McCain offers technology plan

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) would emphasize public-private research and development grants to encourage the government's application of  technology and establish a nationwide public safety network for first responders by the end of his first term, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has said.  In general, McCain  would also make more government information available online.

McCain announced his government information technology plans as part of his overall technology platform that was published on his campaign’s Web site Aug. 14. In addition to encouraging the government’s use of IT, much of the platform focuses on the premise that with lower taxes, freer trade, less government regulation and improved intellectual property rights, technology entrepreneurs will increase prosperity.

McCain “is committed to streamlining burdensome regulations and effectively protecting American intellectual property in the United States and around the globe,” the technology policy outline posted on the candidate’s Web site reads.

Specifically, McCain would lower the corporate tax rate, make research and development tax credits permanent, oppose new state and local taxes on wireless services, and support low capital gains taxes.

He also proposed to expand high-speed Internet access and make science and technology experience a priority for the federal workforce.

The policy statement also points to McCain’s technology experience, which includes service as chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, as a way to shore up his technology credentials. McCain frequently has been characterized as being less technology savvy than his Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), and McCain has conceded that his use of PCs has been limited.

Obama made headlines in November when he released his technology platform at Google's headquarters. He called for the appointment of the government’s first chief technology officer, which would focus of improving transparency and technological interoperability. Obama’s platform also supports regulations to ensure net neutrality, while McCain’s does not.

Ari Schwartz, the vice president and chief operating officer of the Center for Democracy and Technology, said both candidates have a history of strong records on e-government policy initiatives.

The center has published a series of recommendations for technology issues on which the next president should focus.

“Looking forward, we are looking for a president who is willing to embrace new technology,” he said today. Wikis, blogs and social networking technologies "could do so much to enhance both the transparency of government information and [people's] involvement with the government.”

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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