WASHINGTON, December 17, 2009 – A senior government official said Thursday that the Obama Administration has been looking for innovative ways to use technology for the common good.
As an example, Alec Ross, the secretary of state’s senior advisor for innovation, said the U.S. is engaged in efforts in Mexico to develop a system for people to anonymously report drug related information through their cell phones.
Ross said the U.S. is working with the Mexican government and non-government organizations on the program. The idea is that people can send text messages to a number overseen by an NGO. The NGO then makes the data anonymous and maps the tips in real time. At some point Mexican authorities would be notified to go to the site, said Ross at an event held Thursday at the Brookings Institution focused on U.S. diplomacy in the age of Facebook and Twitter.
The official said technology can’t solve everything and is also used by bad actors but it can create improvements in the everyday lives of people around the world. He said that countries with higher mobile connections have higher GDPs than other countries. Ross additionally voiced support for mobile banking efforts.