Experts examine how technology can promote democracy

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March 10, 2010, 2:41 pm

Panel discussion titled: “Digital Governance: From the State House to the White House"

Panel discussion titled: ““Digital Governance: From the State House to the White House”

March 10, 2010 — Laptops, personal digital assistants, and iPhones were a ubiquitous and fitting presence at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at “Digital Governance: From the State House to the White House.”

As audience members tapped away on their myriad electronic devices, Jerry Mechling, Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) lecturer in public policy and faculty chair of the Leadership for a Networked World Program, asked a panel of experts to discuss the wealth of opportunities and challenges presented by new digital technologies. Taking part were Aneesh Chopra, chief technology officer of the United States; Teri Takai, chief information officer of California; and Anne Margulies, chief information officer of Massachusetts.

The discussion examined how the technology revolution has impacted federal, state, and local government, and explored the ways technology can be used to promote and advance democracy while at the same time avoiding potential pitfalls like privacy issues and outdated infrastructures.

Leaders who “get it,” who understand the importance of using technology to further democracy and “are committed to the principles of openness and transparency,” are a vital part of the equation, said Chopra. He noted that his boss is part of the new generation of leaders who fully embrace the power and potential of technology.

This article was written by Colleen Walsh of the Harvard Office of Public Affairs and Communications. Continue reading at the Harvard Gazette.