Chopra has mapped out key IT priorities for his boss, President Barack Obama. "I have five priorities for the president. The first of those priorities is to modernize our digital infrastructure, emphasizing fourth-generation wireless technologies. Where that's progressing is we have a proposed bill the president called for in the State of the Union [address] that would liberate 500MHz of spectrum over the next 10 years."
The second priority, said Chopra, involves the Startup America program, emphasizing new market opportunities in health, energy, and education. "Number three, we're working on Internet policy principles. We've announced our support for a privacy bill of rights, so that obviously needs congressional review. [Also] the president released a cyber security plan. My responsibility in that is the R&D domain, and we will be publishing a broader Internet policy principles agenda later this summer," he said. The administration wants the private sector to voluntarily develop codes of conduct related to online privacy, enforceable by the Federal Trade Commission.
Chopra said, "Fourth, my first homework assignment since coming into office was to provide for a more open and transparent government. The president asked me in the capacity of CTO to provide recommendations on how to make the government transparent, participatory, and collaborative. Every federal agency today now has an open government plan. We are actively implementing those plans with a number of flagship initiatives that have already come online, and every day we celebrate a new initiative that is in the spirit of the president's open government philosophy." Chopra has been working on transparency initiatives that led to the creation of data.gov and other efforts. More than 300,000 data sets are available on data.gov, he said.
Asked about the issue of H-1B visas, Chopra said the demand has fallen a bit, but immigration reform is on the administration's mind. "The president has called, as part of our comprehensive immigration reform package, to strengthen and improve upon the current H-1B system. We did make some administrative changes to H-1B for processing applications in a more streamlined fashion based on industry feedback." But the bulk of the change is part of a larger discussion about immigration reform, which includes securing the border, ensuring that employers are held accountable for employing legal Americans, and reforming the broader legal immigration system to focus on highly skilled persons, said Chopra.