3 Tech Issues We’re Hoping Come Up at Tonight’s Debate
Wednesday’s presidential debate, the first of three, will focus primarily on domestic policy. Questions on economic growth, job creation and social policies are sure to be discussed — but what, if any, technology issues will arise?
Technology policy hasn’t by any means been at the heart of this election. However, as the Internet plays an ever greater role in so many aspects of our lives, it increasingly impacts us in new ways. Accordingly, here are three subjects Mashable would love to see discussed during Wednesday night’s presidential debate.
Internet Freedom/Intellectual Property
The debate over free speech on the Internet and intellectual property rights came to a head earlier this year, when the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, stalled in Congress. Many observers say it’s only a matter of time before a similar bill appears once again.
We know a bit about how the candidates stand on these issues.
Barack Obama’s administration opposed SOPA, instead calling for a law that strikes a better balance between free speech, the open Internet and copyright protection.
Mitt Rommey deemed SOPA “far too threatening to freedom of speech and movement of information across the Internet,” suggesting instead a law that more carefully goes after content pirates, “particularly those from offshore.”
That knowledge is gleaned largely from interview snippets — wouldn’t it be great to hear the candidates give full answers on Internet freedom and intellectual property protection before Election Day?
Cybersecurity, too, is a hot issue in Washington right now. The Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House haven’t had any luck getting past a partisan, ideological impasse on the issue.
Democrats wanted to require businesses deemed critical to national security, such as power grids, to meet government-set cybersecurity standards; Republicans dismissed that as excessive regulation. They, in turn, want to free up private companies to share cybersecurity information with each other and with the government; some Democrats say that poses a privacy risk.
The Obama administration threatened to veto the House’s bill, the Cyber Information Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), saying it would violate Americans’ privacy. Obama’s currently mulling an executive order to bypass Congress’ inaction, but we’re not sure what that order might contain.
Romney, meanwhile, hasn’t issued a very clear statement on the issue — perhaps Wednesday’s debate will offer him the chance to do so.
STEM education — that’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics — is widely considered a pathway to some of the fastest-growing career fields at a time when youth unemployment is at near-record highs. A recent US News and World Report study found that “STEM education is getting worse, not better,” while arguing the need for “a bigger federal role to focus and organize state and private efforts [in STEM].”
So what would the candidates do to change that?
Obama last year announced a program intended to prepare 100,000 new STEM teachers over the next decade. He also stressed the need for STEM reform in this year’s State of the Union address.
Romney acknowledged the need for STEM reform in his economic plan. “. . .there are many Americans who lack the education and skills that would allow them to find well-paid, or even any, work in an economy increasingly driven by technology,” he writes.
A direct question about STEM education would surely reveal more details about the candidates’ plans for reform.
Which tech policy issues would you like to hear addressed by the candidates? Share your thoughts in the comments.