What does it mean for the federal government to ‘do business with the cloud’?

The newspaper I work for ran a series last fall examining the impact of technology on government systems, using databasing from the GAO and ED.

People are increasingly using technologies developed by corporations to access government services. We decided to use Databasing from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Community Services and Management Information System (CSMIS) to see how the lines between “government” and “corporate” are blurring.

Rather than examining the commercial technology companies that facilitate the internet of things, our research looked at how people access government services, using data from the GAO and USDA CSMIS.

This series looked at six different forms of government technology: IT infrastructure, B2B development and delivery, test and test-for-fix development, data provision and translation, government ledger and mobile program management, and mobile program management.

Although all six forms of government technology interact with and get information from each other, they are not identical and often don’t interoperate.

For example, an anti-tampering app developed by the Baltimore city government for residents must communicate with an app developed by a private vendor for a company to whom it communicates, according to GSD

Similarly, a mobile app developed by the Baltimore City public school system to help families enroll in early childcare must access the state Early Head Start and Head Start sponsored enrollment system.

However, the data means little if people cannot interact with it. That’s where tech companies help people access information government services that are designed to make life easier, but can be tricky and frustrating.

Our series offers insights into how companies like Uber, Google, Facebook, and Amazon are making it easier for poor people to access government services using technology. Here’s an in-depth analysis of the role they play.

If you have any further insights on the impact of private companies on government databases, please share them with us in the comments below.

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