Modernizing how federal government works has been a priority for the White House. Over the past month, President Trump has announced efforts to overhaul several outdated areas: upgrading the electronic medical records system at the Department of Veterans Affairs, privatizing the country's air traffic control system, and streamlining permitting for infrastructure projects.
Now the White House's attention turns to modernizing the federal government's technology policy. The president will host several tech CEOs to discuss upgrading government information technology and federal regulations on the Internet.
Trump has an opportunity to protect access to a free and open internet. During this upcoming "tech week," he should carry the spirit of his other modernization efforts by seeking ways to update the government's digital presence and rein in the overreaching regulation affecting the internet.
Growth in the technology sector has happened because the hand of government has been limited. Government bureaucrats didn't invent Snapchat, Twitter, Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, Airbnb, Uber or similar tech companies that people increasingly rely on — entrepreneurs in the private sector did. As stark evidence to the contrary, government bureaucrats spent $834 million on a website for Obamacare signups that barely worked.
Thankfully, the administration has already made progress in rolling back the federal government's role in regulating the Internet.
Particularly significant is Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai's efforts in rolling back Title II reclassification of internet service providers as utility services and eliminating the internet conduct standard, a broad mandate to micromanage internet service providers. These Obama-era internet regulations constitute a de facto takeover of the Internet, and Pai is right to reverse them.
Trump's modernization efforts don't grab as many headlines as his other federal priorities — e.g., repealing Obamacare and reforming the tax code — but they are nevertheless important. These efforts will make government work more efficiently and encourage investment and job creation across the country.
Christine Harbin (@ChrissyHarbin) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. She is vice president of external affairs for Americans for Prosperity.
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