A Romney presidency would be broadly supportive of data privacy and Internet freedom, suggests an analysis of the GOP platform adopted this week at the Republican National Convention, but that would include the freedom of service providers to create a 2-speed Internet.
Ars Technica Business Editor Cyrus Farivar looked at the tech-related planks of the GOP platform and found strong language on data protection and resistance to regulation — particularly against the Obama Administration’s movement toward “net neutrality” policies which would prevent carriers from charging more to transmit some content faster.
Farivar and the scholars he consulted found some of the language to be vague or somewhat self-contradictory. For example, the platform states: “We will ensure that personal data receives full constitutional protection from government overreach and that individuals retain the right to control the use of their data by third parties,” which most privacy advocates would agree with. But in the same sentence, the GOP goes on to say: “the only way to safeguard or improve these systems is through the private sector” — an approach Farivar notes most advocacy groups agree has failed.
The strong stance extending to personal data “full constitutional protection from government overreach” also raises questions about how Republicans would respond to Twitter’s argument that the Fourth Amendment protects an Occupy-Wall-Street protester’s private tweets from a court subpoena.
Then again, The Daily Show proved that Republicans don’t necessarily believe that adhering to every part of the GOP platform is mandatory.