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

Although Obama has not talked much about tech issues during the campaign, his administration released a federal cybersecurity plan early in his presidency, and he has backed legislation that would have created new cybersecurity standards for operators of critical infrastructure.

Under Obama, the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have seized hundreds of websites accused of trafficking in counterfeit or pirated products, but amid huge online protests, Obama said he would not support SOPA.

Obama and the Democrat-controlled FCC pushed to open up new spectrum for commercial mobile services, although some Republicans have criticized the agency for not moving fast enough. The FCC also emphasized broadband deployment and higher speeds for U.S. residents in a national broadband plan released in early 2010.

The Obama administration has also pushed for privacy codes of conduct for Web and mobile companies, and it has convened workshops involving interested parties to develop those codes. The Democrat-controlled U.S. Federal Trade Commission has brought privacy complaints against several companies, including Google and Facebook.

The Obama administration has also been active in antitrust enforcement. The DOJ in August 2011, moved to block AT&T's proposed US$39 billion acquisition of rival mobile carrier T-Mobile USA. The FTC is investigating Google for alleged antitrust violations.

The Romney philosophy

On issues like cybersecurity, privacy and net neutrality, a Romney administration, along with potential Republican gains in Congress, would likely emphasize private solutions to perceived problems.

Romney's 161-page Believe in America position paper focuses on big issues such as the U.S. economy, tax policy and the government's budget deficit, and offers few direct references to tech policy.

However, the paper offers endorsements from Scott McNealy, founder of Sun Microsystems, who agrees with Romney's plan to reduce the corporate tax rate, and Meg Whitman, CEO at Hewlett-Packard and former CEO at eBay, who talks about Romney's plans to open up high-skill immigration and invest in worker training.

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