Tech News for May 25

The Algorithms Government Uses to Make Important Decisions About Citizens

In criminal justice systems, credit markets, employment arenas, higher education admissions processes and even social media networks, data-driven algorithms now drive decision-making in ways that touch our economic, social and civic lives. These software systems rank, classify, associate or filter information, using human-crafted or data-induced rules that allow for consistent treatment across large populations. But while there may be efficiency gains from these techniques, they can also harbor biases against disadvantaged groups or reinforce structural discrimination. In terms of criminal justice, for example, is it fair to make judgments on an individual’s parole based on statistical tendencies measured across a wide group of people? Could discrimination arise from applying a statistical model developed for one state’s population to another, demographically different population?

[] 5/24

By the numbers: Cyber attack costs compared

Data breaches caused by malicious insiders and malicious code can take as long 50 days or more to fix, according to Ponemon Institute’s 2015 Cost of Cyber Crime Study. While malware, viruses, worms, trojans, and botnets take only an estimated 2-5 days to fix. Unsurprisingly, attacks by malicious insiders are also the costliest to fix ($145,000 according to the Ponemon study), followed by denial of service ($127,000) and Web-based attacks ($96,000).

[] 5/24

CTIA: Americans used 9.6 trillion megabytes of data in 2015

According to CTIA’s annual Wireless Industry survey report for 2015, approximately 9.6 trillion megabytes of mobile data was used by Americans last year. The latest ‘mobile-data consumption statistics’ released by CTIA for 2015 underscore a two-fold increase in data consumption by Americans as compared to the 2014 figures; and a three-fold increase over the 2013 statistics which showed that Americans used 3.2 trillion megabytes of mobile data. To highlight the staggering increase in mobile data consumption by Americans in the year 2015, CTIA – elaborating on the 2015 figures from a different perspective – said that the 2015 data-consumption number is equal to streaming over 59,000 videos a day.

[] 5/24

Public cloud computing vendors: A look at strengths, weaknesses, big picture

Public cloud vendors are establishing unique characteristics that indicate the market won’t be a zero-sum game that’ll support multiple players. Cowen & Co. conducted a survey of 314 public cloud customers and found Amazon Web Services is the top dog with Microsoft Azure a strong No. 2. Meanwhile, IBM and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), which is grabbing more workloads, are above average in quality of IT support. That IT support rating could be a weapon against AWS, which had support rated as a weakness.

[] 5/25

California Looks Ahead to Assessments of Payroll System as Court Trial Nears

The civil court trial for California’s suspended payroll system modernization project is scheduled to begin on June 13. After the trial’s outcome is resolved later this year, state officials want to identify a new approach to restart the project. The State Controller’s Office intends to complete IT assessments of the troubled 21st Century Project, also known as MyCalPays, that could lead to alternatives for moving forward. Last week an Assembly budget subcommittee voted to approve the Controller’s plan to spend $2.7 million to support staff positions that will finish the assessments. The first of those assessments, completed last fall, determined that it could cost anywhere from $107 million to nearly $200 million to pay a system integrator to complete California’s statewide payroll system.

[] 5/25

IT Analysis: City of Fresno FY 2017 Budget

The city of Fresno unveiled a $1.1 billion budget plan (.pdf) for fiscal year 2017 on Tuesday that includes planned spending on new technology systems. Fresno proposes to spend $3.1 million for acquisition, deployment and year-one maintenance costs of a Land Management System (LMS) that will replace a legacy system. LMS will be utilized for the city’s permitting, mapping, planning, and development processes, and will interface with the city’s finance and billing systems.

[] 5/25

Congress to states: How can we help you boost cyber?

House lawmakers pressed state IT executives for ways the federal government could help them better prepare for cyberattacks. States identified cybersecurity as their “lowest-rated core competency” in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s most recent annual National Preparedness Report. During a hearing before two Homeland Security subcommittees Tuesday, state tech and emergency response leaders said the desire is high to boost state cyber defenses — but lamented that resource concerns stymie their efforts.

[] 5/25

Report: California Taxpayer-Funded Internet Program Doesn’t Provide Internet

Investigations made by a local newspaper found a regional government program in California tasked with the installation and operation of municipal Wi-Fi networks in cities with low-income households between Long Beach and Pasadena failed to provide Wi-Fi access after receiving nearly $500,000 in taxpayer funds from the state’s public utility regulatory agency. In March 2015, the South Bay Regional Broadband Consortium, part of the state’s Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortia, reported 24 different taxpayer-funded Wi-Fi internet access “hotspots”—locations with hardware equipment allowing open internet access to anyone wishing to connect—had been installed and activated between 2012 and 2014.

[] 5/23


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