Public Sector News: Data privacy, security and best practices

August 2015, Issue 14

Social Media Execution Strategist, IBM

Reporting during the week of July 27, 2015 illuminated the increasing focus on public safety and government issues, from cybersecurity woes to the importance of governments becoming data-driven. Here is a summary of the week’s noteworthy news items and articles. survey says cybersecurity worries among executives have risen sharply

A recent survey of more than 500 respondents reveals that executives, law enforcement officials, security experts and others are more concerned about cybersecurity this year than in the previous 12 months. The number of concerned participants rose 17 percent, from 59 percent in 2014 to 76 percent. The survey was sponsored by PwC, International Data Group’s CSO, the CERT Division of the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, and the Secret Service. Also cited were frequent reports of attacks from outside organizations. According to this FierceGovernmentIT report, this survey shows that cybersecurity is a key corporate risk and boards need to be accountable, given that “49 percent of boards still view cybersecurity as just an IT risk, while 42 percent see it as an enterprise-wide one.” —Dibya Sarkar for FierceGovernmentIT

Does government foster opportunities for big data pioneers?

Does the UK government offer enough support to big data entrepreneurs and data protection and data privacy professionals? That question is being asked in a parliamentary inquiry on these topics. This ITPro news item quotes Nicola Blackwood MP, and chair of the Science and Technology Committee responsible for the inquiry. Blackwood said many people are concerned about the way their data is used to deliver the benefits they enjoy, such as personalized digital services. According to this report, people and businesses are invited to provide their opinion. —Joe Curtis for ITPro

GM’s OnStar: The latest car hacking victim

Samy Kamkar, a security researcher, has reportedly hacked the OnStar in-vehicle system from General Motors (GM). Highlighted in a YouTube video, Kamkar has created an app that takes advantage of OnStar’s mobile app to perform actions such as unlocking and remotely starting the cars that utilize the system. In this Sci-Tech Today article, Jennifer LeClaire quoted a Kamkar tweet, indicating that the OnStar bug has not yet been resolved despite GM telling Wired magazine that it had been fixed. Kamar said he spoke with GM and was told the organization is working on a fix. —Jennifer LeClaire for Sci-Tech Today

Barbershops cutting into the achievement gap

Barbers are using more than just scissors to cut the achievement gap among groups of students. The US Department of Education realized the importance barber shops play in communities across the country and conducted a two-hour meeting on June 29, 2015 in Washington, DC. The meeting was with a group of more than 20 barbershop owners to discuss how to improve student outcomes. The owners talked about how they offer free haircuts for good grades and participate in coaching sports teams and mentoring at-risk youth. The owners also took away key statistics and resources from the session data to share the importance of reading. In addition, they were introduced to existing federal infrastructure such as the Obama administration’s initiatives for place-based policies and the My Brother’s Keeper task force. As an extension of these efforts, many of the barbershop owners joined in on the Day of Action (#readwhereyouare). —Danielle Goonan for HomeRoom

IBM Watson Health now counts CVS Health as a partner

CVS joined Watson Health partners to create healthcare services on top of IBM Watson technology. CVS plans to eventually use Watson and the incredible wealth of pharmacy data such as health records and medical claim information to enhance its understanding of patients and improve care. The partnership hopes to also help with proactive care and customized programs based on individual patients. —Jonathan Vanian for Fortune

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