Feeds

Obama's got a Google problem

The Oompa Loompas are everywhere

The Power of One Infographic

Obama has created an exquisite problem by hiring so many senior executives from Google - some of the Oompa Loompas don't seem to realise they no longer work for the company. Now a Congressman has called for an enquiry.

The issue was made apparent when a trail of correspondence by administration official Andrew McLaughlin was exposed recently. McLaughlin is Obama's deputy CTO - a freshly minted post, with CTO meaning either Citizens Twitter Overlord, or Chief Technology Officer - we believe it's the latter. He was previously Google's chief lobbyist, or 'Head of Global Public Policy and Government Affairs'.

McLaughlin's contacts were also exposed. In an irony to savour, the exposure was by Google itself, as it introduced its privacy-busting Buzz feature in February. As our Cade pointed out, it would be hard to imagine a better Google story.

Now GOP Congressman Darrell Issa, a ranking member of the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has asked why the Deputy CTO is prattling away on Google's email service. Issa wants to know whether private, non-governmental emails are archived, as they should be.

He also wants to know what the retention policy is for information posted on Twitter and Facebook, who decides these things (pdf). Issa wants answers by 22 April.

As I noted last June, there are interesting parallels with the influence of think tank RAND on US policy in the 1960s - and some interesting differences. RAND's most famous contribution was developing a nuclear policy based on game theory, developed by Robert McNamara, who went on to apply RAND analysis (disastrously) first to escalate, then to prolong the Vietnam war.

Google is merely a corporation, I noted. Then, the following month, Obama tapped the Berkman Centre, a pretty New Age techno-utopian think tank attached to Harvard Law School, to conduct an "independent" review of broadband deployment and usage. Like Obama, McLaughlin is himself a graduate of Harvard Law - the class of 94. McLaughlin had two senior stints at Berkman, from 1998 to 1999, and once again before joining Google.

Google is a Berkman sponsor.

There's a broader issue than archiving emails here, and it's eloquently illustrated by Andrew McLaughlin's Gmail Buzz contact list. It's that the range of ideas that Obama can draw upon, via his Googlers, is extremely narrow and ideologically rigid.

The boundaries of what he's permitted to think are defined by Google. And that's isn't really in the best interest of either the President, or the US public. ®

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Sit back down, Julian Assange™, you're not going anywhere just yet
Swedish court refuses to withdraw arrest warrant
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy
Why, we might as well have been buying AIR
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.