Technology Isn’t Ancillary or Extraneous


Jimmy Wales ,Wikipedia founder and Sunlight advisor, and Andrea Weckerle, attorney, communications consultant and blogger, wrote an interesting column last week  at, 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.