Yesterday House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) detailed the Republican tech agenda, a one-page list of priorities for Republican lawmakers in 2011 and beyond. While Republicans loathe regulations that stymie productivity and put a burden on businesses, they don't seem to have a problem with regulations on consumers' lives when it comes to flying, purchasing goods, legislating morality, or doing things on the Internet. In other words, regulations that punish the everyday citizen are cool, but regulations that keep corporations in check - like net neutrality - are bad.
The bullet points of the Republican tech agenda are mostly conceptual and non-specific at this point, but here they are:
- Promote Spectrum Availability and Efficiency: "Spectrum policy will play an integral role in the expansion of mobile broadband over wireless devices. The exploding demand for spectrum could also play a role in decreasing the deficit by producing auction revenue."
- Protect the US from Cyber Attacks: "We will work to enact strong cyber-security protections in this Congress that focus on increasing protections in an innovative manner that allows for dynamic solutions to this dynamic problem."
- Protect American Intellectual Property: "America is the most innovative nation on earth, due in part to the strong intellectual property protections our founders included in the Constitution and Congress' commitment to keep those protections strong and current."
- Promote Free and Fair Trade: "In order to increase competitiveness of American companies, we will work to pass pending free trade agreements to expand market access for domestic products and promote free and fair trade."
- Update the Tax Code to Ensure Job Growth: "We will promote tax reforms that put Americans back to work, simplify the code to lower rates on families and businesses, and encourage companies to invest domestically."
- Ensure American Access to the Best Workers: "We will examine current education programs to make sure they are operating efficiently. We will also examine current visa and immigration laws to make sure we attract and retain the best and brightest minds from around the world."
- Reduce Unnecessary Regulation: "We will continue to eliminate regulations that stifle innovation."
Of course Republicans are not alone in putting intellectual property rights and post-911 "safety" ahead of basic human rights and personal freedoms: the president and the Democrats have no problem passing laws that take away even more freedoms in the name of protecting the music and movie industry or punish hackers and terrorists - even if it means forgoing the traditional constitutional right of due process and even when there is little evidence to support the claims.
Source: Ars Technica