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Remote work is good, need fixes

A NASCIO report published yesterday revealed that its members' attitudes have shifted dramatically after more than a year of pandemic-induced remote work. The report, based on responses about workforces from top state IT officials interviewed as the pandemic was beginning in February and March 2020, and again at the beginning of this year, found that no state CIOs are voicing outright resistance to the new status quo. Many NASCIO members said their employees were more productive working from home, and that the concern is no longer whether remote work is viable, but how to construct a healthy and sustainable work culture that avoids burnout. Colin Wood reports.

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Zero trust in remote life

With more than half of the Oklahoma state government’s 30,000-person workforce still performing their duties remotely a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, statewide CISO Matt Singleton said yesterday the health crisis encouraged his team to drastically accelerate its implementation of new cybersecurity measures like zero-trust identity management. Over the past 18 months, Singleton said his team has completed 38 "significant" initiatives, including new cloud proxy servers, a new VPN and replacements of endpoint detection, antivirus and network intrusion systems. “We had 30,000 employees with state assets designed to be behind a castle wall,” he said. "We don’t have a castle wall anymore." Benjamin Freed has details.

Biden plans $100 billion broadband investment

The $2 trillion infrastructure package the Biden administration unveiled Wednesday includes $100 billion for expanding broadband service, including 100% coverage nationwide. The funding will “future-proof” any new broadband networks built during his term and prioritize municipally-owned and co-operated networks, which have “less pressure to turn profits and with a commitment to serving entire communities,” a White House fact sheet reads. “This is promising news for state and local governments,”said Kathryn de Wit, a project director at Pew Charitable Trusts’ broadband access initiative. Ryan Johnston reports.

Banjo oversold surveillance software's features, Utah auditor says

Law-enforcement surveillance software that was suspended by the Utah state government last year was “much less likely” to have improperly used personally identifiable information than previously feared, the state auditor’s office announced Tuesday. The software, Live Time, produced by a company called Banjo, is unlikely to have violated the public’s privacy because its actual capabilities were found to be “inconsistent” with the company’s claims about what the product can do. The audit was prompted after revelations that Banjo's founder, Damien Patton, was a former Ku Klux Klan member. Colin has more.

Broadband is stratified in California

Californians are more connected to the internet than ever before, but at-home access is still stratified by factors like income and race, according to a survey of 1,650 Californians conducted by the University of Southern California and the nonprofit California Emerging Technology Fund. Researchers found that more than a quarter of the state’s low-income residents lack any access to the internet or are only connected via a smartphone, with Hispanic residents found to be significantly less likely to have at-home broadband access than other racial groups, despite making up 40% of California’s population. Ryan has the story.

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