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N.Y.C. Plans Free Cybersecurity App to Protect Residents’ Sensitive Data

Seventh Avenue in midtown Manhattan near Times Square.

Seventh Avenue in midtown Manhattan near Times Square. Shutterstock

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Connecting state and local government leaders

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Santa Fe mayor reaffirms “sanctuary city” policy … rural Missouri counties push higher taxes to fund police … N.H. town retreats from glass recycling … and this year’s “Strongest Town.”

Here are state and local government news stories that caught our attention ...

CIVIC TECH | Last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the nation’s most populous city will be rolling out, NYC Secure, a new free cybersecurity app for residents meant to keep hackers off their mobile devices that “when installed, will issue warnings to users when suspicious activity is detected on their mobile devices,” according to the city’s announcement. The de Blasio administration also announced “new world-class protection for its public Wi-Fi networks, becoming the first city in the world to provide such services to all residents and visitors free of charge.” According to Geoff Brown, the city’s chief information security officer who leads NYC Cyber Command: “While no individual is immune to cybersecurity threats, this program will add an extra layer of security to personal devices that often house a huge amount of sensitive data.” [N.Y.C Mayor’s Office]

In a recent Medium post, Code for America founder and executive director Jennifer Pahlka—who will be joining Route Fifty this week in San José for a special gathering focusing on municipal technology and innovation, “The City in Beta”—laid out some observations about the current state of the government technology vendor ecosystem. Pahlka wrote that “despite notable positive change over the last five years, some [vendors] are fighting to protect the status quo, and the landscape is still dominated by expensive projects with high failure rates, despite evidence that more modular, iterative, user-centered approaches reduce risk and improve outcomes.” [GovExec Events; @pahlkadot / Medium]

LAW ENFORCEMENT | California’s capital city remains on edge as protests continue following the March 18 police-involved shooting death of Stephon Clark, an unarmed African-American man, in his grandmother’s yard. Not helping matters: A vehicle driven by a member of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department hit and injured Wanda Cleveland, a noted civic activist during a protest on Saturday. The Sacramento Police Department and California Department of Justice are currently investigating the shooting. [The Sacramento Bee]

On Tuesday, voters in four rural Missouri counties outside St. Louis are considering local tax increases to fund public safety departments in order to recruit needed officers and retain the ones they have. “By offering a competitive salary, we’d be able to fill the vacancies that we have now, plus put some additional officers on the street,” said Jefferson County Sheriff Dave Marshak. [St. Louis Public Radio]


  • Hooksett, New Hampshire: Public works officials in this town just north of Manchester will no longer accept glass for recycling due to a lack of local facilities that accept glass. Hooksett may be the first local jurisdiction to cut back on glass recycling, but it hasn’t been the only municipal government struggling with the recyclable material. “Maybe we were the first ones, but looking back, glass has always been a problem, so for us it was—let’s get our first problem child out of the way first, and if things change, it’s easy enough to say to people, ‘OK, you can start recycling glass again,’” said Hooksett Public Works Director Diane Boyce. [Union Leader]
  • Bridgeport, Connecticut: The calendar may indicate it’s officially spring, but parts of the New York City area and southern New England are forecasted to see a few inches of snow on Monday. Such late season snow accumulation isn’t unheard of for places like Connecticut: “Since 1981, the state has averaged about .9 inches of snowfall in April, according to the Northeast Regional Climate Center.” [Connecticut Post]
  • Tucson, Arizona: Use of the new Tugo bikeshare system, which launched in November in Tucson’s downtown area, continues to increase. Through March 19, “users purchased nearly 1,400 day passes, 182 monthly passes and 207 annual passes,” and average daily number of trips has increased from 86 to 100. [Arizona Daily Star]
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico: The new mayor of New Mexico’s capital city has reaffirmed the local government’s commitment to support immigrants and refugees. “We have resolved that, to the extent legally possible, the City, its agents, agencies, officers and employees in the performance of their official duties shall not assist or voluntarily cooperate with Immigration and Naturalization Service investigations or arrest procedures and that no municipal resources will be used to identify or apprehend any non-citizen on the sole basis of immigration status, unless otherwise lawfully required to do so,” Mayor Alan Webber said in a recent letter to city staff about Santa Fe’s sanctuary city policies. [KOB-TV]
  • Muskegon, Michigan: The organization Strong Towns, which advocates for fiscally resilient community development, has named this mid-size Lake Michigan port city as the winner in its 2018 Strongest Town contest, beating out the other finalist city, Kent, Ohio, in the third year of the competition. Muskegon impressed the Strong Towns judges for a variety of reasons, including community-driven efforts to “fill vacant lots and increase small business opportunities.” [Strong Towns]
  • Iowa City, Iowa: Officials at the University of Iowa are concerned that proposed legislation known as the “heartbeat bill” that’s making its way through the State Capitol would threaten the university’s comprehensive OB-GYN program. The bill, if passed, would make it illegal for a physician to perform an abortion if a fetal heartbeat can be detected. [The Gazette]
  • Austin, Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott returned to the Lone Star State late last week after a 9-day trade mission to India, which included a meeting with that nation’s prime minister, Narendra Modi. The governor declared that his trip was an “absolute home run.” [The Dallas Morning News]
  • Lincoln, Nebraska: Senators in Nebraska’s unicameral legislature have complained recently that Gov. Pete Ricketts is “increasingly intruding in their realm, tromping on the constitutional separation of powers.” A spokesman for the Ricketts said the governor’s office doesn’t understand the legislative discontent. [Lincoln Journal Star]
  • Jersey City, New Jersey: Police arrested a 30-year-old woman at the house of Mayor Steve Fulop on Sunday. The suspect was arrested previously for a similar act. [The Jersey Journal /]