U.S. Needs a CTO, Says Kapor

Kapor suggested that Sen. Barak Obama, if elected, should appoint a federal chief technology officer.

by / September 12, 2008

Last fall, Mitch Kapor, founder of Lotus Development in 1982, helped Sen. Barak Obama define his technology positions in terms of national policy. One suggestion he made was that Obama, if elected, appoint a federal chief technology officer.

In an interview with MIT's Technology Review Kapor said installing a CTO at the highest level of government is necessary because "tech is inextricably intertwined with virtually everything. The president will be well served if policy making is done in a more technologically sophisticated way."

Kapor said he's worried that the United States is falling further behind the rest of the developed world in terms of broadband development. He believes that downward trend will have a negative impact on the country's innovation economy. A CTO could also help balance intellectual-property law, another factor affecting innovation, as well as Net neutrality.

When asked why not have a national CIO, Kapor responded: "That's a good question, and I'm not sure if I have a good answer. It seems to me that whatever you call it, it's helpful to put the coordinating activities and policy advisory piece under the CTO umbrella. That feels different from a CIO."

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Click here for a full transcript of the interview.



Tod Newcombe, Editor Editor, Public CIO