Year in Review 2015: Smart, Digital Cities Reign Supreme
In the fourth quarter of 2015, San Francisco announced the biggest Internet of Things project in the U.S. to date, the most digital cities in the nation were named and the FAA announced that it will require drone owners to register devices with aviation authorities.
OctoberPlans are on track to staff the federal government’s U.S. Digital Services and 18F with 500 employees by the end of the year, White House Senior Adviser and former U.S. CTO Todd Park, pictured below, confirmed in early October. The substantial staffing increase — up from 220 people at the time of the announcement — highlights the feds’ continuing commitment to improving IT development and project management.
Likely to be watched closely by other states and lawmaking bodies, a new bill in California requires law enforcement to obtain a search warrant before looking at digital communications like email, text messages and GPS data. The bill, which was supported by numerous tech companies, is an attempt to reconcile outdated privacy laws with relatively new technology.
Oct. 1 marked the official shift in liability for credit card fraud from banks to merchants not meeting the standards set by Europay, MasterCard and Visa, and that includes governments accepting debit and credit card transactions. Operators must either replace magnetic payment terminals with more secure chip-enabled systems or risk being held responsible in the event a card is used fraudulently. Some say the risk of fraud is lower for government transactions, casting doubt on whether the public sector will be quick to invest in newer card processing technology.
Faced with a steady stream of cybersecurity breaches, IT professionals are participating more in threat intelligence exchanges, according to the Ponemon Institute. Its report found that 47 percent of the 692 IT professionals surveyed had experienced a material cybersecurity breach in the past two years. To help mitigate those attacks, the majority of respondents, 81 percent, are enlisting threat intelligence. In addition, more IT professionals are sharing details about cyberthreats — the exchange of intel through peer-to-peer networks grew from 57 percent in 2014 to 65 percent this year.
Twitter announces plans to roll out a public polling feature, saying the anonymized voting system would let users weigh in on the topics that matter most to them. The tool provides the public sector with a new means of directly connecting with citizens, especially for agencies that have already amassed a large social media following.
The Digital Cities Survey, conducted by the Center for Digital Government, recognized dozens of U.S. cities as the most strategic, efficient and innovative users of public-sector tech. This year’s top winners have developed a mature infrastructure that lets city leaders experiment with projects that are molded in the image of the average citizen’s lifestyle. Divided into four population categories, the first-place winners were Philadelphia; Alexandria, Va.; Avondale, Ariz.; and Shawnee, Kan.