January 3, 2008 4:00 AM PST

Technology Voters' Guide: Ron Paul

Iraq, immigration, taxes, and health care probably have been the four most pressing topics of the 2008 presidential campaign. Technology has made nary an appearance.

Sure, there have been the YouTube-ified debates, MySpace.com polls, record-setting fund-raising efforts, and the now-obligatory Google office visits.

But knowing where the candidates stand on high-tech topics like digital copyright, surveillance, and Internet taxes can be revealing, which is why we've put together this 2008 Technology Voters' Guide.

In late November, we sent questionnaires to the top candidates--measured by funds raised and poll standings--from each major party. We asked each the same 10 questions.

Not all candidates chose to respond: Republicans Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, and Fred Thompson rebuffed our requests, as did Democrats Joe Biden and Bill Richardson. In all such cases, we made repeated efforts to try to convince them to change their minds.

Read on for responses from Rep. Ron Paul, or check out CNET News.com's election coverage roundup, featuring other Technology Voters' Guide candidate reports.

Q: Politicians have been talking for years about the need for high-speed Internet access. Should this be accomplished primarily through deregulation and market forces, or should the federal government give out grants or subsidies, or enact new laws?
Ron Paul: I believe that this can be best accomplished through deregulation and allowing the free market to work. Federal grants and subsidies will only elevate certain providers while holding back others. If the high-speed Internet access market is allowed to work without interference, fierce competition will drive down prices, as it did with dial-up access.

Congress has considered Net neutrality legislation, but it never became law. Do you still support the legislation that was re-introduced in 2007 (S 215), which gives the FCC the power to punish "discriminatory" conduct by broadband providers?
Paul: No. Net neutrality legislation will hamper the development of new Internet services and harm consumers in the long run. The best way to address the concerns of proponents of Net neutrality is to remove government-imposed barriers to entry into the Internet provider market.

Telecommunications companies such as AT&T have been accused in court of opening their networks to the government in violation of federal privacy law. Do you support giving them retroactive immunity for any illicit cooperation with intelligence agencies or law enforcement, which was proposed by the Senate Intelligence Committee this fall (S 2248)?
Paul: No. I would in no way support giving them immunity for breaking privacy laws. One of the legitimate functions of the federal government is to protect the privacy of its citizens, not invade it. If private companies cooperated with the federal government in violating the Fourth Amendment rights of their customers, they should be held accountable.

The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act's section restricting the "circumvention" of copy protection measures is supported by many copyright holders but has been criticized by some technologists as hindering innovation. Would you support changing the DMCA to permit Americans to make a single backup copy of a DVD, Blu-ray Disc DVD, HD DVD, or video game disc they have legally purchased?
Paul: While I have not yet made a full study of this issue, I would tend to protect the rights of consumers to make a backup copy of materials they have purchased, as long as the consumers complied with any contractual obligations they incurred when purchasing the product.

CONTINUED: What about Real ID?…
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17 comments

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Wrong quotes, or wrong person?
In the middle of the Ron Paul article, you state:

"Read on for responses from Sen. Hillary Clinton, or check out CNET News.com's election coverage roundup, featuring other Technology Voters' Guide candidate reports."

Did you forget to change Hillary Clinton to Ron Paul?
Posted by Spuds6021 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Right quotes for Ron Paul
Urk. Thanks for the catch.

And you're right: We forgot to change "Hillary Clinton" to "Ron Paul." The reference to Clinton was part of the intro section, which is identical across all the candidate Q&As -- except, of course, that the name of the candidate should have been changed in that one paragraph.

The quotes are most assuredly from Ron Paul.
Posted by Jon Skillings (249 comments )
Link Flag
RP FTW
Ron Paul, 2008, FTW. We are tired of the lame stream media, the yellow journalism, the lies, the wars, the broken dollar, the identity politics and the military industrial complex. America is waking up to freedom and liberty. Its our last chance to have them again if we chose to walk with Ron Paul. If we don't chose him, we will become more authoritarian and America will no longer be what the founders wanted it to be and it will become a hell on earth with a dropping standard of living.
Posted by mickrussom (111 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Staged rollout
I'm not a writer or a publisher, so maybe I don't understand why the rollout of these articles was staged(1 per day or whatever the rate is).

But I think it would have been better to release them all at once.

I am extremely glad that Ron Paul and Hillary were the first released, and possibly the only ones to respond.

Ron Paul FTW.
Posted by loki_racer (63 comments )
Reply Link Flag
rollout...
It's a fair question.

Our goal was to have them all published before the New Hampshire primary. Under the "special coverage" graphic we list the candidates who responded. So far we've published responses from four, Paul, McCain, Clinton, and Obama.

Maybe we should have published them all at once; we haven't done this exact format before so we're still trying to find the best way to do it. (Our '06 scorecard -- a rating, not surveys -- was all-at once.) Your feedback is welcome and appreciated.
Posted by declan00 (848 comments )
Link Flag
Mostly excellent
"I would tend to protect the rights of consumers to make a backup
copy of materials they have purchased"
"The federal government has no right tracking who uses the
Internet and why they are doing so."
It's really nice to hear someone in washington actually say these
things.
However, no interest in anti-trust regulations or net neutrality.
With Ron Paul it's a little weird like that, he'll protect liberty and
privacy perfectly, but has the flawed libertarian idea that the market
can do no wrong and needs no regulation. Still, who else can you
better trust to maintain liberty.
Posted by Nicholas Buenk (220 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Think it through
Given we've never had a free market since 1913, it's hardly a flaw to try alternatives.

Banks have failed before and the country is still here, more or less. Bank of North America, Bank of the United States, Second Bank of the United States. In every case, those ripped the public through inflation.

Since the stealth implementation of the Fed, we've always had banks propped up by the govt. And you do realise that costs the taxpayers, right?

The free market approach is: you made your bed, now lie in it. And it's no as though regulation has not existed -- and been ignored. Feddie and Fannie were supposed to be limited to resonsible mortgages, yet FCredit Suisse published a chart of their exposure in July last year.

Money market funds were supposed to be limited to low-risk investments -- but no one was minding the store.

Part of this can be laid to the MSM. Notice how even now the mantra of 'sub-prime' is virtually mentioned in every autopsy of the mortgage/credit crunch. Yet all the cheerleaders were 'rah rah' onward and upward. Just like the were with Enron. Even the SEC approved the bizarre accounting practices, so far removed from GAAC, of Arthur Anderson accounting firm. Yet when Enron imploded, we got the usual "No one could have foreseen ... '

Since 1913, no banker has been harmed in the making of any of the monetary disasters. Food for thought.
Posted by NoVista (274 comments )
Link Flag
Doublespeak
Another case of Ron Paul Doublespeak. How can you be for the free market and for subsidies?
Posted by davemesaaz (37 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Read that again...
I assume you are referring to his answer on the high-speed Internet access question. He is saying subsidies will not work. He is against subsidies, not for them.
Posted by BarkerDigital (15 comments )
Link Flag
Possible typographical error
In the last comment about favorite devices, you quoted Dr. Paul as saying "Of course, I am particularly found of the Internet, since it has played such a key role in organizing grassroots support for my presidential campaign."

Is it possible that either you or Dr. Paul added a u to the word "fond" by mistake. I am pretty sure he is not "found" of the Internet.

BTW - his comments are consistent and well considered. I just wish that your questions would have included other technology areas like energy and medical research.
Posted by Rod Adams (74 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Typo fixed
Yes, it should have been "fond." Thanks!
Posted by Zoe Slocum (42 comments )
Link Flag
Fed. Gov. Must Follow Constitution
The Federal Government Must Follow the Constitution, and defend
our liberties as long as we do not infringe on others rights.
Anything not in the Constitution is not authorized to the Fed.
Gov., and must be left to the States, or the people.

That is basically what Ron Paul said, and that is the law.
Posted by libertyforall1776 (650 comments )
Reply Link Flag
If I vote, I will vote for Ron Paul
Im still debating on if Ill vote or not. Even though Ron Paul is the only choice, I have little faith in the united States government and many of the citizens of this nation.
Posted by TimeTraveler2000 (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
or...
you could just get over yourself and vote...
Posted by A_N_Onymous (35 comments )
Link Flag
Ron Paul Media
Isn't it Funny how the Media can cover NASCAR events weekly all summer every year better than they can cover our candadates for president?
Posted by LBriant (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Sound Perspective
Ron Paul shows he understands how private industry works. The evasive so called "Net Neutrality Act" would only serve to cause technological sterility in the ISP development world.

My rule: If Ted Kennedy supports it, I don't.
Posted by Metaljman (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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