Barack Obama


The American president’s office-cum-residence is, actually, just another government office. The 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has long lagged behind in terms of using technology for efficiency. It has been “relying in large part on face-to-face meetings and mountains of paper to conduct business.” But things started changing slowly after the very first black president, who is also a Blackberry-freak, moved into the White House. Since Barack Obama took office, the White House has established a dedicated digital team, started tallying incoming phone calls electronically instead of by calculator and has begun using computer software to design ­floral arrangements.
Barack Obama was perhaps the first USA Presidential candidate to have such a comprehensive broadband policy. What do we see hundred days after the ‘on-line American’ assuming office? Here are some views. The Obama Internet and tech agenda came roaring out of the transition and Inauguration under a full head of steam. Now, more or less creeping along, bogged down and becalmed largely by circumstances beyond its control.
Barack Obama used his first weekly address as U.S. president to provide more details of his proposed US$825 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that, among other things, will upgrade classrooms, invest in renewable energy and expand broadband Internet access. Obama stated his intention to invest in these areas during the presidential debates in September and came back to the issue in a December address that he issued as president-elect, but over the weekend he added concrete goals to the plan. But on one aspect of the recovery plan — expanding broadband access — he offered no concrete goals and a supporting document issued by the White House doesn’t mention the word “broadband” once.
The $825 billion proposal from the Obama transition team and House Democrats includes $6 billion to improve the U.S. broadband infrastructure, which is lacking in many rural and mountainous areas, particularly the West. There aren’t a lot of details yet on how that $6 billion would be given out, but it doesn’t seem to encompass the tax breaks phone and cable companies were lobbying for. Even so, the wireless industry was cheering Thursday morning because a summary of the spending released by House Democrats calls for the money to be used on “broadband and wireless grants.
‘The 21st Century Tech President’ said Saturday morning that the U.S. will launch new investments in its infrastructure – including a boost of broadband accessibility – as part of a larger strategy to revitalize the economy and create jobs. Specifically, President-elect Barack Obama said broadband connections need to be made widely available to school children and hospitals. Hospitals should be able to connect to each other via the Internet.
Reproducing an op-ed piece from elsewhere: Barack Obama, self-confessed BlackBerry addict, will undoubtedly be the most tech-savvy president in history. But being tech-savvy isn’t the same as being tech-smart. The combination of Obama in the White House and new leaders of key tech-related committees in Congress should send warning flags up for all who cherish the freedom and vitality of the Internet. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) is the incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the technology sector.
President-elect Barack Obama has named two telecom industry and policy veterans and a leader of Google’s philanthropy arm to craft the new administration’s high-tech policy priorities. The policy working group on Technology, Innovation and Government Reform will “develop proposals and plans from the Obama Campaign for action during the Obama-Biden Administration,” according to the president-elect’s transition web site www.change.gov. The authors of what could be sweeping changes in broadband rules, privacy and government transparency include: –Blair Levin, a telecom investment analyst at Stifel Nicolaus and former chief of staff to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Reed Hundt.
Worldwide mobile messaging grew nearly 10 percent in the third quarter compared to the second quarter of the year, fueled by new trends in the messaging market, according to VeriSign, which provides Internet infrastructure services and delivers messages on behalf of carriers and content providers. The company reported Tuesday that VeriSign enabled more than 58.3 billion messages per day during the third quarter of 2008. This was up from about 52 billion messages sent during the second quarter of 2008. On average, this means that VeriSign facilitated the delivery of about 634 million messages per day during the third quarter, compared to 572 million messages a day in the second quarter.
Vint Cerf, who can fairly be described as one of the godfathers of Internet has endorsed Barack Obama in the US presidential race, saying that his decision is swayed by Obama’s stance on net neutrality – the question of whether content providers should be charged more for different content by the “pipe” providers. Extracts: We believe that the Internet should remain an open environment. It’s vital to innovation. Companies like Google, and Yahoo, and eBay, and Amazon, and Skype and so on, got their start without having to get permission from any ISP or any broadband provider to offer services. They simply acquired access to the internet, put their services up and then made them available to the general public.
Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate for U.S. president, mentioned broadband rollout as one of his top priorities during a debate Friday evening, bringing applause from several groups promoting universally available broadband as a key part of a turn-around in the U.S. economy.
This might not be good news for the proponents of Net Neutrality. Barack Obama has recently edited his website with significant revisions to the technology plans. Guess what goes out. A large paragraph on Net Neutrality! (which is reproduced below): [quote] Users must be free to access content, to use applications, and to attach personal devices.
Barack Obama stands for Net Neutrality while John McCain sternly opposes. Internet should be open space, says Obama, for anyone to use any application of his/her choice without discrimination. That is like saying the roads are free for anyone to drive any vehicle they like at any time. It sounds good in theory. However, in practice it is a different story.
Leading Democrats on Tuesday attacked the Bush administration’s broadband policy and the technology track record of GOP presidential hopeful John McCain, while leading tech companies pushed for a more tech-savvy and innovative federal government. “The Obama campaign is the broadband campaign and the McCain campaign is the dial-up campaign,” said Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on telecom and the Internet. Markey and other members of Congress were on hand at the Democratic National Convention in Denver for several technology panels hosted by the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and the Silicon Flatirons Center at the University of Colorado. “On McCain’s watch, the U.S.