Free Press Polls Candidates on ’Net Issues

WASHINGTON — Free Press Action Fund released a 2016 Internet Voter Guide Monday (March 14) providing its take on the candidates views on the issues the net neutrality fan says are most important to Internet voters.

Nobody got particularly high marks on the issue of encryption, with free press saying no candidate has backed "strong, pro-consumer" measures.

"Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio have all challenged Apple’s right to protect the security of its users, and both Democratic candidates vaguely advocated for both parties to work together for a solution," Free Press said. For its part, the group has backed protests of the FBI's legal effort to get Apple to help it access info on the phone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.

The guide also out, for example, that Hillary Clinton in 2015 wrote a piece in support of the FCC's preemption of state laws limiting municipal broadband buildouts, while Ted Cruz wrote the FCC claiming it was a threat to states rights

Other takeaways:

• "While more than 34 million Americans lack truly high-speed Internet at home, Donald Trump and Cruz have been silent on the issue and Gov. John Kasich has suggested that consumers are to blame for high broadband prices. In the Republican field, only Rubio has backed legislation to expand affordable Wi-Fi deployment and further use of unlicensed spectrum for Internet access.

• "Though three-quarters of Americans have either no broadband or no choice of Internet service providers, Cruz and Rubio oppose community broadband networks, which give local businesses and residents alternative options for high-speed Internet access. Neither Trump nor Kasich have articulated positions on the issue.

• "Cruz was one of only four Republicans to sponsor the USA Freedom Act, which curbs some of the government’s mass surveillance powers, and Kasich agreed that it was a “step forward.” When Secretary Hillary Clinton was in the Senate, she cast votes that enabled NSA mass surveillance but has since called on the NSA to be more transparent. Sen. Bernie Sanders has opposed the Patriot Act and stated that he would 'absolutely' end sweeping NSA surveillance. Trump and Rubio are both in favor of government spying on Americans.

• "Cruz, Rubio and Trump all oppose the Net Neutrality protections that millions of Americans fought for: All three Republican contenders have come out against the FCC’s open Internet rules. Both Democratic candidates have advocated for enforcing strong Net Neutrality rules."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.