Jan 22 2009

Web 2.0 Plans for the White House

Category: eGovernmentTeknovis @ 23:18

There is lots of news these days about Barack Obama’s attempts to bring Web 2.0 to the White House. Perhaps most obvious is the fact that the web site got a face-lift, and it now includes an official blog! That is impressive! Is this the first ever official blog of a political leader?

Another change is that Macon Philips has been appointed as the director of New Media at the White House. I understand that this role is another first!

According to White House plans open government, Barack Obama’s main aim is to improve openness and transparency.

In one memo he spelled out his desire for an “an unprecedented level of openness in Government”. The other said government bodies should err on the side of clarity when considering if information should be disclosed. “In the face of doubt, openness prevails,” he wrote.

I really like the contract between the new approach and the old approach!

The moves were welcomed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which said the memoranda stood in stark contrast to a memo issued by John Ashcroft soon after 9/11. This called on government bodies to only release information after exhausting all strategies, including legal action, to withhold it.

This article also describes how the robotos.txt file has been modified to allow all of the White House web site to be crawled. However, I have read other articles that suggested the old robots.txt blocked access to some content, such as printable versions of web pages, to prevent their contents from being indexed twice.

However, not everything is going so smoothly within the White House from a technology point of view, according to New job challenges in the White House.

Barack Obama also has plans for the wider Internet in the US, and these are described in Obama unfurls master plan for US cybersecurity. He really is not wasting any time!