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. 10: Clean its own house

Much ado has been made of President Obama's staff running into technical roadblocks as they transitioned from campaigners to administrators. Having proved themselves technically savvy on the campaign trail, the team has since inherited a relatively ancient communications infrastructure within the halls of government itself. Modernization of this infrastructure should be among the chief goals of this administration.

And here we are talking about a lot more than just putting a foot down about a BlackBerry. After all, if the various clandestine services can engineer elaborate digital wiretapping and data collection practices across the United States, is it too much to ask that various staffers be able to use their Macs?

Security is certainly an issue for an endeavor such as this, but given that the previous administration "lost" thousands of e-mails by circumventing existing security practices, starting from scratch might not be a bad idea. In fact, it may be a fundamental requirement to maintain Obama's pledge of a more open government.

The importance of oversight

This is an extremely technical time and an extremely technical country -- and it should have an extremely technical governing body.

Ideally, none of the above agenda items would be necessary if only the tech industry would police itself and make sound decisions that would not negatively impact the country as a whole. Unfortunately, utopian ideals such as these are far from reality, as has been proved by corporate malfeasance in just about every large industry within the United States. OSHA, the FDA, and other government agencies exist for this reason. The telecommunications, software, and hardware industries are not exempt.

It took a few decades from the inception of wireless communication for the government to see the need to create the FCC, and it's been a few decades since the Internet became mainstream. It is not time for the creation of this post -- it's well past time.

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