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Easing out of 'crisis mode'

The civic-tech group Code for America plans to launch a new program next year aimed at shoring up states’ social services, potentially helping state IT offices back off of the “crisis mode” they’ve been in for nearly the past two years. Tracey Patterson, the group’s vice president of social safety net programs, told StateScoop that it will direct its resources toward an initiative that will “rebuild” the country’s social safety net. “We can’t all maintain a crisis mindset forever," she said.   Ryan Johnston reports.

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A ReCIPE for grid security

Researchers at Iowa State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are leading a new effort to improve the cybersecurity of the electrical grid in nine Midwestern states, as part of an NSA-backed program. The Regional Coalition for Critical Infrastructure Protection — also known as ReCIPE — will spend two years using a $2 million grant on protecting the region’s energy sector. “The Midwest has some challenges. There’s lots of distributed generation of power, and very widespread distribution of that," said Doug Jacobson, an Iowa State engineering professor and the coalition's principal investigator. Benjamin Freed has more.

A software upgrade for greater sovereignty

The Choctaw Nation, a Native American tribe of about a quarter-million people in southeastern Oklahoma, is currently updating its criminal justice IT systems following a Supreme Court ruling last year that granted its government greater sovereignty. The upgrade away from a paper-dominated system is expected to aid the many people in the tribe’s justice system who must represent themselves in court. Colin Wood has details.

More on the REvil bust

The U.S. government announced a sweeping set of actions Monday targeting alleged REvil ransomware attackers in Europe. The charges against Yaroslav Vasinksyi, a Ukrainian national who was arrested after crossing into Poland, and Yevgeniy Polyanin, a Russian national who remains abroad, mention several incidents that affected state and local governments, including the July attack against the IT services firm Kaseya, and the August 2019 attack that infected dozens of Texas communities. CyberScoop has the latest.

Philadelphia unveils 'Blockchain for City Government' project

Philadelphia could be just “a matter of weeks” away from adopting a blockchain pilot program within city government, Chief Information Officer Mark Wheeler told StateScoop. Wheeler, who's been flirting with the distributed ledger technology, published a new page to Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation and Technology website asking blockchain experts and developers to come to the city with their best blockchain ideas and local government applications.   Ryan has more.

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