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10/25/2010
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SSA To Release Data Sets In Transparency Push

Social Security Administration will post more than 30 sets on Data.gov to support Open Government Directive.

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) is readying the release of more than 30 new data sets on as part of its continued support of federal data-transparency efforts.

The agency also aims to make changes to the way it develops its systems to support transparency efforts going forward, according to a recent report (PDF) on its plan for releasing data to the site.

So far, SSA has posted 22 data sets to Data.gov, created in May 2009 as part of the Obama administration's Open Government Directive. The site is aimed at allowing people to search through numerous data sets from government agencies, but has been criticized by some for lack of usability.

By 2012, the agency will release dozens more data sets that range in topic from Internet usage for selected online transactions, to disability claims, to field offices, including data about waiting time, visitors, claims appointment schedules and public satisfaction with specific offices, according to the report.

Other data sets the agency is readying involve retirement claims that have been filed and cleared; Social Security 800-number call volume and busy rate as well as information on the speed of answering calls; W-2 forms completed; and Performance.gov metrics data.

The agency is working to remove personally identifiable information from the data sets to prepare them for public view. An internal review board also must evaluate them to ensure they don't violate privacy or security rules for posting data on the site.

The SSA also has recognized the need to incorporate data-transparency consideration into its systems development lifecycle process so that "high-value data in standard formats for public use is a more efficient, automated process," according to the report.

To make lifecycle changes, however, the agency must work with several governance groups, identify pilot projects and evaluate their results, it said.

In the meantime, the agency continues to work on improving its business intelligence architecture, which has made the production of summarized data sets for Data.gov possible, according to the report.

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