FCW Insider

Blog archive

FCW Insider: Dark ages = good security?

A Washington Post reader has offered an interesting but slightly disturbing perspective on the state of technology at the White House.

In a letter to the editor, the reader took issue with an article from Sunday's Post entitled "Staff Finds White House in the Technological Dark Ages." Here is a snippet from that article:

If the Obama campaign represented a sleek, new iPhone kind of future, the first day of the Obama administration looked more like the rotary-dial past.

Two years after launching the most technologically savvy presidential campaign in history, Obama officials ran smack into the constraints of the federal bureaucracy yesterday, encountering a jumble of disconnected phone lines, old computer software, and security regulations forbidding outside e-mail accounts.

What does that mean in 21st-century terms? No Facebook to communicate with supporters. No outside e-mail log-ins. No instant messaging. Hard adjustments for a staff that helped sweep Obama to power through, among other things, relentless online social networking.

"It is kind of like going from an Xbox to an Atari," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said of his new digs.

Great quote. But the writer (and the Obama team) is missing an important point, Jon Halperin writes in his letter.

It came off as an attack against former president George W. Bush when the bigger concern should have been the Obama administration's ignorance of security best practices. Just because a Web 2.0 application (such as Facebook) may be fun and useful for home operations does not mean it should be used in a federal environment as important as the White House.

It seems to me that many people would agree that the Obama administration should have a "security first" policy: They should not deploy Web 2.0 technology (or other types of application for that matter) until they have devised adequate security measures. But I hope we have gotten past the point of seeing Web 2.0 and security as mutually exclusive options.

 

Posted by John Stein Monroe on Jan 26, 2009 at 12:14 PM


Featured

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

  • Comment
    Pilot Class. The author and Barbie Flowers are first row third and second from right, respectively.

    How VA is disrupting tech delivery

    A former Digital Service specialist at the Department of Veterans Affairs explains efforts to transition government from a legacy "project" approach to a more user-centered "product" method.

  • Cloud
    cloud migration

    DHS cloud push comes with complications

    A pressing data center closure schedule and an ensuing scramble to move applications means that some Homeland Security components might need more than one hop to get to the cloud.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.