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[ISN] Presidential candidates differ in IT questionnaire
By Grant Gross
IDG News Service
President George W. Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry both
advocate universal access to broadband and stronger cybersecurity but
the two candidates disagree in their approaches in answers given in a
tech policy questionnaire released by the Computing Technology
The Bush campaign, answering a question about broadband adoption,
talked about pushing for an Internet tax moratorium and deregulating
broadband infrastructure. Bush also noted broadband deployment has
grown from 7 million U.S. homes in December 2000 to 28 million homes
in December 2003.
"By applying 21st century policy to 21st century technology, we will
encourage new investment that will bring broadband to more homes in
more areas of America," the Bush campaign said in its answer.
Kerry, a Massachusetts senator, advocated a 10% tax credit for
investments in broadband technology in rural areas and inner cities.
Investments in broadband technologies that are 20 times faster than
current broadband technologies would receive a 20% tax credit under
the Kerry plan.
"I support a telecommunications policy that will promote investment,
encourage competition, deliver new services, unleash innovation, and
accelerate the development of universal, affordable broadband networks
and applications," the Kerry campaign wrote in its response. "By
bringing more opportunity to rural America, the telecommunications
revolution can strengthen the social fabric of many communities."
CompTIA's questionnaire  asked both campaigns to answer 12
technology-related questions, and both campaigns returned responses
within about 10 days. The questionnaire is designed to help the trade
group's 20,000 business members quickly get information about the
candidates' views on tech-related issues, said Roger Cochetti,
CompTIA's group director of public policy.
Asked about cybersecurity, Kerry called for a "real partnership"
between government and private industry. He also said he plans to push
global standards and practices, although he didn't give details.
"We need a president who will devote the energy of the White House to
making our networks . our 21st century infrastructure . stronger and
more secure," the Kerry campaign wrote. "That means supporting a cyber
security intelligence system ready to detect these threats. I will
implement global standards and best practices so that weak links are
Bush's response about cybersecurity focused on his National Strategy
to Secure Cyberspace, released in February 2003. The Bush campaign
answer noted the strategy includes priorities such as a national
security response system, and a government cyberspace security
program. Some pieces of the strategy have been implemented or are
"Given the enormous importance of e-commerce, Internet-based
communications, and the use of cyberspace to control portions of our
physical infrastructure, cyber security is critical," the Bush
campaign wrote. "The investments being made today in securing our
Nation.s cyber infrastructure and in cyber security R&D are working to
ensure that future generations of network software and hardware are
less vulnerable to an attack and can maintain critical operations even
The questionnaire also asked the candidates what the federal policy
should be toward protecting intellectual property. Bush answered that
violations of intellectual property law need to be enforced without
"Technology is a critical conduit of information and sometimes can be
misused for illegal copyright infringement," the Bush campaign wrote.
"Blaming the technology does not address the issue. We must vigorously
enforce intellectual property protections and prosecute the
violations, not the technology."
Kerry also advocated laws that protect intellectual property, but he
said he's open to new legislation that would protect consumers by
allowing them to back up digital works or transfer digital works to
"We must ensure that our laws protect the creations of individuals and
companies while not unreasonably stifling technological innovation,"
the Kerry campaign wrote.
Many of the answers the candidates provided CompTIA are available in
various places elsewhere, but most technology issues have not been
among the top concerns during the campaign. Bush has pushed for the
healthcare industry to adopt electronic medical records and other
technology advances in his stump speech recently, while Kerry has
hammered the Bush administration on offshore outsourcing, saying Bush
has done nothing to discourage U.S. companies from moving jobs
The relative lack of attention to IT issues has caused some grumbling
in the tech community. On Tuesday, Intel CEO Craig Barrett complained
of a lack of attention from the two presidential candidates. He
reportedly complained of "the lack of attention by the presidential
nominees to how the United States is losing its competitive edge over
other nations on education, technological infrastructure and research
But CompTIA's Cochetti argued that both campaigns' quick response to
the questionnaire means the candidates are interested in technology
issues. "Both of them recognize that the technology sector is a very
important segment of the economy," he said. "Technology-oriented
workers and voters are really part of a very key target for both
campaigns, because they are widely perceived to be one of the
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