While the Presidential candidates are busy debating over important issues such as health care, the war in Iraq, and the economy and safety of America, it seems almost inane to ask them how they feel about the future of technology. However, this is not the case. We need to think about the future of technology as the future of America. Economically speaking, America cannot grow and thrive if we are not at the top of our technological game. Some of the major concerns in the technological field include keeping pace with other nations both in creating new advances in technology, as well as making current technology more accessible. Sadly, America is falling behind other developed nations and is currently 14th in providing broadband access to its citizens.
All of the candidates are pushing for a national Internet access coverage plan. Hillary Clinton’s plan, “Connect America” would use federal tax breaks to encourage the major communication companies to expand into less populated areas. Obama says Internet access should be treated like phone and electric service, an essential utility for every American. Mike Huckabee feels that legislation and regulations will help speed faster Internet access to the masses and McCain thinks that the government can encourage corporations to narrow the margin between people with high-speed Internet access and the economic gap by offering tax incentives.
When asked about net neutrality, Clinton, Obama, and McCain all said that they felt that all Internet traffic should be treated the same. Huckabee didn’t know that net neutrality refers to the preferential treatment of some types of data over others and that many major ISPs are considering additional charges to people depending on the amount of bandwidth used. Once explained, Huckabee felt that net neutrality was a good thing. His analogy comparing the Internet to a highway and data to the vehicles on the highway conveyed his believe in equality on the Internet.
On the issues of privacy and security, both Democratic candidates think that the current Homeland Security wiretaps and other surveillance imposed by the Bush administration should be put to a stop. The Republican candidates feel that surveillance in the name of national security and to fight terrorism should be allowed. All candidates felt that the government should support programs that encourage technological development.