Today, the White House announced that Vivek Kundra, the country’s first federal Chief Information Officer, is leaving later this summer to serve as a joint fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. We’re sad to see him go and urge President Obama to choose a successor who will carry out Vivek’s vision of using the Internet to create a more transparent government.
Perhaps Vivek’s biggest accomplishment was to strengthen OMB’s role as a publisher of government data. While OMB is still largely unwilling to force agencies to share more information, Vivek built Data.gov and the IT Dashboard as tools to aggressively pursue transparency that affects how the government works.
Unfortunately, most of the work he started is also at risk of ending abruptly. With the electronic government fund being cut, and Congress hesitant to codify important transparency requirements, we risk seeing Vivek’s successes become temporary gains. That’s why we’re hoping the White House chooses a successor for his position who shares his belief that technology can be used to change government for the better, by making it more transparent and accountable.