Some scientists like to argue that we are part of a multiverse, a collection of parallel realities that reflect the different choices we may have made instead of the ones we did make. This story explores the technological implications of one such world — a world where Gov. Mitt Romney won the presidential election. For our take on what President Obama is likely to do about technology, see How Technology Will Fare In President Obama’s Second Term
President-elect Romney has pretty much kept to his party’s platform when it comes to technology issues, and in some cases has even agreed with the intent of several of the current administration’s policies, although his implementation may be different.
Broadband Access: For instance, like the Obama administration, the Romney White House is expected to keep pushing for universal broadband access, especially to rural communities. It is expected that President Romney will continue with this goal, but rather than using Federal funds to help boost last-mile efforts to connect rural citizens to broadband Internet access, Romney points to the Republican platform’s promise to encourage public and private partnerships to get the job done.
Intellectual Property: Given President-Elect Romney’s very public stance against intellectual property theft originating from foreign nations, particularly China, Romney’s position on the infamous Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is of sharp interest to technology watchers. Public statements from Romney have indicated that he was against SOPA as originally written, citing that it went too far in its efforts to protect copyright, but he’s still expected to push for a less-controversial bill that will still fight intellectual property theft, particularly from foreign players.
Net Neutrality: One area where Romney will take a sharp turn away from the previous administration is the issue of net neutrality, which Romney very much opposes. Romney has repeatedly stated that getting rid of net neutrality and overhaulingthe FCC will be among his first actions upon stepping into the Oval Office. The Republican platform sums up the new administration’s view of the FCC rather forcefully:
“Today’s technology and telecommunications industries are overseen by the Federal Communications Commission, established in 1934 and given the jurisdiction over telecommunications formerly assigned to the Interstate Commerce Commission, which had been created in 1887 to regulate the railroads. This is not a good fit,” the platform states. “The current Administration has been frozen in the past. It has conducted no auction of spectrum, has offered no incentives for investment, and, through the FCC’s net neutrality rule, is trying to micromanage telecom as if it were a railroad network.”
Cybersecurity: Another area where Romney and his predecessor agree is the need to strengthen the nation’s cybersecurity policies. According to the Romney campaign’s whitepaper, “In the first 100 days of his administration, Romney will order full interagency reviews to develop and deliver to his desk a unified strategy to bolster America’s cyber-security.” And with Romney expected to increase defense spending across the board, it is likely that the Pentagon will have a bigger cybersecurity budget with which to work.
Like many conservatives, President Romney will probably take a more hands-off approach to technology business practices, interceding when larger corporate interests are threatened by real or perceived threats. Romney’s biggest technology plan, though, is to try and pick up the pace of the overall economic recovery, which can only be a good thing for the tech sector.