‘Hackathon’ gets RIers thinking about cybersecurity

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Designers, technologists, and other innovators came together Saturday — to see how technology can be used to reinforce internet security in Rhode Island.

Two “Hackathon” events were held Saturday — one in Middletown and one at the State House in Providence.

The events were all about getting young, fresh minds involved with technology to find solutions to real world problems.

And as technology continues to evolve, the state is working its way to streamline some of their services online.

“We’re working on large and small investments in technology — tying to modernize much of the systems,” said Thom Guertin, RI’s Chief Digital Officer.

Rhode Island’s Hackathon was part of the national day of civic hacking. Teams analyzed publicly released data to help improve the state — but with the amount of information accessible on the internet, safety and privacy are always a concern.

“And it is a concern when you start to move things off to the cloud, when you get it hosted outside of our data center, but we follow very strict standards to try and shore that up,” said Guertin.

“Keeping data secure in this day and age is certainly a priority, and it’s something we always wants to have as part of that conversation,” added Stephanie Santoso of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Data security has been an issue recently, as the U.S. tries to figure out who broke into the government’s computer network — taking the personal information of at least 4 million federal workers.

“It is something that we think about when it comes to thinking about the new and different ways that we’re collecting the data especially when you’re talking about crowd sourcing data,” said Santoso.

When comparing America’s fluency in technology to other countries, the White House says it’s like comparing apples to oranges — there are always things the U.S. can learn from other countries.

Plus — there are things countries can learn from America.

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