- President Barack Obama called on the tech industry to help the government solve some of its big challenges and come up with "new ideas across disciplines and across skill sets."
- Obama spoke with Evan Smith, editor in chief of the Texas Tribune, for 50 minutes in from of a crowd of 2,000 at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSW) in Austin on Friday.
- The president covered a range of tech issues, from upgrading legacy federal computer systems to the battle between Apple and the FBI in the ongoing encryption debate.
Obama’s reputation as a tech savvy president made him a good fit for the conference, according to Hugh Forrest, director of SXSW Interactive.
Obama spoke about several of the tech-rellated initiatives he’s launched during his presidency, as well as a few of the failures, such as the Affordable Care Act website. He declined to comment directly on the Apple vs. FBI case, but did say that smartphones cannot be allowed to be "black boxes," inaccessible to the government.
Obama also asked the audience for help in improving government.
Several government leaders have been attempting to recruit the technology industry to help modernize the federal government. Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter visited tech companies in Silicon Valley and Seattle as part of ongoing efforts to recruit their help in federal cybersecurity efforts. Last September, federal CIO Tony Scott said much of the tech used by the federal government is too outdated to handle today’s cyber threats and agencies must work with industry partners to modernize government systems and improve security.