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05/13/2021
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New cyber grant bill dropping

A bipartisan group of U.S. House members yesterday reintroduced legislation that would create a $500 million grant program for state and local cybersecurity operations. The new version of the State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act comes in the wake of the Solar Winds and Microsoft Exchange hacks, as well as the firehose of ransomware that's touched practically every congressional district. NASCIO, which has lobbied for the bill, said a dedicated cybersecurity grant program is "long overdue.” During his confirmation hearing in January, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, whose department would administer the grants, said he would look forward to working with lawmakers about such a program. Benjamin Freed reports.


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Don't miss the boat

Agencies can’t merely log administrative data if they hope to effectively provide the public with services, a panel of government and nonprofit leaders said during an online hosted by Code for America. Natasha Nicolai, the chief data strategist for the California Department of Social Services, said government agencies are frequently “missing the boat” on efforts at continuous quality improvement because they’re not measuring the right things. "Oftentimes what we see governments measuring is program administration... and sometimes if we’re lucky, actual process or, at the most basic level, engagement, but certainly very rarely outcomes," she said.   Colin Wood has more.


Taking it slow on AI

Artificial intelligence holds promise for cybersecurity, but at the state and local government levels, organizations should be measured in incorporating it into their operations, North Carolina Chief Risk Officer Maria Thompson said during an AI Week event yesterday. Thompson said her office, which oversees state government cybersecurity, uses some machine learning technologies to sift through the data that local governments send her way, but that there are still some reasons not to fully embrace the technology just yet. "Introducing new technologies, especially something as forward leaning as AI, you have to take the time to tune it,” she said. Ben has details.


FCC approves $7.1 billion in broadband funds for schools and libraries

The FCC approved $7.17 billion in relief funding to expand broadband access in schools and libraries in an effort to close the homework gap, Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said Tuesday. Eligible schools and libraries can use the funding to buy connectivity equipment like Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers and laptops intended for students and teachers to use outside of the classroom. Rosenworcel called it the “largest single effort” to make sure students have access to the technologies necessary for remote education. Ryan Johnston reports.


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