Technology concerns infuse Democratic platform

Less than a week after the release of the GOP platform, the Democratic party has unveiled its fix to reclaim economic security and initiatives to create a smarter, leaner government with the help of transparency and technology.

Released Sept. 4, the Moving America Forward platform focuses in part on open government, cybersecurity and overhauling outdated technology. The document takes a retrospective look to highlight what the current administration believes it has accomplished since 2009 – perhaps in response to claims from some Republicans that the nation is not better off today than four years ago when President Barack Obama took office. (Read our coverage of the Republican party's platform here and here.)

The Democratic platform spells out the intent and steps to boost the nation’s dire fiscal state “by creating an economy built to last and built from the middle out,” according to the plan. In additional to its heavy focus on rebuilding the middle class and spurring job creation, the platform’s focus areas include:

Open government: Obama previously sought from Congress the power to consolidate and reorganize the federal government to create a more efficient and fiscally responsible government. Agencies have also been directed to review existing federal regulations to eliminate unnecessary rules. In response, more than two dozen agencies have released plans to streamline existing requirements. Just a small part of this move will help save billions of dollars in the near term “without sacrificing consumer protections, the environment, workplace safety, or health,” according to the platform.

Other open gov accomplishments:

- Publicized the list of White House visitors and developed an online centralized ethics and lobbying database available to the public.
- Spearheaded initiative to enact the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act to ban congressional insider trading. The legislation also directs executive branch employees to disclose certain financial information on a publicly available website.
- Launched the Open Government Initiative to increase transparency, participation and collaboration governmentwide. Specific areas of focus include publishing online government information and data, promote a culture of transparency, and improve the quality of federal information.

Cybersecurity:  Dubbed the latest national security threat – sometimes the most pressing one -- cybersecurity has been on the Obama administration’s agenda since its early days. The administration launched the U.S. Cyber Command in June 2009, and is reviewing the federal government’s ongoing work to protect U.S. information and infrastructure. 

The platform expresses a continued effort to deter and defend against cyber attacks by investing in cutting-edge research and development. Other tenets of the endeavor include promoting cybersecurity awareness and digital literacy, and strengthening ties between industry and global partnerships.

“President Obama has supported comprehensive cybersecurity legislation that would help business and government protect against risks of cyber attacks while also safeguarding the privacy rights of our citizens,” the platform document reads. “And going forward, the president will continue to take executive action to strengthen and update our cyber defenses.”

Technology: The administration will take measures to “retool” the armed forces and defense strategy “to ensure we both maintain the world’s most capable military and adapt to the challenges of the 21st century,” according to the platform. The idea is also to eliminate obsolete Cold War-era systems and invest in modern technologies to keep up with the capabilities needed to meet different military missions.

To ensure U.S. leadership in the Internet economy, the administration will also work to support a modern digital infrastructure – "robust wired and wireless broadband capability, a smarter electrical grid, and upgraded IT infrastructure in key sectors such as health care and education," according to the platform.

“We are finding innovative ways to free up wireless spectrum and are building a state-of-the-art nationwide, interoperable, public safety network," according to the framework. "President Obama is strongly committed to protecting an open Internet that fosters investment, innovation, creativity, consumer choice, and free speech, unfettered by censorship or undue violations of privacy."

Additionally, intellectual property protection will see more enforcement both in the U.S. and outside. “As technology advances, we will continue to work with all stakeholders to protect the security of the nation and its knowledge assets, U.S. intellectual property, the functioning of fair and competitive markets, and the privacy, free expression, and due process rights of Americans,” reads the platform.

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