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Score one for sunshine

The Michigan State Senate voted unanimously on Tuesday to block nearly all state workers from using messaging apps that feature end-to-end encryption — like Signal, Telegram or WhatsApp — on their government-issued phones, following concerns that such apps could be used to evade open-records laws. The measure, which was also approved by the state House of Representatives, was brought up in the spring after reports that high-ranking Michigan State Police officials were using Signal, messages from which might not be discovered under the state's FOIA law. Benjamin Freed reports.

A Message From AWS Educate

With over 1,500 institutions and hundreds of thousands of students who use AWS Educate, we wanted to take you on a trip around the world and highlight how students are learning and innovating with the cloud. Learn more.

NSGIC chief maps path to the exit

Molly Schar, the executive director of the National States Geographic Information Council, the association for state geospatial information officials, told StateScoop yesterday that she’ll plans to step down by the end of the year. In an interview, Schar, who was hired as NSGIC’s first director in 2016, said she’s not sure where she’s headed next, but that after five-and-a-half years with the group, it’s time for a change. “If I’ve learned anything in the pandemic, it’s to not take for granted the time that we have and that there is a world of opportunity out there,” she said. Colin Wood has the story.

Bots in translation

San Jose, California, officials said yesterday that natural language processing technology has been a “wildly successful” tool over the past two years as they’ve attempted to provide services and information in more than 100 languages spoken by the populace. The city, where 57% of households speak a language other than English, invested in a text- and voice-recognition translation model designed by Google Cloud and SpringML, a data analytics company, to resolve previous issues it had with helping residents access services in their preferred languages. Ryan Johnston has details.

Meet the 2021 LocalSmart winners

StateScoop on Wednesday announced the winners of the third annual LocalSmart Awards, a program that highlights the inspirational people and projects making city, county and municipal governments better. See the winners here.


Survey shows strong support for open-enterprise IT strategies with state and local agencies

When the pandemic hit and demand for government services spiked, reality set in that the need for IT modernization was no longer a “nice-to-have” option, but a “must-have” requirement to meet evolving mission needs. A new StateScoop survey asked 197 IT decision makers from state and local agencies to weigh in on the benefits of adopting different modernization approaches, including investments in open-source applications, cloud-based services and professional and managed services. Learn about what we found.

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