As Democrats begin to rebuild in the wake of their 2016 presidential election defeat, party’s official political organ is tapping Raffi Krikorian, a former top engineer at Uber’s self-driving-car program, to be his next chief technology officer.
The Democratic National Committee looks to improve its tech tools in a bid to reach more voters – while preventing another major cyber breach, the likes of which by Russian-backed hackers in 2016 helped sink Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Krikorian departed Uber in February; He served as the senior director of engineering at Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh. He then briefly joined New America, a nonpartisan policy think tank, as the director of engineering focused on public-interest technology. He did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment, nor did the DNC.
Krikorian will face no endemic tech troubles to tackle – starting with shoring up DNC’s cyber defenses after Russian hackers targeted Democrats in 2016, stole their private emails and shared them with WikiLeaks.
The DNC’s new leader, former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, has specifically said that the party needs its own in-house cyber security officer not just to help the DNC, he told Politico in January, but to support local politicians as they also try to Fight off future breaches.
Beyond that campaign-changing, a narrative-shaping cyber incident, many believe DNC has fallen behind in supporting and deploying tech tools to target voters, raise money and send those supporters to polls on Election Day.
Even Hillary Clinton has criticized the DNC for disorganization, stressing at the Code Conference in June that it was “bankrupt” and “on the verge of insolvency” when she won the party’s presidential nomination.
Its data were mediocre to poor,” Clinton said.
Clinton’s comments quickly drew sharp rebukes from DNC veterans. Many have also claimed that the party’s next challenge is corralling and harnessing the myriad of tech-focused groups that have sprung out of Silicon Valley to oppose Trump.