Presidential hopefuls, take note: America's high-tech workforce would generally prefer that government keep its hands off the Internet, privacy matters included.
That's the message contained in a recent poll of 600 "information technology" workers (click for PDF) released Tuesday by the Computing Technology Industry Association. CompTIA's members are generally smaller tech businesses around the world.
The poll, conducted in August and September by the firm Rasmussen Reports, is billed as the first in a series of steps the association plans to take in an attempt to amplify the views of tech-sector workers among the 2008 presidential campaigns.
Here, in brief, are some of the findings:
-82 percent said the government should not "regulate the Internet like telephone and TV." CompTIA said this figure indicates IT workers are far more hostile to regulations than the American public. They cited a recent Zogby/463 poll of the general public that found 29 percent supported TV-type indecency and obscenity regulations for the Internet, and 25 percent thought a ratings system should apply.
-Just 12 percent of the IT workers surveyed said the government should play a role in protecting consumer privacy on the Internet. Sixty percent said they believe individuals should bear the primary burden, and 19 percent said "businesses that provide Internet services" should hold that responsibility.
-On intellectual property, there was a greater diversity of responses. About a quarter of the respondents said the government should be doing less to protect intellectual property, while another quarter said it should be doing the same amount. About 39 percent said the government should be doing more, and 10 percent said they weren't sure.
-More than 50 percent of the respondents said either "terrorism" or "the war in Iraq" is the most important issue that the next president will face. The next biggest share went to the ecomony, at 19 percent.
For a more detailed breakdown among income, age, gender, and education levels, check out CompTIA's full report. (For the record, 77 percent of the respondents identified themselves as male, with the remainder being female.)
CompTIA, for its part, said it doesn't necessarily endorse the survey respondents' stances, but there does appear to be a good deal of common ground. After all, one of the policy statements at its Web site reads: "In a young, global and dynamic medium like the Internet, normal government regulation is often not the most effective means to protect consumers' overarching privacy, security and safety interests."
Readers who work in the tech sector, where do you fit in?