The St Paul Pioneer Press reports…
A hacker or hackers early this week defaced two Minnesota government web pages, defacing them with anti-government images or messages, officials confirmed Wednesday.
State information technology officials will continue to investigate, but as of Wednesday, they said they had no reason to believe any sensitive information was compromised. The effort was more akin to Internet vandalism analogous to graffiti tagging in the real world, as opposed to a true “breach” involving theft, according to officials with MNIT, the state’s IT agency.
The two pages targeted were in the realm of the Department of Human Services. While the pages are technically public, they’re only used by government workers, and there’s no evidence anyone from the public viewed the content, officials said.
One of the pages is used by local workers to report to DHS how much time they administering state programs, while the other is connected to the refugee services. However, officials don’t believe the attack was connected to refugee or immigration issues — or even DHS or Minnesota as a whole.
It’s a quick and easy inspirational listen or read. Listening to how Senator Smith got into politics is inspiring to anyone; listening to how she appreciates the needs for better broadband maps – that’s likely to be more inspiring to a more select group.
Here’s the description from the FCC site…
Minnesota Senator Tina Smith is a community organizer, entrepreneur, and a policymaker. In this episode of Broadband Conversations, listeners will hear her describe her path to the US Senate, which started as a community volunteer when she knocked on doors with her two children and a stroller in tow. She went on to serving in local government, including a stint as Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, before her current role on Capitol Hill. As a US Senator, she’s used her platform to fight for universal, affordable broadband coverage. As Senator Smith says in the episode, we should not take internet access for granted. She points out that when hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans do not have online access to jobs, education, and economic growth, families and communities are left behind.
The US Department for Veteran Affairs reports…
Approximately a quarter of all Veterans in the United States live in rural areas. Air Force Veteran Bill Nelson is one of them. As the survivor of three heart attacks, he’s a big fan of one particular VA office and their telehealth program.
The job of VA’s Office of Rural Health (ORH) is to increase access to care for the nearly three million Veterans living in rural communities who rely on VA for health care. As VA’s lead advocate for rural Veterans, ORH works to see that America’s Veterans thrive in rural communities.
Nelson benefits from ORH’s remote home-based delivery of cardiac rehabilitation which uses telehealth to eliminate the need for rural Veterans to travel multiple times a week to a rehabilitation facility. It lets Veterans tailor the location and schedule of their rehab session from their home.
Nelson lives in Maple Grove, which may not be the most rural town I mention this week, but it would be a long drive to the VA hospital in the Cities. It would easily save him an hour drive each remote visit…
In addition to his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam, he had a separated shoulder surgically repaired in Okinawa. He is 100 percent disabled due to his service-connected injuries.
Nelson suffered his first heart attack in 1999 which required having stents implanted. He joined VA for healthcare after retirement in 2014. His second heart attack occurred in 2008 which required having more stints implanted. His had his third heart attack in 2018 and had even more stints implanted.
Today, ORH enables Veteran patients like Nelson to first meet in-person with a specialist to safely learn rehabilitation exercises, with subsequent sessions conducted at home.
Regularly scheduled phone calls with the rehabilitation specialist are used to review risk factors, such as smoking cessation and proper nutrition. Other discussions include exercise, medication adherence, and stress management
Today the Conference Committee hearing on HF14 (SF93), a bill to authorize the Secretary of State to spend federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funding on election cybersecurity, heard from Noah Praetz, Former Director of Cook County Elections in Illinois and an Adjunct Professor at DePaul University College College of Law teaching Election Law. He testified on his experience with Cook County when the Illinois voter registration database was breached by the Russian government.
It was interesting to hear about the risks of online voting. Minnesota was one of four states that experienced an attempted attack in 2016. And Minnesota is the only state that hasn’t spent any of the allotted HAVA funds.
It doesn’t relate to broadband infrastructure but it does relate to innovation, smart cities (counties, states, country), digital equity and use of technology and policy.
You can watch the video
Or read my rough notes below… Continue reading
It would be fun to see Minnesota sweep the awards…
The Center for Digital Government invites nominations for its Government Experience Awards, taking digital government awards to the next level, where we will celebrate achievements and learn best practices from jurisdictions and organizations that have gone to the web and beyond to radically improve upon the experience of government, and push the boundaries of how services are delivered!
Award information and Nomination Form:
Click Here or visit www.govtech.com/cdg/GovX2019
Submission Deadline: Thursday, May 2, 2019
All U.S. governments, agencies and departments are invited to nominate their overall user experience as well as single-focus projects/initiatives (free of charge).
Overall Experience Awards
All U.S. state, county and city governments, and U.S. federal agencies/departments may nominate their jurisdictions’ user experience for the Overall Experience Awards.
Project Experience Awards
U.S. state, local, and federal government individual agencies and departments may nominate their projects for the Project Experience Awards.
Entries may be submitted for the following areas (multiple areas per submission are allowed this year):
If you have any questions, please contact Janet Grenslitt, Director of Surveys and Awards, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Technology touches everything we do – learn, earn, stay healthy, entertain ourselves and vote. Tonight we are listening to the importance of increasing security for voting. The state realized there were attempts in 2016 to compromise our elections. They were unsuccessful but we were one of 21 states with issues. (Two states were compromised.) We were able with the help of the Democracy Fund and Microsoft to secure voting for the 2018 elections. But now we need to work for a long term solution.
We have had a Task Force. We have been working with various vendors. Next step will be a proof of concept – to test run any potential solution. We need to know funding is available before we go too far with that.
Now there is a bill (SF93) looking for almost $7 million to improve the security of the elections.
Here are the handouts:
The committee recessed at 2:40 pm, and reconvened at pm.
Help America Vote Act transfers and appropriations.
And notes from the session – but to following along with the video I might look at the detailed EAC Letter (PDF) above:
- We will also look at issues surrounding RFP, which could take a couple of months. But there may be a vendor that already has a contract with the state.
- Can’t we borrow from other states? Or do we need a unique application? There are some similarities and some differences.
- Several state have funded a position (cyber navigator) to help counties and local governments work on their local security.
- What’s really important here is that we have a holistic solution that is more than catching intruders but prevention and greater knowledge of our systems is important.
Testifiers: Sen Howe
- I ran for Sec of State because MN hasn’t done a good job with elections
- We need to make sure that ineligible people can’t vote (and eligible people can)
- Also there should be greater access to voter datasets
I know this story is about Arkansas, not Minnesota but I know Minnesota was looking at a similar law last year. And sometimes it’s nice to learn from the sidelines. The Washington Post reports…
This summer, Arkansas became the first state to require poor people to prove they’re employed to receive Medicaid.
Specifically, recipients need to work 80 hours a month to get Medicaid…
More than 12,000 have been purged from the state Medicaid rolls since September — and not necessarily because they’re actually failing to work 80 hours a month, as the state requires.
The article tells the story of two recipients who lost their insurance because they didn’t have access and/or understanding of technology required to report hours and the rules behind the measure…
The state made reporting online-only to avoid hiring more staff. (It also didn’t allocate any additional dollars to help enrollees find work.) Officials did this even though Arkansas has the lowest level of household Internet access in the country, and the online portal doesn’t work well on smartphones. Once, when I tried it, I got an error message saying my phone’s browser was “not compatible.” The next day, it was mysteriously compatible again.
Most indefensibly, the website shuts down every single night between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. for “scheduled maintenance.”
No wonder 80 percent of those required to report work hours or exemptions each month are reporting nothing at all.
It reminds me of working on the library reference desk when Government Docs moved most of their documents online. It saved a lot of money in terms of printing for Government Docs but it suddenly meant most people had to go to the library to access these documents. It made a lot more work for the library and even more so the users of users of the info.
Broadband and technology can be a great way to cut costs but only when everyone has access to it and skills to use it.