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Why contact tracing apps have been slow to roll out

The 2020 coronavirus pandemic is the biggest global health crisis since smartphones and other mobile devices became ubiquitous, and since its start, populations have been promised that contact tracing will move online, too. But while state and local governments have been quick to embrace all sorts of new technology to fight COVID-19, contact tracing apps have been slow to develop. Part of that can be attributed to public reluctance — polls have found that as many as 71% of people would refuse to use such an app — but governments themselves are also hesitate to move beyond classic tracing methods like phone calls and live interviews. This story is part of a <a href="https://preprod.statescoop.com/contact-tracing-apps-states-privacy/">special report</a> on the future of digital government. Benjamin Freed reports.

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That's an expensive glitch

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development overpaid an estimated $21.2 million in unemployment benefits over a two-day period in April, according to a recent report by the state’s legislative audit bureau. The report found that a “programming error” caused the state to double the amount of unemployment insurance benefits paid to 20,135 claimants on April 29, resulting in an estimated $21.1 million in overpayments. An additional $100,000 in overpayments went out the following day. But recovery of the wrongly paid funds was swift: more than $19 million was reclaimed within a day, and the state expects to recover the full sum by next month. Ryan Johnston reports.

Kansas CISO moves to El Paso County, Texas

Longtime Kansas chief information security officer Rod Blunt stepped down last month to take a similar role with El Paso County, Texas. Blunt, who spent 16 years as Kansas' CISO, was responsible for the creation and administration of the Kansas Information Security Office, the state’s cybersecurity strategy and implementing a managed security services program that covers about 60 government agencies. Ben has more.

FCC approves a more accurate broadband data collection method

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted to approve a new, more accurate broadband data collection method, nearly one year after first voting to improve the data collection process. The new, granular method will be used to dole out $4.4 billion to telecommunications companies over the next decade as part of the FCC's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. It will eventually replace the current approach that only counts census blocks, which allows ISPs to overstate their coverage areas. Ryan has details.

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