Iraq. The economy. Education. For months we have heard Barack Obama and John McCain discuss these topics as they prepare for the 2008 presidential election. Technology, while perhaps not the most controversial matter in the election, is another critical topic that the nominees have discussed and debated. Both Obama and McCain acknowledge the significance of technology in the 21st century, and its possibilities for various, high-profile issues such as medicine, education and defense. However, beyond a basic agreement of its importance, the candidates differ greatly in their views on, and plans to utilize, technology.

John McCain

  • Although his campaign site lacks a specific page on technology, he does state on his site that he wants to ban Internet taxes, which he believes "threaten this engine of economic growth and prosperity." He also supports a permanent tax ban on cell phones and other electronic devices.
  • The Arizona Republican believes that market forces rather than government intervention should be used to expand high-speed Internet access. In response to a CNETnews.com questionnaire, McCain explained that "We should place the federal government in the role of stimulator, rather than regulator, of broadband services."
  • McCain plans to develop a comprehensive emergency communications system for local, state and federal safety officials. At the International Association of Fire Fighters Presidential Forum, the senator discussed the need to provide officials with unused radio spectrum to enhance communication during a disaster.
  • During a speech at the National Sheriff's Association, McCain emphasized the need for more investment in cyber-security in order to "protect our energy supply, air and rail transport, banking and financial services." The senator wants all public safety officials to have access to a shared repository of information, and wants to improve technologies for tracking felons and gathering data.
  • In terms of health care, McCain states that he will increase the use of information technology to reduce costs. As his campaign site describes, "We should promote the rapid deployment of 21st-century information systems and technology that allows doctors to practice across state lines."

John McCain on technology:

"John McCain believes we must make a farsighted, robust and fervent commitment to innovation and new technologies to sustain our global competitiveness, meet our national security challenges, achieve less costly and more effective health care, reduce dangerous dependence on foreign sources of oil and raise the quality of education in the United States."

Barack Obama

  • On his campaign site, Obama explains the need to protect the openness of the Internet. A strong proponent of network neutrality, the senator states that "network providers should not be allowed to charge fees to privilege the content or applications of some Web sites and Internet applications over others."
  • Obama strongly encourages diversity in media ownership. He wants to encourage more minority-owned broadband media and an increased coverage of local issues in order to present the American people with a wide range of topics and opinions.
  • The senator believes technology can be used to help solve a vast array of the nation's problems, including lowering health-care