Tech Policy: Obama: "give everyone a voice"; McCain: "ignore the American people"

Tech Policy: Obama: "give everyone a voice"; McCain: "ignore the American people"

Shares

We see that millions of Americans are using the Internet to help each other out, and to improve the way government works. The Obama technology plan encourages civic engagement and openness. Unfortunately, the McCain plan adopts the Bush/Cheney approach which promotes privileges for big companies at the expense of democracy.

My day job is customer service though my background is in computer systems; here I focus on what I practice every day. The use of the Internet to preserve and enhance our democracy is of historic importance. Two related issues are enhancing the transparency of government, and equal treatment for all on the Net.

(Considering the quality of my writing, well, I realize i should keep my day job. David Weinberger, one of the most astute observers of Net trends, talks about the McCain/Bush/Cheney plan here. I wish I could write like that.)

I take this personally; I'm helping a lot of groups online, like teachers via DonorsChoose.org, and like Iraq and Afghanistan veterans via iava.org. This approach has the following perspectives:

— the Internet gives everyone a potentially equal voice, as long as no special privileges are extended to anyone

— listening to the voice of Americans via the Internet is the best way for a President to stay in touch with America

— the Internet is the best way to show Americans what's happening in Washington by publishing how government works, good and bad, like the influence of big money. That is, government operations should normally be "transparent"

— the Internet should be a level playing field for everyone; no more special privileges for the already privileged. Telecom companies make huge profits using public resources, and we should expect that they treat everyone equally. No real regulation is needed to keep the Net neutral, just a few guidelines to preserve the level playing field.

Specifically, Obama proposes that government operations be made visible online. The McCain/Bush/Cheney team has consistently opposed such transparency, understandable, since it raises a lot of awkward questions about the lobbyists running their campaign, and about their honesty. For example, here's a description of how the McCain tech policy contains many inaccuracies regarding his history.

Bush and McCain staffs devote a lot of resources to keeping their guys in a bubble, keeping them way out of touch. (I've seen this face-to-face with McCain, regarding his opposition to supporting the troops.) Major usage of the Internet could make that a lot more difficult to keep a guy out of touch.

From McCain/Bush/Cheney perspective, it's important to keep Internet access away from as much of the American people as possible. If we all get that access, it might provide for a better working democracy, where Americans provide input on a continuous basis. However, McCain/Bush spokesman Dana Perino spoke eloquently regarding that, stating that the American people "provide input every four years" and that's all we get from them.

Both campaigns have now staked out positions on the democratizing value of the Internet and on American values. Obama embraces the Internet as a means of cleaning Washington up, but McCain/Bush sees it as a threat which might make them accountable.

What do you prefer?

Shares

4 Comments

James Robertson

UPDATE: James, please help me out and read what I wrote, I'd really appreciate it. This is a comment about how the people around Bush/McCain filter what they hear. In my example, it appears that the lobbyists running McCain didn't tell him that the CBO study on the new GI bill didn't tell him that it would increase enlistment. That helped them justify not supporting the troops regarding the GI bill. … and there's lots more.
"Bush and McCain staffs devote a lot of resources to keeping their guys in a bubble, keeping them way out of touch. (I've seen this face-to-face with McCain, regarding his opposition to supporting the troops.) Major usage of the Internet could make that a lot more difficult to keep a guy out of touch."
Are you kidding me? Obama walls the press off completely. He never, ever gives unscripted talks. McCain does that all the time.
Mind you, I dislike both of these clowns, and – if you think that any Democrat will defy the MPAA and RIAA much (with the money flow from there being what it is), you're smoking something.

James Robertson

James, PLEASE help me out and read what I said.
Additionally, they were in favor of public financing, and that's what they're accepting, the real stuff, not the fake.
I'm working with the Obama campaign, which is now a two million person based networked operation, which is leading to what some call "participatory democracy" with a lot of transparency which leads to accountability.
It's on its way, no way to avoid it.
And the Obama campaign filters out what it says. They were in favor of federally funded campaigns until they weren't. They were against soft money before they weren't.
What I'm pointing out is that both of these guys are run of the mill pols. The Obama-ites have some weird notion that their guy is squeaky clean. He's not. He's a classic Chicago pol, with all the good and bad connotations that brings.

Frustrated CL user

I find it ironic that I would see this in your post "– the Internet gives everyone a potentially equal voice, as long as no special privileges are extended to anyone"
and yet you have several forums SPECIFICALLY for several groups of people. For example, there is a People Of Color forum (where is the White People forum), there are THREE 'gay' forums, M4M, W4W and Queer (where are the hetero/straight forums).
I find it funny that you flap your gums about being fair and 'playing nice' then give those special privileges you so detest to one group but not another.
You're a corporate hypocrite.

Al Sweigart

I'm currently reading Lawrence Lessig's book Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, and it covers similar themes of how legislation can affect the architecture of the net, which in turn affects our online freedoms. Thanks for the Weinberger link.
Even after reading the other comments, I'm still convinced that a transparent government is a good idea (despite the fact that there are always a few people who will filter out what the information being presented to them.) :)

Comments are closed.