The case for a US CTO

Mark Rizzn Hopkins has challenged the consensus on Mashable over the Obama plan to appoint a CTO of the United States. It’s a good read, but it needs response.

Mark takes the valid libertarian line, that we are better off without Government interference in the tech sector. It’s a just idea, and as much as no Government interference is a noble cause, it’s also unrealistic. In the United States at least the tech sector is a major driver of growth and jobs and naturally the Government will notice, the question then becomes whether they participate from an informed position or one that is completely clueless, and I need to point no further than my native Australia to give an example of what clueless Government interference offers.

The appointment on a CTO of the United States may be in part symbolic, but it is a position that has the possibility of delivering real knowledge to the gears of power. Real knowledge that understands the dynamics of the Valley and the broader internet industry. Perhaps knowledge that recognizes the issues with copyright law and the DMCA. Knowledge that understands and respects the notion of the public good and the public domain, and that the American Constitution dealt with copyright as a notion to promote scientific and artistic endeavor, not corporate greed.

From a global perspective we need the United States to lead on this front. It’s a given that should the United States appoint a CTO, that other countries will follow. The word of the potential of technology and the internet needs to be spread far and wide as a force of good, and to give a voice and platform to many as opposed to a select few.

The Inquisitr is backing Dave Winer for the spot, and although there was some jest in the original post, the more I talk to people about the idea, the more I may actually believe it has validity. Winer is a strong Democrat, who introduced me as a foreign blogger to Dean in the last cycle, and although he may not be the worlds happiest person, he offers a depth of thought that is often lacking in the world of governance. Winer would challenge norms, he would make people think, and he’d use the position to champion much of which we all support. On a ticket that promotes change, Winer offers a boat load of difference.