Howard Names New Director of Technology and Communications

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball last week named Brandee Ganz as the new director of the Howard County Department of Technology and Communications (DTCS). Ganz previously served as the head of the Project Management Office in the County's Department of Information Technology. DTCS is responsible for supporting the County's many different functions by offering an array of services in order to help the departments meet their technology needs. This includes areas such as cybersecurity, geographical…

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Local Bill Aims to Expand 5G Wireless Service in Montgomery

The Montgomery County Council will consider a zoning text amendment (ZTA) to set standards for the deployment of small cell wireless antennas in residential areas. The measure, sponsored by Council Members Hans Riemer, Gabe Albornoz, and Craig Rice, provides a balanced approach for the deployment of next-generation wireless infrastructure, which will offer faster speeds, enhanced reliability, and higher network capacity. Small cells are wireless antennas that have a smaller footprint and shorter range than macrocells (what…

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Frederick Launches Text Alerts to Enhance Public Safety at Special Events

Frederick County is making it easier for residents to get notified in case of an emergency. The Frederick County Division of Emergency Management announced that Alert Frederick County, the County’s official emergency notification program, now offers an opt-in text service to provide emergency information to attendees of large-scale special events in Frederick County. “We are leveraging technology so the public can stay informed in a way that is easy and convenient to them,” County Executive Jan…

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Ice Cream Social with MD’s CISO John Evans – 9.19.19

The Cyber Security Association of Maryland is hosting an ice cream social with special guest John Evans, Maryland's recently appointed Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) - Thursday, September 19, 2019, from 2:00-3:00 pm at M&T Bank Stadium. From The Cyber Security Association of Maryland: "Creating a More Cyber Secure State Through Collaboration | 9.19.19 Ice Cream Social with Maryland State CISO John Evans" | M&T Bank Stadium | 2 – 3 PM Meet John Evans,…

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Report: Two-Thirds of 2019 Ransomware Attacks Targeted State and Local Governments

Nearly two-thirds of all publicly known ransomware attacks in the United States in 2019 have targeted state or local governments, according to a report published Wednesday by cybersecurity firm Barracuda Networks. Ransomware attacks typically encrypt files and lock them up so users can’t access them. The attackers then demand a ransom amount, typically in Bitcoin digital currency, in exchange for the decryption keys to unlock the files. Baltimore City estimates that this year's ransomware attack…

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Facebook Tool Allows Local Governments to Send Emergency Alerts

Facebook is expanding a tool that allows local governments and first responders to communicate time-sensitive and need-to-know information to people on the social media network. The tech giant plans to make the local alert tool available to all eligible Facebook pages in the United States by the end of the year. More than 350 local governments have used local alerts as part of a pilot program Facebook launched in November to communicate everyday emergencies —…

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Agreement Reached Between States & Major Telcomm Companies on Fighting Robocalls

A Daily Record article (2019-08-22) reported that a coalition of all 50 states and Washington D.C. have reach an agreement with 12 phone companies on fighting illegal robocalls. The article noted that robocalls are a frequent source of consumer complaints, both within Maryland and nationally. The agreement was the result of a bipartisan effort. Telecommunication companies that signed onto the agreement included AT&T, Comcast, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. A robocall is a call made with an autodialer and…

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FCC’s Latest Orders Expand Broadband Funds and Cap Local Cable Franchise Fees

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued three orders of interest (both good and bad) to local governments on August 1. The FCC took action on the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, Digital Opportunity Data Collection, and Cable-Related, In-Kind Contributions. NACo reports: The FCC approved a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), which would provide $20.4 billion over 10 years to help companies expand broadband in unserved remote areas. ... Recognizing the inaccuracies of…

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Will 9-8-8 Be The Next “Number To Know” For Suicide Prevention?

The federal Suicide Prevention Hotline is being targeted as the next service with an easily-remembers three-digit universal access phone number: 9-8-8. Under the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018, Congress authorized federal support for a unified center and call-line for suicide prevention. Currently, Americans can call toll-free from anywhere to 1-800-273-8255 and reach a trained professional to assist "in the moment" with any potential self harm. The Federal Communications Commission is considering a next step…

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St. Mary’s Library Goes High-Tech: Introduces 3D Printing, Virtual Reality

The St. Mary’s County Library this week announced the acquisition of 3D printers, 3D pens, Cricut Maker machines, and virtual reality headsets. The St. Mary's County Library has branches in Charlotte Hall, Leonardtown, and Lexington Park. “In a recent community survey, we saw lots of interest in providing new technology for County residents to discover and learn from,” said Michael Blackwell, Director. “We’re grateful to our Friends for the funding that has made it possible.”…

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