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Coronavirus is an IT issue

As the new coronavirus continues to spread throughout the United States, organizations making plans about how they will continue activities if the ongoing outbreak forces them to temporarily close offices and send workers home. The ongoing health crisis means state and local governments will be challenged to keep their workers safe and healthy, while also minimizing interruptions to their operations as they delivery critical services to the public. Both the National Association of State Chief Information Officers and Public Technology Institute, which focuses on local IT, are advising their members to be prepared in case government employees have to work remotely for extended periods of time, while also ensuring that critical services related to public health remain operational, Benjamin Freed and Ryan Johnston report. “People expect state government to be at its best when life is at its worst,” said NASCIO Executive Director Doug Robinson. Read 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.

The ransomware struggle continues

The ransomware attacks that have plagued state and local governments for the past several years continue to grow more frequent and sophisticated, while government organizations struggle to be prepared for and resilient against these incidents, a new study by the consulting firm Deloitte argues. The report’s findings can be chalked up to to three factors: governments’ lack of preparedness, small IT budgets and a limited workforce. It also notes that some threat actors, like the gang behind the Ryuk malware, have been stepping up its attacks against public-sector entities because several victims have used cyber insurance policies to pay ransoms instead of rebuilding and strengthening their IT infrastructure. Benjamin Freed reports.

States and locals to feds: More rural internet funds soon, please

State and local governments asked Congress on Tuesday to funnel more investment to broadband infrastructure in rural areas. The request, made in a joint letter by the National League of Cities, National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, Council of State Governments and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, urged Congress to invest in “large-scale” broadband expansions and upgrades in rural communities, which often have poorer service than indicated by federal coverage data. Congress should consider the input of state and local agencies and their stakeholders during any investment decision, the letter argued, as local jurisdictions may have more granular data than the FCC and better insight into which communities need help most. Ryan Johnston has details.

Only one day left for Washington state privacy bill

The Washington state House of Representatives last week passed an amended version of an ambitious consumer privacy act, but lawmakers must still agree on one major area of contention by Thursday before the bill can move to the desk of Gov. Jay Inslee. Several amendments distance the House version of the bill from one approved by the Senate, but a particularly thorny change surrounds an issue known as “private right of action,” the right of individuals to bring lawsuits against companies under the law. The Senate version does not include this provision, instead giving sole enforcement powers to the office of Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, while the House version permits private lawsuits. Colin Wood reports.

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