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Former Obama CTO compliments Trump's tech initiatives

Photo: Chuck Kennedy / Axios

Aneesh Chopra, the United States' first chief technology officer under the Obama administration, told Axios' Mike Allen this morning that he believes expanding tech literacy is a "wildly bipartisan" issue in government today. Chopra specifically cited the work of the Jared Kushner-headed Office of American Innovation as something that "mirrors very nicely" his Obama-era tech initiatives.

A big quote: "While you'll generally see those of us in the Obama world sort of fret all of those decisions [by the Trump administration], on this topic you'll see a lot of alignment and a lot of support."

More from Chopra's conversation at Axios' Future Shapers event:

  • He noted a disconnect between the "tech frontier" of cutting edge government research and the "laggard" daily, dated tech struggles of the everyday federal employee.
  • Social media is both a benefit and risk for our society, according to Chopra, as Americans have access to a new "wealth of information" but still choose to "self select and filter out news that they don't necessarily agree with."
  • Chopra cited India's "frictionless digital society" as a goal for the United States, calling it "infrastructure for a modern age" with nationwide biometric ID cards. Of the U.S., he asked, "We have large swaths of the country that don't have any communications capacity…How are we going to add economic opportunity if we don't have basic communications infrastructure?"
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D.C.'s March for our Lives: "The voters are coming"

Protestor at D.C.'s March for our Lives.
Protestor at D.C.'s March for our Lives. Photo: Stef Kight / Axios

D.C.'s March for our Lives event is expected to see more than half a million participants.

Why it matters: While D.C. is the primary march, there are hundreds of others around the world and across the country. Led by students, the march is "to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address" gun issues, per the organization's mission statement.

Haley Britzky 8 hours ago
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DOJ eyeing tool to allow access to encrypted data on smartphones

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Justice Department is in "a preliminary stage" of discussions about requiring tech companies building "tools into smartphones and other devices" that would allow law enforcement investigators to access encrypted data, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: This has been on the FBI's mind since 2010, and last month the White House "circulated a memo...outlining ways to think about solving the problem," officials told the NYT. Both FBI Director Christopher Wray, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, support finding ways for law enforcement to access data without compromising devices security.