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Joseph Lieberman on Technology

Democratic Jr Senator (CT), ran for V.P. with Gore, ran for president 2004


Sponsored V-chip; TV ratings; and FCC reviews

Lieberman was a lead sponsor of the V-chip legislation, which supplied parents with news tools to screen out violent and offensive programs, in the form of the V-chip blocking technology now installed in all new televisions and a rating system designed to work with it. He has also been a vocal advocate for higher television standards [including] “family hour” as a safe haven for young viewers, and asking the FCC to determine if broadcasters are meeting the ‘public interest’ standard prescribed by law.
Source: Senate web site, “Issues Focus: Media, Culture, & Values” Aug 7, 2000

Overcome organizational barriers to e-Government

    Progress of electronic government at the federal level has been inconsistent; some agencies are well ahead of the game, but many are lagging. What are the key impediments to progress?
  1. Organizational Leadership: I support a Federal Chief Information Officer, or “IT Czar”.
  2. Integrated Service Delivery: “One-Stop Shopping” for delivering services to the customer, without regard to where the jurisdiction of one agency stops and another begins.
  3. Standards for Interoperability: we need to become more effective in adopting and implementing electronic compatibility.
  4. Interagency Funding Mechanisms: e-Government requires collaboration in funding-at the very least, collaboration in interagency pilot projects.
  5. A Sense of Urgency: Finally, a gulf in perception seems to exist between the e-Government “insiders” and the government decision-makers. The insiders [should] educate the policy-makers on the necessary sense of urgency regarding e-Government.
Source: Speech on “E-Gov 2000” in Washington DC Jul 12, 2000

Zoning, ratings, & code of conduct to keep Internet safe

How [can we] make the Internet both open and safe for surfers of all ages? This is a question that [includes a] constitutional tension of freedom and community. Self-government demands a free exchange of ideas [but] we need a common set of standards to guide us in places where the state can’t and shouldn’t reach.

I would urge you to step back and take a fresh look at what is happening on-line. The balance of rights and responsibilities is essentially non-existent in the new. There are no recognizable boundaries, no common norms, no shared sense of accountability.

    Ratings and icons and blocking software, all of which are helpful tools, are not enough. Technology is not a substitute for responsibility. [My suggestions]:
  1. Adopt a common, self-enforcing code of conduct.
  2. Create a special domain to accommodate X-rated content and segregate it from kids, like a virtual red-light district.
  3. Establish an independent rating system that would warn parents about game content.
Source: Senate testimony, “Children’s Online Protection Act” Jun 8, 2000

Common-sense rules for limiting e-mail spam

Spam is a tremendous nuisance. It is costly, destructive, and an invasion of our privacy. Congressional action is needed because state laws [against spam] can only reach violators located within state lines.

Our objective is not to strangle the Internet with government regulation or to ban spam outright. Rather, we simply set out to give individuals control of their own e-mail accounts and to address the cost-shifting problems wrought by the proliferation of spam. The CAN-SPAM Act would impose common-sense boundaries. Our bill calls for all spam messages to contain valid return addresses and requires all spam senders to honor “opt-out” requests from individuals who wish not to receive spam in the future. It prohibits header forgery and misleading routing information, so consumers can discern the origins of these E-mails. It authorizes the FTC to pursue violations of the law and empowers Internet Service Providers to post legally enforceable policies regulating spam.

Source: Senate statement, “Anti-Spamming Legislation” May 11, 2000

Equip schools & police to reduce Internet risk to kids

Lieberman said. “In cyberspace, our children can easily come across predators, pornographers, and deviants that they would have the good sense to avoid in person. And while the Web offers access to a world of information, it also puts violent and sexually explicit material just a mouse click away.” The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force “acknowledges these dangers and helps equip our schools and police officers with the training to reduce the risks to our kids.”
Source: Press release, “Internet crimes” Dec 16, 1999

Silver Sewer Award: Fox leads the race to the bottom

Starting a dozen years ago with the family raunch of “Married with Children,” which seems tasteless but tame today, and continuing with the soft-porn soap of “Melrose Place” and the lurid voyeurism of “When Animals Attack,” Fox Television Network has consistently set the pace for television’s race to the bottom, and in the process done more than any other programmer in television to foul the public airwaves and define down our cultural norms.

This week Fox builds on that ignoble tradition with the rollout of its new fall lineup. Viewers will see plenty of crass displays of nudity, much of it in the traditional family hour. Orgasmic moans, incestuous leering, urinating for revenge - nothing seems too cheap or degrading to be played for a laugh.

What does this mean for television and the other networks? Are we sitting back like couch potatoes and watching the systematic elimination of all the lines that separate the acceptable from the unacceptable in our culture?

Source: Press statement regarding Fox “Silver Sewer” Sep 14, 1999

Voted YES on disallowing FCC approval of larger media conglomerates.

Vote to pass a joint resolution expressing congressional disapproval of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission. The rule would therefore have no force or effect. The rule in question deals with broadcast media ownership and would allow media conglomerates to own more television stations and newspapers.
Reference: FCC Media Ownership bill; Bill S J Res 17/H.J.RES.72 ; vote number 2003-348 on Sep 16, 2003

Voted YES on Internet sales tax moratorium.

Vote against allowing states to require companies who do business in their state solely by phone, mail, or the Internet to collect state sales taxes. [Current law does not require companies to collect sales taxes where the customer is out of state]
Bill S.442 ; vote number 1998-296 on Oct 2, 1998

Voted YES on telecomm deregulation.

Deregulation of the telecommunications industry.
Status: Telecommunications Competition and Deregulation Act of 1995 Y)91; N)5; NV)3
Reference: Conference Report on S. 625, the; Bill S. 652 ; vote number 1996-8 on Feb 1, 1996

Chief information officer to digitize federal government.

Lieberman signed the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

Performance-Based Government
The strong anti-government sentiments of the early 1990s have subsided, but most Americans still think government is too bureaucratic, too centralized, and too inefficient.

In Washington and around the country, a second round of “reinventing government” initiatives should be launched to transform public agencies into performance-based organizations focused on bottom-line results. Many public services can be delivered on a competitive basis among public and private entities with accountability for results. Public-private partnerships should become the rule, not the exception, in delivering services. Civic and voluntary groups, including faith-based organizations, should play a larger role in addressing America’s social problems.

When the federal government provides grants to states and localities to perform public services, it should give the broadest possible administrative flexibility while demanding and rewarding specific results. Government information and services at every level should be thoroughly “digitized,” enabling citizens to conduct business with public agencies online.

Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC8 on Aug 1, 2000

Promote internet via Congressional Internet Caucus.

Lieberman is a member of the Congressional Internet Caucus:

Founded in the spring of 1996, the Congressional Internet Caucus is a bipartisan group of over 150 members of the House and Senate working to educate their colleagues about the promise and potential of the Internet. The Caucus also encourages Members to utilize the Internet in communications with constituents and supports efforts to put more government documents online. The Internet Caucus Advisory Committee and the Internet Education Foundation host regular events and forums for policymakers, the press, and the public to discuss important Internet-related policy issues.

Source: Congressional Internet Caucus web site, NetCaucus.org 01-CIC1 on Jan 1, 2001

Fund nanotechnology research & development.

Lieberman sponsored the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act

    Requires the President to implement a National Nanotechnology Program to:
  1. establish the goals, priorities, and metrics for evaluation for Federal nanotechnology research, development, and other activities;
  2. invest in Federal research and development programs in nanotechnology and related sciences to achieve those goals; and
  3. provide for interagency coordination of Federal nanotechnology activities undertaken pursuant to the Program.
H.R.766 is the corresponding House bill. Became Public Law No: 108-153.
Source: Bill sponsored by 18 Senators and 27 Reps 03-S189 on Jan 16, 2003

Other candidates on Technology: Joseph Lieberman on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
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Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts