Obama Picks Google Vet “Katie Jacobs Stanton” To Lead ‘Citizen Participation’

January 30, 2009 0

Washington — President Barack Obama has yet to declare who his chief technology officer will be. As Google CEO Eric Schmidt has shunned interested in the new federal CTO post but a member of his team is headed to Washington, D.C.: According to reports, he has appointed Google product manager “Katie Jacobs Stanton” will be the new President’s “Director of Citizen Participation,” starting in March.

Citizen Participation has been an important slogan in Obama’s technological policy colloquial speech since the start of his campaign. From campaign literature: “Barack Obama will use the most current technological tools available to make government less beholden to special interest groups and lobbyists and promote citizen participation in government decision-making.”

Katie Jacobs Stanton, who was engaged in Google’s elections projects, is expected to begin in March. This is according to Peter Kafka at All Things Digital, who referred to her LinkedIn profile to get a glimpse of her past experience. Moreover, the profile also indicates that she was involved with Google Finance as well as Open Social. She has been with Google since 2003, and before that worked as a production manager at Yahoo (and worked with Yahoo Finance), and with Chase.

In addition to being the Product Manager for Google Finance, Stanton also worked on Open Social. OpenSocial was introduced last November and is designed to help developers build social applications that can run on multiple sites.

While the details of her new position were unclear, Stanton will likely be responsible for overseeing the implementation of Web tools, such as Google’s Moderator, a service that will allow citizens to participate more actively as a way to submit and vote on questions for the 2008 presidential debates with the Obama White House, the Journal’s All Things Digital site said.

Stanton began working with Google in 2003, early enough to be in on the IPO; she previously served as a production manager at Yahoo.

Stanton’s selection is in line with the administration’s efforts during the campaign and transition to reach out to supporters through digital means: the weekly fireside chats via YouTube, the Twitter account, as well as the launch of Change.gov while Obama was president-elect.

Although Stanton and other tech-savvy new appointees may find it more cumbersome to do their jobs effectively in the coming months, as they contend with White House technology policies that are more restrictive than participatory.

A Google spokesman today declined to comment on Stanton’s reported new job.

President Obama’s reported tapping of a Google executive to lead efforts to make the White House more accessible to citizens via the Internet is not surprising. Google CEO Eric Schmidt has advised the president on economic policy and was at one point expected to be appointed his chief technology officer.

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