What Election Results Mean For Tech Policy

BY Ed Black
November 3, 2010

Though a few key races for the tech industry remain undecided, CCIA and others interested in tech policy are sorting through what this election and the divided government left in its aftermath mean for our issues.

First, what won’t change: many tech issues are bipartisan – privacy, cybersecurity, spectrum and some areas of the National Broadband Plan.

Republicans tend to be supportive of trade, so that could boost momentum on several pending trade agreements that have broad support from the tech industry. The Republican gains though are likely to make it more difficult to get comprehensive immigration reforms passed, which the tech industry has supported.

Tax repatriation issues are likely to get favorable treatment.

Another issue, which has broad, united support among tech companies, is increased scientific research and math and science education, such as the America Competes Act. CCIA hopes high tech research and education will not be victims of budget slashing.

Other issues remain less clear such as whether proponents of legislation on broadband and privacy will meet the challenge of getting legislation through a divided Congress. The agencies like the FCC and FTC charged with protecting consumers may now realize it’s more critical for them to take action on issues like net neutrality or media monopolies.

Much has been written about the Tea Party’s stance on getting government out of peoples’ lives. What will be interesting to see once these candidates get to Washington is what their stance on government interference means for Internet freedom, privacy and government surveillance. Will proposals to increase government surveillance of domestic phone calls and emails get these Constitutional fundamentalists worked up?

In the United Kingdom, as conservative politicians swept in, they have brought concern about government over involvement in the economy and in peoples’ private lives. Here, conservative libertarianism often just applies to economic issues – not social ones. CCIA will be waiting to see if these new members will fit more of a UK model and be more consistently concerned about too much government involvement.

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