Obama on Tech

by Hugh

This is when I got sold on Obama, his June 2006 podcast about net neutrality. Have a listen. Speak my language? Yeah:

The topic today is net neutrality. The internet today is an open platform where the demand for websites and services dictates success. You’ve got barriers to entry that are low and equal for all comers. And it’s because the internet is a neutral platform that I can put on this podcast and transmit it over the internet without having to go through some corporate media middleman. I can say what I want without censorship. I don’t have to pay a special charge. But the big telephone and cable companies want to change the internet as we know it. They say they want to create high-speed lanes on the internet and strike exclusive contractual arrangements with internet content-providers for access to those high-speed lanes. Those of us who can’t pony up the cash for these high-speed connections will be relegated to the slow lanes. [more…] [mp3]

I don’t know how Obama’s presidency is going to go, and I don’t hold my breath for any miracles. Any president of the USA has one hell of a challenge on his (or her) hands, and the O-man has inherited a bigger mess than anyone can clean up.

But, man if he wanted to make me happy, he could not have started in a place nearer to my heart than his Tech/Science platform, released today. First para:

The Problem: We need to connect citizens with each other to engage them more fully and directly in solving the problems that face us. We must use all available technologies and methods to open up the federal government, creating a new level of transparency to change the way business is conducted in Washington and giving Americans the chance to participate in government deliberations and decision-making in ways that were not possible only a few years ago.

A datalibrists dream.

Whether Obama can do what he plans or not, I don’t know. He may be great or he may be terrible: we’ll find out. But I am happy that on day 2, I feel, frankly, more excited by the concrete vision described here than in all the talk of hope and renewal that had me cheering with the rest over the past few months.

See the rest of the platform here.

Let’s hope whoever wins the looming Quebec election has such vision.