s plans for a new internet surveillance law has demonstrated just how much confusion there still remains about the legislation. The draft Investigatory Powers Bill was published by the government on November, after which the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee launched its investigation into the technical feasibility of the new law, taking evidence from a wide range of experts. It has concluded that there is still confusion about some of the key elements of the proposed law: about exactly what information about our internet usage that the government wants to collect — and the cost of doing it.

[zdnet.com] 2/4

Bill Introduced to Repeal Cybersecurity Act of 2015

The Cybersecurity Act of 2015 (the Act) was passed into law on December 18, 2015, as Division N of H.R. 2029 (Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016), the 2016 omnibus spending bill. Less than a month later, H.R.4350 was introduced as a bipartisan bill to repeal the Act. Proponents of the Act assert that legislation is needed to address vulnerabilities created as innovations in technology emerge and create gaps in existing law. Opponents to the Act argue that it is unlikely to successfully thwart cyber attacks and creates a broad threat to privacy and question its legitimacy, viewing it as hastily signed into law as part of a spending bill.

[natlawreview.com] 2/4

Editorial: Proposed legislation draws attention to needed reforms at California’s PUC

A frustrated Los Angeles assemblyman has stepped up the pressure against the California Public Utilities Commission by calling for its constitutional dismantling, spreading out its duties among a number of other government agencies. The idea by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, quickly won the backing of several other members of the Legislature, including Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, who represents Simi Valley. But they are a long way from the two-thirds legislative approval it would require to then put the idea on the November ballot for voters.

[vcstar.com] 2/4

RFP: California State University Enterprise Learning Platform

The California State University system on Thursday released an RFP to solicit proposals from qualified firms interested in providing between one and 23 individual campuses with enterprise-level learning platforms and services (LPS). The core of the LPS is the course management system; most CSU campuses call it the learning management system (LMS).

[techwire.net] 2/5

‘Let’s Get Healthy California’ Launches New Website

A new website from the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) showcases the state’s progress toward goals for 39 key health and wellness indicators. The Let’s Get Healthy California portal also details 23 community-based innovations that were named finalists last month at the 2016 Innovation Conference.

[techwire.net] 2/5

L.A. County Uses Data Analytics to Keep Kids Out of Jail

Anytime Netflix customers log onto their accounts, they receive automated suggestions for movies they might like. The software uses the customer’s “previously watched” data to make informed predictions about similar films that probably align with the person’s viewing tastes. Such suggestion services are ubiquitous with online companies: Amazon proffers a book you might like; Twitter tells you whom to follow; LinkedIn guides you to new career connections.

[techwire.net] 2/5

Would ‘Mini-Waterfall’ Development Work for California?

With the state of California embarking on an agile approach for the procurement and development of a new child welfare system, state officials and outside observers both have said there will be some level of experimentation to figure out what works best for the state and what doesn’t. A few project management experts have told TechWire, in the course of our reporting, that they think it’s possible California eventually will settle into a structure, at least at first, that’s a combination of waterfall development and agile principles.

[techwire.net] 2/5

Expert: Augmented Reality Coming Soon to California Government

Augmented reality will soon transform how constituents interact with their government and how California’s public-sector workforce does its job, says a leading expert on smart cities. Dr. Gregory Curtin, founder and CEO of Civic Resource Group, said during remarks Wednesday at the Government Transformation conference in Sacramento that augmented reality software and devices are on the market now in products like HoloLens and Magic Leap, and there are already “profound” use cases for AR in the public sector.

[techwire.net] 2/4

California controller seeks $4.8 million to fund litigation over failed payroll system

Locked in a finger-pointing lawsuit over a failed state IT project, State Controller Betty Yee has asked lawmakers for $4.8 million to cover court court costs through the end of this year. That’s on top of $6.8 million spent on litigation during the last six months of 2015. The project, MyCalPays, was suspended in February 2013. A bill summarizing Yee’s request for more money was posted online Wednesday by the state Department of Finance.

[sacbee.com] 2/4

Tech News for February 4

Here’s how marijuana legalization would work in California

California was the first state to allow medical marijuana. Now, two decades later, voters are expected to be asked whether to legalize recreational use of the drug.The legalization measure most likely to qualify for the statewide November ballot is the product of months of negotiations between groups with varying interests, from drug-law reformers, to growers and distributors, to famous financiers and politicians. Here’s a primer.

[sacbee.com] 2/1

Californians let their guards down as El Niño rains drenched state

Whoever thought that, in the middle of California’s historic drought, a little bit of rain could pose a problem? But that was the message Tuesday from the state water resources control board and some environmentalists. Yes, Californians continue to shorten their showers and deny their lawns in this, the fifth year of what is being described as the worst drought in modern times. But in December, they let their guard down as El Niño rain fell in parts of the state, snow accumulated in the mountains and huge waves battered the coast.

[theguardian.com] 2/2

Lawmakers Roast the Education Dept.’s Top Technology Officer Over Ethics and Data Security

Angry lawmakers hammered the Education Department’s chief information officer, Danny A. Harris, at a hearing on Tuesday, accusing him of ethical lapses and failing to secure the agency’s “vulnerable” information systems.

[chronicle.com] 2/3

WSJ CIO Network: DHS to Start Sharing Cybersecurity Threat Indicators With Industry

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will take steps this month to begin automatically sharing cybersecurity threat information with private industry, said Andy Ozment, the agency’s assistant secretary of the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications.

[blogs.wsj.com] 2/3

Data Breach: Blue Shield of California

Blue Shield of California announced that it has experienced a security breach, exposing the personal information of nearly 21,000 customers last year. A letter was sent to its members, explaining that the unauthorized access happened between September and December of 2015, and was the result of the misuse of log-in credentials by certain Blue Shield customer service representatives.

[jdsupra.com] 2/2

Governor repeals March deadline that sparked cities to impose marijuana bans

Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday repealed a recently adopted March deadline for cities and counties to pass regulations on medical marijuana cultivation. The March 1 deadline in the California Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act spurred local jurisdictions throughout California to enact legislation limiting or banning medical marijuana cultivation outright for fear of relinquishing their power to do so to the state.

[contracostatimes.com] 2/3

Ben Carson’s Blueprint for Better US Cybersecurity

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson released a document last week outlining how his administration would deal with challenges to cybersecurity, making him the second candidate from either party to lay out a comprehensive proposal on cyber (the first was Jeb Bush, whose plan we looked at here). Carson argues that the United States’ reliance on the Internet makes cybersecurity an issue of critical national importance, and that a centrally-coordinated response is necessary if the country wishes to secure cyberspace “without stifling the creativity and freedom” it has brought.

[defenseone.com] 2/3

IRS e-filing down, outage could continue today

The Internal Revenue Service has temporarily stopped accepting electronically filed tax returns because a hardware failure has caused major disruptions to a number of tax processing systems, said the agency in a statement posted late Wednesday. The agency said its modernized e-file system and “Where’s My Refund?” tools are currently down, although IRS.gov and several other applications continue to function normally.

[fiercegovernmentit.com] 2/4

White House highlights 2015 cybersecurity record, teases new policies

The Obama administration achieved several important cybersecurity milestones in 2015 that lay the foundation for this year’s plans, said one of the president’s senior advisors in a Feb. 2 post to the White House blog. In the post, which primarily recapped the White House’s 2015 cybersecurity record, the administration also hinted at upcoming policy announcements.

[fiercegovernmentit.com] 2/4

Department of Consumer Affairs Names CIO

Jason Piccione recently was promoted to the CIO position at the California Department of Consumer Affairs, where he now also serves as deputy director for the department’s Office of Information Services.

[techwire.net] 2/4

RFI Released for Water Quality Information Management Solution

The California State Water Resources Control Board this week published a Request for Information (RFI) seeking to identify alternatives for a water quality information management solution that will automate business processes, collect data, and support evaluation of critical operations through reporting applications and analysis tools.

[techwire.net] 2/4

Shuffle in Jerry Brown’s office: Governor appoints new cabinet secretary

In a high-level and long-anticipated move, Dana Williamson, Gov. Jerry Brown’s cabinet secretary, is leaving the administration, Brown’s office said Tuesday. The governor appointed Keely Bosler, Brown’s chief deputy director for budget, to replace her. Williamson is expected to conduct work for the governor’s political operations from outside the Capitol. Brown’s office said she will open her own firm, Grace Public Affairs.

[sacbee.com] 2/2

Tech News for February 3

Bill on Jerry Brown’s desk will give cities better shot at regulating medical pot

A bill that would eliminate a controversial deadline in California’s landmark medical marijuana regulation law is awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature following a speedy approval by both houses of the Legislature.

The bill, introduced in early January and sent to the governor’s desk Thursday, removes a March 1 deadline for cities and counties to enact medical marijuana cultivation rules and avoid surrendering that authority to the state, a prospect that had disturbed city officials and medical cannabis advocates.

The measure, authored by Assemblyman Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg, gives local governments until Jan. 1, 2018, to regulate medical pot cultivation, a shadowy industry valued at $1 billion statewide. On that date, if local governments don’t act, licensing of commercial cannabis production, distribution and sales will fall under the jurisdiction of the state’s Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation.*[PressDemocrat] 02/01

Californians let their guards down as El Niño rains drenched state

Whoever thought that, in the middle of California’s historic drought, a little bit of rain could pose a problem?

But that was the message Tuesday from the state water resources control board and some environmentalists.

Yes, Californians continue to shorten their showers and deny their lawns in this, the fifth year of what is being described as the worst drought in modern times. But in December, they let their guard down as El Niño rain fell in parts of the state, snow accumulated in the mountains and huge waves battered the coast.

*[TheGuardian] 02/02

California’s step-by-step solution for its new Child Welfare System

California is dabbling with innovative ways of procuring technology for its new Child Welfare System, transitioning from waterfall procurement to an agile and iterative acquisition that aims to revamp the mammoth system’s services one at a time.

The state boasts the largest child welfare program in the country, with nearly 20,000 end users, social workers and other staff relying on the underlying data, according to Will Lightbourne, director of the California Department of Social Services.

The legacy system was developed in the early 1990s and has remained largely static since. After years of failed attempts with traditional procurements, the Department of Social Services invited Code for America to evaluate its draft request for proposal for a large procurement. In a late-2015 blog post, Code for America staff asserted that the RFP posed risks of failure, lack of functionality, over-budget concerns and the possibility of the project taking longer than expected.

[GCN] 02/02

Will Starting Small Help California Succeed on Agile Development?

California is utilizing agile principles in the development and procurement of a new statewide child welfare system, eschewing the “waterfall”-based design model that has been entrenched in state government for decades.

Over the past few months, TechWire’s editors and writers have spoken to more than a dozen state officials and subject matter experts about California’s plans to switch to agile. If there’s a common theme from those conversations, it’s that the state must “start small” if it hopes to succeed.

Starting small could prove to be a challenging task, given that the Child Welfare Services-New System (CWS-NS) will be, by its very nature, one of the largest mission-critical systems used by the state and its 58 counties.

The state seems to be aware that a smaller, modular approach is important. It has divided the procurement phase of the CWS-NS project into smaller chunks by quickly releasing separate bids for an intake module and Application Program Interface (API). The hope is those modular projects will go live in a matter of months instead of the several years it typically takes a big-bang, waterfall-type project.

[TechWire] 02/03

RFQ: Department of Motor Vehicles AIX Server Relocation

The California Department of Motor Vehicles is seeking the services of an IBM Premier Business Partner to relocate and reassemble IBM servers and equipment from the Office of Technology Services’ Gold Camp data center back to DMV headquarters in Sacramento.

Submission of quotes are due Feb. 12. Key action dates are subject to change.

“The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has in-house equipment at the [Office] of Technology Services and will need to relocate the equipment back to DMV,” the RFQ says. The term of the contract will be for one month.

Search for “DMV RFQ ISD15-0098 AIX Server Relocation” on Cal eProcure, the state’s online procurement portal.

*[TechWire] 02/02

Secretary of State’s Office Recruiting for New CIO

The California Secretary of State isadvertising for its vacant CIO position. The deadline to apply is Feb. 23.

The CIO reports to Secretary of State Alex Padilla and plans and directs automation, data collection and interpretation, and information technology issues.

The Secretary of State’s Office currently is developing and implementing the new VoteCal system — the statewide voter registration database. A total of 46 counties have been deployed on VoteCal to date, as of late last month. The system is expected to be the official system of record for voter registration in California by June 2016.

*[TechWire] 02/02

Bill Would Expand Opportunities for Private Industry at DMV

New legislation recently introduced by Assemblymember Bill Brough, R-Dana Point, would enable the California DMV to partner with third-party providers on more of the department’s core services.

AB 1714 would expand eligible categories to include driver’s license renewals, eyesight and hearing tests, photography services, and fingerprinting services.

The state vehicle code allows DMV to contract with industry partners for electronic and data services related to vehicle registration and titling transactions. According to state code, a $3 charge is attached to each transaction that the vendor may pass along to the consumer.

[TechWire] 02/03

Feb. 10: The Internet Association’s 2016 Legislative Reception in Sacramento

The Internet Association is hosting its 2016 legislative reception on Wednesday, Feb. 10 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Empress Tavern at 1013 K Street in Sacramento.

“Mix and mingle and help us celebrate our 2015 Internet Champions and the state’s continued leadership in innovation,” the Internet Association says.

[TechWire] 02/03

City of Stockton Moving Toward a Citywide ERP Modernization Project

The city of Stockton this month approved consulting contracts with Plante Moran to assess and plan for how to modernize or potentially replace the city’s ERP system.

Stockton currently uses a SunGard HTE/NaviLine solution as an integrated ERP for financial, human resources and payroll, land management, and utility billing solutions in a system that’s been in place since the 1980s, according to city documents.

Stockton would like better reporting capabilities and flow of information across the organization. The city has about 1,600 classified city employees.

“An ERP business need has been determined by the City that better financial data and improved capacity to support activity-based cost accounting is needed. The City is also seeking better integration and compatibility with other internal systems,” according to a bid document released by Stockton last summer.

[TechWire] 02/03

Tech News for February 2

Microsoft Dives Deep With Underwater Data Centers As Environmentally Friendly Cloud Computing Alternative

It may not be as deep as Jules Verne envisioned in his iconic work “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea,” but Microsoft is embarking on a deep sea adventure by placing data centers at the bottom of the ocean in a bid to save money — and the environment. In Verne’s book, the figure of 20,000 refers to the distance traveled under the water. However, the author does mention depths of 4 leagues, which equates to 16 km (10 miles) — the deepest the submarine in Verne’s novel travels below sea level — but even this is far deeper than anything Microsoft is planning with Project Natick.

[ibtimes.com] 2/1

New Technologies Give Government Ample Means to Track Suspects, Study Finds

For more than two years the F.B.I. and intelligence agencies have warned that encrypted communications are creating a “going dark” crisis that will keep them from tracking terrorists and kidnappers. Now, a study in which current and former intelligence officials participated concludes that the warning is wildly overblown, and that a raft of new technologies — like television sets with microphones and web-connected cars — are creating ample opportunities for the government to track suspects, many of them worrying.

[nytimes.com] 2/1

California intrusion: Attacking privacy

It’s a chilling government overreach that could extend well beyond California if that state’s attorney general is not stopped: AG Kamala Harris demands that nonprofits, which are required to register with the state of California to solicit donations, must also provide the names and addresses of donors to her office. The demand is ludicrous. The case law is clear. But in cases such as these, the nation’s Constitution oftentimes is used as a doormat instead of a doorstop.

[triblive.com] 1/31

DHS funds smart shirts for first responders

A shirt that collects first responders’ vital signs and transmits them to headquarters could become standard equipment for police and firefighters thanks to funding from the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate. Two Canadian companies — Calgary-based data company SensorUp and Montreal-based wearable manufacturers Hexoskin — have partnered to create a system that monitors first responders’ vitals via an Internet-connected shirt.

[fedscoop.com] 2/1

How to prepare for the IT department of the future

With the role of IT constantly evolving, and with new technologies introduced seemingly every day, how can IT professionals develop a plan that sets them up for success not only in 2016, but also over the next five years? The key is to focus less on identifying and acquiring new skills and technical experience — though that’s extremely important — and emphasize big-picture thinking, says Cory Chaplin, director of Technology Integration Practice for business and technology consulting firm West Monroe Partners.

[cio.com] 2/2

Gartner argues cloud email is still immature – but gaining traction

The cloud email market remains relatively immature with Microsoft ahead of Google in enterprise adoption, according to the latest figures from analyst house Gartner. According to email server domain records of almost 40,000 public companies worldwide, only 8.5% of firms polled use Microsoft, compared to 4.7% on Google’s mail, with the remainder using on-premises, hybrid, hosted, or private cloud email systems.

[cloudcomputing-news.net] 2/2

WSJ CIO Network: Data Science Can Empower the Consumer

There’s money to be made in upending the asymmetry in the data power structure, according to data analytics experts speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s CIO Network conference Monday. Most companies today know more about a consumer than he about them, said Andreas Weigend, director of the Social Data Lab at Stanford University and former chief scientist at Amazon.com Inc. This imbalance of information serves as an advantage to companies – but one that may not stand as new firms form with a mindset of sharing data to gain competitive advantage, Dr. Weigend, told an audience of chief information officers here at a panel moderated by Wall Street Journal Deputy Editor in Chief Rebecca Blumenstein.

[blogs.wsj.com] 2/2

Federal Government Confirms That It Still Sucks at Cyber Security

A $6 billion security system intended to keep hackers out of computers belonging to federal agencies isn’t living up to expectations, an audit by the Government Accountability Office has found. A public version of the secret audit released last week — a secret version containing more sensitive findings was circulated to government agencies in November — concerns the Einstein system, formally called the National Cybersecurity Protection System and operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

[recode.net] 2/1

FDIC Warns Banks To Beef Up Cyber Security

Due to the increase in number and sophistication of cyber threats, cyber security has become a critical issue facing the financial services sector. This article discusses the cyber threat landscape and how financial institutions’ information security programs can be enhanced to address evolving cyber security risks. The article concludes with a discussion of actions taken by the federal banking agencies in response to the increase in cyber threats.

[valuewalk.com] 2/1

FireEye buys fellow cybersecurity firm Invotas

Cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc. has purchased Invotas International Corp., which was spun off from CSG Systems International Inc. CSGS, -1.46% late last year. Alexandria, Va.-based Invotas focuses on security automation and orchestration. It launched in 2014 after operating in stealth mode for three years. Invotas has 19 employees.

[marketwatch.com] 2/1

State Announces Solution Development Phase of Project Approval Process

The California Department of Technology on Jan. 29 released details about the third of four phases that make up the state’s process for planning and approving reportable IT projects. The Stage 3 Solution Development “provides a structured and guided approach for conducting Information Technology procurement activities to acquire solutions that best meet business objectives, adhere to state policies and regulations, and yield the highest probability of success,” a technology letter from the department says.

[techwire.net] 2/2

White House Launches ‘Computer Science for All’ Initiative

This week President Obama launched a new Computer Science Initiative called Computer Science for All to give all students across the country the chance to learn computer science (CS) in school.

[techwire.net] 2/2

RFQ: Department of Motor Vehicles AIX Server Relocation

The California Department of Motor Vehicles is seeking the services of an IBM Premier Business Partner to relocate and reassemble IBM servers and equipment from the Office of Technology Services’ Gold Camp data center back to DMV headquarters in Sacramento.

[techwire.net] 2/2

Report: Sacramento PD Buys Electronic Ticket Writers for Patrol Officers

The Sacramento Police Department will soon be able to issue a ticket as easily as tapping a few buttons: the police force recently used an $800,000 grant to buy 300 electronic ticket writers for their patrol officers, according to a report from Capitol Public Radio.

[techwire.net] 2/2

5 California Municipalities Move to Networked Next-Gen 911 System

For most people, knowing how the 911 system works isn’t important; it just has to work when they need it. But as our landline phones gave way to cellphones and cellphones evolved into smartphones, 911 centers have had to adapt to the changing environment to provide consistent, dependable service. And in the foothills of Northern California, a cluster of municipalities is looking toward a networked 911 system that will eventually allow them to accept streaming video, text messages and, of course, the voice call.

[govtech.com] 2/1

S.F. upgrades Wi-Fi, relaunches startup effort, shares data

San Francisco unveiled a series of plans to boost connectivity and encourage tech innovation within the city. In a flurry of announcements this week, San Francisco said it would upgrade to its public Wi-Fi offering #SFWiFi, relaunch its startup residency initiative and partner with mapping directions app Waze around data sharing. City Chief Information Officer Miguel Gamiño told StateScoop that, as the home of a burgeoning technology community, San Francisco is uniquely poised to find ways technology can transform government.

[statescoop.com] 1/29

Report: State, local governments see IT contract bids decline in Q4 FY2015

State and local governments saw overall decreases in the number and size of IT contract bids in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015 compared to the same period in 2014, according to a new report. The research firm Deltek released a study Wednesday analyzing the latest numbers compiled in its “GovWin IQ State and Local Bid Notifications” database, and found that governments saw an 11.3 percent decline in the number of IT bids received in the final quarter of last year.

[statescoop.com] 1/29

Spike in tech salaries adds to IT recruiting woes for government

Government agencies trying to attract top technology talent face growing headwinds as salaries offered by the commercial sector surged by a record amount last year, according to new figures. Average tech salaries in the U.S. last year grew 7.7 percent to $96,370, according to a survey of 16,301 employed technology professionals by technology career site Dice. The jump in salaries was the biggest year-over-year leap Dice has seen since it began conducting the survey more than a decade ago.

[statescoop.com] 1/29

Reserve your spot for State Worker brown bag Feb. 22

Just a few seats remain open for our second State Worker brown bag lunch later this month. On Feb. 22, The State Worker will host a meeting for state employees and retirees to discuss how we cover state workers. Got a question about a story or blog post? Want to hash over contracts and what you think the stories will be this year? Maybe you’d like to talk journalism or just get out of the office for a while.

[sacbee.com] 2/1

Tech News for February 1

New Online Features Should Streamline Hiring for State Jobs, Officials Say

California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) officials say a newly launched IT system and website should make it less cumbersome to find and apply for state jobs and will help hiring managers find more qualified candidates.

Last week CalHR launched the first public-facing components of the Examination and Certification Online System (ECOS), a multi-phase project that’s eliminating back-end legacy systems and moving the state to an automated, modern architecture that offers improved online functionality to the public and internal users.

The improvements include a new jobs.ca.gov website where users can log in to a new “CalCareer” online account to upload and save multiple versions of their resume, apply online for jobs and track the status of positions, and search geographically for positions, among other features.

“We want to make it easier for people to find state jobs, to apply for state jobs, and for the state departments — hiring authorities — to administer the process in a more timely manner so we can be more responsive to these candidates and get thewm in before we lose them to other employers,” CalHR Director Richard Gillihan told TechWire on Thursday.

*[TechWire] 01/29

How Government Can Mine the Value of IT

Too many governments still are thinking too small about information technology, looking narrowly and downward at IT as “the problem.” This diverts attention from how the use of technology can shape organizational strategies.

True, IT itself was the problem when it was expensive, hard to use, and could be applied only to high-volume, highly structured processes such accounting. And marketing hype created uncertainty: How could governments get objective information to realistically assess technology vendors’ claims? How could governments keep an IT project from becoming a front-page failure?

[TechWire] 02/01

Los Angeles Unveils Portal for Location-Based Open Data

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Esri President Jack Dangermond on Friday unveiled Los Angeles’ newest tech innovation, called GeoHub. It’s expected to provide location-as-a-service technology (LaaS) to relay real-time data and mapping to the city and its residents and businesses.

At a press conference on Friday that was also broadcast live online, Garcetti said the portal will “help us reinvent the way we relay our services and broaden our ability to engage residents and businesses to improve the quality of life in their city.”

[TechWire] 02/01

Caltrans Hiring for CTO Position

The California Department of Transportation is hiring a chief technology officer. The deadline to apply is Feb. 18.

The job description describes the duties of the position:

“Under the general direction of the Chief Information Officer (CIO), the incumbent is responsible for developing and implementing departmental policy related to the Department’s current and future infrastructure operations statewide including establishing policy standards related to hardware, software and telecommunications. The incumbent will manage a highly technical function that has a direct effect on the Department’s ability to deliver its program and services. The incumbent is also responsible for delivering exceptional Information Technology (IT) Support services to Sacramento metropolitan area. This position is expected to continually enhance our customer’s experience by implementing, utilizing and monitoring proven customer service practices. As a key leader in IT, the incumbent ensures staff is highly qualified to perform their duties and meet customer expectations.”

[TechWire] 02/01

Transforming Cyber and Infrastructure Security: An Interview with the DHS Cyber Chief

An exclusive interview with Dr. Phyllis Schneck, deputy under secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications for the National Protection and Programs Directorate within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

As our global online world evolves before our eyes, the topic of cybersecurity seems overwhelming to most people. Just as new innovative opportunities are announced daily, emerging cyberthreats can undermine online progress in virtually every area of life.

*[GovTech] 01/31

2016 State of the State Addresses: Does Technology Matter?

Government Technology’s editorial team analyzes this year’s speeches to see which governors are talking tech.

The annual addresses delivered by governors around the country underscored policy priorities that routinely top the lists of state chief executives — education, economic vitality, health care and transportation. And while state-to-state differences are evident, what also comes through is that many elected leaders now see technology as an important tool that helps meet their policy objectives. And many of them are talking about.

*[GovTech] 01/30

New Technologies Give Government Ample Means to Track Suspects, Study Finds