Tech issues don't make much of an appearance in US presidential campaign

The 2012 presidential debate has focused more on the US economy, health care and jobs than on tech-specific issues

By , IDG News Service |  IT Management

Both candidates have talked about funding for science and technology education, and Chinese trade issues, and those two issues are important to ACT's members, Reed said. App developers want to be able to sell their products in China, he said, and both candidates have talked about putting pressure on the country to open up to U.S. products.

Both Reed and Bartees Cox, a spokesman for digital rights group Public Knowledge, said they expect tech issues to gain a higher profile in Washington in coming years. Policy debates around cloud computing and spectrum could come to the forefront in Congress in 2013, Reed said.

Still, some people at Public Knowledge have been disappointed that tech issues weren't a larger part of this campaign, Cox said. Both the Republican and Democratic party platforms released earlier this year mentioned Internet freedom and other tech issues, Cox noted.

"I can say that we do feel like there should be more attention on technology and Internet issues this year, and often times I wonder why it hasn't been a premier issue," he said in an email. "I'm sure all of us understand that the outcome of the election holds serious implications for the future of internet video, data caps, intellectual property and net neutrality."

So what can voters expect from the two candidates? In September, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a tech-focused think tank, released a lengthy paper comparing Obama and Romney polices on technology and related issues.

Obama: Expect more of what he's already done

In general, voters should expect that Obama, if he's re-elected will continue to push many of the same tech policies as he has in the last four years. The Obama philosophy on tech issues champions a role for the government, including some regulatory and enforcement actions, but in many cases, government should work with private industry on solutions to problems or let private industry lead.

Critics of Obama have pointed to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's passage of net neutrality rules in December 2010 as the first major regulation of the Internet, although broadband providers were required to share their lines with competitors for several years. Some Republicans also questioned the need for more than $7 billion in broadband deployment funding in a huge economic stimulus package pushed by Obama and passed by Congress in February 2009.

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