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NewsBytes: Obama talks tech and other items

A bunch of items that I will never get to unless I just do it, so...

* Obama talks tech

The folks over at a blog called VentureBeat broke the story yesterday -- Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the Democratic presidential candidate, launched his tech platform at a speech at Google's headquarters today. (The Obama campaign's blog on it and a PDF of his plan.)


The campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has given VentureBeat an exclusive look at his technology plan, which he plans to unveil officially tomorrow (Wednesday) before a visit to Google’s headquarters.

... It contains several new proposals, including the appointment of a technology czar called a Chief Technology Officer.


The CTO’s mandate would be quite different from the cybersecurity czar appointed under the Bush administration. Bush’s czar helped defend against cyberattacks. Obama’s CTO, by contrast, would ensure government officials hold open meetings, broadcast live Webcasts of those meetings, and use blogging software, wikis and open comments to communicate policies with Americans, according to the plan.


The plan extends Obama’s previous advocacy for more open decision-making in government. It’s likely to play well here in Silicon Valley, because much of it relies on technology.


Again, the big item: Obama proposes creating a government CTO, who would "ensure that our government and all its agencies have the right infrastructure, policies and services for the 21st century. The CTO will ensure the safety of our networks and will lead an interagency effort, working with chief technology and chief information officers of each of the federal agencies, to ensure that they use best-in-class technologies and share best practices."

I'm not exactly sure how that is different from a CIO, but...

Some excerpts from the senator's fact sheet [.pdf]:


Democracy is strongest when its citizens can engage in the full and free exchange of information and ideas, including freely expressing themselves and learning from information offered by others. The Internet and traditional media outlets are critical in facilitating communication by and between Americans and citizens of the world. As president, Barack Obama will ensure that these critical communications pathways remain accessible to all Americans and reflect the diversity of our nation. By doing so, this policy will enable Americans to discuss and debate more actively the key issues that affect our lives and will give citizens greater autonomy to determine where the truth lies.


and this:


Bring Government into the 21st Century: Barack Obama will use technology to reform government and improve the exchange of information between the federal government and citizens while ensuring the security of our networks. Obama believes in the American people and in their intelligence, expertise, and ability and willingness to give and to give back to make government work better.

• Obama will appoint the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to ensure that our government and all its agencies have the right infrastructure, policies and services for the 21st century. Th eCTO will ensure the safety of our networks and will lead an interagency effort, working with chief technology and chief information officers of each of the federal agencies, to ensure that they use best-in-class technologies and share best practices.
• The CTO will have a specific focus on transparency, by ensuring that each arm of the federal government makes its records open and accessible as the E-Government Act requires. The CTO will also focus on using new technologies to solicit and receive information back from citizens to improve the functioning of democratic government.
• The CTO will also ensure technological interoperability of key government functions. For example, the Chief Technology Officer will oversee the development of a national, interoperable wireless network for local, state and federal first responders as the 9/11 commission recommended. This will ensure that fire officials, police officers and EMTs from different jurisdictions have the ability to communicate with each other during a crisis and we do not have a repeat of the failure to deliver critical public services that occurred in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
• In the 21st century, our economic success will depend not only on economic analysis but also on technological sophistication and direct experience in this powerful engine of our economy. In an Obama administration, the government’s economic policy-making organizations and councils will include individuals with backgrounds in our technology industry.


More on this later, but ZDNet's blog has some suggestions on additions

* SJMN on cybersecurity

The San Jose Mercury News has been doing a multipart series this week on cybersecurity. Here is the rundown so far:


  • Part I: Cybercrime: How a group of high-tech entrepreneurs has turned the Internet into a tool for massive fraud.

  • Part II: Businesses, governments and citizens fail to take precautions, allowing cybercrooks to thrive.

  • Part III: The U.S. government isn't devoting the resources needed to combat Internet crime.



I just started reading them. So we all have homework -- let's read them and come back and discuss.

* FEMA's infamous 'news' conference

FEMA just can't get away from that infamous so-called news conference. CBS News now has photos from the staged news conference.

The WP goes a step further, taking the photo and identifying each of the FEMA people in the audience. (You had to see that one coming, didn't you?)

Posted on Nov 14, 2007 at 12:17 PM


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