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Here come the tracing apps

Officials in Alabama on Monday launched one of the first apps published by a state government aimed at tracking the spread of the coronavirus using the Exposure Notifications API developed jointly by Apple and Google. Over the next month, officials will encourage students returning to college campuses to download the app as the new academic year begins. The API uses Bluetooth communications to exchange "keys" — random strings of numbers — between users' devices as a way to alert people if they've been in contact with someone with COVID-19. A Google spokesperson said health agencies in as many as 20 states are developing apps based on Exposure Notifications. Benjamin Freed reports.

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San Jose distributes hotspots

San Jose, California, will distribute 11,000 mobile Wi-Fi hotspot devices to K-12 students who lack adequate access to internet at home, Mayor Sam Liccardo announced on Monday. The giveaway is the city’s latest effort to close the digital divide, which has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, and part of an $8.2 million digital inclusion plan Liccardo approved in June as part of San Jose's response to the health crisis. Ryan Johnston reports.

Annual election security tabletop exercise tests pandemic voting

Federal, state and local officials convened virtually last week for the Department of Homeland Security's third annual tabletop exercise simulating a host of potential disruptions to the Nov. 3 presidential election. Over three days, participants were put through drills attempting to find how potential cyberattacks, physical attempts to disrupt the voting process and civil unrest fueled by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic would play out. The point of the exercise, said one state official, is to be an  “Armageddon-like” scenario in which every potential mishap occurs. Ben has more.


Enhancing online engagement with predictive analytics

In the private sector, consumers expect a personalized experience in the first minutes or hours after interacting with an entity. As agencies look to similarly meet citizens’ expectations, organizations from public health, to post offices and other public services should look to predictive analytic capabilities, says Google Cloud’s Quinn Chasan. Listen to the full conversation.

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