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