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02/03/2020
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Louisiana elections chief swipes at MSPs

Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin lit into a major sector of the government-technology industry on Friday, saying that many managed service providers — the companies that many government organizations pay to host and manage various IT functions — do not offer security products sufficient to fend off cyberthreats that could target election systems. Speaking at the winter meeting of the National Association of Secretaries of State, Ardoin, who's pressed his state's 64 parish governments to improve the security around their election operations, said that many MSPs aren't keeping up with evolving threats like ransomware, which the federal government has warned could target systems like voter registration databases. "As attacks grow more sophisticated, many MSPs have not been upfront with their clients about the need to invest more in security," Ardoin said. "They’re not protecting local governments." Benjamin Freed has the story.


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The election is finally here. Are states ready?

The NASS meeting brought together election officials from nearly all 50 states to drill for cyberattacks, study ransomware and learn how to work with ethical hackers. Over the weekend before today's Iowa caucuses, secretaries of state, who once bristled at the Department of Homeland Security’s 2017 designation of election systems as critical infrastructure, spoke with each other and with federal officials about how to map out how a foreign adversary might try to undermine the democratic process, and practicing how they would thwart those attacks. "We’re light years ahead today from where we were [in the aftermath of 2016],” West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner said. Sean Lyngaas reports for CyberScoop.


Former SF tech officials go statewide

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced the appointment of two new technology officials, including former San Francisco chief data officer Joy Bonaguro, who is now chief data officer at the California Government Operations Agency. Newsom also appointed former San Francisco Chief Innovation Officer Krista Canellakis, to serve as deputy secretary of general services at the California Government Operations Agency. She spent nearly seven years with the San Francisco government before stepping down last year. Colin Wood has more.


Smart cities for president?

Michael Bloomberg and Pete Buttigieg ran their cities as data-driven, analytics-focused technocrats. With caucusing and primary voting finally starting this month, two of the Democratic Party's leading contenders are ex-mayors who ingrained themselves in the "smart cities" movement, and in Bloomberg's case, funded similar programs in other cities around the country. Could they do the same on a national scale? Ryan Johnston explores the possibility.


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