The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation recently released an analysis of the presidential candidates’ positions regarding technology and innovation to see how they might approach these issues as president.
“Ensuring that the United States is doing all it can to advance innovation will continue to be central in addressing key policy challenges,” ITIF wrote in the paper.
As technology touches more areas of our lives, leaders need to address the challenges related to security, economic growth and continued innovation.
“Some of these policies should involve public-private partnerships, which Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has supported. Others should involve corporate tax and regulatory reform, including ensuring the United States has a more globally competitive tax code, as Republican Donald Trump has advocated,” ITIF wrote.
ITIF used information found on the candidates’ websites, policy documents and comments made at public events to identify positions on technological innovation.
Although this year’s election has generated more interest than usual in third-party candidates, the paper focused only on the two major-party candidates, noting that, as of the September report’s writing, Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein were “polling well below the minimum” required to participate in the presidential debate.
ITIF is a nonpartisan organization and does not favor one candidate over another. However, despite ITIF’s neutral position, the report comes across as more favorable to Clinton because she has made more comments on the issues the organization covers.
ITIF expressed some doubts over Trump’s position, noting in the report that he “has largely been silent when it comes to technology and innovation policy. And when he has spoken about the tech industry, his comments have sometimes been critical.”
“We believe it is important to clearly document what the two candidates have said (or not said) about these critical innovation issues, as their positions serve as the best available guide to the next administration’s policy priorities—and the lack of a stated position may indicate which issues would be low priorities,” ITIF wrote in the report.
Looking at the candidates’ general positions on innovation and technology, the report found Clinton has indicated she would try to engage the government and private companies as partners; would focus on achieving social and economic goals through technology innovation; is supportive of “smarter regulation” of the technology industry; and supports immigration for highly skilled workers and STEM students.
However, the report found Clinton has opposed efforts to make U.S. companies more competitive in the global market.
ITIF found the policy positions listed on Trump’s campaign website didn’t address technology innovation specifically. He has called for a significant reduction of business taxes and regulations, including corporate taxes, the report found.
ITIF noted that Trump’s position on immigration for highly skilled workers is unclear, and that his support for strong homeland security could weaken data encryption standards.
Internet and Digital Economy
ITIF wrote that the “digital economy is a key driver of U.S. competitiveness and economic growth,” and supports government policies that “foster the adoption and use of information technology.”
“In general, policymakers should use a light touch to regulate legitimate use of digital technology, and take a hard line on regulating illegitimate digital activity, such as cybercrime and online piracy,” ITIF wrote in the report.
Clinton has said she would expand cybersecurity investment and encourage collaboration between the public and private sectors, and would expand on the Cybersecurity National Action Plan announced by President Barack Obama in February.
On Sept. 8, the White House announced that, as part of the CNAP, it had appointed retired Brigadier General Gregory Touhill as the first federal chief information security officer.