2000 Tech Politics

It’s election season in the United States. This week, the Republican party is holding its convention, which will be followed by the democrats’ in the next couple of week. But the big question to those of us who work in the Internet field has been, what do those guys stand for in terms of the technology sector.

Since no single source has been offering a complete rundown of both candidates’ positions on tech issues, I’ve decided to do the research myself and share it with you. You might notice that it is not an exhaustive list. The main reason for this being relatively short is that I only posted information I could get from more than one source. I’ve tried gathering the information directly from the candidates’ websites or their party websites.

If a claim was made and I could not substantiate from more than 2 sources, I decided not to include it, nor did I include claims made by non-accredited news sites (think Drudge Report and the likes).

Issues Bush Gore
Online Taxes Calls for moratorium until 2004. Believes that government should not tax online business right now but that the issue should be reassessed at a later time. Supported the Internet Tax Freedom Act that extended the Internet tax moratorium through 2002. Favors international agreement to make cyberspace a duty-free zone.
Privacy Favors hands-off approach, opt-in approach, letting people decide whether they want their private information collected and shared. Was blasted by several privacy groups earlier this year for not carrying a privacy policy on his site and for posting a page with the names of contributors.Opposes use of Carnivore without a congressional oversight committee. Supports current FTC reccomendation to regulate online privacy. Believes that opt-in approach will not work and that it’s time for Internet companies to be regulated, especially when it comes to kids.Supports use of carnivore as a way to fight terrorism and cyber-terrorism.
Free Speech Favors policy to curb indecent material on the Internet. Believes that the first amendment extends to the Internet but favors some level of protection for children. Was blasted in 1996 for his support of the Communications Decency Act.
Open Access Believes that government should not intervene or set prices and that the industry will self-regulate on this matter. Wants to avoid a digital divide and believes in government support of open access initiatives. Wants to wire every classroom, clinics, and libraries, to the Internet.
H1B Visas Has not made any statements on H1B visas in particular but the the Texas Republican platform calls for curbs on immigration Talked in silicon valley about increasing the number of H1B visas in certain cases but favors educating Americans to fill those positions.
Encryption No stated position Support current relaxation of encryption policy and possible declassification of encryption’s listing as armament in certain cases.
Supporters John Chambers, CEO, Cisco Systems
Michael Dell, CEO, Dell Computers
Andy Grove, Chairman, Intel
John Doerr, partner, Kleiner Perkins
Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple and Pixar
Kim Polese, Chairwoman, Marimba
Oops When questionned about a parody site, said “there ought to be limits to freedom on the Internet.” When asked about his technical savvy, answered that he “was present at the creation of the Internet.”

While I managed to get a fair amount of information from both politicians sites, I was surprised not to find it more easily. One would think that in this day and age, technology would be a big platform issue but it still isn’t. I would urge members of the tech press on this list and in general to start pressing the candidates to see what technology agenda is shaping up. After all, it is something that will affect all of us to some extent during the next few years and it would be nice to have clearly stated positions on such issues as future Internet development, taxation policy, etc… I’d also like to hear what each candidate has to offer in terms of helping net companies get more qualified workers and fill some of the current gap in recruiting. Will we see some government sponsored retraining programs or some government help in terms of getting kids to study computer science? Those are issues of critical importance to the Information Technology community and I would love to hear each candidates’ stance on this. After all, whoever wins this election will lead US policy and, as a result, affect world-wide policy about the Internet. It would be nice to get a better idea as to what that will look like so we can prepare for it.

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