[Offtopic] o/t McCain & Obama & technology

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Mon Aug 4 05:11:07 EST 2008

(US) Election 2008: Issues

McCain's Technology Outlook

All Things Considered, August 1, 2008 · John McCain has said he rarely 
uses e-mail or the Internet. During the Republican primary, he referred to 
himself as computer illiterate. And earlier this month, he told The New 
York Times that he depends on his wife and staff to show him Web sites. 

Michael Powell, a technology adviser to McCain's campaign, says despite 
the Republican presidential candidate's reluctance to use technology on a 
personal basis, he "understands technology very well" from his time as 
chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Technology. 

"The president of the United States doesn't invent anything, he doesn't 
make a business model, he doesn't go on Facebook. But he does have to 
create the economic and social conditions for those things to thrive. And 
I think [McCain] has a lot of experience with that through his tenure in 
the Congress," says Powell, a former chairman of the Federal 
Communications Commission. 

Technology hasn't been the main focus of discussion on the campaign trail. 
Powell tells NPR's Michele Norris that the campaign of McCain's Democratic 
rival, Barack Obama, has "much greater faith in government's role to be a 
steward of managing economic conditions and managing competitive choices." 
McCain, he says, has a less "intrusive" philosophy. 

McCain has proposed a program to provide tax and financial benefits for 
companies that provide broadband services to low-income and rural users, 
Powell says. "It may require some government assistance, either through 
financial subsidy policy or through other kinds of creative tools, like 
community or municipal broadband services."

Obama has suggested that as president, he would appoint a technology czar. 
Powell says McCain's vision goes beyond having "a top tech guy sitting 
over at the White House." The real key for McCain, Powell says, is to hire 
more people with technology experience throughout the government who can 
envision technology solutions for education, health care, homeland 
security and other issues. 

McCain, he says, hopes to create momentum in all branches of government to 
foster "a range of e-government initiatives." That would include making 
more government services available online and hiring people with 
substantial tech experience to "populate throughout the government."

Obama's Technology Outlook

All Things Considered, August 1, 2008 · It's not unusual to see Democratic 
presidential candidate Barack Obama using his cell phone or BlackBerry. 
And he's no stranger to the Internet. 

Obama has called for the creation of a new Cabinet-level position: 
a "chief technology officer" who would make sure the federal government 
imports the best technology tools from the private sector. That's 
according to William Kennard, a technology adviser to the Obama campaign. 

Making sure that government agencies have cutting-edge technology would be 
one part of the technology czar's responsibilities. That person also would 
be charged with making sure government is more transparent and that there 
is outreach to the public to get the "best ideas on how we can govern the 
country," says Kennard, a former chairman of the Federal Communications 
Commission in the Clinton administration. 

Obama's philosophy on technology is "more activist" than that of GOP 
presidential candidate John McCain, Kennard tells NPR's Michele Norris.

"Obama understands that the future of our economy depends to a large 
extent on how we can ensure that Americans have access to technology and 
we empower Americans to use it," he says.

Obama supported a Clinton administration plan to provide all 
schoolchildren access to the Internet at school; McCain opposed it, 
Kennard says. He says Obama and McCain also differ when it comes to the 
universal service fund — a long-standing mechanism for providing phone 
service to rural areas that Kennard says Obama "embraces." 

"The reality is that if we rely simply on the free market, there will be 
many people in this country that will have to do without. This is 
fundamentally about economic development. It's about making sure that 
people in rural areas can participate in the information age," Kennard 

When it comes to access to technology, some policymakers believe a hands-
off approach that allows market forces to prevail is best. Kennard says 
this argument promotes a "big-business agenda." He says arguments that 
Obama is "too intrusive" with his policy ideas contradict the history of 
the Internet's development. That process required government investment 
and research, as well as efforts to ensure that there were "open networks 
so people could access the dial-up Internet."


Cheers people
Stephen Loosley
Victoria Australia

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