Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What Matters To Me And Why

I feel like this is going to be a long one so be prepared.

Network Neutrality
I've had several conversations over the past week or so about the issue of network neutrality. I find the wikipedia article to be a fairly good overview of the issue. You can read it here. I feel quite passionately about the issue. I think it is very important for the FTC to take a stance on the issue. In a June 2007 report they said that the "broadband industry is a relatively young and evolving one," and given no "significant market failure or demonstrated consumer harm from conduct by broadband providers," such regulations "may well have adverse effects on consumer welfare, despite the good intentions of their proponents." I honestly don't get wtf they are talking about other than they do not want to create any legislation that will limit large telecom companies. Pansies.
There are a lot of arguments out there for and against a neutral network, but it really boils down to the following for me: someone/some company/ some corporation shouldn't get to decide what information I see at what speed. They shouldn't put up roadblocks so that competitors information is shown at a slower rate (which will be clicked off by users). Freedom, guys. FREEDOM.

Presidential Candidates' Technology Policies (or lack thereof)
In my last post I linked to the candidates' technology policies and you can clearly see that Obama has one on his site and McCain lacks one. As someone who is currently seeking a master's degree that is focused on online communities, it really gives me great cause for concern when one of the candidates doesn't list an opinion on the industry that I and many of my friends are involved in/seek to be involved in.

My takeaways from Barak Obama's technology policy :
1. open internet (though his site spells internet as Internet and that bothers me. You don't spell television as Television - it is the same shit. Catch up grammar police).
2. Encouragement of diversity of media ownership - Yes. Standing up to The MAN!
3. open government up to citizens (he kind of wants to make the government a blog - "Giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days before signing any non-emergency legislation" - I like the idea of gov't as a forum, but this is just asking for crazies and censorship debates)
4. Government into the 21st century - a CTO [chief technology officer for the knowledge impaired] for the country. (p.s. I love this idea and want to be CTO of America someday).
5. Communication infrastructure investment - widespread next-gen broadband deployment! We are so behind on this compared to a lot of the rest of the world - especially compared to Asia (okay, Japan and South Korea).
6. Education - technology literacy! He talks about preparing youth, which I totally believe in - math, science, technology to stay competitive in 21st century economy. But I'd venture to say that we need to educate a whole lot of people that are currently in the workforce about technology. Productivity suffers because of technology illiteracy.
7. Investment in the sciences - since 1970 our investment has dropped in half in the physical sciences and engineering research. fix this - get competitive, start leading again.
8. Protect American IP abroad and IP at home [IP = intellectual property for the knowledge impaired again]. I don't know that he will be the man to take on the challenge of reforming copyright law, but I like that his is starting this discussion. His section on IP was very short, but I think it is something, as an electorate, we can push to have the candidates talk about. (Lawrence Lessig endorsed Obama, fyi).
For more on Obama's position on the issues go here.

My takeaways from John McCain's technology policy:

1. He wants to go to space. "Let us now embark upon this great journey into the stars to find whatever may await us." NASA!
I don't mean to be a dick about this, but really, he just doesn't have a technology policy.
Why this sucks and I want more from him as a candidate:
Does he have an opinion about any of the following and how will he help America to reach goals in these areas: open internet, broadband deployment, intellectual property rights, technology literacy, education in technology for workers (young and old), funding for the sciences - research level (on this planet), communications technology investment, media ownership.
I'd like some straight talk on that.
For more on McCain's position on the issues go here.

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