Friday, August 22, 2008

Star Power

As the Los Angeles Times notes in "John McCain tops YouTube charts," the gray-haired Republican candidate often "stars" in ads that ridicule statements made in public appearances. Now that McCain has failed to answer a question about how many houses he owns from, ribbing on online video in footage like this and this is likely to continue.

McCain has also had to combat the fact that he often appears insufficiently tech-savvy in comparison to the Democratic challenger, although some have noted that Barack Obama often doesn't know the brand names to invoke when it comes to gaming culture.

Now his campaign has released the McCain Technology Policy, which can be read as more pro-Silicon Valley than the position statements of many social conservatives, but doesn't express any support for the critical network neutrality provisions that many digital rights advocates argue will be essential for a continued free exchange of ideas on the Internet, even though the FCC has finally stopped serving as a stumbling block to action on the issue.

McCain's emphasis on "piracy" rather than fair use or a creative commons may also be of concern to technology activists.

Finally, in his anti-taxation rhetoric, McCain says nothing about the need for government support for public infrastructure for technological innovation. At a time when the Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting on the problems of the National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies in stories like "New High-Tech Teaching Center, Pushed by Congress, Lacks Funds," support from the Executive Branch might be particularly important.

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