It’s clear that some data sets are more productive and desired by
civil society than others, so the new deputy CTO should build two-way
communication channels to find out what data the public wants most.
The potential for government data to kick off new services and even
new industries is a godsend, but services that link the public to the
government should be open source if at all possible. I know Chris is
sensitive to this need.
Along the same lines, I’d advise against depending heavily on social
networking sites owned by third parties, such as Facebook and Twitter,
to connect government employees with the public. It’s fine to be
there, to talk and listen there, because that’s where people spend a
lot of time anyway, but serious discussions should use government
sites that are unencumbered by privacy issues and other
terms-of-service issues presented by the third-party sites.
There may be a role for Chris to help HHS and the larger health care
field define new standards and protocols for exchanging the huge
amounts of data (blood pressure readings, observations of daily
living, etc.) that are being generated by new devices and patient
involvement. The current state of standards is lamentable, but
advances in patient-centered medicine and sensors give us a chance to
Finally, any intervention Chris can offer in the debate over
immigration (which will become hot, I guarantee it), to support the
retention of talented immigrants at all levels in the economy and
their integration into society without discrimination, would advance
the contribution of technology to social progress.