Tech Policy: McCain v Obama

Now that all the fun of guessing who will be the v.p. selections for each candidate is over, what do we have left? We have the philosophy and policy of the men at the top of the tickets for each party. We are not going to learn a whole lot from the Republican convention that we don’t already know, so I thought it was about time to address what we do know now of the tech policies of the two candidates. Barack Obama has had a policy statement on his web site since January, And while it’s not perfect, it stands in stark contrast to John McCain’s which was only released on August 14th. You may not think  a candidate’s policy statements on technology is crucial in making a decision on whom to vote for. But as tech is central to our economy our freedom of speech and so much more, it is well worth a look at who has a clear vision for the future.

I don’t have the resources or experience to go in to a detailed analysis of the two policies. But I can refer you to Lawrence Lessig, law professor at Stanford and longstanding advocate for freedom and development of the Internet and telecommunications. He’s also famous for his slide shows. You might want to click the little full screen mode button to get the full effect of the graphics and charts.

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6 comments for “Tech Policy: McCain v Obama

  1. 8/30/2008 at 9:52 pm

    It was cool to see a Lessig presentation; never seen one before!

    One of the most exciting policy proposals of Obama’s that Lessig mentions is the idea of “open source government,” or, more accurately and specifically, releasing government data in standard formats.

    A great article on this idea came out in this year’s Yale Journal of Law and Technology. It’s called Government Data and the Invisible Hand. The author suggests, maybe a little bit surprisingly, that government agencies might dis-involve themselves in putting data on their own websites, and that this may be a good thing if they take that energy and put it into exposing the data in common formats for other companies, organizations and individuals to find useful and interesting things to do with it.

    In public transportation, of course, this would be very useful. We have Google Transit because of public agencies sharing their data with the private sector in a standard (creative commons-licensed) format. Unfortunately, only very few transit agencies choose to make this source data public to a wide audience besides Google. (Humboldt is one of the few.)

    Portland’s Trimet is awesome. That word is over-used but I use it intentionally here. They are the only agency with a site for developers and an API for their data, developer.trimet.org

  2. 8/30/2008 at 9:56 pm

    Oh, I recently conducted an interview with Trimet’s Chief Technology Officer and GIS and location-based services manager that will appear in More Riders Magazine on their datasharing and open source work.

    Look for it at the Green Wheels blog and Trillium blog when it is available.

  3. Fred Mangels
    9/3/2008 at 6:35 am

    But Bob, didn’t you have an Obama sign out in your front yard months ago?

  4. Bob
    9/3/2008 at 7:08 am

    Yes. My wife put it there. I have to move it every time I mow the lawn. Since then, I have come to appreciate Obama’s tech policy…along with other qualities. So, I let her keep it. (like I have a choice).

  5. Marianne Morse
    9/9/2008 at 7:31 pm

    Thank you, dear.

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