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Irwin: Let's Use Tech to Boost Privacy, Security, Engagement

Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin says state and local governments should use technology to enhance civic engagement among residents, with a focus on privacy and security.

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Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin wants to see new government solutions across the state that are more accessible to Californians, and sees a Cabinet-level CIO and CISO as part of an overall solution.

“But as the governor-elect envisions the future IT administration, the state and local governments must continue to partner with our tech industry to make sure that government works better for its citizens,” Irwin said Monday at Techwire's State of Technology forum in Sacramento.

Irwin wants those updates at the local and state level, to make interacting with government easier on residents, with a focus on privacy and security.

Part of that effort will require harnessing data and using it to predict which groups need what, according to Irwin. Irwin said that California can learn how to do that from other states, just as other states can learn from California.

Rolling security, privacy and predictive analytics into public-sector projects would add more complexity, but moving toward new procurement and an agile model could help.

“Without pushing for tech updates, even though they may be the next IT debacle … we will be certain to fail our population,” Irwin said.

But a balance is necessary, Irwin said, so nothing gets pushed down the road.

In order to serve all those needs, she said, the Legislature needs to focus on increasing support for tech education and preparing and recruiting students, especially for careers in the public sector.

Irwin’s office will be revisiting California’s 2018 privacy initiative, among other legislation, because “we try to understand what the unintended consequences are.”

Kayla Nick-Kearney was a staff writer for Techwire from March 2017 through January 2019.