Why does government implicitly endorse Web 2.0 companies?

Mark Drapeau, Director of Innovative Social Engagement, Microsoft, asks, ‘Why does government implicitly endorse Web 2.0 companies?’

Dr. Mark Drapeau is Director of Innovative Social Engagement for Microsoft's U.S. Public Sector division in Washington, D.C. He is also an adjunct professor at the School of Media and Public Affairs of The George Washington University, and until recently a research fellow at the Center for Technology and National Security Policy in Washington, DC. Mark is also a contributing writer for Federal Computer Week, where he writes about emerging media technologies and how they are changing government and the balance of power in society. Mark is also a co-founder of Government 2.0 Club, an international platform for sharing knowledge about the intersection between technology and governance. And, in the spirit of openness and transparency, he is an avid mindcaster on Twitter.

 

Comment

  • kat

    Because the people have. yes, there is implicit endorsement, but the objective is more about leveraging an existing network as an additional channel to reach or engage people.

  • Dan

    Agree w/ kat. Developing new tools/ networks that get to the core of what Twitter/ FB/ YouTube etc. do can be expensive, time consuming, and at odds with demand for them. A bunch of people have already done the hard work conceptualizing and building these platforms. The mandate for govt these days (and always, I guess) is to do more with less, so using existing platforms with well established user bases is a healthy option in most situations. Many SM platforms offer a level of customization and flexibility that lend themselves to government needs anyway. In the end, this is about the public and the people we serve. The implication of not using massively popular technology is that we miss out on a big chance to open new communication channels. True, we can’t exert nearly as much control over the content we produce via these outlets under (for lack of a better term) draconian user agreements, but when technology changes so massively, so does everything else. Our expectations of control and privacy should be somewhat flexible, otherwise we get ghosted sucking everyone else’s exhaust.

  • Jack

    Dan,

    Couldn’t disagree more with this statment:

    “Our expectations of control and privacy should be somewhat flexible, otherwise we get ghosted sucking everyone else’s exhaust.”

    We have extensive laws about how the federal government must protect the privacy of its citizens and also the internal control of its operations. When internal controls fail you get issues like Enron and SBA… these are not good things as they diminish the public trust:

    http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-10-425

    The US Government is not the same as your private corporation or your personal life. It must be held to a higher level of accountability and integrity less it devolve into cronyism and chaos. You can fail in business numerous times and live to try again. You can fail in your personal life numerous times and live to try again. Governments only fail once.

  • stevo

    Bravo Mark!!! Way to ask the hard questions. I agree with Jack here… the government isn’t a person and it isn’t necessarily your friend. If the government is using something I want certain assurances of fairness, privacy and security in my dealings with it. I can’t see how the gov will get that using “free” commercial services. I also don’t understand how the government can endorse these platforms and drive people to them when that is the business model of the platforms.

  • http://gov2expo.com Mark Drapeau

    I think the truly important question is -> What is the *responsibility* that government has to make sure that the way it communicates/collaborates with citizens is reliable, secure, interoperable with other technology?

  • jack

    Mark,

    According to FISMA and the privacy act it is quite a high responsibility:

    http://fismapedia.com/index.php?title=Doc:Federal_Information_Security_Management_Act_of_2002

    http://fismapedia.com/index.php?title=Privacy_Act

    The government also has a responsibility to ensure non-preferential treatment of individuals and organizations:

    http://www.usoge.gov/laws_regs/exec_orders/eo12674.html

    “Government business shall be conducted in a manner above reproach and, except as authorized by statute or regulation, with complete impartiality and with preferential treatment for none.”

    https://www.acquisition.gov/far/html/Subpart%203_1.html

    Finally all outside providers must meet all security/privacy/records retention/e-discovery and accessibility requirements. (See the FAQ section of Security)

    http://epic.org/privacy/cybersecurity/WH_memo_4-21.pdf

    And all websites maintaining an official federal presence must meet the following:

    http://www.usa.gov/webcontent/reqs_bestpractices/reqs_checklist.shtml

    Now perhaps all this is overkill, but this is what the Government is presently held accountable to.