Social Security to Explore E-Gov Opportunities

Social Security to Explore E-Gov Opportunities

By Gail Repsher, Staff Writer

JUNE 13 ? The Social Security Administration said June 13 that this summer it will test various Internet technologies that could improve its customer service.

Deputy Commissioner William Halter said Social Security will work with CommerceNet, a nonprofit consortium of information technology firms, to test the technologies in an agency laboratory. Testing will not use real customers.

"The Internet has tremendous potential to expand and improve customer service at the Social Security Administration," Halter said. "But before we move forward, we must first test these technologies to determine if they are practicable and to ensure that they can be adapted to meet SSA's strict standards for protecting customer privacy."

Technologies to be tested include:

* Instant messaging, which would let customers and Social Security workers type communications in real time.

* Secure e-mail, which would allow customers to send and receive information from their Social Security records in a way that is unreadable by others.

* Voice over Internet protocol, which would let customers talk on the phone with a Social Security worker while using the agency's Web site.

* New software, which would let Social Security workers better manage customer information via the Internet, phone or field office.

CommerceNet participants include Cisco Systems Inc., IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp., Nortel Networks Corp., Siebel Systems Inc. and Unisys Corp.

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