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Daniel Castro

Contributing Writer

Daniel Castro is the vice president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and director of the Center for Data Innovation. Before joining ITIF, he worked at the Government Accountability Office where he audited IT security and management controls.

April 1, 2021

Policymakers Should Make Room for Sidewalk Delivery Robots

The use of robots from companies like Starship Technologies for last-mile deliveries skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and legislators would do well to make them easier to deploy on city sidewalks.

March 1, 2021

Biden Creates Road Map for Equitable State and Local Data

Data from marginalized communities is often underreported, meaning their needs are hidden from policymakers. President Biden’s initial actions on equitable data pave a path for state and local governments to follow.

January 5, 2021

End-to-End Verifiability Key to Future Election Security

With future elections likely to divide along stark partisan lines, and election security in question, end-to-end verifiability can let voters know that their ballots have been received and not tampered with.

December 1, 2020

7 Ways to Make Remote Work Successful Beyond COVID-19

Work from home was at first a temporary pandemic solution, but as public and private organizations alike make remote work permanent, they’ll need to make adjustments to more than just where staff are located.

October 1, 2020

No-Contact Government Means More than Just Online Services

From enabling digital paper forms and mobile payments to implementing facial recognition and delivery drones, touchless government services are the way forward in continuing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

September 2, 2020

Shifting Safely to Online Learning Means Investing in Cyber

As schools embark on a year of virtual or hybrid learning, hackers are seeking to exploit weaknesses in systems largely unprepared to fend off attacks. States must take the lead by updating technology and training users.

July 1, 2020

COVID-19 Could Accelerate Government Adoption of AR, VR Tech

As the demands of remote government work extend from weeks to months, public-sector agencies must begin exploring tools like augmented and virtual reality for improved communication and collaboration.

June 1, 2020

Building Digital Government That Can Withstand Surges

The COVID-19 pandemic overwhelmed many state unemployment insurance websites. While some fared better than others, all governments can take advantage of things like cloud technology to prepare for the next storm.

March 30, 2020

Making Cities More Walkable with Better Data and Technology

A city’s walkability contributes to improved health outcomes for residents, lower crime rates and increased civic engagement. Governments can use data and artificial intelligence to improve their streets for pedestrians.

March 1, 2020

States and Feds Must Help Local Cybersecurity Efforts

Cyberattacks are on the rise at all levels of government, but many small jurisdictions do not have the resources to protect themselves. Their vulnerability affects states and the federal government, who must pitch in.

January 6, 2020

Deepfakes Are on the Rise — How Should Government Respond?

Bad actors are increasingly using artificial intelligence to manipulate images to misrepresent their subjects. As states work to legislate deepfake technologies, perhaps a federal approach would be better.

December 3, 2019

Automation Could Be the Way to Make Government More Efficient

New technologies are poised to automate everything from infrastructure to traditionally human jobs, and some fear a coming robot takeover. But the real problem is it isn't happening fast enough.

November 25, 2019

Is Automation the Key to an Effective Government Workforce?

New technologies are poised to automate everything from infrastructure to traditionally human jobs, and some fear a coming robot takeover. But the real problem is it isn't happening fast enough.

October 1, 2019

Digital Twin Technology Can Make Smart Cities Even Smarter

As technologies like the Internet of Things, virtual reality and augmented reality mature, city planners can build virtual replicas of urban infrastructure to better respond to local energy and environmental changes.

September 1, 2019

Hit with a Ransomware Attack? Don’t Pay the Hackers

Ransomware attacks are on the rise across the country — 22 U.S. cities were hit in the first half of 2019. Some governments pay and some don’t, but to benefit everyone and stop the growing epidemic, no one should.

July 1, 2019

5 Lessons the U.S. Can Learn from European Privacy Efforts

GDPR has been in effect in the EU for one year, and regulators, consumers and businesses are facing its unintended consequences. Other countries can take those outcomes and do better with their own data protections.

June 1, 2019

Moves to Halt Cashless Stores Short-Sighted, Inhibit Growth

Some state and local governments are moving to ban increasingly popular cashless retail stores, citing equity issues, but there are steps policymakers can take to increase access to non-cash payment options.

April 1, 2019

Are Governments Right to Ban Facial Recognition Technology?

Proposed public-sector bans of facial recognition are often based on inaccurate misconceptions, and following through on them would harm law enforcement, school safety and technological progress.

March 1, 2019

E-Scooter Bans Show Cities Are Hesitant to Embrace Innovation

As scooters from companies like Bird and Lime become regular fixtures in U.S. cities, local governments should adopt regulatory sandboxes to determine how to best handle the new technology rather than ban it altogether.

January 1, 2019

5G Can Enable Smart Cities — If Policymakers Allow It

As cities work to install connected devices and sensors throughout their communities, 5G wireless infrastructure will be essential to making it all go. What may stand in the way is government itself.

December 1, 2018

How Can Smaller Cities Join the Growing AI Economy?

As artificial intelligence gains ground, countries are setting national strategies to promote the technology’s adoption. Local governments may not have those same resources, but they can make AI more accessible.

October 1, 2018

Designing Accessible Government Websites

To be equitable for all citizens, governments must make sure their websites are accessible to people of all abilities.

September 1, 2018

Boosting State Website Security

For your safety online, your state should implement DNSSEC if it hasn't already (and it likely hasn't).

July 1, 2018

When Do Privacy Regulations Go Too Far?

While privacy laws are often well-intentioned, their unintended consequences can be far-reaching.

June 1, 2018

States Should Revisit Their Data Breach Laws

Do states need to update their regulations after the Cambridge Analytica debacle?

April 2, 2018

Boosting the Cyberworkforce

Amid persistent shortages in cybersecurity positions, what can states do to strengthen their numbers?

March 1, 2018

Drawing Outside the District Lines

Putting algorithms in charge of redistricting could fix gerrymandering.

January 8, 2018

Fixing Up Home-Buying

How government can use technology to make it cheaper to buy and sell your home.

December 1, 2017

State Credit Freeze Laws Need a Reboot

Following major data breaches, states must revisit their policies and protect citizens.

October 1, 2017

States Compete for Top Data Science Talent

As more and more data government data becomes available, states struggle to hire the right professionals to make sense of it.

September 1, 2017

Building the Learning City

Networks of smart cities will help make the most of data-driven governing.

July 3, 2017

The Cost of Government Bans on the Sharing Economy

Many state and local governments prohibit employees from using shared services like Airbnb for official travel, even though it often means they end up paying more.

June 1, 2017

Using Data to Fight the Opioid Epidemic

Data can play an important role in the fight against addiction, but privacy concerns are hampering the effectiveness of prescription drug monitoring programs.

March 29, 2017

Worst of the Web

Somebody tell government: A great online presence isn’t reserved for agencies with extensive resources.

March 6, 2017

Reports of the Death of Big Data Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

A close look at U.S. presidential election predictions shows that more investment in data, not less, is the way to avoid replicating these problems in the future.

January 13, 2017

States Need to Embrace Data-Driven Education

Measuring a student’s academic progress with valid, reliable data should go hand-in-hand with providing that child an education.

December 16, 2016

How Artificial Intelligence Will Usher in the Next Stage of E-Government

The defining feature of the new perceptive stage is that the work involved in interacting with government will be significantly reduced and automated for all parties involved.

October 18, 2016

If Only One U.S. City Wins the Smart City Race, the Whole Nation Loses

Just as it would not make sense to only fund bridges and highways in one city in the United States, it makes no sense to limit investment in the sensors, systems and networks needed to build smart cities to a single location.

September 2, 2016

California Came Dangerously Close to Ruining What Makes Open Data ‘Open’ (Opinion)

Policymakers must recognize the importance of this public resource.

July 13, 2016

Agencies Should Use Data to Offer Personalized Nudges

Policymakers can improve people’s lives by strategically framing decisions to direct them toward a preferred outcome.

May 31, 2016

Connecticut's Facial Recognition Bill: A Model for States?

State legislators step back from a bill that would limit such technology and instead take a reasonable approach — that should serve as a model for state legislators considering regulation for other emerging technologies.

April 7, 2016

Making a Digital Transformation: Focus Less on Flash, More on Cash

Leaders must start demanding that IT projects specify how they will improve productivity, and hold these projects accountable for delivering the promised value.

March 8, 2016

Privacy, Security Risks Make Government Databases a Political Battleground

As government agencies try to use databases to solve serious policy issues such as curbing prescription drug abuse and improving student education, they find themselves fighting political battles rather than technological ones.

January 15, 2016

Will ‘Helicopter Policymakers’ Stifle New Technology Over the Long Term?

Sometimes policymakers want to alleviate anxiety about future conditions, which often manifests itself in calls for laws that will create “trust” in a particular industry.

December 11, 2015

States Should Kill the Annual Report, Here’s Why

Such relics of a paper-based world are no longer the best option for an increasingly digital government.

October 1, 2015

Why Didn’t Government Invent Uber?

The public sector failed to innovate the taxi industry, but there are other opportunities.

September 4, 2015

Can Data Impact the Drought?

Smart infrastructure can help policymakers make the most use of limited water resources.

July 9, 2015

States Should Use Open Data to Empower Consumers

State regulators should consider how they can unlock additional data sets to enable the development of sophisticated choice engines that help consumers make wiser purchasing decisions in economic areas where the market lacks transparency.

May 20, 2015

Why Skills Matter More than Ever in Our Data-Driven Economy

To improve public services with data-driven technology, governments need to work harder than ever to recruit, hire and retain highly skilled data engineers and managers.

April 1, 2015

Elections Need a Tech Reboot

U.S. elections have not kept pace with the opportunities afforded by technology.

February 27, 2015

How Open Is University Data?

States should push public universities to adopt open data policies.

January 5, 2015

Data-Driven Innovation: Why States Should Build Multipurpose Analytics Platforms

From education to transportation, virtually every state agency is looking to data to improve performance.

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