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04/16/2020
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WorkScoop

State unemployment websites flunk tests

In addition to being overwhelmed with new requests, most state unemployment websites also failed a recent series of design and performance tests by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. The think tank said that it tested page load speeds, compatibility with mobile devices and accessibility of unemployment websites in all 50 states, finding that 86 percent of websites failed at least one of those tests. In light of the results, ITIF called on Congress to provide additional funding to states for digital modernization efforts. “Any future stimulus package Congress develops should include funding for states to modernize their websites,” the report reads. “Online government services will be particularly important with any future physical distancing, as well as with other future emergencies. But state budgets will face shortfalls in the coming year, and states will be unlikely to invest in e-government without support from the federal government.” Colin Wood reports.


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Data errors cost Minnesota $76 million in Medicaid funding

Data errors in Minnesota’s Medicaid enrollment program have cost the state $76 million in federal funding over the past four years and that number is projected to grow, according to a report published Wednesday by the state’s Office of the Legislative Auditor. The report found that the state IT and human services agencies put “financial resources at risk” as they struggle to comply with legal requirements for Medicaid eligibility. Minnesota has spent $432 million over the last 8 years to develop and maintain the eligibility system, though auditors determined the system has failed to “achieve the efficiencies that an automated eligibility determination system should provide.” Ryan Johnston has details.


Rhode Island's contact tracing plan sparks privacy concerns

Rhode Island is attempting to launch a robust contact-tracing program to determine if people who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus have spread it to others. But the program, which would use data collected from the mobile phones of residents who’ve volunteered, has raised objections from privacy-rights advocates. Currently, Rhode Island is using its National Guard to conduct live contact tracing, a slow-going process as the number of infections keeps rising. Under Gov. Gina Raimondo's plan last week, participants would download a mobile app, which would collect information that would be turned over to the state Department of Health if they test positive for COVID-19. But the proposal has drawn concerns from lawmakers and the American Civil Liberties Union, which previously warned that data collected by contact-tracing programs could lead to abuses of individuals' personal information. Benjamin Freed reports.


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Dialing up security as a nation dials in from home

As agencies scramble for a solution to keep serving constituents and delivering on their mission, IT leaders must address several key challenges at once — including endpoint security, encrypted data transmission and bandwidth capacity, says Jim Richberg, a former federal cybersecurity official and now field CISO at Fortinet. What’s helping them keep up with an expanding set of cloud, remote connectivity capabilities and security risks inherent in the telework surge? Listen to the conversation.


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