Barack Obama is courting Silicon Valley today, and paying a visit to Google. So what better time to release his technology platform? Some highlights:
Supports Net Neutrality (Google will like this plank. But Obama also argues for it on the grounds of protecting free speech. Interesting.)
A key reason the Internet has been such a success is because it is the most open network in history. It needs to stay that way. Barack Obama strongly supports the principle of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the Internet. Users must be free to access content, to use applications, and to attach personal devices. . . . Because most Americans only have a choice of only one or two broadband carriers, carriers are tempted to impose a toll charge on content and services, discriminating against websites that are unwilling to pay for equal treatment. . . . Such a result would threaten innovation, . . .. It would also threaten the equality of speech through which the Internet has begun to transform American political and cultural discourse.
Wants to Beef Up Digital Privacy Protections (watch out advertisers and government surveillance agencies):
As president, Barack Obama will strengthen privacy protections for the digital age and will harness the power of technology to hold government and business accountable for violations of personal privacy.
Wants to Push Electronic Health Records (Smart):
Barack Obama will invest $10 billion a year over the next five years to move the U.S. health care system to broad adoption of standards-based electronic health information systems, including electronic health records.
Pour Money Into Clean Energy (John Doerr will like the sound of this):
Barack Obama will invest $150 billion over the next ten years to enable American engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs to advance the next generation of biofuels and fuel infrastructure, accelerate the commercialization of plug-in hybrids, promote development of commercial-scale renewable energy, and begin the transition to a new digital electricity grid. This investment will transform the economy and create millions of new jobs. Obama will:
o Double federal science and research funding for clean energy projects, relying on the resources and ability of our national laboratories, universities and land grant colleges.
o Invest in the development of the next generation of biofuels, including cellulosic ethanol.
o Increase the resources devoted to the commercialization and deployment of low-carbon coal technologies.
o Create a Clean Technologies Deployment Venture Capital Fund, funded by an annual $10 billion investment for five years, to ensure that promising technologies move beyond the lab and are commercialized in the U.S.
o Use innovative measures to dramatically improve the energy efficiency and stability of our economy and improve our national energy intensity 50 percent by 2030.
o Invest in a digital smart energy grid.
Calling for Open Government (open data, open access, open participation):
Technology-enabled citizen participation . . . can help connect government to its citizens and engage citizens in a democracy. Barack Obama will use the most current technological tools available to make government less beholden to special interest groups and lobbyists and promote citizen participation in government decision-making. Obama will integrate citizens into the actual business of government by:
—Establishing pilot programs to open up government decision-making and involve the public in the work of agencies, not simply by soliciting opinions, but by tapping into the vast and distributed expertise of the American citizenry to help government make more informed decisions.
—Lifting the veil from secret deals in Washington with a web site, a search engine, and other web tools that enable citizens easily to track online federal grants, contracts, earmarks, and lobbyist contacts with government officials.
—Giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days before signing any non-emergency legislation.
Immigration Reform (hints at expanding the number of H1-B visas the U.S. gives out, but can’t quite bring himself to say it, weak):
We should allow immigrants who earn their degrees in the U.S. to stay, work, and become Americans over time. And we should examine our ability to increase the number of permanent visas we issue to foreign skilled workers.
Patent Reform (promises more money for the Patent Office and citizen reviews—we need this):
Giving the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) the resources to improve patent quality and opening up the patent process to citizen review will reduce the uncertainty and wasteful litigation that is currently a significant drag on innovation.
Wants to “Appoint the Nation’s First Chief Technology Officer (CTO)”—Not clear if this would be a new cabinet position.
Make the R&D Tax Credit Permanent (good for startups).
And Broadband For All:
As a country, we have ensured that every American has access to telephone service and electricity, regardless of economic status, and Obama will do likewise for broadband Internet access.
This includes looking at how the government allocates wireless spectrum:
Obama will demand a review of existing uses of our wireless spectrum. He will create incentives for smarter, more efficient and more imaginative use of government spectrum and new standards for commercial spectrum to bring affordable broadband to rural communities that previously lacked it. He will ensure that we have enough spectrum for police, ambulances and other public safety purposes.
That last plank meshes with Google’s interests as well vis-a-vis its proposals for the upcoming wireless spectrum auctions.