Personalized e-gov portal moves closer to launch

typing hands

A digital one-stop shop for citizen interaction with government is one step closer to going live., a proposed personalized government information and services portal, is seeking authorization to collect information on users, per a notice in the Aug. 13 Federal Register. The portal is designed to be a password protected personal account that can be used to sign into government websites and connect with information and resources across federal, state and local government.

It is being developed as a project of the Presidential Innovation Fellows program, under the auspices of the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies at the General Services Administration.

President Obama touted the project as government's answer to e-commerce in a July 8 speech announcing plans for a technology-driven, evidence-based management agenda. "Today, for example, many online shopping websites help fill in some of your information so you don't have to enter it every time you log in. As a consequence, we're working on a project called MyUSA that will save you time by doing the same thing with government forms. And if you're applying for federal benefits, we think you should be able to track the status of your application in real time, just like you can follow location of a package all the way to your doorstep."

In order to fulfill the vision sketched in Obama's speech, MyUSA needs to clear a few technical and regulatory hurdles. Some of the digital tools have been built. Agencies can now access a MyUSA application programming interface to help them build out web services and a tool for posting government forms. The framework for the MyUSA account is in place, and the service is currently accepting email addresses from prospective users, but it's still too early to create and access accounts.

The next step appears to be authorization to collect and share information from users. The profile information MyUSA proposes to collect is name, phone number, home address, gender, marital status, and information about military service, education, and whether a user owns a small business. This will allow for users to auto-populate government forms with their own personal information, as Obama promised in his speech. The information collection is voluntary, and users will be able to specify whether their profile information can be shared among government agencies.

A GSA staffer said the project has been advancing on the technical side as well as in terms of policy, but there's no publicly disclosed date for launch. Comments on the proposed information collection are being accepted through Oct. 15.


About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group