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New US Digital Service Looks to Avoid IT Catastrophes

BY Alex Howard | Wednesday, August 13 2014

USDS' Mikey Dickerson at the 2009 MySQL Conference (Photo by Jorge Bernal)

At a time when the public's trust in institutions is at historic lows, the federal government's use of technology has an unusual place in the national discourse. After the first Internet president's administration was responsible for the high-profile failure of Healthcare.gov, the issue seemed ripe to drive significant reform on Capitol Hill. Even if some 10 million adults gained health insurance through the Affordable Care Act after "Obama's trauma team" made successful fixes to Healthcare.gov, negative public perception has lingered, and for good reason. Under the radar, other projects have continued to sputter, like a $300 million dollar Social Security government IT boondoggle that still has not delivered a working system for submitting disability claims. The crash of the FCC's dated website under the weight of 1.1 million comments this summer didn't help, either. At the same time, the confidence of the technology community has been damaged by revelations of dragnet surveillance and surreptitious backdoors planted in software. Now, the executive branch has launched two new initiatives aimed squarely at these issues, 18F and the just-announced US Digital Service, Alex Howard reports. Read More

First POST: Some Comments

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, July 16 2014

The battle against CISA heats up; the FCC's servers melt down over net neutrality; Elizabeth Warren fans organize for her online; and much, much more. Read More

At 18F, The U.S. Looks to Fail Fast on Government IT Projects Instead of Failing Big

BY Alex Howard | Thursday, April 3 2014

The state of govt IT today: Long lines in Columbia, SC waiting to sign-up for HealthCare.gov

Can a new small office inside the General Services Administration start to revolutionize how the U.S. government does information technology? That's the premise behind 18F. Longtime open government observer Alex Howard offers this in-depth report. Read More

White House to Announce Presidential Innovation Fellows Thursday

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, August 21 2012

The White House will announce the participants in the inaugural Presidential Innovation Fellows program Thursday. The goal of the initiative is to bring top innovators from outside government to work with innovators inside government "to create real and substantial changes that will in a very short time frame benefit the American people, save taxpayers money, and help create new jobs," according to a blog post from White House CTO Todd Park. Read More

[BackChannel] Ed Mullen: Five Reasons to Be a Presidential Innovation Fellow

BY Ed Mullen | Friday, June 8 2012

In the latest installment of BackChannel, a space for practitioners and close observers at the intersection of technology and politics to share ideas and opinions, designer Ed Mullen revisits his experience helping to relaunch Healthcare.gov to explain the importance of the new Presidential Innovation Fellows program. Read More