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McCain's tech platform opposes 'unnecessary regulation'

Republican presidential candidate says he opposes Net neutrality regulations and would "crack down" on Internet piracy, drawing a contrast with his Democratic rival.

John McCain

John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, has released his technology platform. Among the highlights: antipiracy measures, tax credits, and a formal federal policy of avoiding "unnecessary regulation."

These aren't much different from the responses the Arizona senator gave us during the primary season, but they do expand on what a McCain administration might do in practice.

McCain shares some views--like making the R&D tax credit permanent--with his Democratic rival, Barack Obama. (This is no surprise. For a politician, supporting the R&D tax credit is the tech-policy equivalent of kissing babies.)

The differences are more interesting:

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• Obama says he "strongly supports the principle of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the Internet." McCain "does not believe in prescriptive regulation like 'Net-neutrality." (Technically the two statements aren't at odds because one politico is talking about broad principles, but it's pretty clear where they're going. Our Voters' Guide has more details.)

• McCain says he "supports efforts to crack down on piracy, both on the Internet and off." Obama doesn't. Instead, the Democrat says "we need to update and reform our copyright" system.

• Free trade is something that McCain seems to support, though sometimes he calls it "fair and open world trade." Obama says, by contrast, he wants "a trade policy that ensures our goods and services are treated fairly in foreign markets."

• McCain would "expand the number of H-1B visas." Obama would not. The closest he comes to lifting the visa cap, a longtime goal of Silicon Valley companies, is to say he favors "comprehensive immigration reform," whatever that means.