CompTIA got responses from Bush & Kerry on technology. It was probably too much to hope that the actual candidates could talk intelligently about open source and patent reform, as David Cobb (G) did a couple of weeks ago. But at least we got some reasonable opinions from their staffers. <g> Questions noted below include Internet content, copyright, privacy, and unlicensed spectrum.
What is the appropriate role for the federal government in addressing concerns about content over the Internet?
Concerns about content over the Internet range from parents worried about the proliferation of pornography to musicians worried about their works being stolen on peer-to-peer networks.
I am a big believer in technology and science. I strongly support attacking bad behavior — putting child pornographers behind bars and prosecuting individuals engaged in mass piracy. But, regulating technology should be a last resort to solving any content problem.
I believe that technology will solve most content concerns. Software available to parents to filter out pornography is helping parents protect kids. Legal music and movie services are on the rise, with services like iTunes and iPods revolutionizing the marketplace.
The role of the federal government is to remain vigilant in the protection of our children and in standing up for the protection of intellectual property. And, it is the role of the federal government to ensure that law and regulation encourage the development and deployment of new technologies.
Nation’s children every opportunity to grow in knowledge while protecting them. Parents have the first responsibility for protecting children online, by paying attention to their children when they are on the Internet, and by preventing children from giving out personal information online.
My Administration is standing with parents by waging a nationwide effort to prevent the use of the Internet to sexually exploit and endanger children. My FY 2005 Budget would double funding for Justice Department programs that investigate and prosecute child exploitation and obscenity over the FY 2001 level. My Administration has successfully defended the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which requires schools and libraries to filter content that is harmful to minors if they are to receive Federal money for Internet access. I signed into law the Dot Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act to create a new child-friendly domain on the Internet, which functions much like the children’s section of the library, where parents can feel comfortable allowing their children to browse.
What should federal policy be toward protecting intellectual property on the Internet -recognizing the harmless role played by mere conduits – and facilitating the free flow of ideas based on those creations?
I do not condone the illegal sharing of copyrighted material. We must ensure that our laws protect the creations of individuals and companies while not unreasonably stifling technological innovation. I am open to examining whether legislative action is necessary to ensure that a person who lawfully obtains or receives a transmission of a digital work may back up a copy of it for archival purposes or transfer it to a digital media device for the purpose of non public performance or display.
I strongly support efforts to protect intellectual property and will continue to work with Congress to ensure all intellectual property is properly protected. Technology is a critical conduit of information and sometimes can be misused for illegal copyright infringement. Blaming the technology does not address the issue. We must vigorously enforce intellectual property protections and prosecute the violations, not the technology. My Administration has launched the Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP) initiative to do just that. I have also worked to obtain China’s support for stricter enforcement and more severe penalties for piracy and counterfeiting of American ideas and innovations.
What should the federal government’s role be in regard to protecting personal privacy on the Internet?
I have worked very hard to promote Internet privacy legislation. I believe we must empower consumers by giving then the tools they most need to protect their privacy and give them confidence in the Internet. I want to ensure that consumers’ reasonable expectations of privacy on the Internet are satisfied, and I want to ensure that we do not hamper the growth of the Internet.
I believe that government has an important role to play in helping ensure that every American has control over his or her personal information, and that the Internet is a safe, secure, and rewarding environment. I aggressively implemented new medical privacy protections that give patients greater access to their own medical records and more control over how their personal information is used. My Administration is helping protect children’s online privacy, including bringing enforcement actions under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. I signed the E-Government Act of 2002 to ensure sufficient protections for the privacy of personal information and to direct agencies to implement citizen-centered electronic government services. I also believe email and electronic data deserve appropriate privacy protections. My Administration has worked to improve cyber security to help prevent electronic communications from being compromised.
Lastly, I liked Kerry’s response on unlicensed spectrum:
What should the federal government do to encourage innovation and the broader use of wireless services that rely on unlicensed spectrum?
The explosive growth of “WiFi” shows the benefits of making some spectrum available on an unlicensed basis. This could be particularly important for rural areas, since the cost of deploying these new services could be 3-4 times cheaper than existing wireless technologies – increasing competition with cable and telephone companies. In addition, I would make the regulatory changes that are needed to unleash new broadband networking technologies such as cognitive radio, mesh networks, ultra-wide band, and software-defined radio.