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'I can't sit on the sideline'

Government IT officials are, most of the time, heads-down, apolitical business leaders focused on supporting other agencies and ensuring the continuity of operations. But over the past two weeks, as the death of George Floyd has sparked a global wave of demonstrations against police violence and the historic treatment of black people in America, some black CIOs are speaking up about their own experiences with racism and bias. In interviews with StateScoop, Illinois CIO Ron Guerrier and Sacramento, California, Chief Innovation Officer Louis Stewart opened up about times they've been mistaken for something other than an IT executive, what they say to their kids about police violence and how they can use tech policy to promote real equity. Benjamin Freed reports.

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Identity and access management gets a pandemic boost

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed myriad holes in government’s IT capabilities, and among those is a lack of maturity around managing user identity and access. When the health crisis forced state employees to begin working from home in March, Guerrier said on a Scoop News Group webcast yesterday, he soon found proof that his own state’s identity and access management capabilities were “woefully inadequate," as the number of Illinois state employees working remotely jumped from about 2,000 to nearly 50,000. “The world just completely accelerated overnight, so our ability to have the right hygiene and the tools to management identity and access management became number one because digital was the only access point for everyone," Guerrier said. Colin Wood has more.

Microsoft joins the facial recognition ban

A day after Amazon announced it would temporarily stop licensing its Rekognition software to government agencies, Microsoft announced it would also impose a moratorium on the sale of its facial recognition technology to police departments until there is national regulation that’s “grounded in human rights,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said. But privacy advocates remain skeptical of the tech giants' new posture: Matt Cagle, a technology and civil liberties attorney for the ACLU, said in an emailed statement the companies shouldn’t be in the business of determining what is or isn’t adequate policy. Ryan Johnston reports.


Remote work could be here to stay

Governors across the country have made the call to reopen their states and lift stay-at-home orders put in place during the start of the coronavirus pandemic. State and local CIOs, who rushed into action to rapidly move government workforces to telework face new challenges now as the next normal begins. In this special report, StateScoop and EdScoop look into what’s next for the remote workforce, how governments and universities are moving forward and what to expect next. See the full report.

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