Issue Position: Technology - Ensuring the Personal Security and Privacy of Americans in the Digital Age
"All Americans benefit enormously from the development of advanced technologies and the free flow of information on the Internet, whether for business, personal use, or social causes. The digital age has created economic growth, encouraged more robust speech and political participation, and served as a platform for education and advancement. But, the infinite social and economic opportunities created by digital age rely on the full participation of individual Americans. To fully realize these promises, we must all feel confident that today's technologies can be used safely, securely, and in a way that protects our privacy." -- John McCain
I. JOHN McCAIN ON PERSONAL SECURITY AND PRIVACY
John McCain has the core beliefs, experience, and record necessary to ensure the personal security and privacy of Americans in the digital age. He has dedicated his adult life to the protection of our Nation's security, and over the past decade in the U.S. Senate, John McCain has lead the effort to address challenges such as protecting our children online, our privacy and our sensitive personal information from theft, fraud and abuse.
John McCain believes that:
Americans value personal security and privacy, and wish to protect ourselves and loved ones, especially our children, from all threats;
The Internet and other, advanced technologies can deliver many benefits to society, but sometimes can also pose new threats;
Americans will fully embrace new technologies and utilize their potential only when they are confident that these new advances can be used safely and securely;
Our government can and must help foster more secure technologies and the adoption of safe computing practices to help establish a culture of greater personal security;
American industry must continue to lead the world in digital technology and innovation;
Maintaining the agility and flexibility to provide appropriate protections for users of the Internet and other technologies must exist in an environment of effective self-regulation;
The development of a culture of personal security will contribute to the economic and social well-being of our people. The free flow of information used responsibly and with accountability bring great benefits to us and generations to come;
An effective combination of consumer education, technological innovation, and increased law enforcement are necessary to providing personal security for Americans in the digital age.
II. THE NEED FOR PERSONAL SECURITY IN THE DIGITAL AGE
Americans embrace innovation and the free flow of information that together have produced enormous economic and social progress.
America has been a leader in each and every economic revolution, embracing innovation and change. We have a long history of developing and employing new technologies, new business models, and new ways of communicating. The United States has led the world in seeking better ways to improve the lives of millions both at home and abroad. It is founded on entrepreneurial spirit, a willingness to meet challenges and change, and its ability to create wealth and opportunity through ingenuity and hard work.
Every day Americans benefit from the unprecedented development of advanced technologies and the free flow of information on the Internet and other shared networks. The digital age in which we live has created economic growth, encouraged more robust speech and political participation, and served as a platform for education and advancement.
The economic promise of the digital age will be fulfilled with the participation of every American, who must feel confident that we can take advantage of all that technology has to offer and do so safely. When the personal security and privacy of Americans are threatened, and not met by an appropriate preventive or remedial response, the public's confidence in technology and its economic and societal benefits will lie at risk.
Ensuring the personal security of Americans in digital age is vital to the continued growth and advancement of our economy and society.
Americans have become concerned increasingly about the misuse of the Internet and other technologies by predators and other criminals who seek to harm us and our children. There is rising concern with protecting financial, medical and other personal data from theft, other misuse and loss.
The federal government must display greater leadership to stop digital predators. It can do so by vigilantly enforcing laws designed to protect Americans' personal security and privacy, promoting educational efforts among consumers and in our schools, providing incentives for continued investment by American industry in the development of more secure technologies, and encouraging personal responsibility in our society to recognize and defuse threats.
Businesses know that people must continue to feel safe and secure in their use of technology. Industry must be proactive to help protect individual Americans from the ever-present threats posed by advanced technology through security tools, effective self-regulation, and educational initiatives.
III. PRINCIPLES FOR PERSONAL SECURITY AND PRIVACY IN THE DIGITAL AGE
As President, John McCain will make ensuring the personal security of Americans a top priority of his administration.
John McCain believes that everyone has a role to play in establishing a culture of personal security that will help all Americans realize the promise of the digital age. No single group can accomplish this goal, but together we can ensure that our technologies can be used safely, securely and in a manner that protects our citizens and the civil liberties we so cherish. Major actors in this effort must include:
Government -- Government must promote a culture of personal security through consumer education initiatives, incentives for the development of secure technologies, and stronger enforcement of laws to protect our citizens, particularly children.
Industry -- American industry must continue to lead the world in the development of more secure technologies and responses to new threats. Among other things, industry must exert appropriate efforts to protect sensitive personal information and prevent unintentional loss or theft. Industry also must pursue effective self-regulation and continue informing and educating consumers about the collection and use of personal information.
Parents -- Parents must educate themselves on the tools available to them for protecting their children, and they should help educate their children concerning the dangers associated with advanced technologies.
Schools -- Schools must develop curricula for students that foster responsible, safe and secure uses of the Internet, and commit to a culture of security for all involved in the digital technology age.
Children -- Children must learn to not only use new technological devices but also how to maintain their personal security and protect their privacy when using them.
IV. BUILDING ON A RECORD OF SUCCESS
John McCain is uniquely qualified to ensure that our Nation is secure from the threats posed by those who seek to perpetrate fraud, deception, and physical harm by violating our personal security and privacy.
As Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, John McCain regularly and closely examined the latest technological threats to consumers and children through Committee hearings and investigations. John McCain's years of leadership in this challenging environment are evidenced by his record of authoring and advancing - on a bipartisan basis - several significant new laws that have helped improve the personal security of our people.
John McCain has been a leader in the advancement of public policy in the U.S. Senate to improve the personal security of Americans in the digital age, and he will continue to advance such policies as President. His efforts include:
1998 - McCain co-authored the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) governing the online collection of information about children younger than 13 years of age and giving parents greater control. COPPA became law in 2000.
1999 - McCain authored the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requiring libraries and schools receiving federal funding to filter, from their computers with Internet access, pornography and other material considered harmful and inappropriate to minors. CIPA was signed into law in 2000 and upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court in 2003.
2000 - McCain authored the Consumer Internet Privacy Enhancement Act requiring Internet websites to post privacy policies regarding the collection and use of consumers' information. The bill and subsequent hearings on online privacy spurred the top commercial websites to post consumer privacy policies.
2002 - McCain co-authored the Driver's License Fraud Prevention Act prohibiting the display of social security numbers on state-issued driver's licenses, motor vehicle registrations and other state identification cards. This provision was included in the National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004, also co-authored by Senator McCain, which became law on December 17, 2004.
2003 - McCain led in creating the FTC's "Do-Not-Call" telemarketing registry to allow consumers to opt out of receiving telemarketing calls. And, when the law was challenged in court, McCain led the effort to ensure that it was upheld.
2003 - McCain co-authored the CAN-SPAM Act to regulate the sending of unsolicited commercial e-mail ("spam") to consumers and enable them to opt out of receiving such email. CAN-SPAM was signed into law in 2003 and became effective in 2004.
2004 - McCain co-authored the National Intelligence Reform Act, in which Congress adopted the majority of the recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission, including reforms to protect the personal security of individuals, including the creation of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, the designation of privacy and civil liberties officers in the federal government, and other consumer privacy protections such as the prohibition of social security numbers on state driver's licenses noted above.
2005 - McCain co-authored the ID Theft Protection Act to set federal standards for business' protection of consumers' personal and financial data and notification to consumers in the event any data security breach creates a risk that they may become victims of identity theft.
2005 - McCain co-authored the U.S. SAFE WEB Act to provide the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with the essential authority to combat fraud perpetrated on Americans from locations beyond our Nation's borders. The Act was signed into law in 2006.
2007 - McCain authored the Securing Adolescents From Exploitation-Online (SAFE) Act to enhance reporting of online child pornography.
2007 - McCain co-authored the Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators (KIDS) Act to require convicted sex offenders to register their e-mail and instant message addresses with the National Sex Offender Registry. The Senate passed the Act unanimously in May 2008.