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House Homeland Security members want state cybersecurity aid in next relief bill

Top Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee wrote in a letter Monday evening that Congress’ next emergency relief bill in response the COVID-19 pandemic should include funding for cybersecurity assistance to state and local governments, especially as people continue working from home for an open-ended period. “State and local government employees are working hard to ensure continuity of operations,” reads the letter. “However, working from home, they are more susceptible to phishing, malware, and ransomware attacks.” The letter asks House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to look at recent legislation that would've created a $400 million annual grant program as Congress crafts a follow-up to the $2.3 trillion package approved last month.   Benjamin Freed reports.

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Esri launches portal to share COVID-19 data with FEMA

The mapping and geospatial data company Esri announced Monday that it’s been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency the past three weeks to develop a new software platform that the federal agency and its partners across all levels of government can use to share data in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Esri executives told StateScoop the new platform is similar to the public COVID-19 GIS Hub the company recently launched, except that it contains additional data sources contributed by FEMA-partner agencies such as state and local emergency management agencies and public health departments. “One of the things FEMA’s looking for is where are the gaps in the data?” said Chris Albert, Esri’s director for global public safety. Colin Wood reports.

TransparentBusiness woos governors during pandemic

TransparentBusiness, the little-known software company that alarmed state chief information officers last year with a nationwide lobbying effort promoting legislation that would’ve required IT contractors to use invasive tracking software is trying to take advantage of the recent surge in government telework — brought on by the COVID-19 crisis — by reaching out to governors with the offer of free licenses. In the messages, the company claims to offer some measure of worker accountability, but once again, TransparentBusinesses' attempts to ingrain itself in state government has raised concerns from CIOs and the vendors they work with. Meanwhile the company is still teasing its longterm financial goals by teasing potential investors with the possibility of a multibillion-dollar valuation if state governments embrace its product. Ben has more.

Internet voting is still a long way off, if ever

When an app needs to be trusted to protect the confidentiality of a person’s political preference, its security procedures and policies need to go far beyond what other software offers, Brett Winterford of the cybersecurity podcast Risky Business writes in the second installment of a series for CyberScoop. The apps involved in the current push for online voting, notably Voatz, have been found to contain dozens of vulnerabilities that could be exploited to expose or damage a user's real, live ballot. Winterford interviewed security experts who highlighted the work they've done on internet-based voting, and how it lays very early groundwork for possibly allowing elections to be conducted online in the distant future. Read more on CyberScoop.

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