SSA eyes IP for service tools

SSA eyes IP for service tools

The Social Security Administration is working with CommerceNet to test ways of using the Internet to enhance customer service.

SSA officials envision using Internet services that would let people conduct business transactions with the agency online and also interact with agency representatives, deputy commissioner William A. Halter said.

The Cupertino, Calif., nonprofit organization will help the agency run a proof-of-concept project in a controlled laboratory environment. For the research, SSA will not conduct live transactions with citizens, Halter said.

The agency will study instant messaging, which would let customers type in questions and receive immediate responses from SSA representatives, and secured e-mail, which could protect personal information in Social Security records during exchanges.

SSA will also test IP telephony and applications it could use to improve the management of customer information.

'Tony Lee Orr, William Jackson and Patricia Daukantas

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