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From 'doing digital' to 'becoming digital'

The COVID-19 pandemic prodded governments into a “tipping point” that brought long-overdue digital transformations, yet also revealed the distances many still have to go, according to a new report this week from the consulting firm Deloitte. The study, which queried 800 government officials from eight countries including the United States, found that many agencies are in a transition period between “doing digital” — using digital technologies to augment legacy systems — and “becoming digital,” in which they follow a mixture of physical and virtual processes. Benjamin Freed has more.

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Gotta patch them all

A web server hosting the domain for a local government in the United States was recently breached by advanced hackers taking advantage of old vulnerabilities in firewalls sold by Fortinet, according to an FBI alert published yesterday. “As of at least May 2021, an APT actor group almost certainly exploited a Fortigate appliance to access a webserver hosting the domain for a U.S. municipal government,” the bulletin read. The FBI and CISA had warned last month that an APT group was targeting vulnerabilities that Fortinet disclosed previously and issued patches for. Ben has the story.

USC names new police misconduct database after John Lewis

Researchers at the University of Southern California are currently populating and beta-testing a nationwide database of police misconduct cases that will launch later this year 2021, the school announced this week. The Law Enforcement Work Inquiry System Registry, or LEWIS, is a networked database designed to be used by all credentialed law enforcement agencies, according to the Safe Communities Institute at USC's Price School of Public Policy, which is building the system. The database is named for the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis, the Georgia Democrat and civil-rights leader who died last July. Emily Bamforth reports.

Because filing FOIAs is easier than sourdough

An ever-increasing amount of audio and video data compiled daily into state and local public records, along with a spike in public records requests during the COVID-19 pandemic, has forced government agencies to spend 286% more time processing requests over the past year than normally, according to new data from government software provider GovQA. The growth of civic technology and the ability to extract and measure data through video, said GovQA’s Chief Evangelist Jennifer Snyder, has caused an “explosion” of the “kinds of things that are now incorporated into what could be a public records request.” Ryan Johnston has details.

That damn bear

It looks like the Russian government-linked hacking group Cozy Bear is back in the election trickery business, CyberScoop's Tim Starks reports. According to the security firm Volexity, Cozy Bear — also known as APT29 — is behind a spearphishing campaign that uses an election fraud document as a lure. If true, it would be a return to an old favorite subject for Cozy Bear, which the U.S. government and others implicated in the 2016 hacks of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, among other interference efforts. Read more on CyberScoop.

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