How one city trawls social media to inform policy and make decisions

An AI-powered data-gathering platform used by the city of Aurora, Illinois, has helped officials make better decisions, the city’s chief information officer said at a conference in Denver last week. But he also conceded that the platform’s reliance on social media like Twitter and Facebook leaves open the possibility that it’s using great deal of information from unverified sources. Michael Pegues, the top IT official for the Chicago suburb of about 210,000, said at the Smart Cities Connect conference that public safety leaders and other officials in his city often look to ZenCity — an analytics tool that blends official information, news sources and social media — to guide law-enforcement operations and other big policy actions. “We’re learning to be the smartest city in America,” Pegues said, aspiring for an ideal bandied about by many local governments pursuing a “smart city” agenda. Pegues said the ZenCity platform came in handy on Feb. […] Source

Three ways state and local governments can get people excited about data projects

A host of organizations must get involved with a state or local government’s open data program before it can begin generating information rich enough to inform policy or improve operations. But officials from Austin and the Texas state government told a conference audience Monday that with persistence and open communication, it’s possible to convert skeptics into open-data advocates. Texas launched its open data portal as a pilot project in 2014 without much support. But as of early 2019, it’s logged 288 million downloads of its datasets, Ed Kelly, the state’s data coordinator, said at Tyler Technologies’ Connect conference in Dallas. The state has partnered with the city of Austin and is now looking for new partnerships with more city and county governments as it continues searching for ways to ply data against government’s challenges, he said. 1. Lead by example Kelly said that lifting the state’s data program out of […] Source

Bill would create cybersecurity grant program for state and local governments

U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Cory Gardner introduced legislation Monday that would authorize the Department of Homeland Security to give state and local governments grants to purchase additional cybersecurity resources and hire more information-security personnel. Under the State Cyber Resiliency Act, state, local and tribal governments would be invited to put together plans to improve their overall defenses around their computer networks, communications systems and industrial control systems, such as internet-connected devices that operate environmental sensors and other “smart city” platforms. Plans would be designed with the goals of improving overall security, running regular vulnerability assessments and other threat-mitigation exercises and ensuring operational continuity — particularly public safety and law enforcement — in the event of a cyberattack. “As cyberattacks increase in frequency and gravity, we must ensure that our nation — from our local governments on up — is adequate..

‘Small Places, Big Ideas’ innovation cohort for local governments announced

Local governments strapped for resources may soon find their best allies for uncovering innovations are other local governments hundreds of miles away. The software firm UrbanLeap on Friday announced a new partnership with ELGL, a network of more than 3,000 local government leaders, to establish a yearlong innovation program designed to give local governments a chance to pilot new ideas and technologies at low risk. Called the “Small Places, Big Ideas Innovation Cohort,” the program will allow 25 city, county and town governments a chance to build out new technologies designed to improve services offered to residents with the help of ELGL and UrbanLeap. In an attempt to assist local governments that may have fewer connections or less funding at hand, localities with populations below 30,000 will be given preferential treatment in the application process, according to a press release. Each applicant is required to dedicate at least one full-time […] Source

In Albany ransomware attack, officials say information was not compromised

Officials in Albany, New York, said Wednesday that no city information was compromised in the ransomware attack that struck its municipal government late last month. Mayor Kathy Sheehan and Rachel McEneny, the city’s administrative services commissioner, said that the city did lose access to some data, but that the technicians responding to the hack, which Sheehan made public March 30, have the ability to restore it. “From the standpoint of mission critical data and information we feel confident that anything we need to recover, we’ll be able to recover,” Sheehan said at a news conference. While most city services are available to residents, officials are still unable to process requests for vital records like birth certificates and marriage licenses, and are referring people to offices in neighboring jurisdictions. The mayor said that Albany has not paid the ransom demanded by the malware that encrypted city computer systems, but few other details […] Source

By |2019-04-11T19:48:38+00:00April 11th, 2019|Albany, City, Cybersecurity, Kathy Sheehan, New York, ransomware, Uncategorized|