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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

President Obama’s New TIGR Team

A new group called the TIGR (Technology, Innovation and Government Reform) Team has been started by the Obama Administration. A recent article in Government Technology states that this group “is dedicated to fostering innovation within government.” A link is provided to the YouTube video in which Vivek Kundra, the CTO of Washignton, D.C., and a member of the TIGR group discusses how this innovation would help to improve the efficiency of government programs.

Video Games for Recruiting – Army Experience Center

CNN reports that the Army Experience Center located in the Franklin Mills Mall in Philadelphia is using video games to attract new recruits. It is a 14,500 square foot facility that has 60 computers which offers virtual reality games for the youth. This new marketing strategy has been employed to educate the general public about the careers available in the Army.

Vivek Kundra – Tech Policy Advisor to Obama Administration

Vivek Kundra, the Chief Technology Officer of Washington, D.C., has adopted an uncommon approach for conducting the daily operations of the District’s 86 agencies. YouTube is used to post information regarding the bidding process for city contracts. He and other DC government employees use Google Apps as a collaboration tool and for sharing information. Kundra believes that it encourages government transparency and improves government services. The Washington Post article mentioned that he may be a potential candidate for the new position of Federal Chief Technology Officer, which Obama intends to establish.


Are you wondering who President-elect Barack Obama will appoint as the country’s first Chief Technology Officer (CTO)? Want to voice your opinion on what their top priorities should be?

Then check out ObamaCTO.org and have your say! The website enables you to create an account, post your idea, comment on other ideas, and vote up to 10 times to help rank the ideas posted.

I’ve noticed some of the ideas posted may not relate to what a CTO might do or be in charge of, but maybe those will get ranked out! Or maybe they could be potential priorities in the future. Who knows? What are some responsibilities of this future CTO? Well, I wish I could tell you, but the “agenda” for Technology page, including information about a CTO, is “not available right now” according to the change.gov website. Oh, the irony!

But the Obama/Biden campaign website has some information still up on this issue of technology and a CTO where they state that:

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. 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.

Tip o’ the hat to BoingBoing.net for posting about this new website.

Obama’s Technological Promises

Ok, Mr. President…fulfill your technological promises! I am very excited about some of his proposals, especially in regards to government information transparency and access.

Mashable.com posted “A Final Look at Presidential Technology Policy” earlier this week and they had this to say about Obama vs. McCain’s plans:

Rather than focusing on anti-trust and and subsidies, as Barack Obama intends to do, what would be better would be focusing on creating an environment where corporate taxes were lowered, and other tax incentives were emphasized for start-ups who focus on better information infrastructure. Senator McCain’s tax plan is moderately favorable towards this theory, though it is likely simply a coincidence convenient to this argument rather than a well thought out technology policy.

When it comes to the basics, both presidential candidates are generally on the right track, and are generally in agreement as well. I’ve outlined above where they differ, though, and I think history has shown that Barack Obama’s desired policy directions would be more detrimental to innovation and growth for the tech sector.

Interesting that they believe Obama’s desired policies may be detrimental to technology. I’m not well versed enough on the issues of Broadband/Anti-trust & subsidies to know whether or not I agree. What do you think?

Mashable also has a great blog post on “Government 2.0: The Presidential Transition“. I agree with the author’s sentiment that the new President must look to the needs of the entire nation, and we need to giver our input too.

…citizens should be engaged in the transition process,…In an increasingly fragmented media and information society, that level of engagement requires more than a press release and newspaper coverage. It means full multimedia engagement using blogging, speeches, informal gatherings, mobile technologies, podcasts, online video, and widgets. The outreach should also use social tools that allow bidirectional conversation, increasing citizen participation and interest in government.