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OMB’s ‘those-who-shall-not-be-named’ — Kundra and now Noveck

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The joke going around the Office of Management and Budget these days is referring to Vivek Kundra as “Voldemort” Kunda — and no, not because he is evil but because he can only be referred to as “You-Know-Who” or “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.”

Kundra, the DC CTO, has all but been appointed to be the OMB administrator of e-government and information technology. But that happened weeks ago but is still not yet official. But there is a curious Kundra conundrum. I was talking to one former OMBers who told me that he could not collect a federal paycheck until he was officially appointed. That lead some to speculate that he was still on the DCpayroll. But insiders are saying that, in fact, Kundra has been sworn in and is on the OMB payroll — yet still not announced?

Beth Noveck

Beth Noveck

There is another significant appointment that apparently falls in the “She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” category: Beth Simone Noveck. Noveck is a law professor at New York Law School and is apparently working in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. I have posted her bio after the break, but… Noveck worked on the Patent and Trademark Office’s “Community Patent Review project in collaboration with the United States patent and Trademark Office ( Peer-to-Patent is the legal, policy and software framework to open patent examination for public participation for the first time.”

The White House has made some key appointments. For example, the White House named Macon Phillips as the White House director of new media — again, something that everybody knew. There are a number of other people in the new media team including, of course, Katie Jacobs Stanton.

Read Noveck’s full bio and some of the other senior agency appointments… after the break

Noveck’s full bio:

An expert on the impact of technology on legal and political institutions, Beth Simone Noveck directs the Institute for Information Law & Policy (, New York Law School’s center for the study of intellectual property, technology and information law. Prof. Noveck teaches in the areas of intellectual property, innovation and constitutional law as well as courses on electronic democracy and electronic government.

Beth Simone Noveck pioneered the creation of the Democracy Design Workshop, a collaborative “do tank,” where students and faculty at New York Law School and across institutions work together in teams to develop legal code and software code to foster open, transparent and collaborative ways of learning, working and governing. The Do Tank ( is a first-of-its kind legal R&D lab where lawyers innovate, harnessing the new tools of information and communications to the goals of social justice. Projects address, not only how law regulates technology, but how to wield technology to improve law teaching and practice, encourage participatory governance and enable collaboration within organizations and communities.

With the support of grants from the MacArthur Foundation, Omidyar Network, CA, IBM, Microsoft, HP, GE, Intellectual Ventures and Red Hat, Professor Noveck launched the Peer to Patent: Community Patent Review project in collaboration with the United States patent and Trademark Office ( Peer-to-Patent is the legal, policy and software framework to open patent examination for public participation for the first time. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Council of Europe andAmericaSpeaks have sponsored her research on online communities by funding the Cairns Project, graphical software to support group formation and collaboration. She also received a grant fromICAIR to support the creation of Democracy Island, an experimental space within a virtual world for research on citizen participation.

Prof. Noveck is the founder and organizer of the State of Play conferences, the annual event on virtual worlds research. With the support of the Maya Foundation, she launched the State of Play Academy, a virtual world space for democratizing legal education by teaching law to non-lawyers. The Academy is also an experimental space for studying the impact of virtual worlds on learning and teaching.

Professor Noveck is a founder of Bodies Electric LLC, developer of the Unchat software for realtime structured and democratic group deliberation in cyberspace. She is a member of the ABA’s Commission on Electronic Rulemaking and the OMB Watch Taskforce on Transparency and Public Participation in Government. She is a member of the Legal Expert Network of the Institute for the Study of the Information Society and Technology (Insites) at the Carnegie Mellon Heinz School of Public Policy and Management, a member of the editorial board for First Monday (, I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, and of the advisory board of the International Journal for Communications Law and Policy(IJCLP). She is a member of the advisory board of the Nanyang Technical University Centre on Asia Pacific Technology Law and Policy (CAPTEL) in Singapore, where she visited as a Fulbright Senior Specialist and co-editor of the book series, (NYU Press) and blogs at The Cairns Blog, available at

Previously a telecommunications and Internet lawyer practicing in New York, Prof. Noveck is also the McClatchy Associate Visiting Professor, Stanford University, Dept. of Communication. Professor Noveck graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor and Master of Arts. She earned a J.D. from Yale Law School. After studying as a Rotary Foundation graduate fellow at Oxford University, she earned a doctorate at the University of Innsbruck with the support of a Fulbright grant.

The White House has nade a number of appointments to senior agency posts:

* Dr. Ashton Carter, Nominee for the Defense Department’s Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
* Kathleen A. Merrigan, Nominee for Agriculture Department Deputy Secretary
* Jon Cannon, Nominee for Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
* Seth Harris, Nominee for Deputy Secretary of the Labor Department
* John Morton, Nominee for Homeland Security Department’s Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement
* Tom Strickland, Interior Department Chief of Staff and Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks

Written by cdorobek

February 26, 2009 at 12:52 PM

6 Responses

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  1. Just wanted to point out that “New York Law School” is not affiliated with New York University (NYU). NYU’s law school is called “NYU School of Law.” These are two unrelated institutions.

    Also, “officially appointed” and “publicly announced” are not mutually exclusive. Just because no one acknowledges something (i.e., a speed limit) does not mean it is not “official.”

    Dasarp Anhsirk

    February 26, 2009 at 3:15 PM

  2. Thanks for the correction, Dasarp. I have corrected the reference.


    February 26, 2009 at 4:17 PM

  3. Dasarp,
    In fact, we have asked and they will not acknowledge the fact. It is important to remember that this is a public employee.


    February 26, 2009 at 4:19 PM

  4. […] OMB’s ‘those-who-shall-not-be-named’ — Kundra and now Noveck […]

  5. […] much consternation, I’m hearing that “he-who-shall-not-be-named” — Vivek Kundra, the DC chief technology officer — will be named. I’m hearing that […]

  6. […] WP reports this morning what we, of course, have been telling you for week — here and here and here and here — that DC CTO Vivek Kundra is joining the White House. Yes, we’ve […]

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