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New year, new voting machines

The process of Pennsylvania phasing out its electronic, paper-free voting machines finally ended Tuesday when Dauphin County, which includes the state capital of Harrisburg, finally settled on a new, paper-based platform for collecting and counting ballots. Dauphin County was the last of the commonwealth's 67 counties to make the switch from all-digital devices that do not produce physical backups of votes to a system that includes a paper trail for all votes cast, a process set in motion by post-2016 criticism by election-security and cybersecurity experts that balloting devices that do not produce paper records are unreliable and prone to malfunction. Still, picking new equipment is only the beginning, University of Pittsburgh election security expert Chris Deluzio said. "Things like robust post-election audits, strong chains of custody around ballots and machines, and good voter verification of ballots are all needed to shore up election security," he said." Benjamin Freed has more.

A Message From AWS Educate

With over 1,500 institutions and hundreds of thousands of students who use AWS Educate, we wanted to take you on a trip around the world and highlight how students are learning and innovating with the cloud. Learn more.

FirstNet's gadget list grows again

The number of devices that can operate on FirstNet, the federal government's wireless network dedicated for use by public-safety officials, has grown nearly tenfold since the first batch of 17 devices was approved in April 2018. A list published in early December by the National Institute of Standards and Technology features 163 FirstNet-ready and FirstNet-capable devices, including every iPhone model released since 2014, and most versions of Samsung's Galaxy smartphone series. The list also includes several models of tablets, laptops, modems and wearable devices like the Apple Watch. Ryan Johnston has the details.

Everyone's invited to North Dakota's SOC

The North Dakota Information Technology Department is building a security operations center that the state's CIO, Shawn Riley, says will be open to all state governments. Riley told StateScoop that the border-crossing SOC is being designed to help state IT operations handle the crush of requests for assistance they receive from local governments, which have become some of the most frequent and vulnerable targets for ransomware and other threats. Colin Wood reports.

Interest in cybersecurity needs to come from the top

Local governments' cybersecurity shortcomings can be attributed to elected officials and other top leaders not taking an active interest in protecting networks and data, according to an upcoming journal article. The authors, four professors at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, argue that "without these officials' understanding and support, it is also hard to imagine that local governments will be able to do a better job of achieving high levels of cybersecurity." Ben has more.


Salesforce’s IT exec on how cloud services make emerging tech more accessible

Chris Radich, director of digital strategy, shares how cloud enables government agencies to easily consume emerging technologies. He cites an example of how AI services that are embedded in a cloud platform give an end-user the ability to consume modern capabilities, rather than building it themselves. Listen to the interview.

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