Submitted by ub on Fri, 08/31/2012 - 12:20

If there was ever one thing that Republicans and Democrats have in common, it's that they can be split on issues within their respective parties. And that would be the case for both parties when it come to Intellectual Property and Privacy on the Internet. If you get onto the GOP website and read their Party Platforms, you will find two sections that are centered on the internet. The first section, labeled "Protecting Internet Freedom", is a paragraph at is quite vague. They talk about how the internet has helped fuel new innovation more than any other technological advancement. They also talk about how they want to keep the power of the internet in a multi-stakeholder policy rather than move the power to a central governing body. They want to remove the barriers that protect outdated technologies and business plans, and protect barriers for new technologies and innovations from legacy regulations. The GOP would also like to use the constitution to protect citizens' IP from government overreach and control how third parties use their information. The GOP believes that the only way that this can happen is through the private sector. But what does all of this truly mean to us as American citizens? If you've stayed up to date over the past year on IP protection, IP meaning Intellectual Property, you will remember two bills that the GOP was hugely in favor of, SOPA and PIPA. SOPA, Stop Online Piracy Act, was a bill that tried to safeguard IP and beef up the governments control over the internet. PIPA, Protect Intellectual Property Act, was very similar to SOPA. Both of these acts called for a stronger, centralized agency to control the internet, and both were highly supported by the GOP. So think about that for a second. The GOP, a year ago, was in favor of a centralized agency for controlling the internet and now they oppose a centralized agency? a bit of a flip-flop if you ask me.

The second section in the GOP's platform that concerns the internet is "A Vision for the Twenty-First Century: Technology, Telecommunications and the Internet". In this section, the GOP talks about the history of the FCC and how it is not proper fit for regulating the internet. With the internet changing and innovating as quickly as it has, the GOP believes that a more modern relationship between the government and the internet would benefit Americans and people around the world. The GOP wants to take the extra communication spectrum, which is how the internet is sent to your computer, and auction it off so that the internet benefits Americans more. They criticize the Democratss for not advancing the internet these past four years. The GOP believes they should have already auctioned this surplus spectrum off, given more incentives for companies looking to invest in the internet, and reorganized the FCC so that it is less of a force on the internet. So again, what does this all mean to Americas? Truly the only thing I pull out of this section is that the GOP believes the Democrats were stag-net with the internet in their four year term. If the GOP gets the next term, they will open the internet up to more Americans, especially those in rural areas that need access to the internet to effectively run their businesses.

Here are the two sections from the GOP's Platforms.

Protecting Internet Freedom
The Internet has unleashed innovation, enabled growth, and inspired freedom more rapidly and extensively than any other technological advance in human history. Its independence is its power. The Internet offers a communications system uniquely free from government intervention. We will remove regulatory barriers that protect outdated technologies and business plans from innovation and competition, while preventing legacy regulation from interfering with new and disruptive technologies such as mobile delivery of voice video data as they become crucial components of the Internet ecosystem. We will resist any effort to shift control away from the successful multi-stakeholder approach of Internet governance and toward governance by international or other intergovernmental organizations. We will ensure that personal data receives full constitutional protection from government overreach and that individuals retain the right to control the use of their data by third parties; the only way to safeguard or improve these systems is through the private sector.

A Vision for the Twenty-First Century: Technology, Telecommunications and the Internet

The most vibrant sector of the American economy, indeed, one-sixth of it, is regulated by the federal government on precedents from the nineteenth century. Today’s technology and telecommunications industries are overseen by the Federal Communications Commission, established in 1934 and given the jurisdiction over telecommunications formerly assigned to the Interstate Commerce Commission, which had been created in 1887 to regulate the railroads. This is not a good fit. Indeed, the development of telecommunications advances so rapidly that even the Telecom Act of 1996 is woefully out of date. An industry that invested $66 billion in 2011 alone needs, and deserves, a more modern relationship with the federal government for the benefit of consumers here and worldwide.The current Administration has been frozen in the past. It has conducted no auction of spectrum, has offered no incentives for investment, and, through the FCC’s net neutrality rule, is trying to micromanage telecom as if it were a railroad network. It inherited from the previous Republican Administration 95 percent coverage of the nation with broadband. It will leave office with no progress toward the goal of universal coverage – after spending $7.2 billion more. That hurts rural America, where farmers, ranchers, and small business manufacturers need connectivity to expand their customer base and operate in real time with the world’s producers. We encourage public-private partnerships to provide predictable support for connecting rural areas so that every American can fully participate in the global economy. We call for an inventory of federal agency spectrum to determine the surplus that could be auctioned for the taxpayers’ benefit. With special recognition of the role university technology centers are playing in attracting private investment to the field, we will replace the administration’s Luddite approach to technological progress with a regulatory partnership that will keep this country the world leader in technology and telecommunications.

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By; Ben Montalvo