The Government Still Uses Floppy Disks - Trump Wants To Change That

Elias Hubbard
June 27, 2017

Kushner highlighted the efforts of the department of Veterans Affairs to move the agency to electronic health records, by adopting a commercial system that's used by the Pentagon. The British daily, however, noticed the conspicuous absence of Facebook executives Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg because of schedule conflicts.

Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner welcomed the executives to the White House saying: "We will unleash the creativity of the private sector to provide citizen services in a way that has never happened before".

The executives are part of the so-called American Technology Council that Trump formed in May to support efforts to modernize the USA government.

Jennifer Pahlka, founder and executive director of Code for America, said that although she doesn't agree with most of the Trump administration's policies, she attended the summit to shed light on IT issues that are often ignored, and because the American Technology Council's (ATeC) work so far has been "on the right track".

Trump in March signed an order to overhaul the federal government and tapped Kushner to lead a White House Office of American Innovation to leverage business ideas and potentially privatize some government functions.

The federal government spends more than $80bn in IT every year, excluding classified operations, according to a 2016 US Government Accountability Office report.

"We will foster a new set of start-ups focused on gov tech and be a leader in the field making government more transparent and responsive to citizens' needs", he added.

While it is unclear what the president meant, Haberman pointed out that this is the second time Trump has left someone feeling like he will pursue a policy similar to one pushed by Jeb Bush, a former GOP presidential rival.

"We have approximately $3.5 trillion of market value in this room - but that's nearly the exact number that we've created since my election", he said to laughter from the attendees.

Other members of the council include: Ajay Banga, the CEO of Mastercard; Safra Catz, co-CEO of Oracle; Alex Karp, CEO of Palantir; Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel; Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM [center row, right]; and Peter Thiel.

In an interview with CNN, Republican Governor Rick Scott from Florida said executives who did not attend the meeting "missed out".

"Show up and tell him what you believe".

For his part, Cook has said he plans to use the meeting as an opportunity to push back against the president's stance on the so-called Muslim immigration ban and to lobby for stronger data encryption.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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