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Remarks by the President in Internet Webcast

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 8, 2000

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT IN INTERNET WEBCAST

The Oval Office

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Earlier this week, we launched a new and improved White House website at www.whitehouse.gov. Today, I want to talk a little about the website and about our other efforts to use technology to bring government closer to the people.

I'm proud to have been the President who brought the White House into the digital age. When I became President, there were just 50 websites on the Worldwide Web. Now, there are 17 million, and almost 50 million households on-line in the United States alone.

It was just six years ago that we launched the very first White House website. Our website now has more than 9,000 pages of information -- and that's not counting the archives. We've redesigned and updated it to keep pace with its growth and the rapid changes in technology. The new and improved White House website is another important step in our efforts to make government high-speed, high-tech and user-friendly. We're bringing information that matters into people's homes -- policy papers, the citizens' handbook, links to federal agencies.

We've also made it easier to find the features that visitors use most -- like e-mailing the White House, taking an on-line tour or finding special activities for kids. And we've made the website a permanent part of the Executive Office of the President, so that future Presidents will be able to change it to suit their needs as easily as they can change the furniture here in the Oval Office.

Under the leadership of Vice President Gore, we've used information technology to bring government closer to citizens in many ways. People are now using U.S. government websites to file their taxes, compare their Medicare options, and find good jobs. They're tapping into the latest health research, browsing the vast collections of the Library of Congress, and following along with NASA's missions in outer space.

And we're in the process of creating a single, customer-focused website, www.firstgov.gov, where Americans can find every on-line resource offered by the federal government.

But we must do more to ensure that the benefits of the information revolution flow to every American. That means working to close the digital divide, to put computers in every classroom, to train our teachers to make the most of them. We must also pay attention to the issues of computer security and the privacy of our records on computers, so that the newest technology doesn't undermine our oldest values.

Eighty-one years ago this week, Woodrow Wilson became the very first President to communicate by radio. On his way home from Europe, President Wilson used the radio, after several unsuccessful efforts, to call the then-young Franklin Roosevelt, who was his Assistant Secretary of the Navy back in Washington. It wasn't immediately clear how this new technology would be used, or that in just 15 years Roosevelt, as President, would be making radio broadcasts that 80 percent of our nation would hear. But it was clear that a new door to the future had opened.

We're at just such a moment again today, and the new White House website is just one small step toward bringing government more fully into the Information Age. We have barely begun to understand how information technology will change our lives. But those of us in government have a responsibility to use these new tools to expand the reach of democracy and give more people a chance to live their dreams.

I'll see you on line at whitehouse.gov, and thanks for logging on.

END


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