Letter: Former mayor asks if council members’ iPads affected by cyber attack

Letter to the Editor:

On January 3, 2017, City Clerk Bryant distributed an I-Pad to each of the City Council Members – Joe Buckman (absent), Kecia Copeland, Dick Heaton, John Kelley, Bill Sheckles and Roland Williams. As Mayor, I reminded the council members that personal use of the I-Pad was strongly discouraged.

On February 7, 2017, by unanimous vote (6-0), council members adopted Municipal Order 2017-04 – Council Information and I-Pad Privacy. At this time, council members were given access to all servers including cloud-based servers; the right to disable location-based services and the right and accessibility to download applications and related software (apps) individually and collectively, consistent with IT safeguards and subject to the proper use of a government-owned asset. They were also granted the right to establish privacy and similar protections to prevent any unauthorized use of any installed application software. Moreover, they gave themselves the right to deny any request for temporary possession of their I-Pad or similar government-issued device for software updates and/or to require certain limitations on the retention and/or disclosure of the I-Pad’s contents and/or to require specific information concerning such a request.

In the wake of the recent cyberattack, hackers have the ability to access information and control through any device integrated with the mainframe. Who is responsible for making sure that council members are adhering to the guidelines set forth since they have been given exclusive rights to city-owned property? As you may recall, during my administration, this very situation was brought to light by misuse of the I-Pads by the majority of council members.

After nearly a week, Mayor Heaton finally disclosed to the public that indeed, the City of Bardstown had been hacked! I have been told that all computers and integrated equipment have been removed from departments for the investigation. Have the council members relinquished control over their I-Pads for examination? How could safety measures insuring the integrity of our operating systems be compromised in such a way as to give someone complete control over their city-owned I-Pads?

John Royalty

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