Presidential Candidates’ Technology Positions Address Government Data, Access and Location Privacy
Barack Obama’s Technology Position
In his Technology position, U.S. Presidential candidate Barack Obama comments on need to ensure an open Internet and on the importance of creating a transparent and connected democracy. This includes:
Making goverment data available online in universally accessible formats to allow citizens to make use of that data to comment, derive value, and take action in their own communities. Greater access to environmental data, for example, will help citizens learn about pollution in their communities, provide information about local conditions back to government and empower people to protect themselves.
Establishing pilot programs to open up government ecision-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 American citizenry to help goverment make more informated decisions.
Interactive, dynamic web-mapping anyone? Looks like a great opportunity for those in the field of participatory mapping and public participation GIS (PPGIS)!
Obama also commented on the need to protect our privacy in an age of increased computing power, decreased storage costs, and huge flows of information. Obama supports updating surveillance laws, and notably remarks on the need to protect our location privacy.
Obama will also work to provide robust protection against misuses of particularly sensitive kinds of information, such as e-health records and location data that do not fit comfortably within sector-specific privacy laws.
John McCain’s Technology Position
U.S. Presidential candidate John McCain’s Technology Position emphasizes the need to encourage investment in technological innovation, to improve high-speed Internet access for under-served communities, to ensure an educated workforce in science and technology – in which we’re lagging behind China and India, and to keep the Internet free from unnecessary goverment regulation.
McCain’s Personal Security and Privacy Position comments on the role of government and industry in protecting citizens’ personal security and privacy:
Government — Government must promote a culture of personal security through consumer education initiatives, incentives for the development of secure technologies, and stronger enforcement of laws to protect our citizens, particularly children.
Industry — American industry must continue to lead the world in the development of more secure technologies and responses to new threats. Among other things, industry must exert appropriate efforts to protect sensitive personal information and prevent unintentional loss or theft. Industry also must pursue effective self-regulation and continue informing and educating consumers about the collection and use of personal information.
Report on Presidential Science Advice
Also worth looking at is a new report on Presidential Science Advice, published by the Center for the Study of the Presidency, Study Group on Presidential Science and Technology Personnel and Advisory Assets.
The Center for the Study of the Presidency has completed its report Presidential Leadership to Ensure Science and Technology in the Service of National Needs: A Report to the 2008 Candidates. The report contains a number of recommendations intended to be seriously considered by the presidential candidates’ staffs before and during transition planning, in order to strengthen the S&T advice provided to the President and federal agencies.
Source: AAAS Policy Alert, August 20, 2008