Social Security Updates Open Government Plan, Highlights the Crowd, FOIA, Open Source

Social Security Administration Commissioner Michael Astrue announced Monday that the agency has released an updated version of its open government plan.

“We have refreshed our plan to update our open government goals, objectives, and supporting activities. We used our open government website and social media software to obtain employee and public input as we updated our plan. We also invited stakeholders and open government advocates to provide their perspectives and input. We will continue to refine our use of innovative data sharing, collaboration, and participation technologies to support our mission, and we will engage the public as we pursue the initiatives outlined in this plan,” said Astrue.

Key components in the plan’s timeline include a new Freedom of Information Act portal by the end of 2012 and “IdeaBench,” which will leverage crowdsourcing tools for feedback on the agency’s electronic Bench Book.

The agency provides a report on its 2010 open government plan efforts related to open data, social media and key flagship initiatives, including the Spanish Retirement Estimator and the Life Expectancy Calculator. SSA also cites the continued release of “high-value” datasets, the adoption of open source software, Extensible Markup Language (XML) and use of Google Analytics as progress.


On how open source software will play a role in the agency’s ongoing open government efforts the plan states, “We continue to test open-source software solutions and incorporate open-source business rules engines in several production applications. In addition, we established an enterprise service bus based on open-source technology and continue to incorporate open-source solutions in our integrated development environments … We look forward to sharing the products of our open-source platform efforts across the growing Federal open-source development community, as well as partnering with other agencies in future endeavors.”

SSA first launched its open government portal in February 2010.

Comments and suggestions to the plan can be submitted at the SSA Ideas website or emailed to

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