McCain Outlines Technology Policy

Republican nominee opposes net neutrality, but echos FCC's open access guidelines.
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John McCain has outlined his technology policy goals in the "tech" section of his Web site.

 On the key issue of "network neutrality," McCain draws a clear distinction between him and his opponent, Barack Obama, saying that he "does not believe in prescriptive regulation like "network neutrality." Obama has backed such bills.

 But McCain does echo the FCC's open access guidelines, which the FCC says it can enforce without legislation. He says he will promote policies that allow consumers to "Access the content they choose; free to use the applications and services they choose; free to attach devices they choose," though with the caveat that "they do not harm the network," and "free to choose among broadband.”

 The tech policy section of the site also suggests McCain will favor personal responsibility and technological fixes for controlling content. In a section on digital security and privacy, he said that "parents must educate themselves on the tools available to them for protecting their children, and they should help educate their children concerning the dangers associated with advanced technologies.”

 McCain's tech policy essentially squares with other free market Republicans, which is that the government needs to extend broadband to all Americans--on that he is in agreement with Barack Obama--but that it can best do so by encouraging investment--tax incentives for research and development--while self-regulating.

 McCain also encourages digital education programs so kids are prepared to handle the flood of new technologies, and emphasizes the need to protect personal data online.

 McCain's says he will "pursue protection of intellectual property around the globe," a key issue with studios, networks and others trying to protect their content online.

  McCain's Web site does not contain a "communications" issues category per se, so there are no specific broadcast or cable issues addressed--FCC reform, media ownership, a la carte--though the tech section does include his commitment to an interoperable communications network. On that issue, McCain was historically taken broadcasters to task for what he saw as foot-dragging on returning analog spectrum that is being turned over to first responders.

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