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Friday, March 06, 2009

Mr Kundra: championed Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as better ways for adm

Obama picks US information chief

Vivek Kundra, AFP/Getty
Mr Kundra is currently head of technology for Washington, DC

US President Barack Obama has named Vivek Kundra as his chief information officer.

When Mr Kundra takes up his role, he will decide which technologies the Obama administration uses to govern and how they will be deployed.

He will build on the broad use of technologies, such as the web, used by President Obama's campaign team during the US elections.

Mr Kundra will be in charge of a budget thought to total $70bn (£49bn).

Currently Mr Kundra works as head of technology for Washington DC - a role in which he championed Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as better ways for administrators to communicate with citizens.

In a statement about Mr Kundra's appointment President Obama said: "I have directed him to work to ensure that we are using the spirit of American innovation and the power of technology to improve performance and lower the cost of government operations."

When he starts his job, Mr Kundra will work alongside whoever is picked to act as a President Obama's chief technology officer. A decision on who will take on that role is expected soon.

Speaking after his appointment, Mr Kundra said he wanted to ensure the US has "the ability to run an open, transparent, participatory and collaborative government."

Mr Kundra said he would explore how government could use so-called "cloud computing" which would involve much greater reliance on web-based resources.

He also planned to create a data.gov website through which US citizens would get much easier access to official statistics and other government information. 

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