5 Times Technology Transformed Government (and Vice Versa)


If you were asked to name some of the biggest proponents and propagators of technology in the modern age, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Elon Musk might spring to mind.  But what about the U.S. government?

Yes, that right. Technology hasn’t just shaped how Uncle Sam does business (think citizen self-service tools, cybersecurity awareness, and more) the U.S government has also spurred innovation.

In celebration of its 50th year publishing news and information for federal employees, the Federal Times has just published its list of key stand out moments where technology, spurred both by external events and internal ingenuity, transformed government.

It all started when the Internet was born

Yes, technology got us to the moon, but it’s hard to argue against the huge leap we all took when the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency created the early framework of the Internet in 1969.

Nearly 15 years later, the government did something no other governing power has done, it carved out secure domain names – .gov and .mil – giving added legitimacy to Uncle Sam’s websites.

IT management comes to government

Then came the appointment of CIOs at each agency and the establishment of IT management and acquisition policies driven by the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996.

The cyber threat landscape got real

As we entered the new millennium and a post-9/11 world, the cyber threat became very real. The feds started gathering massive amounts of data in pursuit of terrorists. That data was mined for threat indicators and used to inform surveillance and espionage activities – much of it done in secret until Edward Snowden came along.

The President got his own unique BlackBerry

And let’s not forget The White House’s BYOD challenge. When President Obama took office in 2009, he insisted on bringing his trusty Blackberry with him. It was down to the NSA to spend months tucked away in a lab figuring out how to build a secure smartphone based off the then-current Blackberry technology. No one knows the true functionality of the President’s phone, and the NSA won’t even confirm if he can use it to send texts or write an email.

Check out the article for more on these and other transforming technologies, Uncle Sam has come a long way!

Caron Beesley Government Writer

Caron Beesley is a technology writer with a specific focus on the government sector.