- By Michael Wilkerson<p> Michael Wilkerson, a journalist and former Fulbright researcher in Uganda, is a graduate student in politics at Oxford University, where he is a Marshall Scholar. </p>
The State Department’s two Twitter accounts and fancy-looking blog serve as a testament to the government’s effort to keep up with technology trends. And soon, if they’re lucky, State employees might even get to use Firefox.
At Hillary Clinton’s recent town hall meeting, State and USAID employees lined up to let her know what they think (seen above). When relatively new hire Jim Finkle requested the browser Clinton needed some backup from Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy:
[FINKLE]: Can you please let the staff use an alternative web browser called Firefox? I just – (applause) – I just moved to the State Department from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and was surprised that State doesn’t use this browser. It was approved for the entire intelligence community, so I don’t understand why State can’t use it. It’s a much safer program. Thank you. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, apparently, there’s a lot of support for this suggestion. (Laughter.) I don’t know the answer. Pat, do you know the answer? (Laughter.)
UNDER SECRETARY KENNEDY: The answer is at the moment, it’s an expense question. We can —
[FINKLE]: It’s free. (Laughter.)
UNDER SECRETARY KENNEDY: Nothing is free. (Laughter.) It’s a question of the resources to manage multiple systems. It is something we’re looking at…
Clinton went on to say that State had requested money for IT upgrades and she hopes Firefox works out. She also encouraged the audience to let her know of other ways the government can save money to use for similar upgrades in the future.
While they are upgrading, if Clinton really wants to increase productivity at Foggy Bottom, I think there is a clear solution: iPhones for everyone. Ohmygov! already has a guide to “11 iPhone apps to make your government job easier.”
(H/T: Katherine Mangu-Ward at Reason.)
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