Enterprise IT Context for the CTO

Bob Gourley

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The Promise and Peril of the White House Open Government Directive

TSA screwed up in a big way, by widely releasing information into the public domain that should have never been there


Aneesh Chopra and Vivek Kundra discuss the Open Gov Initiative

One of the great resources for tracking trends in Open Government, Gov2.0 and related activities is GovFresh.com, a site I recommend all visit and bookmark and track.  GovFresh founder Luke Fretwell can be found on GovLoop, LinkedIn, Twitter.

Luke recently asked several folks who track the Gov2.0 scene for thoughts on the recent Reactions to the White House Open Government Directive.  The directive itself is well worth a read:

View more documents from White House.

(Another great perspective is on the site of the Red Hat Government senior architect/CTO, Gunnar Hellekson, at his blog).

The comments on Luke’s site, including my comments, tend towards the very positive. This directive is a good thing and my gut tells me comments should be positive.

But we the citizenry also have plenty of reason to be cautious.  One reason to be cautious is the clear indication that OMB and the White House don’t seem to believe these ideas of openness belong to them.  In general, these are the people the citizens need to watch the closest.

I’ll highlight another caution by pointing out another lead I got from Luke’s govfresh site.  A clip of a little Gov2.0 humor brought to you by the Daily Show:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Theory v. Practice – TSA Leak
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis

So that is just funny! But the caution I would like to make is underscored by this humor. TSA screwed up in a big way, by widely releasing information into the public domain that should have never been there.  The big part of their screw up had to do with people not understanding technology being allowed to make decisions (which is increasingly a no-no, folks that don’t understand how to work tools should not be able to use tools).  But I have to wonder if pressure to release before thinking or a bias towards openness first had anything to do with the release.

This is an area I hope Vivek Kundra and Aneesh Chopra pay attention to.  Just like President Obama now owns the Afghanistan war, Vivek and Aneesh now bear responsibility for the smooth functioning of our government’s IT.  It is pretty clear now that both should focus more on ensuring 100% of the federal workforce, including contractors, are either qualified to operate our federal IT or are supervised prior to making decisions.

I should also point out that Vivek now owns 100%, responsibility for the protection of all federal networks against unauthorized use.  That is the topic for another post, but clearly, if Vivek is the senior IT guy in the federal space and are operating with the President’s authority in this area he is responsible for how our enterprise functions.  More on this topic later.

Related posts:

  1. A proposal for government certification of open source software
  2. How can we judge enterprise-class CTOs and CIOs? Rank them on the Kundra Scale
  3. Open Source for America: A resource for the Gov2.0 CTO

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More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder of Crucial Point and publisher of CTOvision.com