GOVERNMENT TECHNOLOGY: PHILADELPHIA FUNDS DIGITAL LITERACY TO PREP FOR THE CENSUS
The 2020 Census is the first to offer an online option, and the City of Philadelphia wants to make sure that its citizens are prepared and understand the importance of being counted. The Digital Literacy Alliance, a public-private coalition, is currently soliciting proposals for digital literacy and census preparation initiatives, both for residents and for the census workers. The Alliance is hopeful that an RFP will generate creative proposals for increasing digital literacy and computer access, and will prioritize initiatives that support these causes even after the census is complete.
In response to several prominent ransomware attacks, the National Governors Association (NGA) is urging states to develop a response plan for potential cyber attacks. Fifteen states have made their plans public, but older plans must be brought up to date to be most effective against potential disruptions. States without a plan are at significant risk should they be targeted.
Police officers in Newark, New Jersey are using an interactive simulator to practice being in situations that involve civilians with weapons. The technology, known as the Firearms Training Simulator (or FATS) is used by forces all over the world. The scenarios are responsive and trainers can change the situation for the trainees. The technology helps governments most effectively prepare their police forces, and also allows non-police to feel the pressure of being in a potentially life-threatening situation.
EFFICIENT GOV: NEW YORK CITY OFFERS RESIDENTS FREE SMARTPHONE PROTECTION
New York City is prioritizing residents’ digital safety with the new app NYCSecure, a free app that monitors cybersecurity threats. Users will receive alerts about suspicious activities, and recommendations for increasing safety. The app will not externally collect and monitor data, instead analyzing security without information and data leaving the device.
In order to improve emergency response and handle large call volumes, old fashioned circuit-switch 911 networks need to be replaced with more modern technology. The Next-Generation 911 project will run an IP network over a fiber-optic backbone, in order to manage more data from incoming calls. It will also have geospatial routing, which uses a phone’s location services instead of cell towers, to connect to the closest 911 operators. Next-Gen is currently used in a few states, and is being implemented in several others.
In Santa Clarita, extreme heat has led to malfunctions in the city’s traffic-control system. The city is currently piloting technology that can proactively monitor temperature, humidity, flood, power and smoke, and alert the city when environmental conditions lead to disruptions in the traffic system. The Room Alert software saves time and money for Santa Clarita, and improves traffic flow and congestion that would otherwise be severely impacted when signals are disrupted.
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH: MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH CARE DATA READILY AVAILABLE
The Illinois Public Health Community Map, which displays information about access and health care quality in the state, just added maternal and child health data. The map highlights socioeconomic, geographic, and racial/ethnic disparities, metrics that are highly relevant for maternal health outcomes. In mapping this data, the state is increasing awareness and accountability for resident health.