If you haven’t seen it already, Barack Obama describes specific plans for change on his slick website, change.gov. I find the Technology Agenda page particularly interesting and exciting.
Of course, just saying these things doesn’t make them happen. But I’ve never seen a politician articulate so clearly, unambiguously and (seemingly) sincerely information and communication policy intentions that are so close to my heart.
Describing the problem, the very first sentence reads, “We need to connect citizens with each other to engage them more fully and directly in solving the problems that face us.” Connect citizens with each other. This is not the worn out platitude of “let’s get valuable input from the people”— a one-way process where all the real control lies with the recipient of all that valuable input. Connecting people with each other (actually, “one another” would be more grammatically precise) bespeaks a trust in people that harkens both to Jefferson and to Web 2.0.
Here are some of the bullets from his plan (with quoted excerpts from the text) that I find most exciting:
- Protect the openness of the Internet. “… strongly supports the principle of network neutrality”.
- Encourage diversity in media ownership. “… encourage diversity in the ownership of broadcast media, promote the development of new media outlets for expression of diverse viewpoints, and clarify the public interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation’s spectrum.”
- Protect Our Children While Preserving the First Amendment. “Obama values our First Amendment freedoms and our right to artistic expression and does not view regulation as the answer to these concerns.”
- Safeguard our Right to Privacy. “… harness the power of technology to hold government and business accountable for violations of personal privacy.”
- Open Up Government to its Citizens. “The Bush Administration has been one of the most secretive, closed administrations in American history…. An Obama presidency will use cutting-edge technologies to reverse this dynamic, creating a new level of transparency, accountability and participation for America’s citizens.”
- Bring Government into the 21st Century. “Obama and Biden believe in the American people and in their intelligence, expertise, and ability and willingness to give and to give back to make government work better.” and “… will appoint the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer (CTO)”.
- Deploy Next-Generation Broadband. “As a country, we have ensured that every American has access to telephone service and electricity, regardless of economic status, and Obama will do likewise for broadband Internet access.”
Exciting stuff. Exciting times. Exciting opportunities.