Jan 22 2009

Web 2.0 Plans for the White House

Category: eGovernmentTeknovis @ 11:18 pm

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!

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Dec 01 2008

French Presidency Capitalises on Barack Obama Popularity

Category: Humour,InternetTeknovis @ 1:00 pm

A French friend of mine sent me a link this morning, and told me to take a look at it. The link was http://www.obama08.fr/, so I was expecting another Barack Obama website.

However, if you visit this link you are actually taken to http://www.elysee.fr/, which is the official homepage of the French President!

I think that this is nothing more than a good joke, because the registration details for each domain are quite different according to the WHOIS Service for French domains.

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Nov 28 2008

The Technology behind Barack Obama

Category: Internet,SecurityTeknovis @ 2:49 pm

The Register describes some security vulnerabilities in two of Barack Obama’s websites in Congratulations, Barack – Now fix your websites. The most significant security issue that the article highlights is the fact that the administration pages load the Google Analytics JavaScrip file urchin.js. from the Google website. In theory, this means that Google can use this JavaScript file to do almost anything that they want with Barack’s websites. Not a good situation :(

Apparently, many readers did not share the author’s view on this security issue. So the author wrote a follow-up article that provides more details, and opinions of experts from OWASP, in Google Analytics – Yes, it is a security risk.

Independently, it seems that Barack is currently in negotiations in order to continue using his PDA! Apparently, communications devices are banned in the White House, and there are accountability and traceability issues associated with their use! That is an inconvenience! More details about this in Obama tries to stay connected.

Finally, I have heard that a considerable number of websites have appeared that are designed to help the Obama family choose what type of puppy they will get :) Gosh, it must be nice to have enough time to be able to create websites like this!

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