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Obama Tech Policy Plans Eyed By Computer Industry

Sun, CompTIA, and other IT leaders weigh in on the president-elect's technology agenda, which includes support for network neutrality and plans to promulgate community broadband.

President-elect Barack Obama is poised to serve the technology industry and to use technology to solve a wide array of problems, according to technology leaders interviewed Wednesday.

Tech leaders celebrated Obama's victory and expressed hope for the future of their industry during the next administration. Most pointed to Obama's extensive use of technology for campaigning and the fact that he was the first presidential candidate to unveil a wide-reaching and in-depth technology agenda.

Obama's 43-page blueprint includes support for the principle of network neutrality, bringing true broadband to every community in America, ensuring U.S. goods and services are treated fairly in foreign markets, investing in the sciences, and providing new research grants to the most outstanding early-career researchers in the country.

Andrew Rasiej, founder and publisher of the Personal Democracy Forum and Tech President, said the Obama victory represents "a massive shift" and called Obama's technology policy "robust."

"The only thing I think that can rival it is what the declaration of the world being round meant to the shipping industry," he said.

The big question is whether the next administration's creation of a chief technology officer's position will be a Cabinet-level appointment, a special assistant reporting directly to the president, or whether it will fall under the chief of staff or deputy chief of staff, Rasiej said.

"That decision may be critical to the tech industry," he said, adding that it's critical that the person have a broad perspective and direct access to the president.

"So technology will no longer be viewed as a slice of the pie but will actually be recognized as the pan," he said. "If someone of the caliber of [Google CEO] Eric Schmidt were to be asked to serve this country in the White House, I think you would see a far quicker adoption of policies that not only help the tech industry but help the tech industry help the country and the world."

Rasiej, who spent election night blogging live for Tech President and running Twitter's Vote Report from Manhattan, said the person in that position can go beyond promoting "selfishness" of the technology industry from a business perspective to reviving the economy, fighting global warming, and using the Internet for dialogue to avert war and conflict.

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