Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

White House Deputy CTO Joins World Bank To Implement Bank's New Tech Strategy

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, December 12 2012

The U.S.' former Deputy CTO Chris Vein has joined the World Bank. Photo: Flickr/Code for America

Chris Vein is someone who's built a career on bringing innovation to government bureaucracies, first for the city of San Francisco under Mayor Gavin Newsom, and then at the Obama Administration's White House as a deputy chief technology officer. He is now moving on to help the governments of the rest of the world.

Vein began a new job at the World Bank this week as its chief innovation officer for global information and communications technology development. In this role, he'll lead the technology strategy across all of the bank's various entities as the bank helps developing countries build their communications and open government infrastructures, Edward Anderson, a World Bank ICT specialist in Washington, D.C. told techPresident. Vein (Anderson's boss) is travelling through Russia and Tunisia this week, and wasn't available for an interview about his new gig.

Citing an internal memo, Anderson said that Vein's top priorities were described to World Bank personel as focusing on implementing the bank's recently-approved technology strategy, leading the bank's policy dialogue and engagement with client countries, bank management, the private sector, civil society organizations and development partners, to oversee the quality and effectiveness of the bank's knowledge network, and to connect cutting-edge information technology knowledge and expertise to client countries.

The World Bank unveiled its new information and communication technology strategy this July. The plan is an outline of how its various entities will help client countries develop their connectivity and build open government platforms to better engage citizens and make those countries' governments more accountable.

Anderson pointed to recent open government and open data projects in Moldova and Kenya as examples of the kinds of tech projects that the bank's strategy is focusing on. He also said the bank works with other development banks to analyze how information technology can "transform" developing countries' economies.

He said that the new strategy was the bank's response to recent years' developments in technology.

"What the development world didn't see coming was the mobile revolution, combined with the Web 2.0 social media revolution, and having an explosion in applications and services for civic technology, and e-government and open government," he said in an interview. "So they really woke up to that and created this new ICT strategy."

Vein's position is part of the change at the world bank -- his position stretching across the bank is a new one. He is one of two new technology managers at the bank who succeeded Philippe Dongier, who left the bank last year. Vein's other ICT sector manager colleague is Raneep Sudan, who's worked at the bank for a long time. He is the former CIO of the state of Andhra Pradesh in India.

(hat tip to Alex Howard)

Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

GO

wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.

GO

The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.

GO

tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.

GO

Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.

GO

monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

GO

friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO

More