Tech News for June 13

Cyber security and how we need to prepare for the future

With the advent of “smart living” and the leaps and bounds that technology takes almost on a day by day basis, it becomes important to think about how secure our digital footprint is in our work and personal lives, all of which is connected. Vigilance and security becomes just as important as the technology that it revolves around in our day-to-day exchanges in the world. But that’s a discussion for another day. The point of this article is to take one country, one developed economy, technologically advanced on the global stage and see what learnings can be taken away from things that went right or wrong on a national level.

[yourstory.com] 6/12

3-D Government: How Will Augmented Reality (AR) Disrupt the Future of Technology?

It was another early Monday morning on the treadmill. While jogging, I was flipping through the Weather Channel: “Severe storms in Florida.” Headline News — “Golden State trounces Cleveland in game 2 of the NBA Finals.” CNN: “Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton prep for California primary.” And … CNBC Squawk Box: “These glasses will change the technology world as we know it. The smartphone will be replaced.” I stopped the treadmill. (I rarely do that in the middle of a workout) and asked myself: “Really! Again?” My memory instantly took me back to the Google Glass unveiling in 2012 — and the many troubles, including privacy. You may remember that Google Glass was even banned from bars, movie theaters, Las Vegas casinos and many other places.

[govtech.com] 6/12

Can Big Government deliver a big economy?

When is a booming economy bad news? When it’s an economy structured like California’s. In a new study making the rounds, when the personal-finance website WalletHub fed the Golden State to its experts, they spit out great numbers – top-five-in-the-nation rankings for high-tech job growth, fast-growing firms, and, yes, startup activity. All told, the site concluded, Californians enjoy the nation’s third-best economy. “California has blossomed into the seventh-largest economy in the world,” the experts cheered, “boasting a [gross doemstic product] of $2.3 trillion, which was comparable to Brazil’s $2.2 trillion, in 2014.”

[ocregister.com] 6/12

California gang database: Long Beach advocates, law enforcement at odds over possible new rules

Lawmakers are debating a bill that, if signed into law, could have implications for a law-enforcement database used to help track gang members statewide. Assembly Bill 2298, authored by Assembly member Shirley N. Weber, D-San Diego, proposes regulations for CalGang — a shared gang database. While supporters say the changes would provide much-needed due process and introduce transparency to a system that operates in the dark, others say the bill’s proposals are too broad and could hinder investigations into increasingly complex and wide-reaching gang operations. Weber and other advocates say the database plays a role in deportations, arrests, gang injunctions and other civil or criminal legal proceedings.

[presstelegram.com] 6/11

We need to protect our nation from cyber attacks

Here in the United States, we are lucky to live in one of the most technologically-advanced countries in the world. And while this provides an unprecedented level of access to information, it also makes us one of the most technologically-vulnerable countries in the world and exposes us to possible cyber-attacks. In fact, at this very moment, there are hackers across the globe working to find weaknesses in the digital systems that help run critical infrastructure like the electric grid that we rely on to power our daily lives. A successful cyber-attack on the grid or other American infrastructure could have catastrophic consequences for our country. That’s why we need to take proactive steps to safeguard against these threats.

[fosters.com] 6/12

June 16: Bidders Conference for Child Welfare Intake Implementation Services

The Office of Systems Integration has scheduled a bidders conference for its recent RFP for Intake Implementation Services on the state child welfare system modernization project. The conference will begin on June 16 at 10 a.m. at the Employment Development Department Auditorium, 722 Capitol Mall, in Sacramento.

[techwire.net] 6/13

Montgomery: In the Next Natural Disaster, Technology Will Help Save Lives

The 1906 San Francisco earthquake was devastating. Today there are new ways to help communities help themselves in the aftermath of a disaster. At 5 a.m. on April 18, 1906, San Francisco was decimated by a powerful earthquake. Between the quake and the fires that followed, 3,000 people lost their lives. More than 100 years later we still live with the risk of another giant California earthquake. And while we’ve made great strides in construction, building retrofitting and fire safety, the next life-saving innovations are going to come from the technology sector.

[techwire.net] 6/13

State Budget Deal Finds Middle Ground on Big Tech Projects

The $122.2 billion budget deal the Brown administration and legislative leaders have agreed to puts funding toward several technology systems while seemingly putting other potential IT projects on hold. The framework of a deal hammered out in the Budget Conference Committee and closed-door negotiations was revealed on Thursday evening, well ahead of a state constitutional deadline to pass a budget. Here are some points of note, according to committee documents: The compromise puts $10 million in the General Fund toward the Brown administration’s Precision Medicine initiative, and stipulates the program must maximize matching funds and non-state funds.

[techwire.net] 6/10

What Works Cities expands to 12 more cities, launches toolkit for city leaders

Twelve U.S. cities have been selected to join What Works Cities, a national program to help municipalities do more with their data, according to an announcement Monday. The new member cities join 27 more that are already participating in the Bloomberg Philanthropies-sponsored initiative, which provides technical assistance and advice on how to best analyze and use data to make decisions. The initiative is overseen by Results for America.

[statescoop.com] 6/13

Firm aims to work with competitors in chase for California web portal contract

A software development firm vying for a contract with California’s Department of Health and Human Services is opening up its code to competitors in an effort to spur collaboration and build a system more helpful to its users. Last week, the Berkeley-based company CivicActions posted the results of its initial work in response to a request for information from the department, as it looks to construct a new case management system for the state’s social workers to investigate child abuse. The company is hoping other firms bidding on the project will be able to seize on their work, as well as take advantage of the feedback CivicActions has gathered from the people who might be most directly affected by the new system.

[statescoop.com] 6/10

GIS: An Established Technology Finds New Purpose

It was a mild winter for most parts of the country. But don’t tell that to residents in the Washington, D.C., region, which got clobbered by a 30-inch snowstorm in January. As government workers sent plows out into the streets, residents were able to do something rather unique: enter their address on the city’s website and find out when the snowplows would be nearby. The map also showed where the city received 311 requests for snow removal and gave users a chance to look at recent photos from road cameras showing driving conditions. The secret sauce behind this application and others like it is location-based data, digital maps and software known as a geographic information system. GIS has been one of the longest running success stories in government technology. Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, GIS was a godsend to city operations, helping plot development plans, track road and sewer repairs, and manage natural resources and other assets.

[govtech.com] 6/10

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Tech News for June 10

Passwords for 32M Twitter accounts may have been hacked and leaked

There is yet another hack for users of popular social media sites to worry about. Hackers may have used malware to collect more than 32 million Twitter login credentials that are now being sold on the dark web. Twitter says that its systems have not been breached. “We are confident that these usernames and credentials were not obtained by a Twitter data breach – our systems have not been breached. In fact, we’ve been working to help keep accounts protected by checking our data against what’s been shared from recent other password leaks,” a Twitter spokesperson said. LeakedSource, a site with a search engine of leaked login credentials, said in a blog post that it received a copy of the user information from “Tessa88@exploit.im,” the same alias used by the person who gave it hacked data from Russian social network VK last week.

[techcrunch.com] 6/9

VMware CIO commands IoT effort

The Internet of Things is in a peculiar phase of its lifecycle. Unless you count that patchwork mess known as home automation, there isn’t much of an established market. Yet the broad applicability of connecting “things,” which can include assigning IP addresses to anything from refrigerators to manufacturing equipment, has companies contemplating sensible sensor-filled scenarios. To enable developers to build applications that capitalize on IoT, VMware has released to open source a software development kit. It’s the company’s first foray into the IoT phenomenon. Liota, which stands for Little IoT Agent, enables applications that captures and relays device data to servers and networking gear, and can also receive control signals from those data center components, says CIO Bask Iyer.

[cio.com] 6/8

IRS failed to alert 100,000+ taxpayers damaged by massive data breach – inspector general

The Internal Revenue Service missed over 100,000 people whose information was stolen as a result of a data breach, failing to properly assist the affected taxpayers, the federal agency’s inspector general says. A report released Wednesday by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration says that more than 350,000 people had their information compromised in an early 2015 hack, while the IRS only initially counted about 220,000. The hack targeted the agency’s Get Transcript system, which allows taxpayers to view their records over the internet. By impersonating the actual owners of these accounts, identity thieves managed to get their hands on the sensitive information of countless Americans.

[rt.com] 6/8

Will a Cyberattack Cause the Next Big Bank Failure?

As the threat of cyberattacks against financial institutions has grown, the response by industry and government has matured. Banking agencies, trade groups, law enforcement authorities and others have developed protocols for identifying, limiting, reporting and otherwise responding to attacks. But a newer type of threat is growing that has so far received scant focus from the industry and government. The attention on cyberattacks has so far focused mainly on data breaches and so-called “denial-of-service” attacks, in which an institution’s computers or servers are rendered temporarily or indefinitely unavailable to its customers. Less attention has been paid to what might be termed “denial-of-system” attacks, which can make enterprisewide information systems completely inoperable. Such attacks have occurred, and the possibility of a catastrophic failure at a “systemically important financial institution” resulting from such an attack poses a serious risk to the stability of the U.S. financial system.

[americanbanker.com] 6/9

States scramble to protect student data and privacy

What if a child’s performance in a fifth-grade gym class could be used to set the rate for a life insurance policy when they’re 50? What if a computer program advertised interactive tutoring when your child struggled with long division? Privacy advocates worry these scenarios could become reality as schools increasingly rely on outside companies to collect, manage and analyze the massive amount of data gleaned from standardized tests, transcripts, individual education programs and even cafeteria purchases. This subcontracting is not new or uncommon, but it has often left school districts without explicit control over students’ personal information. And it has left some parents, administrators and privacy advocates worried that those companies might one day sell or mine the data for a profit.

[pbs.org] 6/9

How Your Organization Can Make The Most Of Their Data

The rise of open data has seen many agencies hopping on the bandwagon and working towards open data policies. However, there is still frequently confusion over how an agency can best utilize their data to meet both internal and public needs. In order to explore the most innovative and efficient ways your organization can open up their data and get the most out of it, Christopher Thomas, Director of Government Markets at Esri joined GovLoop for a recent online training, “Creating an Open Data Strategy that Just Works: Building Smart Communities Through Next Generation Open Data Opportunities.” Thomas emphasized that the shift to open data has been a long and slow time coming. According to a survey taken during the online training, almost 42% of the participants in the training work at agencies that do not have a plan to launch an open data effort.

[govloop.com] 6/10

Major data center planned at McClellan Park

Plans for a major data center at McClellan Park were confirmed Wednesday. Frank Myers, senior vice president and chief financial officer of McClellan Park, said initial plans call for a 66,000-square-foot center in an existing building. That building, Myers said, sits on a 9-acre site purchased in last year’s fourth quarter by Sacramento Venture One, a joint undertaking between McClellan Park and California-based Xtream Data Centers. Myers said plans call for construction of a second data center building of 75,000 to 100,000 square feet on the same parcel. He noted that SVO owns land for development adjacent to the parcel, “so there is room to expand.”

[sacbee.com] 6/8

DOT Continues to Lead the Way in Smart Technology Development

“Smart technology,” “integrated data systems,” and “intelligent systems” are today’s buzz words for what is unique and innovative. They are used to describe what is futuristic and high-tech – a way to make the world better. But, did you know, DOT has been on the forefront of creating a real and workable “smart” system for over 25 years? In 1991, before people even began talking about smart technology, DOT established its Intelligent Transportation System Joint Office within the Federal Highway Administration to oversee multimodal intelligent transportation research systems initiatives. The Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) program is not just a marketing or publicity ploy within DOT – ITS is a reality.

[transportation.gov] 6/10

State Budget Deal Finds Middle Ground on Big Tech Projects

The $122.2 billion budget deal the Brown administration and legislative leaders have agreed to puts funding toward several technology systems while seemingly putting other potential IT projects on hold. The framework of a deal hammered out in the Budget Conference Committee and closed-door negotiations was revealed on Thursday evening, well ahead of a state constitutional deadline to pass a budget. Here are some points of note, according to committee documents: The compromise puts $10 million in the General Fund toward the Brown administration’s Precision Medicine initiative, and stipulates the program must maximize matching funds and non-state funds.

[techwire.net] 6/10

IT Analysis: City of Stockton 2016-17 Budget

The city of Stockton’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2016-17 lists major technology initiatives for the coming 12 months. The city Information Technology Department is led by CIO and director Nabil Fares and is authorized for about $16 million of expenditures annually. “The City Council identified improved technology as one of its strategic priorities which includes participation from all departments including significant efforts by IT,” the proposed budget says.

[techwire.net] 6/10

Foreman: 5 Reasons Why Public Sector Should Develop a Native Mobile App

In a previous post, I discussed why public-sector organizations and nonprofits should adopt a mobile strategy and briefly mentioned that in adopting a mobile strategy, they should consider developing a native mobile app. Here are five reasons why. (Click the title to read).

[techwire.net] 6/10

Gov. Brown, lawmakers agree on California spending plan

Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders reached an agreement Thursday on a state budget that expands funding for subsidized child care and eliminates a controversial welfare policy that restricts cash assistance for nearly 130,000 children. The deal also includes $400 million for housing construction to help people with low income struggling with rapidly rising rent. But it’s contingent on lawmakers approving a contentious proposal by Brown to speed up development in some neighborhoods, and most of the details remain unresolved. A legislative budget panel met Thursday evening to approve the spending plan, setting up votes in the full Assembly and Senate next week. A spokesman for Brown, Evan Westrup, confirmed the budget committee was acting on an agreement between the Democratic governor, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, both Democrats from Los Angeles.

[pressdemocrat.com] 6/10

Tech News for June 9

IBM Releases Cloud-Based Apache Spark Development Environment

A new, cloud-based development environment for Apache Spark from IBM aims to offer data scientists high-performance analytics in near real time, the company announced yesterday. Called the Data Science Experience, the new environment will be available on IBM’s Bluemix cloud platform with 250 curated data sets, open source tools and a collaborative workspace.
Big Blue has invested some $300 million to develop Apache Spark as a sort of operating system for analytics. Spark was originally developed by the University of California, Berkeley’s AMPLab before being donated to Apache as an open source framework. IBM said it created the Data Science Experience to offer data scientists the computing speed and flexibility of the Spark platform, with faster access to more data.

[cio-today.com] 6/8

Treasurer John Chiang Calls for IT Contracting Reforms

State Treasurer John Chiang on Tuesday said California must build partnerships with the private sector to develop IT projects that are fair, efficient and effective. “We can’t continue to have the same contracting process where the focus is on winning the bid and not staying focused on putting out an incredible product,” Chiang told TechWire in a wide-ranging phone interview to discuss his 2018 gubernatorial bid. His comments came a day after the state reached a $59 million settlement with SAP Public Services Inc., ending lawsuits over the 21st-century statewide payroll modernization project known as MyCalPays.

[techwire.net] 6/8

What Employee Surveys Reveal About Working in Government

Several weeks ago, we wrote a column about employee surveys in state and local government. It focused on the importance of using the results to take actions that improve the workplace. But as we looked into the best utility of these surveys, we grew curious about what they actually reveal — especially when compared to the federal government and private sector. While there was good news to be found, some of the results were worrisome. Research from the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR), for example, shows that less than half of state and local employees are fully engaged in their jobs. This is particularly bad news because countless studies link engaged employees to higher productivity, better results and lower absenteeism.

[governing.com] 6/9

Gore: What Is Agriculture Data and How Valuable Is It?

What is agriculture data? How valuable is ag data? Are niche hackers chasing ag data? (I’m sort of answering the middle question.) Ag tech developers: knowing the answers to these questions will help you understand your rapidly evolving business. First: What is ag data? This is more crucial and complex than you might imagine. Is it intellectual property, a form with which you are familiar? Yes. Is it real property? Yes. Is it personal property? You bet.

[techwire.net] 6/9

‘What Works Cities’ network uses Slack to trade open data ideas

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative is using workplace communication app Slack to help its member cities trade ideas about how to best use data. As part of the initiative, 27 selected cities are supposed to find and share ways to use the data they collect to make better decisions, and officials say that Slack makes that easier. The app allows member cities and several localities looking to join the initiative to join an “All Cities” Slack team. Within the team, users can communicate in issue-specific “channels” or in private, direct messages to other members.

[statescoop.com] 6/8

Department of Housing and Community Development Replacing 20-Year-Old Legacy System

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) plans to launch June 21 a replacement for a two-decade-old legacy system used by a state program that administers building codes and regulates the mobile home industry. The re-engineered Codes and Standards Automated System (CASAS 2.0) will replace the original CASAS system implemented in 1997. The new system features a modular, multi-tier system architecture using Java-based software with an Oracle database, according to HCD.

[techwire.net] 6/9

The Current State Of IT Operations In The Public Sector

To understand why IT operations is so critical to the effectiveness of today’s public sector, you must first understand what IT operations is. Put simply, IT operations is the process of managing and monitoring the day-to-day IT infrastructure of an agency and troubleshooting any issues as they arise. This includes managing the provisioning, capacity, performance and availability of the computing, networking and application environments. Good IT operations is absolutely necessary for government, as they continue to be responsible for more efficiently delivering better services and applications both internally and externally. But there’s more to IT operations than just keeping things running.

[govloop.com] 6/9

June 14: Drone Information Day at the State Capitol

The California Technology and Innovation Caucus, Consumer Technology Association and the Silicon Valley Chapter of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) are hosting Drone Information Day at the State Capitol on Tuesday, June 14. The event will feature live drone demonstrations and participating companies will share the latest innovations in the industry.

[techwire.net] 6/9

House committee passes bill to reorganize DHS cyber office

The House Homeland Security Committee unanimously passed a bill Wednesday that would rename and reorganize the Department of Homeland Security’s National Protectorate and Programs Directorate. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Agency Act of 2016 changes NPPD to the Cybersecurity and Information Protection Agency, run by a director of national cybersecurity who would oversee four divisions dedicated to cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection policy and operations for the DHS. “This measure realigns and streamlines the department’s cybersecurity and infrastructure protection missions to more effectively protect the American public against cyberattacks that could cripple the nation,” Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, said during Wednesday’s markup hearing.

[fedscoop.com] 6/8

Tech News for June 8

How agile helps attract and retain millennial tech pros

For IT organizations hungry for talent, agile is key to helping attract and retain the next generation of engineers and developers, because the principles of the methodology dovetail with millennials’ intrinsic motivation. One of the hallmarks of the millennial generation is its need for autonomy, mastery and purpose in the work they’re doing, and a demonstrable impact on the success of the companies they work for and the larger world around them. It’s one of the reasons millennial software engineers embrace the agile methodology, with its emphasis on flat management, self-regulating teams, business context, iteration and ability to adapt quickly to changing needs and demands, says Dave West, product owner at Scrum.org.

[cio.com] 6/7

That didn’t take long: Shareholders sue Oracle in ‘fake cloud sales’ row

Just days after Oracle was sued by an ex-employee, who accused the IT giant of making up its cloud sales figures, its shareholders are now hauling the company into court. A complaint filed on behalf of Oracle stockholders by investor Grover Klarfeld alleges that the database goliath put their investments in the company at risk: Oracle’s share price dropped four per cent – wiping $6bn off the value of the biz – when claims that the company inflated its cloud revenues emerged. The lawsuit points the finger of blame for this dip at Oracle’s top brass: supremo Larry Ellison, and co-CEOs Mark Hurd and Safra Catz.

[theregister.co.uk] 6/6

Senate Dem calls for cybersecurity ‘militia’

A Democratic senator on Monday called for the creation of a cybersecurity “militia” that would help the U.S. shore up its cybersecurity posture, even if it means recruiting people who don’t measure up to traditional military recruiting standards. The suggestion was made by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., in afternoon remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. Whitehouse said the country had witnessed several “game-changers” over the last seven months, and that they effectively amounted to a new Cold War in the cyberarena.

[washingtonexaminer.com] 6/6

California Lawmakers and Cybersecurity Legislation

Last week California legislators took more steps that they believe will protect the state’s IT systems from hackers. The Assembly unanimously voted to force the current administration to implement – by July 0f next year – a response plan for cybersecurity threats to state critical infrastructure. The bill’s author, Assemblyperson Jacqui Irwin, is attributed with saying “Ensuring that these preparations are made for cybersecurity will make our state networks more resilient, improve response coordination, reduce recovery time and costs and ultimately limit the damage that is done.” Other bills, both in the Assembly and in California’s upper house, the Senate, placed or will place further actions and responsibilities on state agencies; not only to protect data and infrastructure, but also to force improved communications between these agencies.

[zixcorp.com] 6/6

LinkedIn data breach still causing problems

Do you remember back in 2012 when LinkedIn was hacked? Around 6.5 million user passwords were posted on a Russian blog. There was a mandatory password reset for affected users, and LinkedIn released a statement advising people to enable two-step verification and use stronger passwords. Four years later, and the passwords of 117 million accounts were compromised. Worryingly, this came to light only when a hacker put them up for sale, offering data from 167 million accounts in total. If you haven’t changed your LinkedIn password since 2012, you could be at risk. Tech savvy is no protection, as evidenced by the fact that a hacker group used the LinkedIn password dump to hack Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Twitter and Pinterest accounts.

[networkworld.com] 6/7

Sacramento company alleges confidential information was shared in data dump

A Sacramento business and its CEO alleges that a Massachusetts company disclosed confidential data about them. SOURCiS Inc. and Shahram Elli filed a complaint on June 4 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California against Bluehost Inc., Shari Dixon and Does 1 through 50 alleging violation of the Stored Communications Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and other counts. According to the complaint, the plaintiffs allege that they suffered damages to their business as well as losing potential business opportunities due to the actions of the defendants. The plaintiffs holds Bluehost Inc., Dixon and Does 1 through 50 responsible because the defendant Bluehost allegedly data dumped confidential data to Bravo Development Group on Oct. 10, 2014, in a purported attempt to defraud plaintiff and others.

[norcalrecord.com] 6/6

Assembly Bill Would Clarify Protections for California’s Intellectual Property

Legislation intended to clarify how the state of California manages and protects its intellectual property is moving forward at the state Capitol on the heels of a high-profile case that has troubled the National Park Service. In January, Yosemite National Park decided to change the names of many of its historic buildings and hotels in order to avoid the potential for copyright infringement held by a concessionaire whose contract wasn’t renewed. The change has been unpopular among park-goers. A bill passed last week by a 76-to-3 vote in the Assembly would instruct the state of California to take additional steps to manage and protect the intellectual property agencies and departments hold.

[techwire.net] 6/8

OTech Chief Robert Schmidt Scheduled for June 20 Confirmation Hearing

Office of Technology Services chief Robert Schmidt is scheduled to appear June 20 in front of the Senate Rules Committee for his confirmation hearing. Gubernatorial appointees such as Schmidt must be approved by a Senate floor vote no later than a year after they are named to a position. The Rules Committee confirmation hearing and vote is the penultimate step in the process. In September, Schmidt was appointed the chief of the Office of Technology Services (OTech) at the Department of Technology. Schmidt had been the agency CIO and director of Executive Office/IT Services at Food and Agriculture since 2011.

[techwire.net] 6/8

Governor’s Office Backs Precision Medicine Ideas Contest

California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) and the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) are partnering with a Silicon Valley entrepreneurship organization to call for ideas that utilize precision medicine. The winning entrant in the Precision Medicine Impact Challenge will win a $10,000 prize from Singularity University and receive and invite to present a prototype at the Exponential Medicine conference in San Diego this fall. “California is a pioneer in innovation, and supporting the entrepreneurial community to develop precision medicine approaches is key,” said Louis Stewart, GO-Biz deputy for innovation and entrepreneurship. “GO-Biz is honored to partner with OPR and Singularity University to leverage the state Innovation Hubs (I-Hubs) and help inspire new precision medicine solutions.”

[techwire.net] 6/8

San Francisco to Consider ‘Black Boxes’ for Government Vehicles

San Francisco has a fleet of 7,800 government vehicles, and Supervisor Norman Yee wants the city to know where they are and what they’re doing at any given time. His legislation to track the location, speed and all-around maneuverings of city-owned vehicles, by installing “black boxes,” will go before the Board of Supervisors for a vote Tuesday. Proponents say the tracking would save the city money, reduce collisions and prompt employees to drive more slowly. The boxes also could provide a glimpse into how and where city employees are spending their time.

[govtech.com] 6/7

18F awards first agile task order — building a FedRAMP dashboard

The General Services Administration’s 18F digital services team has awarded Reston, Virginia-based TrueTandem LLC a $150,000 contract to build out a dashboard for the parent agency’s Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program. The project is the first 18F has awarded under its agile development services blanket purchase agreement contract, which pools together contractors vetted in agile software design to build tools in a rapid, iterative, incremental, and user-centered manner. Fourteen of the 17 teams that comprise pool three of the agile BPA bid for work on the project, with an average offer of $120,626.54. TrueTandem’s winning bid came in a bit above that at $153,782.05. Vendors were evaluated based on a compliance check and oral presentation rather than the traditional standard submittal of a lengthy proposal.

[fedscoop.com] 6/7

Tech News for June 7

California Makes America’s Economy Great

Most of what makes America great is happening in California, where on Tuesday voters will decide the largest of the presidential primaries. The horse-race reportage from the campaign trail gets caught up in delegate counts and the daily back and forth, but beneath all that there is a consensus about the challenges facing the world: globalization, urbanization, climate change. California is addressing them better than any country, while simultaneously setting an example as the world’s most diverse and dynamic economy. If the state were stacked up against nations, California would be the seventh-largest economy, with an equivalent gross domestic product greater than Brazil’s. It’s not just big, but also booming. California had a 3.29 percent growth rate last year, more than five times that of No. 3 Japan, almost twice No. 4 Germany, about half again as much as No. 5 U.K., almost three times No. 6 France and a third more than No. 1 U.S.

[bloomberg.com] 6/6

Heinrich Backs Legislation To Protect U.S. Electric Grid From Cyberattacks

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) joined U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), all members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to introduce The Securing Energy Infrastructure Act of 2016, a bill to protect critical U.S. energy infrastructure from potentially catastrophic cyberattacks. The legislation would examine solutions to defend the U.S. energy grid by replacing key devices like computer-connected operating systems that are vulnerable to cyberattacks with analog and human-operated systems — a “retro” approach that has shown promise as a safeguard against cyberattacks.

[ladailypost.com] 6/6

Government Framework Offers Cybersecurity

A security framework established by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is serving as a template for protecting networks using a threat-centric approach. The framework establishes five core functions in sequential order, and they are applicable across all network sectors. The five core functions are Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond and Recover. Some of them can be bundled as part of an overall cybersecurity program, which is an approach already being adopted by commercial security providers. One model, developed by Cisco, aligns the five functions into three groups based on event timing. Identify and Protect are grouped as part of a “before” element that encompasses activities prior to a cyber attack. “Before” engages three operations: discover, enforce and harden. These prepare the network for a digital onslaught.

[afcea.org] 6/6

Community Technology and the Ghost of Civic Hacking Past

As Code for San Francisco’s National Day of Civic Hacking weekend event winds down, I’m reflecting on organizing my first hackathon, and exorcising the Ghost of Civic Hacking Past. Given the recent brouhaha over the end of civic technology kicked off by Dan O’Neil (formerly of Smart Chicago), the shortcomings of our collective checkered hacking history are top of mind. Dan is not the only person wondering where community fits in civic technology. The leadership team at Code for San Francisco, especially Co-Captains Jesse Biroscak and Maddie Suda, have been asking similar questions about projects at CfSF, and working to establish a more human-centered orientation for their brigade. At CivicMakers, we have been teasing out a “co-discovery” process to “discover with, not for” and validate problem statements in direct partnership with the communities civic projects hope to serve, before proposing any solutions.

[techwire.net] 6/7

State Controller Announces $59M Settlement for Failed Payroll System Modernization

California State Controller Betty Yee announced Thursday evening that her office has reached agreement with SAP Public Services, Inc., that resolves lawsuits over the 21st Century statewide payroll modernization project known as MyCalPays. Under the terms of the settlement, SAP will pay the State Controller’s Office $59 million in cash and also abandon its claims against the State Controller’s Office amounting to about $23 million. The settlement stipulates that the State Controller’s Office and SAP each do not admit any liability or fault concerning the claims and allegations made between them. The State Controller’s Office suspended the payroll project and terminated its $90 million contract with SAP in 2013 after a pilot demonstration was unsuccessful. The modernization began a decade ago under BearingPoint and continued in 2010 under SAP. The settlement avoids a civil court trial that was scheduled to being next week in Sacramento. The state conceivably could have recovered 1.5 times the contract amount, about $150 million, if it prevailed in court. Conversely, the state of California could have lost as much as $55 million if it lost.

[techwire.net] 6/7

Gov. Brown, Legislature close in on budget deal

Capping three weeks of productive talks, Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature’s top Democrats are close to reaching a deal on the framework of the next state budget that could be unveiled as early as Wednesday, two Capitol sources with knowledge of the agreement said. Brown last month released a revised $122.2 billion budget that had shrunk slightly compared with January due to a slowdown on Wall Street. Still, the governor and legislative leaders have scraped together enough cash to make several key investments in state-funded child care and welfare programs, the sources said. Under the agreement, the state will boost funding for child care and preschool programs by about half a billion dollars to cover the rising cost of workers’ salaries as the state’s new minimum wage law is phased in. The deal also repeals a provision of the CalWorks program for low-income mothers that prevents them from receiving extra cash aid when they give birth while enrolled.

[mercurynews.com] 6/6

Red Hat Releases Updated Software Collections and Developer Toolset

Open source enterprise software developer Red Hat released Software Collections 2.2 last week, the latest version of its collection of open source Web development tools, dynamic languages, and databases. The new tools are designed to provide software developers with access to the company’s latest stable builds, even though a new version of its flagship enterprise operating system has yet to be released.
“Developers need the latest tools to build modern applications, particularly cloud-native applications, but the business at large requires a commitment to application stability that many of these tools simply do not have,” Jim Totton, vice president and general manager of Red Hat’s Platforms Business Unit, said in a statement.

[toptechnews.com] 6/6

How To Make Communication a Priority At Your Agency

Working as a government communicator, there can be days when it feels like communications aren’t a priority. Sometimes it’s due to resource limitations; when the going gets tough, delivering core services will always take priority over communications or marketing. Other times it seems a strategic choice to avoid perceived risk that comes with a courting a higher profile. Most often though, I think it’s merely an ingrained habit, part of an organizational culture where we’ve learned to keep our heads down and get the work done without fanfare. It may seem remedial to some, but here’s a reminder for all government organizations: Communications should always be a priority.

[govloop.com] 6/7

Sacramento, Calif., Outlines City-Funded Innovation Strategy

The city of Sacramento, Calif., will invest in local companies and start a grant program as part of a multimillion-dollar plan to bolster the community’s innovation economy, Mayor Kevin Johnson said Saturday morning. The city is going to invest $1 million in local companies this year, Johnson said. Selections will come from proposals submitted to a new mayoral tech council. The investments potentially could yield a profit for Sacramento that would be used to continually replenish the city’s $10 million Innovation Growth Fund, the mayor explained.

[govtech.com] 6/6

California’s Vendor Performance Scorecard Moving Forward

A vendor performance evaluation system that has been in the works the past two years appears to be moving forward despite the departure of state CIO Carlos Ramos. California says the initiative, which some have called a “scorecard,” will be factored into future state IT procurements after a pilot occurs sometime in 2016. The Department of Technology is continuing to look for suitable IT projects to participate in the pilot. A story in Public CIO magazine reports that, as of March, the scorecard is proceeding as planned, according to Department of Technology spokesperson Teala Schaff. “The CPES pilot will include a diverse representation of new reportable IT projects in California; however, the state has not approved any new projects for procurement. Therefore, no projects have yet been identified to participate in the pilot phase, although our commencement is expected this year,” Schaff told Public CIO.

[techwire.net] 6/7

Tech News for June 6

Can Vendor Scorecards Cut Down on IT Project Failures?

When NASCIO surveyed its members about IT procurement in 2015, almost 50 percent had negative opinions about the process and 70 percent of vendor partners were moderately to very dissatisfied with state IT procurement processes. This February NASCIO proposed several actions states could take to improve procurements, including removing unlimited liability clauses in terms and conditions and introducing more flexible terms and conditions. One idea absent from the list is an approach being piloted in California: creating vendor performance scorecards on IT projects for use in future procurements. In June 2014, the California Department of Technology (CDT) began work on a Contractor Performance Evaluation Scorecard. A workgroup made up of staff from the State Technology Procurement Division within the Technology Department, the Department of General Services, other state departments and volunteer members of the vendor community met several times to provide input and work out the details. Pilot projects are expected to begin this year.

[govtech.com] 6/3

California Lawmakers Pass Series of Cybersecurity Bills

Lawmakers this week took steps intended to safeguard California’s IT systems from hackers, providing key votes to bills that call for a statewide cybersecurity plan, clear reporting of cybersecurity spending and criminal penalties for those who install ransomware. Tired of waiting for the Brown administration to complete a statewide cybersecurity plan, the Assembly on Tuesday voted 79-0 for legislation that would require a statewide response plan for cybersecurity threats on critical infrastructure by July 1, 2017. “Ensuring that these preparations are made for cybersecurity will make our state networks more resilient, improve response coordination, reduce recovery time and costs and ultimately limit the damage that is done,” bill author Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, said on the Assembly floor.

[govtech.com] 6/3

FireEye Caught Sneaky Malware Targeting Siemens Industrial Systems

Here’s a worrisome observation: Hackers are learning to design malicious software that goes after critical infrastructure and evades capture. Computer security researchers at the cybersecurity firm FireEye FEYE 0.71% said on Thursday that they discovered malware that targets industrial control systems, machines that undergird the operations of utilities and manufacturing plants. The malware, dubbed “irongate,” affects simulated Siemens siemens-ag computing environments, the team said. FireEye’s researchers stumbled upon the code on the site VirusTotal, a Google-owned GOOG -0.67% search engine that checks malware samples against antivirus scans, in late 2015. Two unidentified sources uploaded two separate versions of the malware a year earlier; neither of the samples triggered an alarm at the time, the team said.

[fortune.com] 6/3

The First 48 Hours: How to Respond to a Data Breach

Given the period of chaos that follows immediately after a breach, and the long-term ramifications, responding to an event without a plan is like treating an amputated limb with plasters – messy and ineffective. The first few hours after a breach are critical in asserting control of the situation and, as such, businesses must have a comprehensive incident response plan in place that enables them to react immediately should the worst happen. Target has become the high profile case study of how not to handle a data breach. The retailer experienced a massive breach in 2013 which resulted in up to 40 million customer payment cards being compromised. The world learned about the breach from Brian Krebs, who broke the news on his blog after discovering stolen card details for sale on the dark web. In the days following, Target failed to communicate with banks about which payment cards were stolen, while customers were unable to reach the company due to a jammed customer service line. Consequently, Target’s share price fluctuated, both the CIO and CEO resigned, and the company estimates it has spent almost £200 million in relation to the breach.

[infosecurity-magazine.com] 6/3

HSAC wants DHS cross-sector cybersecurity plan

The Homeland Security Department and Homeland Security Advisory Council are exchanging summer homework, respectively asking for recommendations for the presidential transition and a plan for coordinating cross-sector cybersecurity responses. During the council’s June 2 meeting, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson urged members to come up with suggestions for the agency’s transition plan by the council’s October meeting. “Transition planning is well under way, but I would like to know in preparation for that [meeting], what this committee believes are some of the agenda items that are ongoing that the next administration should focus on in homeland security,” Johnson said. “Some of the things we’ve begun, some of the things we’ve been unable to complete, or some of the things that we — perhaps in all candor — should focus on where we haven’t. It’ll be a time of transition, it will be on everybody’s mind.”

[federalnewsradio.com] 6/3

IBM and Cisco Team on Internet of Things, Watson Tech

Cisco routers are about to get a big upgrade, thanks to an agreement with IBM to add its Watson Internet of Things (IoT) business analytics technology to the hardware. The global partnership will allow organizations in remote locations to access IBM’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology without having to upload heavy data sets to the cloud, the companies said.
“The way we experience and interact with the physical world is being transformed by the power of cloud computing and the Internet of Things,” said Harriet Green, general manager for IBM Watson IoT, Commerce & Education, in a statement. “For an oil rig in a remote location or a factory where critical decisions have to be taken immediately, uploading all data to the cloud is not always the best option.”

[toptechnews.com] 6/2

California Senate Website Hit with Ransomware

A day after the state Senate approved legislation outlawing ransomware, the bill author’s website was hit. In a tweet Thursday, Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, showed a screen shot of his hijacked Senate website. “All of our shared drive files have been encrypted with software typically used in ransomware attacks,” Hertzberg spokesman Andrew LaMar wrote in an email to TechWire. “So we cannot access our shared files.”  The attack occurred between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, he added. Computer technicians are currently working to resolve the problem. Lawmakers on Tuesday unanimously approved legislation by Hertzberg that would make it a crime for anyone to knowingly put ransomware on a computer’s system, network or data. The bill comes after a number of retailers and hospitals have fallen victim to software attacks demanding compensation to unlock their computer, device or data.

[govtech.com] 6/3

San Francisco moves ahead with plan to equip all police with body cameras

San Francisco is moving ahead with a plan to equip its police officers with body cameras, after Mayor Ed Lee struck a deal with the city’s police union on a policy to govern the technology. Lee announced the agreement with the San Francisco Police Officers Association on Tuesday, and the city’s Police Commission — the board of political appointees who set policy for the city’s police department — approved the body camera policy Wednesday. Now, Lee is pushing for the city’s Board of Supervisors to pass his new biennial budget, which includes $6.2 million to fund the purchase of 1,800 body cameras and the rest of the program’s rollout.

[statescoop.com] 6/3

Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission Cancels $5.4M Exam System

The California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) has canceled development of a new exam system and instead will make enhancements to an existing legacy system. Conceived in 2011, the new $5.4 million testing system was going to procure a commercial off-the-shelf product, enabling the commission to correct “serious security deficiencies” in its current system, according to a Department of Technology summary. But the project was canceled in February as the system moved forward through the approval process. POST determined a better approach would be to make enhancements and cybersecurity improvements to its existing system, called the Testing Management and Assessment System (TMAS).

[techwire.net] 6/6

State Needs Mainframe Management and Programming Instructors

The California Department of Technology is soliciting quotes from the vendor community to provide instructor-led training courses in mainframe training curriculum for state staff. The classes — with lectures and live demonstration in the lab — will be taught onsite at the department’s Training and Education Center in Rancho Cordova. The term of the contract will be for two or three years. Class topics include basic COBOL programming, introduction to JCL, ADABAS fundamentals, beginning DB2, Z/OS, and more.

[techwire.net] 6/6

UC Berkeley Center Preps for the Future of Cybersecurity

Steven Weber wants you to envision a future in which Facebook, Twitter, even Google have just gone bankrupt — a future in which a tech failure makes the financial collapse of the last decade seem small. Think: “A memo goes from Mark Zuckerberg to the president of the United States, that mimics a memo that went from GM to the president,” said Weber, a professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Information, at a recent event in Washington. It says: “My company is responsible for 2 million jobs. My company is in financial distress. The only way I can keep those things going is to sell those data assets.” That data, in Facebook’s case, would include users’ names, birthdays, social connections — even the shapes of their faces, collected every time friends tag one another in photos.

[techwire.net] 6/6

Professionals Unite to Promote Redding on Civic Hacking Day

More than 60 people came together at Shasta Venture Hub on Saturday afternoon for the National Day of Civic Hacking, and spent the day brainstorming ideas on how to put Redding on the map and increase community tools for its citizens. Those who attended the event, called #Hackforchange, were divided into three teams according to their skills and spent time either building a mobile application for the city of Redding, increasing the city’s social media presence, or going on travel review sites to insert more Shasta County locations that weren’t listed or reviewed. Megan Conn, development manager with Turtle Bay Exploration Park, worked with a team of five people to insert reviews on some North State locations and activities on internet sites such as TripAdvisor and LonelyPlanet.

[techwire.net] 6/6

Bills Move Forward Authorizing New IT Systems in State Government

Several bills that would expand or create technology systems in California state government cleared their house of origin this week in the state Legislature. They still must win approval from either the Assembly or Senate before moving to the governor’s desk.

[techwire.net] 6/3

Big Government Cozies Up to Silicon Valley

High costs, mountains of paperwork and long wait times often make working with the government a nightmare for entrepreneurs, but some agencies are trying to change that by promising startups faster and easier access to federal capital. The goal is to give the government better and cheaper access to cutting-edge innovation beyond Capitol Hill, but industry experts warn that the red tape that has traditionally hindered federal deals won’t disappear overnight. “In order to remain the … best Air Force on the planet, we have to be constantly innovating, and particularly when it comes to high-technology solutions, we’ve got to speed it up,” Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said in April during her second visit to Silicon Valley in four months. “And we’ve got to make ourselves accessible to more companies who can help meet our needs.”

[govtech.com] 6/3

Tech News for June 3

NASCIO implores states to embrace the IoT, set policies around connected tech

State IT leaders can’t afford to wait any longer to embrace the Internet of Things and set policies around the new technology, according to the National Association of State Chief Information Officers. The trade association released a policy brief on IoT issues Wednesday, laying out a series of strategies for states to adopt amid the rise of connected technology nationwide. “Cities and municipalities have been working toward the designation of ‘smart city’ for a while now,” Darryl Ackley, New Mexico CIO and NASCIO president, said in a statement. “While states provide different services than cities, we are seeing a lot of activity around IoT to improve citizen services and we see great potential for growth. The more organized and methodical states can be about implementing IoT, the more successful and useful the outcomes.”

[statescoop.com] 6/2

5 Steps To Proactively Engage Your Security Team on Projects

Whether you are working on a new IT initiative in government or you’re a seasoned project manager, at some point you will probably need to work with your agency’s Information Security team. These teams have a huge responsibility on their shoulders because they are ultimately responsible for ensuring that all new programs do not adversely affect the security posture of the organization. For that reason, they can be perceived as difficult to work with, or it may seem like they are there to slow a project down. But, in reality, they are there to ensure that your project or program isn’t susceptible to hackers, can be recovered during a disaster, and doesn’t expose any confidential data. I asked our staff to provide helpful suggestions on how to improve the interaction between project management and security teams, and they came up with several great tips to make your next project a breeze when it comes to information security.

[govloop.com] 6/2

IBM and Cisco Combine the Power of Watson Internet of Things with Edge Analytics

Cisco (NYSE:CSCO) and IBM (NYSE:IBM) today announced a global collaboration to provide instant Internet of Things (IoT) insight at the edge of the network. Now, businesses and organizations in remote and autonomous locations will be able to tap the combined power of IBM’s Watson IoT and business analytics technologies and Cisco’s edge analytics capabilities to more deeply understand and act on critical data on the network edge. Today, billions of interconnected devices and sensors are gathering vast amounts of real-time data about the physical world. In recent years cloud computing has offered companies a powerful way of storing that data and turning it into valuable insight. But for businesses without easy access to high bandwidth connectivity, these capabilities are sometimes out of reach or take too long. To address the problem, IBM and Cisco have joined forces to offer a new way to produce immediate, actionable insight at the point of data collection. The new approach is designed to target companies operating on the edge of computer networks such as oil rigs, factories, shipping companies and mines, where time is of the essence but bandwidth is often lacking.

[cloudcomputingintelligence.com] 6/3

Blackman: Governing the Sharing Economy with Technology

What would happen if you and your family were living paycheck to paycheck and you lost your job tomorrow? For more than half of all Americans, this is an all-too-real fear as they have less than a thousand dollars in the bank and little to no financial cushion should a catastrophic life event occur. Whether out of necessity or a desire for greater financial freedom, one of the modern marvels of the headline-grabbing sharing economy is that it can provide citizens immediate access to income if they need it and flexible work arrangements that can fit into complex lives — that is, if the right technology is in place to help them quickly. Perhaps you have a spare room that could be posted for availability on Airbnb, or a car you could drive for Lyft or Uber. I would venture to say that many Americans are reassured knowing that they can leverage opportunities within the sharing economy to put food on the table, make the next rent or mortgage payment, or pay unforeseen medical bills. And there are others who are using these opportunities to live life on their own terms — for example, driving an Uber in the morning so they can be available to coach their child’s soccer team in the afternoon.

[techwire.net] 6/3

Friday Bid Roundup: CHP, Dept. of Public Health, Health Information Integrity Office, and More

1. The California Department of Public Health’s Center for Health Care Quality is interested in redesigning a public website that gives consumers access to information about California’s licensed long-term care facilities and hospitals. The website, called the Health Facilities Consumer Information System, was implemented in 2008. RFI responses due June 30.

2. The State of California Office of Health Information Integrity is seeking via an RFP a consulting firm with expertise in HIPAA and project management to work from the office’s Sacramento headquarters. Among the scope of work, the contractor will provide “subject matter expertise on privacy, security, and transaction code sets in regard to health information, and contribute to the compliance review team.”

3. The Department of Technology is seeking IT consulting services with focus on expertise in the Riverbed tool suite. According to an RFQ released on June 1, the state said a “rapidly growing need is the ability to benchmark application projects” as more IT projects migrate into the OTech data center. The satet will use the tool set to identify projects that are “M&O” ready. RFQ responses are due June 16.

4. The California Department of Fire and Forestry Protection on June 1 released an RFQ for fleet management software. Responses are due July 15. The department wants a solution with no customization needed.

5. The Department of Technology in conjunction with the California Highway Patrol is doing market research on audio logging recorders. The records muste be Next-Gen 911 ready and built in open architecture and be available commercially off the shelf, according to the draft requirements. RFI responses are due June 6.

[techwire.net] 6/2

Protecting Pedestrians with Connected Vehicle Technology

When it comes to vehicle safety, we often envision protecting the lives of occupants traveling inside a vehicle. But while roadway fatalities have successfully declined in recent years, the number of pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities have increased. In 2014, there were 4,884 pedestrians killed and an estimated 65,000 injured in traffic crashes in the United States. On average, a pedestrian was killed every 2 hours and injured every 8 minutes in traffic crashes. As such, I declared pedestrian and bicyclist safety a top priority for the USDOT and the deployment of connected vehicle technology has the potential to yield significant safety benefits for all pedestrians including cyclists, people in wheelchairs, children in strollers and passengers getting on and off of buses.

[transportation.gov] 6/2

Banking expert warns of potential for ‘really bad’ cyberattack

Cyberattacks on banks need to be looked at with the same kind of urgency as physical threats, because there is the potential for things to get really bad, banking and cybersecurity expert Ben Lawsky said Wednesday. “We live in a world where each day we are surprised by something new when it comes to the sophistication and the capabilities of hackers,” he said in an interview with CNBC’s “Power Lunch.” “You have groups of hackers around the world who are innovating all day long. All they do is try and figure out ways to disrupt our system. It could be really bad.”

[cnbc.com] 6/1

Nearly 90,000 Bay area patients’ records at risk 00:00 01:47

We all have to trust our doctors with very private information. For many, that’s been compromised by a cyberattack. Nearly 90-000 thousand Bay area patients may be at risk. “It’s painful, it really is,” says Dr. John Wachter from Eye Associates of Pinellas. He prides his practice on helping people. Now, he and staff have to focus on notifying some 87,000 patients, at their 3 locations that their name, address, date of birth, even Social Security numbers could be in the hands of hackers. “We all try to do the best we can to protect information, and every time you put another safeguard in there’s someone out there trying to work its way around it,” says Wachter. It’s part of a nationwide security breach.

[wtsp.com] 6/2

California Communities Respond to Police Surveillance Purchases with Oversight Ordinances

In San Jose, the police department purchased a drone without notifying the public or the City Council. The police department did not have to disclose its purchase, since the drone was obtained through a Homeland Security grant rather than funds appropriated by the city. In Oakland, the government was preparing to go forward with a Domain Awareness Center that would have allowed for citywide surveillance using public and private cameras. The city only had to scale back its program after public outrage. Incidents like these have ignited a debate across California about surveillance practices and the equipment used to perform them, sparking discussion about facial recognition databases, drones, stingrays, and license-plate readers.

[bordc.org] 6/2

Wave of Website Renovations Hits Government

Is it time to give the government website a makeover? For years, city and state sites have been designed as portals through which the public could find as much information as possible. The motto was clearly, “the more, the better.” But the result has been an overwhelming hodgepodge of columns and boxes filled with tiny text, drop-down menus that run on and on, and buttons everywhere. With so much information crammed on to a home page, visitors are lucky if they manage to find what they’re looking for, says John McKown, president of Evo Studios Inc., a Web design firm that works with municipalities. “The problem with so many government websites has been information overload.” That’s certainly the case with the city of Philadelphia’s website, which contains more than 66,000 pages and documents, some of which have never been viewed, according to Aaron Ogle, the city’s former civic technology director.

[govtech.com] 6/2

Tech News for June 2

Salesforce Acquires Demandware for $2.8 Billion

CRM giant Salesforce continued its investment in cloud technology today with the announcement that it has agreed to acquire enterprise cloud commerce provider Demandware for $2.8 billion. The company will become part of Salesforce’s Customer Success Platform, which helps companies connect with their customers using new technologies and platforms.
Demandware offers a variety of enterprise services through the cloud, including digital commerce, order management, predictive intelligence and point of sale. Prior to the acquisition, the company had counted several global brands among its clients, including Design Within Reach, Lands’ End, L’Oreal, and Marks & Spencer.

[toptechnews.com] 6/1

Attack on Electrical Grid Could Collapse Economy

It was like something from a Hollywood movie, but it was real. At about 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 23, a computer in an electricity distribution center in western Ukraine seemed to take on a life of its own. While a helpless worker watched, the cursor on the screen moved by itself and clicked on a box that opened a series of circuit breakers — a move that would take the entire power station offline. When a dialogue box appeared asking for confirmation of the command, the ghostly cursor moved again and completed the action. Reaching frantically for the mouse, the worker tried to abort what was happening, but the computer was being controlled from elsewhere. In all, about 30 substations were taken out of commission and 225,000 customers were suddenly cut off from the power supply. It marked what is believed to be the world’s first successful cyber-attack on a nation’s power grid.

[rollcall.com] 6/1

Ransomware is working, and the cybercrooks know it

The number of internet domains serving up ransomware has risen massively in just the space of three months, as cybercriminals look to cash in. Sites designed to host malware, exploit kits, phishing scams, and other threats have also reached their highest-ever level, according to security researchers at Infoblox. In raw numbers, exploit kits remain the biggest security threat, accounting for just over 50 percent of the index. As in past quarters, Angler remains the top piece of ransomware, but a new contender has emerged from far back in the pack: observations of Neutrino have grown by 300 percent, the researchers said. “Again in simple terms: Ransomware is working,” the report said.

[zdnet.com] 6/1

Long Beach’s Tech and Innovation Department Recognized for Tech Use with National Award

The CIO Awards have selected Long Beach’s Tech and Innovation Department for a national award regarding its use of technology in creating and delivering business value, the city announced today. Long Beach was reportedly the only city recognized for the award, called the CIO 100 award, among a group consisting of companies like Aflac, Dell, Hilton, Intel and Wells Fargo. “Long Beach is using technology and innovation to increase business efficiency, improve health outcomes and safety, and help residents communicate more efficiently with City Hall,” said Mayor Robert Garcia in a statement. “Long Beach is growing and evolving,” said Bryan Sastokas, chief information officer for the City of Long Beach in a statement. “This award is a great example of the Mayor and City Council’s dedication toward innovation technology that allows the City to deliver genuine business value.

[lbpost.com] 6/1

Anonymized Data Really Isn’t Anonymous: Vehicle Data Can Easily Be Used To Identify You

Companies increasingly hoover up larger and larger oceans of consumer data, promising that security and privacy aren’t much of a worry because data is “anonymized.” But as research has shown time and time again, anonymous data isn’t all that anonymous — since it takes only a modicum of effort to either analyze the data — or cross reference it with other data — to ferret out personal identities. It doesn’t really matter whether we’re talking about NSA surveillance troves or social networking data: anonymous data just isn’t anonymous. As yet another example of this, researchers from the University of Washington and the University of California at San Diego have found that the data collected by a car’s onboard computer can be surprisingly personal. In fact it’s so personal, the researchers found that they could identify a driver — from a possible list of fifteen drivers — just by looking at data collected from the brake pedal alone.

[techdirt.com] 5/31

California, other Western states leave more than $133M in FCC E-Rate funds unclaimed

In Western states, more than a hundred million dollars in federal funding for school and library broadband projects went unclaimed in fiscal year 2014, according to Gary Rawson, chairman of the State E-Rate Coordinators Alliance. At the National Association of State Technology Directors Western Region conference, Rawson presented data showing that the 10 states in the region — Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota and Wyoming — failed to claim more than $133 million in grant money from the Federal Communications Commission’s E-Rate program. That is just over 26 percent of the total $500 million that was committed to the states.

[statescoop.com] 6/1

Agencies open up to OpenStack

Three out of four government IT professionals in a new poll say their agencies are now using cloud computing services. The new survey also found that a significant portion of the respondents have favorable perceptions about the cost, security and ease of deploying the popular open source software platform, OpenStack, for their on-premises cloud computing initiatives. The findings indicate that open source technology, like OpenStack, is coming into wider use within government agencies, with about one-fourth of government respondents reporting that their agencies currently use open source technology for their on-premises cloud services. The technology manages large clusters of compute, storage, and networking resources throughout a datacenter as an alternative to using proprietary cloud software.

[statescoop.com] 6/2

Prison Industry Authority Seeks CMAS Vendor for Tech Recovery Services

The California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) is seeking a CMAS-certified vendor to provide technology recovery services for a one-year period. The contractor will provide a risk management plan, risk analysis, testing and exercises, monthly status reports, and a plan for selecting a third-party technical recovery provider, among many other tasks. The work will be done in Folsom, Calif., through a deliverables-based contract. Responses to the RFO are due June 17.

[techwire.net] 6/2

Campaign and Lobbying Database Upgrade Gets Go-Ahead from State Senate

The state Senate on Tuesday approved legislation that would authorize the Secretary of State to upgrade California’s campaign and lobbying database, a system one senator described as “put together with duct tape.” Bill author Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, urged senators to support a much-needed rebuild of the antiquated online campaign and lobbying database known as Cal-Access. “We’ve seen recently story after story of that system that’s put together with duct tape and bailing wire, so to speak, fail,” Hertzberg said.

[techwire.net] 6/2

Effort to Build a Smarter Transportation Network Takes a Giant Step Forward

The end of congestion brings many tantalizing promises: safer roads, less pollution, a better life for people in low-income neighborhoods. The technology to make that happen — intelligent transportation — always seemed to be just around the corner. Until now. The effort to build a smarter transportation network, which could put a big dent in congestion, is taking a step forward in the form of one gigantic carrot the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is dangling in front of America’s cities.

[govtech.com] 6/1

NIST asks for help recovering corrupted data

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is looking for products and expertise to help organizations reliably recover corrupted or destroyed data. The search is being conducted by NIST’s Data Integrity project, which is part of the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence. The project is working to develop ways organizations can prevent or recover from data loss or alteration resulting from malware or human error. In a Federal Register notice posted Wednesday, NIST says it wants to learn more about ways to deal with lost or corrupted data.

[fedscoop.com] 6/1

Driverless Car Testing May Spark a Tech Transformation for One California Town

It looks like something from a Cold War nightmare — a ghost town uninhabited for decades, abandoned after a nuclear war, overgrown with weeds and deathly silent. Single-pane windows crack and crumble to concrete floors below. Trees sway lazily in front of a building that could have been an elementary school. A single car, an Acura RLX, turns a corner. On the road in front of it stands a figure: pale white, motionless, with a black and yellow duffel bag at his feet. He might be waiting for a friend to pick him up. He doesn’t move as the Acura approaches, and so the car swerves to avoid him.

[govtech.com] 6/2

Tech News for June 1

Former CalPERS chief sentenced to prison in bribery scandal

He arrived in plain jail clothes, shackles around his ankles, the humbled former leader of America’s largest public pension fund ready to accept his punishment for taking bribes. He left with a prison term of 4 1/2 years. Fred Buenrostro, the former chief executive of CalPERS, was sentenced Tuesday by a federal judge who called his actions “a spectacular breach of trust.” Buenrostro, 66, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge nearly two years ago, admitting he took more than $250,000 in cash and other bribes from his friend and former CalPERS board member Alfred Villalobos. Prosecutors said Villalobos, who killed himself last year, was attempting to steer pension fund investments to the private equity firms he represented.

[sacbee.com] 5/31

In California, varied election filing practices reveal a system struggling to catch up

More than half of California’s counties — most of them small and rural — don’t provide online access to campaign finance records, and they say they aren’t likely to change any time soon, an assessment of county-level contribution records shows. Only 28 of the state’s 58 counties provide campaign finance information online. And of those, just 17 make the data available in formats that make it easy to search and analyze the money influencing local elections. Some counties say shifting online would be too expensive given tight budgets. Others have implemented electronic filing systems, but have not made them mandatory for candidates and committees. That means it’s more difficult to determine whom local donors are, how much money they raised and for which campaigns. Counties operate independently because there is no state law requiring online filing.

[latimes.com] 5/30

S.F. Cops Could Have Body Cameras by August After Union Vote

San Francisco police officers could be wearing cameras as early as Aug. 1 after their union voted unanimously Tuesday to support a set of rules for using the devices that seeks a middle path on whether officers should be allowed to view footage before filing reports on critical incidents such as shootings. The Police Officers Association agreed on a policy requiring officers to provide an initial statement of facts before screening body-camera footage following in-custody deaths as well as officer-involved shootings like those that have stirred outrage, a federal review and the recent resignation of the police chief in San Francisco.

[techwire.net] 6/1

Bid: Hosted Student Health Information System at S.F. State

San Francisco State University is seeking a service provider to host a secure electronic health-care environment to deploy third-party medical applications and databases, Active Directory, Windows file share and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. The service will be accessed from the campus using zero clients and desktops running Virtual Desktop Infrastructure client software with peripherals. VPN and firewall services are needed to provide secure network connections from the data center to specific Internet resources.

[techwire.net] 6/1

Cybersecurity goes beyond securing the perimeter, state experts say

Cybersecurity is about more than just preventing external access to networks, state information technology experts said. Tech executives must find ways to protect the assets that are inside as well as secure their networks’ ever-changing borders, experts from Florida and Virginia said on the latest episode of StateScoop Radio’s “Priorities” podcast. “I think at some point, we have to come to terms with the fact that we have as a community failed to effectively prevent or even reduce the impact of breaches,” Jackie Wynn, the vice president of global public sector strategy for RSA Security, said on Priorities. “I think this is a failure that is due to a focus solely just on preventive approaches, and like all castles we’ve built in history, they’re ultimately always breached.”

[statescoop.com] 5/31

Five of the most outdated IT system in the government

Parts of the federal government’s $80 billion information technology budget are used to run 1970s-era computers, maintain outdated code and rehire former employees who are the only ones with the knowledge to operate them. The government’s aging IT infrastructure has been understood for years and has received increased attention amid cyber security concerns. The White House has pushed lawmakers to adopt a $3.1 billion modernization fund that would update some of the oldest systems. And the Government Accountability Office (GAO) just came out with a report detailing some of the most outdated technologies still used today.

[thehill.com] 5/31

SWIFT Examines New Cyberattack Prevention Tech

In an effort to improve security, the global interbank messaging system said it would begin discussions with its users about new measures and tools that will assist the detection of fraudulent payment instructions, Reuters reported late last week. The Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, better known as SWIFT, said it may also make security practices that are optional in its system — such as two-factor authentication of payment instructions — a requirement for all customers. Though the co-operative has kept a sole focus on passing authenticated messages between banks for some time, in the wake of recent cybersecurity threats and breaches, it may soon expand its role.

[pymnts.com] 5/31

Third Modular Procurement for State’s Child Welfare System Goes Public

California is seeking a contractor to provide “intake implementation readiness support services” for 25,000 users across the state who will use a new child welfare system. The Child Welfare System — New System (CWS-NS) is one of California’s largest IT modernization efforts, and its intake system will be one of the first parts developed under the project’s revamped approach, which is using agile design principles and is divided into multiple bid opportunities, or “modules.” “Intake Digital Service is the initial entry point into child welfare services and includes processes to receive referrals from community members and mandatory reporters. Mandatory reporters are individuals, who within their professional capacity — teachers, doctors, etc., are required by law to report suspicions and/or knowledge of child abuse, neglect or exploitation,” the RFP says.

[techwire.net] 6/1

California Might Use Cloud Software to Track Payday Lenders

The California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) on Tuesday released a request for information about cloud or software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions that payday lenders could use to securely enter their financial transactions on a daily basis. The department regulates payday lenders and other financial institutions in California, and enforces the California Deferred Deposit Transaction and California Finance Lenders laws. As of the end of 2014, California licensed about 2,000 payday lender locations. The licensees made 12.4 million transactions and served 1.8 million customers, according to a DBO report. Nearly $3.4 billion was processed in those transactions.

[techwire.net] 6/1

Public Cloud Computing Growing Almost 50 Percent Annually, Cisco Says

If there were any lingering doubts about the embrace of cloud computing across all industry sectors, the latest market analysis from Cisco ought to lay them to rest. Within the next three years, the study concludes, more than four-fifths of all data center traffic, 83 percent, will be based in the cloud. What’s more, most of this action will be going to public cloud services – there will be more workloads (56 percent) in the public cloud than in private clouds (44 percent). These are some of the many takeaways of Cisco’s survey of data center traffic, which estimates that more than 500 zettabytes (ZBs) of data will be generated by all people, machines, and things by 2019, almost five times the 135 ZBs generated in 2014. Roughly three to four zettabytes of it moves across data networks at this time, a number projected to grow to 10 ZBs within three years.

[forbes.com] 5/31

Tech News for May 31

California bills fail to advance on police records, body camera funding

Hundreds of bills face a vote before the California Senate and Assembly next week after passing off the suspense files in both houses on Friday, but a pair of high-profile public safety measures aimed at increasing transparency in law enforcement agencies will not. Among dozens of proposals held this year in their respective appropriations committees, either for costing too much or proving politically unpopular, were Senate Bill 1286, by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, to open public access for officer misconduct and use-of-force records, and Assembly Bill 1680, by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Salinas, to fund a grant program for more local police to buy body cameras.

[sacbee.com] 5/27

Secretary of State’s Office Names CIO as New Projects Emerge

The California Secretary of State’s Office has hired Rita Gass to the position of CIO. Her first day will be June 13. For the past eight years Gass has been the CIO of the California Conservation Corps, where during her tenure the corps won an award in 2014 from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) for its rapid deployment of a cloud-based recruiting system. During her time with the corps, Gass also worked as the project director for the department’s ERP replacement project that moved to the cloud.

[techwire.net] 5/31

Natural Resources Agency Adapts IT Management Strategy to Drive Innovation

The mission of the California Natural Resources Agency is “to restore, protect and manage the state’s natural, historical and cultural resources.” In some ways, those goals are timeless. But like any government organization, the agency must adapt to an increasing pase of change, particularly from the technology industry. The traditional style of IT management no longer works, said Tim Garza, the agency’s IT director, during a recent TechWire Industry Briefing in Sacramento. So the Resources Agency has come up with a new model that is horizontal rather than vertical, and puts equal measure on operations, engineering, services and innovation.

[techwire.net] 5/31

June 4 National Day of Civic Hacking to Focus on Sacramento’s ‘Promise Zone’

Sacramento is joining dozens of cities across the country that will bring coders together on Saturday to build solutions for the good of the community. Sacramento’s event will focus on its federally-designated Promise Zone, one of 13 high-poverty and unemployment neighborhoods identified in the U.S. The zone encompasses a swath of area in North Sacramento, downtown and South Sacramento, “from Del Paso Heights in the North Area to The Avenues in the South County,” according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The local area faces a 34 percent poverty rate and 18 percent unemployment.

[techwire.net] 5/31

Unencrypted Laptops Expose Over 400,000 Patients’ Medical Data

In three separate incidents, the thefts of unencrypted laptops from healthcare providers potentially exposed more than 400,000 patients’ personal and protected health information (PHI). Home prescription delivery provider OptumRx recently began notifying 6,229 people that their personal information may have been exposed when an unencrypted laptop belonging to an OptumRx vendor was stolen from an employee’s vehicle in Indianapolis on March 16, SC Magazine reports. The laptop held customer names, addresses, health plan names, prescription drug information, prescribing provider information and in some cases, birthdates. All those affected are being offered one free year of access to LifeLock identity theft protection services.

[esecurityplanet.com] 5/30

Governments Turn to Commercial Spyware to Intimidate Dissidents

In the last five years, Ahmed Mansoor, a human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates, has been jailed and fired from his job, along with having his passport confiscated, his car stolen, his email hacked, his location tracked and his bank account robbed of $140,000. He has also been beaten, twice, in the same week. Mr. Mansoor’s experience has become a cautionary tale for dissidents, journalists and human rights activists. It used to be that only a handful of countries had access to sophisticated hacking and spying tools. But these days, nearly all kinds of countries, be they small, oil-rich nations like the Emirates, or poor but populous countries like Ethiopia, are buying commercial spyware or hiring and training programmers to develop their own hacking and surveillance tools.

[nytimes.com] 5/29

3 common cloud ROI failures you must avoid

I see a lot of cloud computing projects fail in that they do not bring the promised ROI. In my book, if a project cannot live up to the projected ROI, it has failed. There are three common cloud mistakes that lead to such ROI failure, each of which you can easily avoid.

[infoworld.com] 5/31

IBM Introduces New Watson Features to the Twilio Marketplace

Big Blue is teaming up with cloud communication platform Twilio to introduce two new offerings, IBM Watson Message Sentiment and IBM Watson Message Insights. Twilio, which functions as a communication tool for developers and businesses, will make both offerings available as add-ons through its recently announced marketplace, according to IBM. Developers who currently access Watson technology via Bluemix, IBM’s cloud platform, can also use the two new Watson offerings.

[toptechnews.com] 5/27