President-elect Barack Obama names two telecom lawyers and Google's head of global development efforts to oversee technology, innovation and government reform working group. Former Cisco CTO Judy Estrin, Frontline Wireless co-founder John Leibovitz and Google lawyer Andrew McLaughlin also join the team.
Assembling a team of telecom lawyers with deep roots at
the FCC Federal Communications Commission, technology industry leaders,
academics, financial experts and former government officials, President-elect Barack Obama
named his technology, innovation and government policy reform working group
Nov. 25.Heading the group will be telecom analyst Blair Levin,
Google's Sonal Shah and former IAC/InterActiveCorp executive Julius
Genachowski. Both Levin and Genachowski worked in the 1990s for former FCC
Chairman Reed Hundt, a Bill Clinton appointee. Shah is head of Google's global
According to the president-elect's Web site, Obama's
seeks to "leverage technology to grow the economy
and create jobs." In addition, the agenda includes a wide range of
proposals for a more "open and effective government" and a renewed
commitment to science.
The working group will be organized into four sub-teams:
innovation and government; innovation and national priorities; innovation and
science; and innovation and civil society.
and Genachowski have also been touted as candidates for either Obama's
chief technology adviser in the White House or as the next chairman of the FCC.
Levin served as Hundt's chief of staff from 1993-1997 before becoming managing
director of Stifel Nicolaus, where he serves as the firm's principal telecom,
media and tech regulatory and strategy analyst.
Genachowski served as chief counsel to Hundt from
1994-1997. He is the co-founder of Rock Creek Ventures and LaunchBox Digital, a
special adviser at General Atlantic, and a member of various boards of
directors and advisors. From 1997-2005, he was a senior executive at
IAC/InterActiveCorp, variously serving as chief of business operations, general
counsel and a member of the office of the chairman.
Gigi Sohn, president and co-founder of the public advocacy
group Public Knowledge, told the Washington
both Levin and Genachowski are "civic-minded" leaders
who are likely to push for a more open FCC that only encourages citizen
participation in policy making decisions."You have a system there where basically you have to
be an expert to participate. The average Joe wouldn't know how to submit FCC
comments and get things from the FCC because the processes are opaque and the
Web site is so difficult to navigate," Sohn said.Other prominent private enterprise members of the team
include Dan Chenok, Pragmatics' general manager; Judy Estrin, CEO of JLABS
(formerly known as Packet Design Management Company, former Cisco CTO and
author of Closing the Innovation Gap; John Leibovitz, co-founder of Frontline
Wireless; and Andrew McLaughlin, a top ranking lawyer in Google's Washington