Technology Isn’t Ancillary or Extraneous

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Jimmy Wales ,Wikipedia founder and Sunlight advisor, and Andrea Weckerle, attorney, communications consultant and blogger, wrote an interesting column last week  at CNN.com, on how we should create a more tech friendly government.. The duo say that “technology isn’t ancillary or extraneous to governance, and instead that it’s an integral part of the effective running of a democratic superpower.” In anticipation of President-elect Obama’s appointment of  the country’s first national chief technology officer (CTO), they provide five recommendations for core components of a structurally sound, technologically savvy federal government. Their points, in brief:

1.    Ruthlessly modernize: Conduct a survey of the technology used by the federal government, keep what works and replace what doesn’t. 2.    Create openness of information: This will allow transparency and accountability, as well as inspire innovation and collaboration. 3.    Single sign-on across all government Web sites for citizens: Make it so citizens need only to input a single username and password to access all federal Web sites and databases, creating more user-friendly interfaces for citizens that in turn encourage frequent use and participation. 4.    Commit to open-source software and open standards: Such a commitment by the feds would end the practice of adopting closed proprietary software sold by companies with political ties to government. 5.    Create a single government-wide wiki: Large private enterprises have achieved substantial efficiencies by allowing their employees to rapidly share knowledge and disseminate information. The feds should create a single, massive government-wide wiki, which would serve as a cornerstone of a modern federal knowledge management system.

Read their whole column here.

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