A program, sure. But a sentient consciousness is not a program, it's an emergent process. Even if you did copy the basic programming that defined its substrate level of activity and replicated its initial conditions as closely as you could, the mind that resulted when you actually ran it wouldn't be quite the same as the one that emerged the first time -- just as if you run a complex enough simulation more than once, you can get different results each time.
While I hate to disagree with the guy who writes this, I think we're getting into a gray area with AI as we're talking about technology that is well above our present level of technology but not inconceivable to our technology.
The perfectly mapped and replicated via hologram human brain down to the neuron may sound like insanity but not in Star Trek. A trillion processors working and storing information simultaneously about reaction, emotion, and so on sounds ludicrous but compare today's computers to the Moon Landings.
Then again, I'm a determinalist.
^See, I don't think it's plausible that a single civilization could ever spread across that much of the galaxy. Again, it's a matter of sheer numbers. A single central organizing principle, whether a government or a defining national/cultural identity, can only encompass so many entities before it gets spread too thin.
I'm not so certain as, basically, the same sort of thought has been shared with us on Earth. That a central world government is impossible because there's just too many people, too many different ideas, too many ethnic groups, and so on. However, even now, we live in a global community with representation.
Theoretically, I could see it working like a pyramid.
Planet A is part of System B's government which is part of the Sector C government which is part of the Quadrant D government which is represented in the Federation. Indeed, if Slipstream ever becomes readily available, a central government would HAVE to exist to coordinate matters of interest across all these territories.