Obama and Technology in the White House

Many have argued that the Internet put Obama over the victory threshold in the Presidential race. We’re starting to see this influence in the new administration’s policies and use of technology, which seem to recognize that people who use the web (and geeks) are a constituency.

Change Geeks Can Believe In
Jason Kottke notes the new robots.txt file at whitehouse.gov—down to a single “disallow” from more than 2,400 before inauguration. Some people judge their government by .txt files.

The White House Website Changed at Noon Inauguration Day.
The Obama web team rolled out their pretty new site. Jonathan Bailey of PlagiarismToday gives it a glowing B+.

Obama Seems to Give a Darn About Tech Policy
The Obama team has set a goal of responding to Freedom of Information Act Requests in a day, and with a presumption of openness. This is obviously a huge change. Additionally, whitehouse.gov responded to criticism about third party cookies being served on it with YouTube videos.

High expectations:

Four minute video on the promise of openness in government.

The more difficult reality:

Staff Finds White House in the Technical Dark Age

A different kind of high expectations:
Pot lovers storm change.gov with their top suggestion for change.

There is speculation Obama won’t appoint an IP-CZAR (or WHIPER)
, or that new ethics rules will eliminate all the obvious candidates. For the record, my hunch is he will make an appointment.

Blackberrys are in | Instant Messaging is Out
The Secret Service approved the President’s use of his Blackberry. Apparently the FBI uses them for secure communication.  However, Instant Messaging was curtailed, as the Presidential Records Act would require disclosure of every IM communiction five years after Obama leaves office.

Obama Speaks: The Din of Search Quiets
When Obama spoke on Inauguration day, Google searches noticably declined.

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