Quick poll: If you could suggest one tech policy proposal for the Presidential candidates to adopt, what would it be?
Later today, I am speaking on a panel at the Personal Democracy Forum about national tech policy. In the poll below, I’ve listed some general policy proposals that are important to the tech community dealing with Net neutrality, patent reform, H1B Visas, copyright, renewable energy, open-source adoption, and appointments to the FCC.
Please vote and let me know which one you care about the most.
I’ve already started asking some people in the tech community for their ideas, some of which are reflected in the poll. Marc Andreessen says:
I would advocate unlimited H1B’s for anyone college educated (“brain drain the world”) and eliminating software and business method patents.
Also a huge government push to use free and open source software.
Dave Burstein, the editor of DSL Prime has a suggestion for the candidates:
Make sure some of your appointments to the FCC and other agencies have technical competence.
Not one of the 5 FCC Commissioners has a technical background, nor do most of their aides and bureau chiefs. Nearly every rumored candidate for these jobs is a lawyer. One of the best possible choices tells me he has no chance, because he “isn’t a politician.” Far too often decisions simply don’t make sense, possibly because no one senior realizes when the lobbyists are lying. Lawyers and history professors can also have a place, but some of the people at the top should also know the subject in depth
Suggest your own national tech policy proposal in comments. (This is quick and dirty, but we’ll be refining our thinking on this over time with your feedback. A good place to bone up on these and other tech policy issues, and where Barack Obama and John McCain stand on them is at our Tech Primaries site).
Update: Chris Sacca weighs in with these ideas:
Net neutraility: While I believe that uniform throttling when done transparently and equally for all applications, including the ISP’s own, can be justified in some cases, we are heading for a major conflict between the delivery of iTunes/Netflix/YT/Hulu content versus the licensed content of the MSOs and Telcos. This will come to a head in the next 18 months.
Spectrum - Three main issues here:
1) Ratification of the TV White Spaces use. Spectrum between broadcaster channels should be reserved for the public good. WiFi has been an amazing public benefit and there is no reason a similar commons cannot be created in the White Spaces (also now being called WiFi 2.0 by some). If the National Association of Broadcaster just decided to cooperate, all alleged interference problems would be easily solvable.
2) ATC (ancillary terrestrial component) spectrum. The FCC granted satellite guys ability to also use their spectrum on a terrestrial basis. However, there is some fogginess around the definitions and this has prevented major buildouts. A new administration could make very clear the utility of this spectrum and it would inspire competitive plays and thus consumers win big.
3) Restrict future spectrum auctions to new entrants. The D block auction failed for a number of reasons, but the rest of the 700MHz auction showed us that yet again the player with the most money will further consolidate spectrum ownership. The public is the big loser when all the airwaves are controlled by one or two players. The FCC should ban incumbents from the reauction of the D block and inspire some real competition for the benefit of all.
Censorship – We should impose sanctions on any nations that censor or otherwise interrupt the free flow of information on the Web. It is becoming downright ridiculous under certain regimes. At a minimum, we should forbid US hardware companies from supplying repressive governments with the tools necessary to filter and restrict access to content. This is no different than monitoring the sale of arms and related technology.