Tech Talk

Are New York's Unprecedented Cyber-Regulations Necessary?

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in September a first-in-the-nation regulation designed to protect the state from the growing threat of cyberattacks. The proposed rule targets the state’s financial services institutions, requiring banks and insurance companies to establish a cybersecurity program and designate a chief information security officer. 

The regulation comes on the heels of what has been a banner year for data breaches, with large-scale attacks occurring at government agencies, retail companies, tech firms and health-care service organizations. Barely a week after Cuomo introduced the regulation, Yahoo announced that data from at least 500 million user accounts had been stolen by a “state-sponsored actor.” Symantec, the Internet security firm, has similarly reported that 430 million new kinds of malware were detected in 2015, a 36 percent increase from the year before.  READ MORE

Cities Closely Watching Chicago’s Version of a Fitbit

At first glance, the smart city movement seems quite robust. The media is full of stories about cities with smart utilities, smart parking systems, smart streetlights and apps for all sorts of smart services, such as next bus arrival times or trash bins that “ask” to be emptied when sensors detect they’re full.  

But dig a little deeper and it becomes apparent that many of these services are simply pilot projects testing a technology or apps that may make things a little more convenient for the public but don’t get at the root of a city’s problems. READ MORE

Artificial Intelligence: The Next Big Thing in Government

The Las Vegas health department typically selects at random the restaurants it will inspect. But earlier this year, it tried something new. The agency used a software program to analyze tens of thousands of tweets in order to identify possible food poisonings. The program then connected those tweets to specific restaurants and dispatched inspectors to check for any health violations. 

The Las Vegas experiment resulted in citations in 15 percent of inspections compared to just 9 percent when inspections were random. The new approach, which saved the agency time and money, was essentially a form of artificial intelligence, or cognitive computing. Unlike big data and analytics, which work off structured data that takes time to collect and analyze, this program was able to quickly calculate possible health problems by reading unstructured data -- words and phrases. That’s an exciting advance in computing capability, and it’s something that experts and state and local CIOs alike see as the next big thing in government technology. READ MORE

3 Ways Governments Are Fighting Hackers

*Note: This was published in the magazine and online before news broke about the recent cyberattacks on election systems in Arizona and Illinois.

So far it’s been a quiet year for data breaches. No major state and local cyberattacks have yet been reported in 2016. Of course, that doesn’t mean attackers are taking a break. Evidence suggests they’re merely spending less time developing new approaches and instead refining some old but proven ways to hack, according to Verizon’s recent Data Breach Investigations Report. READ MORE

Words of IT Wisdom From Silicon Valley to Governments

Local governments will spend in excess of $50 billion this year on information technology. More than half of that money will go toward maintaining  outdated and ineffective computer systems. As cities approach the inevitable task of replacing and updating them, James Keene has one piece of advice: Decentralize.  

Several months ago, Keene, the city manager of Palo Alto, Calif., co-wrote an article published by the Brookings Institution that criticized local government’s traditional mindset about IT. He and Palo Alto CIO Jonathan Reichental listed five deep-seated problems with government technology and their suggestions for fixing those glaring weaknesses. READ MORE

Innovation in Government


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