White House Reprimands Deputy CTO for Emails with Former Colleagues at Google

Wed, May 19, 2010 at 10:46 am

    The nation’s deputy chief technology officer, Andrew McLaughlin, was reprimanded by the White House for improperly corresponding with former Google colleagues, according to reports.

    McLaughlin, the former head of global policy for Google, joined the Obama administration as a technology adviser and deputy to national chief technology officer, Aneesh Chopra.

    A Freedom of Information Act request by consumer advocacy group Consumer Watchdog, yielded dozens of pages of e-mail correspondence by McLaughlin with “his former employer on topics within the scope of his official duties,” according to a White House spokesman in a Bloomberg News report. Much of that correspondence was conducted over McLaughlin’s private Gmail account.

    Such contacts are prohibited by the White House, Rick Weiss, a spokesman for the Office of Science and Technology Policy, told Bloomberg.

    The correspondence with Google, operator of the most popular Internet search engine, had no influence on U.S. policy, Weiss said.

    The e-mails between McLaughlin and Google employees contained discussions about White House plans to promote net neutrality rules that would prevent broadband service providers from slowing, blocking or prioritizing Web traffic. McLaughlin exchanged e-mails with employees such as Google’s chief Internet evangelist Vint Cerf and the company’s director of public policy, Alan Davidson. Other issues discussed included piracy online of movies and music.

    Consumer Watchdog’s John Simpson said in a release: “McLaughlin received a mild slap on the wrist.” Simpson has called for McLaughlin’s resignation saying a technology expert, not a policy expert, should be in the position.

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