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2017 from A to Z / Digital Driver's Licenses and Gov Gets Amazonian

Cybersecurity month in October brought reflections on the year in breaches, and looked to how government will better serve citizens going forward.


Officials in Riverside County, Calif. — home to more than 2.3 million people and nearly as large as the state of New Jersey — are reviewing responses to their RIVCOconnect Broadband Initiative RFP. The initial response period of four months was extended to six to lure the right mix of vendor responses to the project, a public-private partnership that aims to build a broadband network that could be the nation’s largest.


While some believe that digital drivers’ licenses (DDLs) won’t replace paper or plastic licenses for some time, trends show that more states will likely adopt them in the coming years. The idea is that encrypted, app-based technology will enhance safety and achieve operational and cost efficiencies. Iowa leads the country following a 90-day mobile driver’s license pilot in 2015 and 2016, and expects digital licenses will be available statewide in 2018. Earlier this year, Colorado, Idaho, Maryland and Washington, D.C., also piloted DDLs, and all four, along with Wyoming, will continue efforts in 2018.

September’s Equifax breach set the stage for important conversations in October, national cybersecurity month. Governments of all sizes are tackling cyberthreats every day, so how do small towns combat the same threats as big cities, but with far fewer resources? States are trying to ease the burden of local cybersecurity. In Michigan, a squad of volunteers, the Michigan Cyber Civilian Corps, is ready to assist in the event of a major cyberattack. And a few smaller jurisdictions, like Allegan County, Mich., are partnering to create a program in which they share a chief information security officer — CISO-as-a-service.


A mid-October incident in which money was stolen from Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System (IPERS) accounts came to light in early November. Several hundred thousand dollars was stolen from more than 100 retiree accounts by thieves that used stolen Social Security numbers and birthdates to obtain online access and then redirect payments to their own accounts. The incident was quickly contained, and those affected were made whole. IPERS officials said the stolen personal information didn’t come from their agency.   


The drive toward meeting the expectations of an increasingly digital constituency continues, and several states are out in front in moving their organizations closer to an Amazon-like experience. The Digital Services Georgia initiative introduces the concept of “experience-as-a-service,” an approach that extends user-driven design to all constituent-government interactions. The Utah Legislature is behind a push to a single sign-on portal that would allow one login for all state transactions. State leaders are looking for funding to pilot the concept to a limited constituency: Utah businesses. In Ohio, customer-centric means a focus on personalization since the ideal digital experience means different things to different people. A key element of Ohio’s strategy is moving toward a single enterprise ID for customers — admittedly a considerable undertaking. “It’s a living and evolving strategy that we have to constantly try to put into practice,” said Derek Bridges, a program administrator at the Ohio Department of Administrative Services. 

Back to the 2017 Year in Review

Lauren Harrison is the managing editor for Government Technology magazine. She has a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and 15 years’ experience in book and magazine publishing.