As the Democrats and Republicans gather at their national conventions, it is time to really think about a comprehensive national technology policy for the Internet Age. Many laws and policies governing the Internet and digital property are inadequate attempts to transplant rules from a different era.
The problems that arise are not just about Net Neutrality (see Comcast) or copyright infringement or digital privacy. They are about all of these things. What we need is a Digital Bill of Rights that spells out what freedoms and rights consumers can expect from Internet service providers, content companies, device manufacturers, and the government itself.
Both Presidential candidates have already outlined their technology platforms. (Obama did so last year; McCain only got around to unveiling a formal tech policy earlier this month. Both Obama and McCain also spoke to TechCrunch about their thoughts on tech policy during the primaries). But McCain’s technology platform is a bit vague, and Obama’s choice of tech-challenged Joe Biden as his running mate is not exactly a confidence builder. The fact is that nobody in either party has pulled together a focused set of principles that can truly guide both lawmakers and policymakers.