Technology in the Obama Era

By  |  Wednesday, November 5, 2008 at 1:12 am

obamabidenSo it’s official: Come January 20th, Barack Obama will be president of the United States of America. What will that mean for technology? The Obama campaign site has a tech section that provides some clues.

A very quick summary:

–Obama will appoint the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer.

–He’ll support Network Neutrality. (Which is a somewhat squishy concept, which the Obama site doesn’t define. And it doesn’t say how he’ll support it.)

–He’ll encourage broadband deployment through a combination of reform of the Universal Service Fund, better use of the nation’s wireless spectrum, promotion of next-generation facilities, technologies and applications, and new tax and loan incentives.”

–He’ll “give parents the tools and information they need to control what their children see on television and the Internet in ways fully consistent with the First Amendment.” (Free copies of Net Nanny for every household?)

—He’ll use unspecified “cutting-edge technologies” to make government more transparent.

–He believes we must “update and reform our copyright and patent systems to promote civic discourse, innovation and investment while ensuring that intellectual property owners are fairly treated.”

–He will “ensure that our patent laws protect legitimate rights while not stifling innovation and collaboration.” .

–He will “invest $10 billion a year over the next five years to move the U.S. health care system to broad adoption of standards-based electronic health information systems, including electronic health records.”

There’s nothing in there I disagree with. Come to think of it, there’s very little in there that anyone might disagree with. There’s also little in the way of detail. The idea of a cabinet-level CTO is an interesting one, and the right person could make a big difference. ((Me, I vote for Vint Cerf.) I’d love to see that CTO devote intense, sustained attention to broadband-related issues: It’s truly a national embarrassement that broadband in America is as slow, expensive, and spotty as it is.

More details to come, presumably. The president-elect will have his hands full from the moment he enters the White House; I hope he remembers those campaign promises and fleshes them out…and makes sure that they don’t remain mere promises.

 
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3 Comments For This Post

  1. pcpandoradvocate Says:

    We at PC Pandora (www.pcpandora.com) would love to give copies of our monitoring software to every family in America. But that isn’t necessarily fiscally possible without backing. But one thing is for certain: internet education starts in the home. While schools may be a re-enforcement in online safety lessons, it’s really what the parents do at home that will keep kids safe. Every parent should be monitoring their child’s internet activity. There is no reason not too.

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  3. Jay Godse Says:

    President Obama used a lot of technology to win the election. A lot of it was social networking technology that other campaigns did not know to use or how to use. The other thing they did well was use tools such as wikis, blogs, and mashups to let their supporters create the content. That is a scary prospect for old-school marketers.

    His biggest hope is to use open-source technologies to put public government data on the internet for people to see. That will make the government more transparent, and it will also enable them to engage many more people.

    The next biggest hope is to mandate the use of open-source or free applications in government. Apps such as Open Office, Google Apps, PostgreSQL, SugarCRM, etc. That will cut their licensing costs and it will open up the support market to thousands more small companies that keep Americans working.

    If I were him, I would get a CTO from the open-source world to ensure that the government isn’t paying for software and information that could be had for free or lower cost.