Tech experts jump off the Obama ship

A number of prominent technology advocates have left the Obama White House in recent months.

According to Sunlight Foundation executive director Ellen Miller, some of the most “dedicated, focused and creative people” who pushed for technology as a means to increase government transparency and accountability are gone.

”One can only wonder whether the commitment [to those ideals] will remain,” Miller told Politico. “We [simply] don’t know.”

But Micah Sifry, co-founder of the Personal Democracy Forum, says he doubts the White House will just simply abandon tech-related initiatives.

“It’s a shame because they, coming into the administration, were a bunch of people who understood how this could change the way government works and make the public more trusting,” said Sifry. 

“But these people did get a lot of good work done in the first two years. That doesn’t get rolled back just because some have left.”

Meanwhile, Andrew McLaughlin, former deputy chief technology officer in charge of Internet policy, emphasized that the Obama administration “always supported” new initiatives, such as cloud computing to reduce federal IT costs.

Nevertheless, he conceded it was “difficult” to persuade agencies to adopt fresh tech. 

“I don’t think people are leaving because of some grand debate over whether technology is important and whether it’s a useful part of the administration.

“[Yes, there is] a buzz saw of long-standing bureaucracy. When you run into that after two years, you think, ‘Wow, this is going to take more like 15 to 20 years… Those are ways people get burned out.”

[Via Politico]