Republican Party Platform Addresses Tech

The Republican Party platform, released during the convention in Cleveland that chose Donald Trump as the nominee, explains the party’s views on technology including broadband expansion, net neutrality, cybersecurity, education, and health care.

Broadband

The platform emphasizes the party’s views that the government should invest in more broadband development.  “At the cost of billions, the current administration has done little to advance our goal of universal broadband coverage,” stated the Republican Platform.

However, MeriTalk reported Monday that the White House announced its $400 million Advanced Wireless Research Initiative, which would begin the use of four city-scale testing platforms for wireless research. Along with this, the Federal Communications Commission approved its Spectrum Frontiers vote, which opens up vast amounts of high-frequency millimeter wave spectrum available for licensed and non-licensed use.

“We intend to facilitate access to spectrum by paving the way for high-speed, next-generation broadband deployment and competition on the internet and for internet services,” stated the platform.

Net Neutrality

The platform disagrees with the FCC’s rules on net neutrality, including giving the government more power over the broadband industry and giving them the ability to regulate how much money companies can charge for internet connection.

The party also believes that President Obama’s 2014 decision to give up control of its IP numbering system and domain name system to the global community made the United States digital sphere vulnerable to other countries.  “He threw the Internet to the wolves, and they–Russia, China, Iran, and others–are ready to devour it,” stated the platform.

Cybersecurity

The platform takes an aggressive stance on cybersecurity and cyber warfare, saying, “we must stop playing defense and go on offense to avoid the cyber equivalent of Pearl Harbor.” It encourages a variety of diplomatic, financial, and legal responses to those who attack the United States through cyber, as well as a reiteration of the need for a skilled cyber workforce and the need for information sharing. The policy also highlights the potential dangers of technical components made in “offending countries.”

Education

Student advancement hinges upon science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, according to the platform. The platform states that STEM subjects and phonics, as well as technical education, classroom discipline, and merit pay for good teachers are among the chief points for furthering education. According to the platform, a child’s scholastic aptitude must be dictated by his or her “God-given talent,” rather than economic status.

Throughout the country, schools at the primary, secondary, and university level have started initiatives to combat mental health problems. Many of these initiatives involve surveying students on their social and emotional well-being, and accumulating this personal data for school records. The platform decries the collection of this data. “Much of this data is collected without parental consent or notice,” the platform says. “This is wholly incompatible with the American Experiment and our inalienable rights.”

Health Care

The platform stated that Federal and private investment in research bears promise in curing diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and autism. “Just as we today take for granted wonders that seemed impossible a few decades ago–MRIs and CAT scans, robotic surgery, and in utero treatment–patients a decade hence will have care and treatment that will make much of today’s medicine look primitive,” the platform says.

Modernization

In terms of modernizing legacy IT systems, the platform maintains the government’s fairly standard call to action that private sector partnerships and a more skilled workforce are essential.

Electrical Grid

As evidenced by recent hearings, congressional concern over the electrical grid’s cybersecurity has been pretty bipartisan. The platform addresses Republican desire to modernize the grid, as well as concerns over the potential for an electromagnetic pulse taking out the grid. It also points to China and Russia as foreign threats that focus on infrastructure sabotage as part of their warfare planning.

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