Obama’s CTO Has Browser Issues

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — The [Computer History Museum](http://www.computerhistory.org/) houses some very [old computers](http://pdp-1.computerhistory.org/pdp-1/), but that wasn’t the only out-dated technology on the mind of President Obama’s CTO in a speech here last night.

[Aneesh Chopra laid out a bold technology agenda](/bus-news/article.php/3833441/Obama+CTO+Chopra+Schmoozes+Silicon+Valley.htm) before an attentive Silicon Valley crowd — a nationwide smart grid, networked schools, electronic health records, open government and more. But that doesn’t mean he always has access to the latest tools.


The White House is saddled with some pretty old technology. Chopra expressed frustration, for example, that he couldn’t access sites like the [Mint.com](http://www.mint.com) personal finance site. “I can’t access hardly anything,” he said. “I wanted to go to Mint.com, but the browser is so old I can’t use it.”

A Mint.com spokesperson said Mint doesn’t support anything older than Internet Explorer 6 and is dropping 6 support next year. IE 6 came out in 2001 along with Windows XP.

The problem isn’t limited to the White House either. My colleague Sean Michael Kerner [recently blogged ](http://blog.internetnews.com/skerner/2009/07/will-the-us-state-dept-please.html)about a State Department official voicing his frustration that the Mozilla Firefox browser hadn’t made the approval list.

And these are tiny issues compared to the many tech challenges Chopra faces.

One of those is making broadband access more universal. Chopra noted U.S. consumers send and receive increasing amounts of images, music, video and other bandwidth-hungry files. “We consume more data as we embrace more of the digital life,” he said.

“We can assume Internet video and so many applications coming we don’t even know about yet. We’re seeing the same hyper-growth in the private sector.”

Better update that browser.

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