Apps.gov Release Takes Government into The Cloud
September 15, 2009
Filed under Open Government
In a much-hyped launch this afternoon, Apps.gov was introduced as a centralized service for federal agencies to obtain cloud-based IT services. These services range from productivity and management applications for internal use to free social media plugins for agency websites. US CIO Vivek Kundra has often noted that taking the government into the cloud was a priority for him for many reasons, among them cost saving and increased security among agencies, as well as furthering interagency collaboration. Apps.gov is billed as a storefront for cloud services for government agencies. Many of these are apps for internal use only, and the website notes that internal agency users have no expectation of privacy. However, there are some external facing social media tools that are listed within the Apps.gov catalog, and I hope that they make it clear as they work with these social media sites that user privacy is important. While amended terms of service for the social media tools are included on the site, we'd also like to see the contracts that GSA has entered into with third party vendors. Of particular interest are details about what types of social media tools will be available to interact with citizens. Apps.gov's social media section would be an excellent place to put a repository of tips and best practices for user privacy, for example- an example Privacy Impact Assessment for agency use of Facebook could be one of the resources at Apps.gov. We are excited to see government begin to harness the cloud, and begin to take advantage of centralized services within agencies. Hopefully we'll see Apps.gov turn into a repository of information on how to use cloud tools internally and with the public as well as serving as a storefront for agencies.