Joe Biden’s Technology Voting Record

Learning more about Joe Biden’s voting record on various tech issues has not improved my mood. (My Inner Child is disillusioned enough, thank you…)

My initial reaction to Barack Obama’s choice of Joe Biden as his nominee for VP was pretty positive. Senator Biden has always seemed like a “good guy”, and I’ve found his outrage at various Bush Administration antics to be both amusing reassuring.

(In these times, it really does seem that “if you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention”… Biden is at least paying attention.)

But it seems maybe I was not… Declan McCullagh has an excellent Iconoclast post, discussing Joe Biden’s pro-RIAA, pro-FBI tech voting record.

I really failed to grasp what a central figure Biden has been in some of the major “freedom and privacy” fights over the last decade or so, and not in a good way.

On a number of issues relating to encryption, copyright law, government surveillance, and the cloud of Freedom Fail that is the Patriot Act, Senator Biden has come down on the side of restriction, censorship, and government control. Of course, positions do change, and some of the article’s examples are from some time back, but the list is not at all comforting.

(Hey, Jon Stewart! You’ve talked to the man… Next time, ask about all this, ok? We’re depending on you.)

I was very unhappy with Senator Obama’s vote to give retroactive immunity to telecoms in the FISA bill. My hope that he’d be bringing us something other than business as usual is back to near Zero.

Rather than engage in a real debate, it’s just easier to allow the administration to set every such issue on a firm foundation of Fear, Uncertainty, and Dread. The people should be afraid of terrorists, and the politicians afraid of being branded as soft on terrorists. So afraid, in fact, that that we all forget that the point of this “American Experiment” was Freedom, and that the founding fathers were themselves very clear that this goal was not the path of quiet and safety.

Anyway, very displeased… there is just no way to get from Obama’s earlier statements on the matter to his vote in favor of this.

I’m pleased that Biden voted against the bill, in light of his other votes in this area, but I have little faith that anything useful is likely to happen regarding FISA.


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