Sunday, March 23, 2008

Five Tech Issues that need to be addressed this Election Season

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This year like ever one out of four is a political silly season, the presidential election in the United States. While technology related issues could potentially get lost among the big issues like ongoing war in Iraq, and the floundering economy. Issues affecting technology don't just affect the technology industries but users of technology. It's not just Americans that can put questions to those seeking votes about policies that affect how they use technology. Canadians could face an election depending on how the wind is blowing, and in Canada technology and it's use will be a political issue when an election is called or when the minority government gets toppled. When an incumbent politician or those looking to take their jobs come knocking make sure that you get the answers and vote accordingly.

Do you support Net Neutrality?

One sticky issue that has been batted around by legislators but not seriously been debated is how to ensure equal access to online content or service regardless of Internet provider. The big telcos and cable companies want to allocate bandwidth to friendly content providers or to inhibit services that compete against the Internet provider. Potentially telcos could inhibit the use of VOIP services like skype or Vonage because it could take people away from tradition telephone service. There have been bills to prevent allocation of bandwidth but nothing has been passed yet.

Do you support allocating wireless spectrum for new carriers?

With analog over the air television getting eliminated in the next couple of years many radio frequencies are opening up to new services like WiMAX and expanded cell phone coverage. 40 of the 105 MHz of the new 2.0 GHz band is set aside for new companies entring the industry. Although the traditional telecom companies are crying foul, they currently hold licenses for hundreds of megahertz of radio frequency spectrum that aren't even being used. In order for the free market can truly be free is for new carriers in cellular and wireless broadband can easily enter the market. Those seeking elected office must support consumers' right to choose over the telco lobbyists.

Do you support funding education in emerging technology?

The one thing that is required above all else to sustain the current rapid evolution in technology is an educated workers entering the work force. As it stands now those educated workers are coming from India, China and Japan. If North America hopes to keep up funding has to come from both Government and the private sector. If the top employees are educated in foriegn countries then it will be those foriegn countries that will be supplying technology to North America, if we want to keep jobs in North America we have to do better.

Do you support preserving fair use provisions in copyright law?

Copyright laws around the world are getting re-written to protect the creators of intellectal property to ensure rights to make a living from creating intellectal property. The rights of creators have to be balenced by the rights of consumers. In 1998 consumers in the United States lost the right to make back up copies of such things as DVD's with the passage of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Such narrow intrest groups as the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America are disguising corporate greed as an arguement for creators' rights. Some in the recording industry want all music sold online to come with digital rights management which inhibits what consumers can do with downloaded music and spoken word content. Consumer rights groups favor a ban on DRM so that music can be purchased anywhere and can be used on any portable player. Musicians songwriters, filmmakers, and authors deserve to make living but needs of consumers need to be taken into consideration too.

How do you protect children online?

Social networking has only been popular for a couple of years but is now considered to be the biggest threat to young people online. Once upon a time parents only had to worry about chat rooms but now sexual predators are finding victims on myspace, facebook, bebo and other sites. Law enforcement needs more resources for the protection of young users of social networking sites. There are changes to laws that need keep overzealous cival liberitans at bay. The right to online safety for our children is way more important than any rights for pedophiles.

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