Transparency News, 2/18/21


 February 18, 2021
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state & local news stories
Yesterday, the Senate General Laws Committee advanced two bills we are following. We wanted HB 2025 to be amended, but the committee left it as is and reported it on a 13-1 vote. On the other hand, a bill we DIDN'T want amended, HB 2004, was. The amendments water down the bill on criminal investigative file access, but they aren't fatal, and the next likely step (if it makes it past the Senate money committee) is a conference committee where a compromise between the two is worked out. The committee did not act on HB 2313, the bill to expand the working papers exemption of the governor's office, which VCOG opposes.

Elkton Town Council held a short meeting Tuesday, but a portion of the livestream was unavailable due to connection failures. When council began its meeting Tuesday, it was business as usual until Town Manager Greg Lunsford began sharing his staff report. Then, the virtual feed was interrupted. For several minutes, members of the public viewing the meeting virtually were left confused and council members unaware the connection had failed. Mayor Joshua Gooden said he was made aware of the disconnection after receiving text messages roughly 10 minutes into the start of the meeting. Once Town Council and staff realized the situation, Gooden said, they paused the meeting. The connection was fixed briefly before disconnecting again. As of Tuesday’s meeting, Zoom’s streaming is the only way members of the public can access and attend a Town Council meeting, Gooden said.
Daily News Record
stories from around the country

The DC chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to enforce the release of missing stop-and-frisk data. The lawsuit was filed at the DC Superior Court on February 16, after MPD did not publish any stop-and-frisk data from March 2020 through February 2021, despite its legal obligation to do so, as per a previous court order and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the ACLU said in a statement.
The DC Post

An investigation into October's cyber attack on Chatham County, N.C.,'s computer network has uncovered personal information posted for sale on the "dark web." The network was hit Oct. 28 with a DoppelPaymer ransomware that originated in a phishing email with a malicious attachment, County Manager Dan LaMontagne said. It encrypted much of the county's network infrastructure and associated business systems, the county said in a news release. Staff was able to isolate the affected systems. The hacker sent a ransom note demanding 50 bitcoins, or about $2.4 million at the current exchange rate, county spokeswoman Kara Dudley said in an email Tuesday. The county refused to pay the ransom, she said.
editorials & columns
Nearly one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, Virginians are leaning more on online services. In some cases, these changes are by consumer choice — for example, a person with a high-risk health condition decides to forgo a trip to a crowded grocery store, and schedule curbside pickup or home delivery. In other cases, there is no choice — say your local bank branch has closed and you reluctantly deposit checks with your smartphone after years of avoiding that option. With or without a pandemic, some of these shifts already were in motion. As technology keeps advancing, Virginians deserve a real say in the exchange and use of their information online. The Consumer Data Protection Act (CDPA) is a necessary first step toward better protections.
Richmond Times-Dispatch