10 IT agenda items for the first US CIO

Obama's appointment of Vivek Kundra marks an important first step for rectifying the nation's concerns about IT

Agenda item No. 8: Mandate a single electronic voting standard

Companies that produce electronic voting systems have proved they can neither manage nor secure their own products. The result is widespread distrust in electronic voting across the country. With something as vital as the election of government officials, we cannot afford such problems, nor do we have to.

The government needs to appoint an independent contractor or bring in the expertise necessary to develop a rigorously tested open source system that can be used by electronic voting machine manufacturers free of charge. The onus of maintaining the code base could be placed on a consortium of key individuals from companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, and so forth.

By open-sourcing e-voting, rather than depending on proprietary vendors to ensure the integrity of our elections process, the very foundation of our democracy will be better secured. The closed source approach has too often proved to be a road to disenfranchisement.

Agenda item No. 9: Lighten the FCC's load

The FCC celebrates its 75th birthday this year, and my, how times have changed. Originally created to regulate the airwaves as we understood them in the 1930s, the FCC now stretches well beyond its original footprint, rendering it seemingly powerless to do anything besides levy fines for wardrobe malfunctions. It's time to split the data from the spectrum and create an ICC, or Internet Communications Commission, that explicitly deals with national inter-networking issues.

The inter-networking communications system in the United States is far too large and complex for a single five-person commission to handle, in addition to its original charter of policing the airwaves. The stakes are simply too high. Ideally, a new commission would be created and populated with experts in a variety of technical fields essential to the health and security of the Internet, in addition to the usual political appointees.

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