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NTIA's broadband money is coming soon

The NTIA said Wednesday that its new Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment, or BEAD, program will soon start issuing initial planning funds to states and territories. States are eligible to receive up to $5 million to conduct initial plans ahead of their full grant awards, and can use the money on data collection, public outreach, employee training, broadband mapping and creating new broadband offices. States faced an Aug. 15 deadline to get their initial planning fund requests to the NTIA. The agency said Wednesday it is evaluating those proposals and will “make awards available as expeditiously as possible.”   Benjamin Freed reports.

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New York lawmakers to consider ban on targeted mobile ads in abortion clinics

The New York State Assembly is considering prohibiting digital advertisers from targeting visitors to health care facilities, including abortion clinics. The bill, introduced Aug. 12, would prevent advertisers from establishing geofences around health care facilities, which, once crossed, can be used to target visitors with highly specific mobile ads. Using GPS technology, advertising agencies can infer the reason why someone might be visiting a particular location, such as a cancer clinic, reproductive health clinic or a facility that provides methadone, without violating health privacy laws. Advertisers can potentially use this information to market items such as wigs, spread anti-abortion messaging or advertise expensive private rehab facilities. Lindsay McKenzie has details.

California fights misinformation with COVID-19 chatbot

On this week’s episode of the Priorities Podcast, Yurina Melara, the multiethnic press secretary for the California Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, says a chatbot has processed more than 4,000 conversations in two languages since it launched in April. Melara, along with her fellow press secretary, Ashley Clark, tells StateScoop’s Colin Wood the task force built the WhatsApp-based chatbot to help spread accurate information about the vaccines for COVID-19, specifically in an effort to reach Hispanic communities been swarmed by misinformation about the jabs. Listen to the podcast.

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