Obama & Technology: Will He Deliver In His 2nd Term?

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Obama & Technology: Will He Deliver In His 2nd Term?
White House (Pete Souza) [Public domain]

Now that President  Barack Obama has won the election and will prepare for his second term, what does this hold for the future of technology and innovation? Obama is on the side of entrepreneurs and technologists, and is expected to continue to remain there.

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Obama & Technology: Will He Deliver In His 2nd Term?

Here’s a look at some accomplishments and goals based on previous Obama statements and his record to-date.

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Internet Freedom 

In January,   Barack Obama said the United States should keep the “fundamental integrity of the Internet as an open and transparent system.” This came from his opposition to Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which he believes offers potential risks to Internet freedom and online free speech.

The White House subsequently threatened to veto the House-supposed cybersecurity bill, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Information Act (CISPA) for similar reasons, reported Mashable.

From the lack of advancement for the bill, Obama is reportedly considering an executive order for cybersecurity. This is raising concerns from computer security experts on whether this is the best form of action.

STEM Education

Obama highlighted STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in his annual state of the union address in January. He has a plan to train 100,000 new teachers in these areas over the next decade, and in July, he announced a new program to train 10,000 teachers representing STEM “master corps” that would utilize their different skills in schools nationwide.

Positively affecting STEM is the Startup 2.0 Act, which could take place in 2013. This would expand work visa availability for STEM graduates from American universities, reported TechCrunch.  The act would also develop an entrepreneurship visa for foreign workers who make jobs in the U.S. (currently foreign workers need sponsorship by a different company) and gets rid of country-specific caps on visas.

Entrepreneurs

As a huge supporter of entrepreneurs and technologists, Obama has said they are living “the promise of America” and noted their contributions assisted the country in exiting the recession. During his re-election campaign, these innovators backed Obama, including  Craigslist’s Craig Newmark and LinkedIn’s Corporation (NYSE:LNKD) Reid Hoffman.

Obama has also signed laws to assist entrepreneurs, including the JOBS Act and the America Invents Act.

Government Innovation

In  Barack Obama’s White House, innovation in governance is high priority, and one that is likely to continue in his second term.

During his first term, he created the role, White House Chief Technology Officer, which is currently held by Todd Park. The public portal Data.gov has a wide amount of open government data and the administration’s utilization of We The People, a platform similar to the Change.org public petition platform, has received so-so marks, but it has moved innovation-in-governance ahead.

Broadband Access

 Barack Obama’s administration has the goal to provide broadband access to all communities in America and broaden high-speed wireless access to 98% of Americans by 2015, reported Mashable. It appears to be a lofty goal and has been disappointing so far, as 19 million Americans are still without access to hard-line broadband–notably in rural areas.

There have been improvements, but Barack Obama isn’t there yet on his promise.

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