Contractor-monitoring software bills that worried state CIOs mostly failed to pass

Published: May 13, 2019

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Bills that would have required IT contractors working for state governments to use a monitoring software have largely failed to advance in most state legislatures.

Numerous bills that were introduced in state legislatures across the country this year have largely failed to advance as state lawmakers wrap up their sessions. These bills, which were introduced in 32 states, would have required IT contractors to install monitoring software on their computers that would take screenshots, monitor keystrokes, and track mouse movements, and then store the data. Of these states in which this legislation was introduced, at present, it has only advanced in New Jersey. New Jersey legislators approved the bill, but Governor Phil Murphy has not taken any action on it yet.

The concern over this software is multifaceted: for one, it poses risks to the security of this data, especially for agencies that work with sensitive information, as it transfers ownership to a third party. Especially considering the fact that this software would take periodic screenshots, which at some point may include private personal information, there is the question of how to keep this safe, as well as contend with federal privacy rules. The other point is that a software seen as being invasive and imposing could damage the relationship between the state and the vendor.

This legislation is largely driven by aggressive lobbying by TransparentBusiness, a firm that makes this type of monitoring software, and many are expecting this will not be the end of this question. Earlier this year, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) uncharacteristically came out in opposition to this legislation, and still expects it to remain a point of contention in the coming years as well. Although the legislation failed to advance in most states, vendors should continue to keep tabs on this issue, as it could potentially have a significant impact on conducting business and working with state governments.

Source: StateScoop