2022 in Review: Federal Funds, Foreign Cyberattacks

2022 in Review: Federal Funds, Foreign Cyberattacks


The Big Apple made big changes earlier this year when Mayor Eric Adams was sworn in at midnight on January 1. Prior to Adams’ tenure, New York Chief Technology Officer John Paul Farmer announced his departure from his position. Adams named Matt Fraser, formerly the NYPD’s deputy IT commissioner, to replace him, then signed an executive order consolidating and unifying all of New York’s tech agencies under a new Office of Technology and Innovation in the goal of breaking down silos and making municipal agencies more efficient. Amid the transition, CIO Jessica Tisch also announced her departure, although she took over as commissioner of the city’s sanitation department in April.

States and localities have worked to make sense of the use of federal funds from the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) passed in late 2021. GovTech identified five less-publicized elements of the IIJA that may be of interest to state and local governments – such as an initiative to collect open-source public transit data to improve the way people move around cities and special grants for water utilities to invest in modern tools like asset management software. GT also covered the huge part of the spending program – nearly half – for transportation. With that in mind, GIS Esri has released an interactive inventory of bridges across the country to help identify specific locations that could particularly benefit from IIJA funding.

The seventh annual GovTech 100 list highlighted the best technology companies doing business with the public sector and also marked a banner year for the market as a whole. Some major M&A activity in 2021, totaling $2.2 billion in the third quarter alone, meant the new year held promise for continued growth. Experts have predicted a higher volume of lower value transactions in the future.

The continued growth of remote and hybrid working in government meant more than just connecting staff from home. What used to be considered “assistive” technologies – like text-to-speech – have started to become more mainstream. This meant that those who could not get to an office could apply for government jobs. This means a broader talent pool and more diverse voices among staff. As Bill Smith, CIO of Alaska, said, “Now we have the sustainable tools to start seeing this on a larger scale.”


Concerns about cyberattacks on government and critical infrastructure extended beyond US borders, particularly when Russia began its attack on Ukraine in February. Cybersecurity experts from the Aspen Institute have warned of Russia’s potential to use cyber threats and disinformation not only against Ukraine, but also against its allies, including the United States. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said that while no credible attacks on US systems have been made, it remains essential to strengthen defenses against attacks on critical infrastructure and attempts to undermine trust in the government. In March, Americans saw some of those fears come to fruition when cybersecurity firm Mandiant reported that a group of Chinese government-backed hackers had attacked at least six unnamed states, exploiting flaws in agricultural tracking systems. Log4j and USAHERDS.

Meanwhile, the nationwide hacks that make daily headlines have continued unabated. A January breach destroyed a Washington State licensing system, potentially exposing users’ personally identifiable information. Prescott, Arizona reflected on lessons learned from a 2020 breach when bad actors took advantage of a weak password on an outdated system. Quick action by an employee and the FBI prevented a full-scale ransomware attack. It was a reminder of how simple measures like password protection can make a big difference. “It’s the little things that end up killing you,” said Prescott IT director Nate Keegan.

The public sector has continued to push the boundaries, using emerging technologies in innovative ways to imagine what is possible for government. The Oceanside, California Police Department had previously realized the benefits of using drones for search and rescue operations, but has now improved procedures by using Zoom video conferencing to share the drone’s perspective on multiple smart devices. And Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is working with private sector partners on a pilot program for autonomous technologies ranging from ground transit to security to in-flight aircraft tracking.

Concerns about facial recognition have persisted this year, with a lawsuit in Texas alleging that Facebook, and by extension its parent company, Meta Platforms Inc., violated state law when they used the technology without permission. users. While Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said “this is yet another example of Big Tech’s deceptive marketing practices,” Meta said the lawsuit was invalid, citing a November 2021 ruling seeking to stop using facial recognition. And it’s not just states that were worried: Earlier this year, the IRS announced it would require users of its online portal to register for an account with identity validation company ID. me, which requires users to submit a live video selfie, among other documents. . The agency then dropped the decision amid a pushback.

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