Candidates on Jobs, Spam, Security Questions

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As election day nears, presidential candidates President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) have taken on high-tech issues like spam, cyber security and globalization in a series of questions and answers.

Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) surveyed both candidates on various issues critical to the IT industry. Here is how the candidates' camps weighed in on some of the questions:

Q: What government training, education and certification policies can help make American technology workers more competitive in the global economy?

Bush: I will make loans available to help workers pay for short-term training that leads to an industry-recognized credential or certificate... My ''Jobs for the 21st Century'' provides $250 million for a new, employer-focused grant program that leverages the expertise of America's community and technical colleges to train workers for new jobs in high-growth industries.
Kerry: I will work to build the workforce of the future by investing in K-12 math and science education, rewarding colleges for increasing the number of science and engineering degrees, and creating state-of-the-art online learning technologies that allow hardworking American workers to get high-quality training and education at a time, place, and pace that works for them.

Q: What is the appropriate role of the federal and state governments regarding Internet telephony and other similar Internet applications?

Kerry: I am open to examining the best methods to deploy new technology in a way that is consumer friendly and promotes a competitive marketplace.
Bush: I support innovative communications technologies like Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and believe they will lead to more communications choices for consumers... Internet telephony by its nature relies on technology that does not distinguish geographic borders. This requires us to take a hard look at the appropriate role of federal and state regulators with respect to a technology that may be more similar to email than to regular telephony, at least in the way the signal is transmitted.

Q: What should the federal government do to address the issue of cyber security?

Bush: I announced the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace in February 2003. This plan, which complements the National Strategy for the Physical Protection of Critical Infrastructure and Key Assets, depends on both public and private efforts to secure the many elements that comprise the national information infrastructure, including routers, switches, fiber-optic cables, and tens of millions of interconnected computers. The strategy provides five national cyber security priorities: a national security response system; vulnerability reduction program; an awareness and training program; a government cyberspace security program, and a national security and international cyberspace security cooperation.
Kerry: We need a president who will devote the energy of the White House to making our networks -- our 21st century infrastructure -- stronger and more secure. That means supporting a cyber security intelligence system ready to detect these threats. I will implement global standards and best practices so that weak links are strengthened... Most of the infrastructure we need to protect doesn't belong to government -- and neither government nor business can fix these problems alone.

Q: What should the federal government's role be in regard to Spam?

Kerry: I am open to considering the best means available to ensure people do not receive unsolicited email.
Bush: The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-Spam) Act of 2003 that I signed into law will help address the problems associated with the abuse of Spam. It also creates new criminal penalties to assist in deterring the most offensive forms of Spam, including unmarked sexually-oriented messages and emails containing fraudulent headers... Consumers are provided with a choice not to receive any further unsolicited messages from a sender and senders that do not honor a consumer's request are subject to civil penalties.

Q: How important is the IT industry to the growth and development of this nation?

Bush: We must continue to tap into the transformations that information technology can bring about in organizations within a vast array of industries and sectors. America needs a strong information technology sector in order to compete in the global economy... My support for the information technology sector and agenda for America's future has attracted the support of more than 26,000 investors, 32,000 high-tech leaders, and 71,000 small business owners.
Kerry: In some areas, there are appropriate steps that the government can take, working with the private sector, to promote key applications of IT that improve our quality of life. These include: overcoming legal and regulatory barriers to the adoption of IT; making the government an intelligent user of new technologies to carry out its missions; support for R&D and pilot projects; and establishing longer-term national goals on the use of IT... I will direct my cabinet to develop an ''Innovation Agenda'' built upon public-private partnerships that harness IT and advance the following goals: promote digital opportunity; make our government more open, responsive, and efficient; transform America's healthcare system; empower people with disabilities to lead more independent lives; and put America's cultural heritage at the fingertips of every American.

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