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Who needs an office anyway?

While the COVID-19 pandemic drags into its seventh month and many offices nationwide remain barren, tech workers in the Washington state government are apparently content with long-term remote work, Chief Information Officer Jim Weaver said during an online conference Wednesday. Speaking during the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s annual summit, Weaver said a recent internal poll of employees at the Washington Technology Solutions agency he leads found that telework enjoys overwhelming support. “Ninety-eight percent said they love remote work or are fine with it,” he said. “Two percent said they hate it — those are the extroverts — and 75% said they wish this would be a permanent thing for them.” Benjamin Freed reports.

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Transitional 911 systems are vulnerable

Members of a federal working group to guide the nation’s transition to an IP-based 911 system warned during a virtual event Wednesday that the emergency call system has a particularly large attack surface during the shift to next-generation 911. Speaking during the CISA event, Brandon Abley, a technical issues director with the National Emergency Number Association and member of the working group, said that “transitional 911” poses threats that no one has seen before. “It’s not just the conventional walled garden that we used to think of where we have an emergency services network that we aggressively protect, but we also look at other things like the external network, your own staff, even your 911 caller’s device are all considered attack surfaces in the new world," he said. Colin Wood has details.

Minneapolis CIO says ‘data quilting’ can solve tough challenges

Quilting is a big deal in Minnesota. So much so that the state has played host to a nationally renowned quilting competition since 1979. So when Minneapolis Chief Information Officer Fadi Fadhil needed a name for a new data-sharing initiative that would engage city residents and agency officials alike, there was only one real choice. “Digital quilting,” he said, is the first step that the city will soon take to establish itself as a “smart city.” He described the process as an "intentional idea that all of our data systems are to connect with each other to make a fabric of information, stitched together by the thread of systems." Ryan Johnston unstitches the story.

Everyone needs a crisis communications plan

Several statewide emergency communications officials who’ve been caught off-guard by 911 outages urged their counterparts Wednesday to develop formal crisis communications plans to avoid similar crises. In an online conference hosted by the National Emergency Number Association, officials from Texas and Minnesota each said that while they’d had traditional continuity of operations plans in place, neither jurisdiction had a “crisis communications plan,” which some speakers at the event described as being more flexible and robust than regular communications plans. Colin has more.

Election misinformation abounds, but states are pushing back

There are less than six weeks until Election Day, and people are already voting in a number of states that grows almost daily. Meanwhile, the torrent of misinformation and disinformation aimed at discouraging people from voting and stirring up public unrest isn't slowing down, though many state election officials are trying to push back. In Kentucky, Secretary of State Michael Adams has tried to put a stop to spam text messages and mass mailings containing erroneous information about voter registration, while New Jersey officials are warning about foreign actors and domestic extremists using social media to fan civil discord and doubt about the results of the election. And many other states are encountering robocalls aimed at discouraging people to vote. But, broadly, election officials are trying to establish themselves as the trusted sources for the public. "We’re the ones who have the information,” Adams said Read more from Ben.

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