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State and local pandemic aid still missing

As expected, the $1 trillion pandemic relief bill Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., introduced this week doesn't contain any new aid for cash-starved state and local governments, which are in desperate need of assistance to avoid making massive service cuts. Now, governors, mayors and county leaders are saying "it is dire" that Congress approve more aid to states, cities and counties so they can maintain their operations, including the technologies to take workforces remote, make public services more digital and keep vital systems like unemployment insurance operational. McConnell's bill is virtually certain to fail in its current form; meanwhile states and local governments are left to keep sounding the alarm. Benjamin Freed reports.

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You don't have to pay ransoms if you don't get ransomed

As the number of coronavirus cases tops 4.4 million in the U.S., the shift to remote work has provided an opportunity for bad actors to more successfully conduct various types of cyberattacks, with ransomware representing one of the most devastating threats. And the bounties are only getting larger, Corye Douglas, a member of the New York National Guard, writes in a new commentary. While law enforcement agencies typically advise victims not to pay ransoms, that doesn't address the steep costs of recovery. But there's a better solution, Douglas writes: invest in a comprehensive cybersecurity policy, update it regularly and safeguard your network from attacks in the first place. Read the full commentary.

Hartford, Connecticut, announces plan to build free citywide Wi-Fi

Hartford, Connecticut, Mayor Luke Bronin announced on Wednesday that the city is planning to build a free public Wi-Fi network to cover the city’s entire population, with the first phase set to be completed by the end of this year. Bronin plans to send crews neighborhood-to-neighborhood, installing outdoor wireless access points so that the majority of residents can access the internet at speeds at least faster than those provided by wireless 4G LTE networks, which could mean anywhere from 20 to 100 megabits per second.   Ryan Johnston reports.

Columbus tests new transportation tech

A regional public-private partnership in Columbus, Ohio, is sponsoring three transportation pilots to improve traffic safety and efficiency throughout central Ohio, Mayor Andrew Ginther announced on Tuesday. Using funds from a $40 million federal grant the city won in 2016, Columbus officials will test technologies to help residents get to and from bus stations, reduce congestion with real-time traffic alerts and help residents who can’t travel access basic resources like groceries. Among the pilots is one that will recruit residents to volunteer their personal vehicles to become data-tracking devices for the benefit of local transportation officials. Ryan has more.

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