FCC.gov reboots as an open government platform

Published: April 6, 2011

“Today, the bar has been raised for federal government website reboots with the relaunch of the new FCC.gov, now available in beta at beta.FCC.gov.”

The new site is organized around the three primary activities: file a public comment, file a complaint, and search for information. The insight for that redesign came through a combination of online traffic analysis, requests for information through the call center, and conversations with FCC employees.

Some changes that go along with the new FCC.gov are literally tiny, like the newly launched FCC.us URL shortener. Others look small but are a big deal, like secure HTTPS web browsing across FCC.gov. Other upgrades work on small devices, enabling interested parties to watch proceedings wherever they are: the fcc.gov/live livestream now includes the ability to sense the device that someone is using and convert on the fly to HTML5 or Flash. That livestream can also be embedded on other websites.

All of those upgrades add up to a greater whole. Broadly speaking, FCC managing director Steve Van Roekel and his team of software developers, designers, new media and IT security staff have worked hard to bring Web 2.0 principles into the FCC’s online operations. Those principles include elements of open data, platform thinking, collective intelligence, and lightweight social software. What remains to be seen in the years ahead is how much incorporating Web 2.0 into operations will change how the FCC operates as a regulator.

Nearly two years ago, Tim O’Reilly and John Battelle asked how Web 2.0 technologies could transform the actual practice of governing. The FCC has made a big step toward that vision, at a cost of approximately $1.35 million in total development costs. “Everything should be an API,” said Van Roekel, speaking in a briefing on Monday. “The experiences that live outside of FCC.gov should interact back into it. In a perfect world, no one should have to visit the FCC website.” Instead, he said, you’d go to your favorite search engine or favorite app and open data from the FCC’s platform would be baked into it.

Alex Howard @ oreilly.com

“Everything should be an API” — words guaranteed to make strong programmers weep for joy

— See [categorySeeAlso slug=”application-programming-interface”]

Also of interest, the new FCC site runs on Drupal:

Specifically, theFCC.gov open source redesign runs on Drupal, like Energy.gov, House.gov and WhiteHouse.gov. The FCC also considered Sharepoint, Documentum, WordPress and Ruby on Rails before ultimately going with Drupal. The use of Drupal at the White House was a “strong validator” for that choice, said Van Roekel. As the White House has done, Van Roekel said that the FCC will contribute code back to the Drupal community.

Via Boing Boing.

In the news

Published: November 20, 2009

Opera 10.10 Released, Includes New “Unite” Tech

Opera 10.10 has been released, and with it their new “Unite” technology, which allows users to share content directly between all of their own devices. Unite wraps both web browser and web server into a single package in an attempt to change the way users think about their browser.

“‘We promised Opera Unite would reinvent the Web,’ said Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera. ‘What we are really doing is reinventing how we as consumers interact with the Web. By giving our devices the ability to serve content, we become equal citizens on the Web. In an age where we have ceded control of our personal data to third-parties, Opera Unite gives us the freedom to choose how we will share the data that belongs to us.'”

– Via Slashdot

New worm targets jailbroken iPhones for Dutch online banking customers

There are reports of a new worm that targets jailbroken iPhones and behaves like a botnet. It targets people in the Netherlands who use their iPhones for online banking with the Dutch bank ING, and the worm affects devices with SSH installed.

– Via BoingBoing

White House Website Switches To Open Source

WhiteHouse.gov has gone Drupal…. ‘This is a clear sign that governments realize that Open Source does not pose additional risks compared to proprietary software, and furthermore, that by moving away from proprietary software, they are not being locked into a particular technology, and that they can benefit from the innovation that is the result of thousands of developers collaborating on Drupal.’

– via Slashdot