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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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