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Do your counties have cyber disaster plans yet?

State governments have steadily revised their disaster response plans to include contingencies for cyberattacks, a policy shift that’s helped places like Colorado, Louisiana and Texas work through ransomware incidents. But as attacks like ransomware continue to hone in on local governments — with more than 120 known cases last year — it’s incumbent upon county governments to add cyberattacks to their own disaster playbooks, speakers said Monday at National Association of Counties conference in Washington. “A cyber disaster is just like a physical disaster,” said Phil Bertolini, a co-director of the Center for Digital Government and former chief information officer of Oakland County, Michigan. “The same planning steps that go into a physical emergency have to go into your digital emergency." Benjamin Freed reports.

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Bloomberg suspends campaign that highlighted 'smart city' policies

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday suspended his free-spending campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, following last night's Super Tuesday contests, in which he badly trailed both former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders across 15 states and territories, winning only a single contest in American Samoa. Bloomberg, who used his vast personal wealth to bombard airwaves with ads and hire a huge campaign staff, spent $550 million trying to convince voters that replicating nationally the data-driven "smart city" policies he implemented in New York was the best alternative to President Donald Trump. But following his drubbing Tuesday, Bloomberg conceded to the numbers: "I’m a believer in using data to inform decisions,” he said in a statement released by his campaign. "After yesterday’s results, the delegate math has become virtually impossible – and a viable path to the nomination no longer exists." Ben has more.

So, about Super Tuesday...

Federal and state officials were up late Tuesday monitoring for threats from hackers and trolls to the biggest primary day of the 2020 election season, Sean Lyngaas reports for CyberScoop. Over the course of the day, election administrators across the country were in contact with a watch floor at the Department of Homeland Security sharing threat data coming from the intelligence community. While a few technical glitches occurred in some states, including the breakdown of new voting machines in Los Angeles County that led to some extremely long waits to cast ballots, U.S. officials said there were no indications of malicious foreign activity against state election infrastructure or increases in disinformation and misinformation campaigns targeted at voters. Read more at CyberScoop.

Bloomberg proposes national '311' network for digital services

Before quitting his presidential campaign, Bloomberg offered one last proposal taking one of his smart-city ideas national with a pitch for a federal "311" service. The plan would connect the existing 311 systems in each of America’s biggest cities with a national network that residents could text, call, email or tweet at to request information or services around the clock. The Bloomberg campaign said the national hotline would be modeled after the 311 service developed by New York City over his 12 years as mayor, and which has since evolved to include a mobile app and text and social-media communications. Ryan Johnston reports.

Historical flood data could help first responders spot trouble early

Researchers at Texas A&M University have developed a new data-driven model for predicting floods that they say could help public safety officials anticipate threatening situations before they arise and better understand their environments. The model, which is designed to be used for extreme events like hurricanes, maps networks of drainage channels and uses machine learning and historical flood data to anticipate how future flooding events might unfold. The tool is based on readings after several recent record-setting floods in Houston, including 2017's Hurricane Harvey and another deluge that inundated the city on Memorial Day 2015. Colin Wood reports for EdScoop

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