State lines

Online benefits. The federal government recently took the first steps to integrate federal and state benefit programs online.

With the relaunch of the portal, the Labor Department added 48 benefit programs from 20 states, including Medicaid, Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and children's health insurance programs.

Patrick Pizzella, assistant secretary for administration and management and Labor CIO, said the department has taken concrete actions to providing 'a single place for both federal and state benefit program information.'

Labor's goal is to add programs from every state and build an online site for applying for benefits for all programs.

Learning grants. Nine states have received $15 million in grants from the Education Department to test how technology affects achievement in elementary and secondary schools.

The department issued the three-year grants under the Enhancing Education Through Technology program, established by the No Child Left Behind Act.

Recipients are required to evaluate how their use of technology increases student achievement and to share this information with other states.

Among the projects that will receive funds are an assessment of student and teacher use of technology to enhance mathematics learning in Maine, a study of online foreign language courses in West Virginia, and programs to issue computers and provide Internet access to students in Pennsylvania and Texas.

Insecurity. The Kansas Health and Environment Department has serious IT security and disaster recovery problems, the state's legislative auditor has found.

Auditors said they used password-cracking software to decipher in three minutes more than 1,000 of the department's passwords'including several administrative passwords'or 60 percent of all current passwords.

The department began fixing the security weaknesses and other problems found in its systems as soon as it learned of them, department secretary Roderick L. Bremby said in response to the report.

'The department's antivirus system was badly flawed, allowing computers to become infected with a large number of different viruses, worms and Trojan horses,' auditors wrote in the report, Kansas Department of Health and Environment Information Systems: Reviewing the Department's Management of Those Systems.

'The department's firewall was poorly configured, creating several large holes in and out,' the report said. Auditors found that the department lacked or failed to enforce many basic security policies.

Stay Connected

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.