Tuesday, 24 January 2017

The New White House Website Says Almost Nothing About Tech

Prior to today's presidential inauguration, the official website of the president, Whitehouse.gov, was reset to reflect the new occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.: Donald Trump.

And while the largely barebones new site features language related to the new administration's energy, defense, trade, and job growth policies, it features scant information related to technology, a sector that directly affects all four.

There are only two direct mentions of issues germane to the internet or technology: One, in the "Making Our Military Strong Again" subsection, is some boilerplate about the importance of cyberwarfare:
Cyberwarfare is an emerging battlefield, and we must take every measure to safeguard our national security secrets and systems. We will make it a priority to develop defensive and offensive cyber capabilities at our U.S. Cyber Command, and recruit the best and brightest Americans to serve in this crucial area.
The second comes at the end of the biography page of first lady Melania Trump, and concerns her campaign against cyberbullying:

Mrs. Trump cares deeply about issues impacting women and children, and she has focused her platform as First Lady on the problem of cyber bullying among our youth.

That cyberwarfare and cyberbullying are the only two mentions of the internet or technology on the White House page is somewhat ironic, given revelations about Russian interference in the presidential election, and the scores of pro-Trump trolls that plagued social media during the campaign.

There is no mention of automation —acknowledged by economists as a major threat to American jobs — or specific policies important to Silicon Valley, including the status of visas for high-tech workers, and a proposed one-time tax holiday on repatriation of foreign income to encourage big tech firms to bring money back into the US.

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