Clarkstown Town Clerk David Carlucci attended the Personal Democracy Forum (PDF) last month courtesy of a fellowship from Google. The PDF brings 1,000 top technologists and entrepreneurs together to network, exchange ideas, and explore how technology and the internet are changing democracy, and society. Here’s Carlucci’s report from the intersection of technology and government.
One of the great things about a conference such as PDF it’s an opportunity to meet with many influential people leading the way in the technology field and learn about new Information Technology (IT) tools. As Town Clerk, I am always amazed by how often newly deployed tools take so long to be utilized by government. I know that government moves slow for a reason, and sometimes, that may be good. However, I believe that by embracing new web 2.0 IT tools, we can reduce the cost of government, and at the same time, make it more transparent and accessible to the public.
A speaker of most interest to me was Vivek Kundra. Vivek Kundra is the Chief Information Officer for the United States. Kundra’s job is to manage what will be $76 billion in spending to maintain 10,000 government systems as well as 800 active projects to build major new systems for the federal government. I was very happy to hear that Kundra is a fan of open source software and may one day declare it “safe” for federal consumption. While many agencies use it, many people that do not know much about it will tell you that it is not a great idea. In most cases, this is due to a lack of understanding about computer security. I personally believe that if we can get our state and local governments to start using more open source software we can save the taxpayer a good amount of money and at the same time improve efficiency at the local level.
Kundra also released a new IT Dashboard available for public consumption at www.it.usaspending.gov. This is a really interesting site for anyone interested in open government. The IT Dashboard is a new website enabling federal agencies and the general public to view details of federal information technology investments.
If you would like to talk more about the PDF conference or anything mentioned here please Skype me at david.carlucci or just pick up a phone and call me at 845-639-2010.