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Why even President Obama needs an IT guy

Nicole Goodkind
Nicole Goodkind
Daily Ticker

Both Sally Beauty and Target (TGT) have been victims of large-scale identity theft attacks this year, bringing the safety of brands Americans rely on and trust into question.

But it's not just corporations -- the disastrous Oct. 1 debut of HealthCare.gov taught the American people that when it comes to tech, programming and IT, the government is sorely out of touch.

In order to keep up with the latest tech trends politicians are building grand-scale websites and launching significant tech-based projects, says Daily Beast contributor Jill Lawrence. This is great, until it isn't. Managing a coding project isn't quite as easy as looking over a large infrastructure project, says Lawrence. Most politicians don't have the skill set to know what's going on and they tend to rush projects before they're ready to go live. The failure of these projects is often fodder for political opponents.

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It's not just HealthCare.gov. In Florida the massive failure of an unemployment website led Governor Rick Scott’s 2014 Democrat opponent, Charlie Crist, to publicly launch an investigation of his ability to govern. In Oregon an online health exchange snafu by Governor John Kitzhaber (who is also a doctor) has led to a political firestorm and cost the state $160 million. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has come under attack for mishandling an overseas cyberattack on the Department of Revenue that compromised the records of up to 4.5 million of the state’s taxpayers.

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It is inevitable that politicians will have to become more web-friendly in order to keep up with the wants and needs of the American people. So what's a citizen to do in order to assure that their elected representative is able to function in a tech-savvy world?

"You have to ask yourself, ‘does this symbolize a failure of leadership or misuse of funds?,'" says Lawrence.  "But I think this is a big danger and consumers have to decide whether they can expect more of this or if the politician has learned how to handle technology," says Lawrence. 

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