Sure, there have been the
But knowing where the candidates stand on high-tech topics like digital copyright, surveillance, and Internet taxes can be revealing, which is why we've put together this 2008 Technology Voters' Guide.
In late November, we sent questionnaires to the top candidates--measured by funds raised and poll standings--from each major party. We asked each the same 10 questions.
Not all candidates chose to respond: Republicans Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, and Fred Thompson rebuffed our requests, as did Democrats Joe Biden and Bill Richardson. In all such cases, we made repeated efforts to try to convince them to change their minds.
Read on for responses from Sen. Barack Obama, or check out, featuring other Technology Voters' Guide candidate reports.
Q: Politicians have been talking for years about the
Obama: I believe that America should lead the world in broadband penetration and Internet access. As a country, we have ensured that every American has access to telephone service and electricity, regardless of economic status, and I will do likewise for broadband Internet access. Full broadband penetration can enrich democratic discourse, enhance competition, provide economic growth, and bring significant consumer benefits.
Moreover, improving our infrastructure will foster competitive markets for Internet access and services that ride on that infrastructure. Market forces will drive the deployment of broadband in many parts of the country, but not all. To get true broadband deployed in every community in America, we need to, make better use of , promote next-generation facilities, technologies, and applications, and provide new tax and loan incentives.
Congress has considered Net neutrality legislation, but it never became law. Do you still support the S 215), which gives the FCC the power to punish "discriminatory" conduct by broadband providers?
Obama: Yes. As I stated
I will prevent network providers from discriminating in ways that limit the freedom of expression on the Internet. Because most Americans have a choice of only one or two broadband carriers, carriers are tempted to impose a toll charge on content and services, discriminating against Web sites that are unwilling to pay for equal treatment.
This could, while all competing Web sites remain in a slower lane.
Such a result would threaten innovation, the open tradition and architecture of the Internet, and competition among content and backbone providers. It would also threaten the equality of speech through which the Internet has begun to transform American political and cultural discourse.
Accordingly, network providers should not be allowed to charge fees to privilege the content or applications of some Web sites and Internet applications over others. This principle will ensure that the new competitors, especially small or nonprofit speakers, have the same opportunity as incumbents to innovate on the Internet and to reach large audiences.
I will protect the Internet's traditional openness to innovation and creativity, and ensure that it remains a platform for free speech and innovation that will benefit consumers and our democracy.
Telecommunications companies such as AT&T have been S 2248)?
The section restricting the "circumvention" of copy protection measures is supported by many copyright holders but has been criticized by some technologists as hindering innovation. Would you
Obama: I would support, in concept, allowing Americans to make a single backup copy of a digital product they have purchased. And I think the market is moving in the direction of greater consumer freedom.
As policymakers, we are in a constant process of examining our laws to ensure that the protections we place on intellectual property are sufficient to encourage invention without hindering innovation that builds on previous work or unfairly limiting consumers from using the goods they purchase in a way that is fair to creators.The Department of Homeland Security restricting which state ID cards can be accepted at federal buildings and airports. Do you support those regulations as written, would you , or would you prefer something in between?
Obama: I do not support the Real ID program because it is an unfunded mandate, and not enough work has been done with the states to help them implement the program.
The Federal Trade Commission
Congress has debated the right approach to privacy protection for years. I will work with leading legislators, privacy advocates, and business leaders to strengthen both voluntary and legally required privacy protections.
Recently, there's been
Obama: What is needed is greater resources for law enforcement to fully enforce the law against sex offenders, greater education to empower kids and teens to recognize the threat and guard themselves against the threat, and parents who are engaged in their kids' lives.
Social-networking sites are just one way sex offenders seek out victims, and I would not support targeting them specifically, but I would be open to any legislation that would make it easier for law enforcement to bring sex offenders to justice.
The Bush administration has supported legally requiring Internet service providers, and perhaps search engines and social-networking Web sites as well, HR 837, to mandate data retention?
Do you support enacting federal laws providing for any or all of the following: a)
Obama: a) Yes.
c) Highly skilled immigrants have contributed significantly to our domestic technology industry. But we have a skills shortage, not a worker shortage. There are plenty of Americans who could be filling tech jobs, given the proper training. I am committed to investing in communities and people who have not had an opportunity to work and participate in the Internet economy as anything other than consumers.
Most H-1B new arrivals, for example, have earned a bachelor's degree or its equivalent abroad (42.5 percent). They are not all Ph.D.s. We can and should produce more Americans with bachelor's degrees that lead to jobs in technology.
A report of the National Science Foundation reveals that blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans as a whole comprise more that 25 percent of the population but earn, as a whole, 16 percent of the bachelor degrees, 11 percent of the master's degrees, and 5 percent of the doctorate degrees in science and engineering.
We can do better than that and go a long way toward meeting industry's need for skilled workers with Americans. Until we have achieved that, I will support a temporary increase in the H-1B visa program as a stopgap measure until we can reform our immigration system comprehensively.
I support comprehensive immigration reform that includes improvement in our visa programs, including our legal permanent-resident visa programs and temporary programs including the H-1B program, to attract some of the world's most talented people to America.
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