FTC’s Analytics Success: Making mission-related tasks easier for the user to find In the summer of 2015, members of the Federal Trade Commission’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA) Web team worked with their FTC colleagues to analyze Digital Analytics Program (DAP) Google Analytics data (onsite search queries, landing pages, pageviews, etc.) for FTC.gov. We found that many visitors were coming to the site to perform mission-related tasks, such as filing a complaint or reporting identity theft.
I first came across the redesigned IdentityTheft.gov on Reddit, of all places. Someone had posted a link to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) newly redesigned site and wrote: I hope this never happens to any of you as the entire thing can be really stressful. The identitytheft.gov website is a true breath of fresh air…You can talk to an actual person. They also have this extremely easy wizard to click through your situation and it will auto-generate a “Recovery Plan” including dispute letters, steps to contact law enforcement, putting credit freezes, and basically protecting yourself.
Last week I spoke at a White House event, “Opportunities & Challenges: Open Police Data and Ensuring the Safety and Security of Victims of Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Assault.” This event brought together representatives from government agencies, police departments, and advocacy groups to discuss the potential safety and privacy impact of open police data initiatives. The White House launched the Police Data Initiative last year, encouraging police departments to make data sets available to the public in electronic formats that can be downloaded, searched, and analyzed.
Identity theft is a big problem and it takes time and effort to deal with the issues that it causes. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), has a new tool that makes it easier for identity theft victims to recover from identity theft by providing a personal recovery plan. No matter what the person’s specific identity theft situation is, IdentityTheft.gov can help. The website has information—and recovery plans—for more than 30 types of identity theft, including child identity theft and tax-related identity theft.
The FTC’s second Spanish-language fotonovela is about scams that promise you can make money selling high-end products or brand-name merchandise. If the pitch sounds familiar, that’s because the story is based on facts from a recent [Federal Trade Commission] FTC lawsuit against a company that targeted Spanish speakers nationwide. Income Scams tells the story of Fatima, a consumer who is looking for a way to earn some extra money.
Challenge.gov Honors Federal Agencies, Staff for Raising the Bar on Public Sector Prize Competitions
The biggest advocates for the use of challenges in the public sector gathered at the General Services Administration (GSA) headquarters, October 8, to acknowledge the remarkable rise of a community that has grown steadily in number and influence over the past five years. More than 300 federal employees representing agencies spanning government attended in person or watched via livestream to mark the five-year anniversary of the Challenge.gov. “It is clear that open innovation is here to stay,” said Kelly Olson, director of the Challenge.
This month we’ll be highlighting articles about crowdsourcing. These are the programs that use a variety of online mechanisms to get ideas, services, solutions, and products by asking a large, diverse crowd to contribute their expertise, talents, and skills. Among the mechanisms are hackathons, data jams, code-a-thons, prize competitions, workplace surveys, open ideation, micro-tasks or microwork, citizen science, crowdfunding, and more. A brief look at history outlines a few notable prize competitions, crowdsourcing where solvers are given a task and winners are awarded a prize: The X-Prize and its many iterations from personal space flight to unlocking the secrets of the ocean, Charles Lindburgh’s flight across the Atlantic for the Orteig Prize, and the 300 year-old Longitude Prize, launched by an act of Parliament in Britain to determine a ship’s longitude with the goal of reducing shipwrecks.
No Mobile Gov Month on DigitalGov would be complete without an update on the Internet of Things. Regardless if you’re talking wearables, smart homes, sensors or any other connected device, your current mobile approaches will be impacted—as will your social media, user experience and data strategies. When we last visited the topic in April, discussion in the federal government was minimal. That’s no longer the case. Just this month there were multiple panels about it at the Tech-In-State: Mobile Diplomacy event and the Federal Trade Commision (FTC) was very active at the 2nd Annual Internet of Things Global Summit where FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez gave a keynote about challenges around IOT.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had such great success with their first robocall challenge competition that the agency decided to take a different angle this year—targeting the skilled hackers at DEF CON 22, the annual defense conference in Las Vegas in early August. Five winners earned cash prizes and bragging rights for their creative technical solutions around building and hacking “honeypots” that spoofed illegal robocall experiences. Some details from the program managers:
There is some confusion about how “ideation” fits into challenge and prize competitions. Often, we hear from agencies that they would like to ask the public for ideas, to survey them on a specific question, or to request proposals in response to a problem. And all of these things could be challenge competitions. But often they are not because they’re missing critical elements. A challenge competition: Has a clear problem statement and ask Offers a prize incentive Addresses intellectual property (IP) rights Has criteria for judging entries AND Includes a plan for development and/or implementation We studied successful ideation competitions, talked with our colleagues in the challenge and prize community, the ideation community, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to come to a consensus on these points.
Technology to block robocalls is a huge win for consumers and for challenge competitions this year. The FTC awarded a prize to Aaron Foss, creator of Nomorobo, in April. The technology went to market September 30, and the tool has already blocked more than one hundred thousand calls. The FTC did a number of things right in setting up and managing this challenge competition — among them, creating a competition focused on mission and designing the challenge to track measurable results.