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States and CISA ask Senate for more cyber funds

State IT officials joined Chris Krebs, director of the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, in telling members of the U.S. Senate Tuesday that the federal government needs to provide state and local governments with more assistance and expertise in protecting their networks and other critical infrastructure. Appearing before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Michigan Chief Security Officer Chris DeRusha and Amanda Crawford, executive director of the Texas Department of Information Resources, told lawmakers that while collaboration on cybersecurity between states and the federal government has improved in recent years, funding and resources for those activities are still in short supply. The hearing also came a day after members of the House Homeland Security Committee introduced a bill creating a new $400 million cybersecurity grant program for states, a potential counterpart legislation that passed the Senate unanimously last year. Benjamin Freed was at the hearing.

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Fairness concerns arise over FCC's new broadband fund

Amid widely conflicting reports of how many Americans truly lack access to high-speed internet, state broadband officials said Tuesday that there’s too much funding at stake to rely on the Federal Communications Commission's unreliable census-block data. In some cases, officials speaking at an event hosted by the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, said they have even taken the mapping effort into their own hands. These efforts come as the FCC plans to distribute nearly 75 percent of its new $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund using its admittedly flawed maps. But Jeff Sural, director of the North Carolina Department of Technology’s broadband infrastructure office, said he would rather see the FCC wait to develop its new, more granular mapping system, which will rely on ISPs submitting polygonal maps of their coverage areas. Ryan Johnston has details.

'Hidden Figures' to speak at Virginia's Women in Innovation gala

Two NASA mathematicians who served as inspiration for the 2016 film "Hidden Figures" are among the speakers at the Virginia Information Technologies Agency's upcoming Women in Innovation conference, officials announced last week. The event, the second in a series VITA launched last year, is billed as a celebration of accomplished women in the sciences and a chance for the public to glean inspiration and mentorship from the speakers. The program for the March 17 event includes Gladys West and Christine Mann Darden, two of a group of black women were integral in the development of NASA’s spaceflight program, but whose contributions went unrecognized for decades. VITA program coordinator Selena Ballou told StateScoop she expects about 500 attendees. Colin Wood reports.

Georgia Innovates Taskforce kicks off search for meaningful ideas

The Georgia Innovates Taskforce held its first meeting this week, led by Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, who has pledged to “make Georgia the technology capital of the East Coast.” The group, which was announced last month, includes former U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson; G.P. “Bud” Peterson, president emeritus at the Georgia Institute of Technology; and Debra Lam, the managing director of smart cities and inclusive innovation at Georgia Tech. Along with local business and education leaders, the group also includes Lynn Murphey, a program director with the Knight Foundation.   Colin has more.

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