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While mucking about, I thought it would be interesting to see what the U.S. presidential candidates thought about technology.

Back in December, of all people, Popular Mechanics did a piece on the technology positions of the various candidates.

What it showed was quite revealing.

On the one hand, contrary to the image of being Mr. Policy Light, Barack Obama had a considerable list of policy statements (you can see the official position paper here.

On the other hand, you had everyone else, who on average loved broadband and hated Internet porn.

I’m not going to judge the pros and cons of Obama’s digital policies, but at least he has some, which you can’t say about the others.

Nor do I think it a coincidence that the one candidate who does is a good deal younger than the ones that don’t.

The sad fact is that, with few exceptions, the old people who run our governments are afraid of new technology policy. They’re clueless, they know they’re clueless, and they don’t want to get a clue. They seem to think if they just ignore it long enough, it will (politically) go away.

Maybe they hope that people will get so fed up with their lousy broadband that they’ll stop downloading Internet porn. 🙂

A whole generation of young people think it’s perfectly fine to steal music and anything else that’s digitized. What have governments done? Effectively, nothing. Oh, they’ll pass a few laws to make it look like they’re doing something, but then they hire a handful of people to enforce them. They don’t do anything serious to stop it, but they don’t make it legal, either (unless, of course, everybody in their country is stealing foreign stuff).

You know government-types are really scared fecesless of something when they’re afraid to even make a decision about taxing it. In the U.S., Congress keeps passing these temporary moratoriums on Internet sales tax. That’s sheer fear. Again, they can’t say bring themselves to say “No” to more tax money, but they can’t say “Yes,” either. All they can say is “Not now, dear.”

The Internet is not a little baby any longer. It’s an important part of the real world and it should be treated that way; the current neglect is no longer benign.

I mean, imagine if legislators took the same attitude about everything new that shows up. I can think of one group which is a little younger than the PC, a little older than the Internet. It’s called al-Queda. Could you imagine if everyone in government tried to pretend it wasn’t there?

Now, of course, people can have differing opinions are what to do about digital issues (or al-Queda), but to pretend they aren’t there and focus instead on things like Hillary’s Photoshopped trip to Tuzla, well, that’s cowardice.

Ed


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