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Virginia's preparing a COVID-19 datathon

Organizers of Virginia's annual datathon said they expect this year to be a bit different. In addition to being held virtually for the first time on Oct. 1-2, the event's theme is much broader. Rather than focusing on a single issue, such as opioid addiction or education, participants will be asked to choose their own challenge within the theme of Communities and COVID-19. Organizers told StateScoop that "casting a wide net" could allow for a much more diverse group of solutions, while the involvement of the office of statewide Chief Data Officer Carlos Rivero is hoped to ensure the projects aren't forgotten once the competition has ended. Colin Wood has more.

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1st STIR Labs cohort members named

The civic-technology corporation CityInnovate on Tuesday announced the first 17 members of its STIR Labs program, a new initiative that pairs research universities with local governments. The group, which includes the cities of Detroit; Memphis, Tennessee; Pittsburgh; San Jose, California; and San Antonio, will partner with universities by the end of November to study various community challenges. Program director Susana Benavidez told StateScoop the projects, which could include issues such as housing affordability, transportation and economic development, are to be tackled by researchers who represent the communities in which they work. Ryan Johnston reports.

Yet another security tool for State & Local

Last week, the Center for Internet Security announced a new service to support state and local governments' cybersecurity efforts. The Malicious Domain Blocking and Reporting, or MDBR, service prevents government devices from connecting to web domains known to be affiliated with malware, adding yet another layer of protection to state and local IT security environments. The free-of-charge service, which has been active for about five weeks, runs on Akamai’s Enterprise Threat Protector, a gateway that analyzes an IT system’s traffic requests against a list of websites known to be malicious. Benjamin Freed explains.

Philadelphia unveils latest innovation projects

Philadelphia unveiled on Tuesday the latest round of projects to be funded by its Innovation Fund. Redesigned after disruptions caused by the pandemic, many of the projects will seek to meet more recent needs of city agencies. Though it includes some lo-tech innovations, like refrigerators, informative floor stickers and water-bottle-refill stations, it also includes more modern advances, like new online licensing and inspection software and 360-degree cameras that help firefighters minimize the amount of time they spend inside burning buildings. Ryan has the details.


Los Angeles CIO says city’s success depends on digital investments

As Los Angeles CIO Ted Ross sees it, a future-ready government needs to be able to operate at scale and run on digital service delivery very quickly. Post COVID-19, the city found a drastic difference in operability from those departments which had to shut down a service during the initial pandemic response, and those that remained operational. “If it is digital, it actually thrived quite often. So, I think it's become extremely important to streamline processes and reinvest in digital processes,” he said. Listen to the full conversation.

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