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14 tech buzzwords that are confusing everyone

Buzzwords thrive because they’re immensely useful as a shorthand when all parties involved have a common understanding of the concepts they represent — big ideas can be packed into just a few syllables. But as state and local chief information officers pointed out to StateScoop in recent interviews, buzzwords can also be pernicious. “I think buzzwords are really dangerous to use because your business partners don’t understand,” Nebraska CIO Ed Toner said. “You really should be describing what you want in plain language. With buzzwords, no one wants to challenge you because they don’t want to show they don’t understand this hip, cool jargon.” Colin Wood digs in.

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Code for America staff reach agreement with management

Employees at Code for America have reached an agreement with management on a timeline for voluntary recognition of a newly-established union at the nonprofit. In a joint statement, both parties said they had decided that a voluntary recognition agreement must be signed on or before Monday, Oct. 18, and that a card check will then take place on or before Friday Oct. 22. Under U.S. labor law, formal recognition of a union can be either granted voluntarily by an employer or through a secret-ballot election organized by the National Labor Relations Board. John Hewitt Jones covered the news at FedScoop.

CivStart names 13 govtech startups for 2021 cohort

The nonprofit CivStart unveiled its third annual cohort of startups seeking to assist local governments. The cohort includes 13 early-stage businesses, such as TruTriage, which provides video-enabled nurse triaging software to 911 call centers, and Socialwyze, a mobile app that helps governments and donors pay unemployed people to perform public-benefit work. The group said all of the startups in this year’s cohort support its mission of fostering “more equitable and inclusive communities.” Colin Wood has the details.

Post-pandemic, what's next for USDR?

The U.S. Digital Response, a national nonprofit launched by the country’s most prominent civic technologists at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, enlisted thousands of volunteer engineers, designers and developers to aid state and local governments with their digital transformations over the past 18 months. But as much of the country rebuilds its physical and digital infrastructure in the face of historic wildfires, hurricanes and drought, there’s opportunity for organizations like USDR to continue their mission, said Jessica Cole, its recently appointed CEO. Ryan Johnston is asking the questions.

Why aren't schools required to report ransomware?

According to Emsisoft, 58 schools and school districts have publicly reported ransomware attacks in 2021, but we know this is only a fraction of the actual figure. Public officials and industry experts acknowledge that the rise in attacks is a national crisis, yet most schools are still not required to report ransomware — why? Earlier this year the ransomware research team at Recorded Future, where I work as an intelligence analyst, submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to the education departments in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, looking to see if they had information about ransomware attacks against schools in their states occurring between Jan. 1 and July 31 of 2021. Almost none of them did. Columnist Allan Liska asks the question at StateScoop.

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