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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

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

Free the Data: The Debate Over APIs and Open Government

BY Alex Howard | Monday, March 17 2014

Photo: Jonathan Gray

As the use of application programming interfaces (APIs) catches on across government agencies, third-party developers, open government advocates, and government techies are debating whether this should become the gold standard for open data, and if so, whether such services should be free. Read More

Developers Are Already Submitting Patches to Obama's New Open Data Policy

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, May 9 2013

Photo: Tom Lohdan / Flickr

The White House on Thursday morning released an executive order from President Barack Obama that mandates any data in information systems created by government agencies going forward be available for anyone to access, download, and use. Read More

White House Rolls Out New Plan for Digital Government

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, May 23 2012

The White House on Wednesday rolled out a new strategy document on digital government that sets out government-wide goals and priorities for dealing with citizens online, creates a new center at the General Services Administration to encourage agencies to get onboard, and calls for new government-wide standards for IT procurement.

White House Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel and Chief Technology Officer Todd Park unveiled the strategy Wednesday at TechCrunch Disrupt, a technology conference held in New York City. In their remarks, they framed the strategy as a sweeping reinvention of the way the government interacts with citizens online designed to make it ever easier for people inside and outside of government to improve service delivery for Americans over the web.Read More

Data.gov To World: Fork Me On GitHub

BY Nick Judd | Monday, December 5 2011

Late last week, the United States released some of the source code for an open-source version of Data.gov, the White House's platform for federal agency data, through a new repository on the open-source development hub ... Read More

More Details Released On White House Plan for a One-Stop Business Portal to Government

BY Nick Judd | Friday, October 28 2011

The White House today released more details on BusinessUSA, its promised one-stop web portal for businesses to access government programs and services. The platform's creation will be supervised by White House Chief ... Read More

White House Appoints Steven VanRoekel as New U.S. CIO

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, August 4 2011

Steve VanRoekel A former Microsoft executive and Federal Communications Commission managing director, Steven VanRoekel, will become the next U.S. chief information officer, the White House announced today. VanRoekel ... Read More