Highlights from Silicon Beach Congressional Debate


Highlights from Silicon Beach Congressional Debate

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May 22, 2014  (Link)

Four of the leading candidates to replace the retiring Henry Waxman in California’s 33rd Congressional District discussed their views on tech issues with me on Cyber Law and Business Report:

(i) Elan Carr (R) – a gang prosecutor with the LA County District Attorney’s Office; (ii) David Kanuth (D) – a criminal defense attorney and former tech executive; (iii) Ted Lieu (D) – a State Senator and Lt. Col. in the Air Force reserves; and (iv)Marianne Williamson (I) – best-selling author and founder of Project Angel Food.

Each articulated why they would best represent the Silicon Beach tech hub that is in the heart of the district. Matt Miller had to cancel due to a scheduling conflict, while Wendy Greuel never responded to invitations in any form.

Republican Elan Carr stated:

I’m the best candidate in this race for Silicon Beach because I’m the best candidate in this race for business and economic prosperity and job creation – and Silicon Beach is a big part of that.

Carr also praised Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s efforts to increase cyber crime enforcement.

Democrat David Kanuth, who stormed into contention by topping the “front-runners” in early fundraising, stressed:

I think it is important, if you want a different kind of results you need a different kind of leadership. . . . Our problem is not that we are not electing people who don’t have enough political experience, in fact it’s the opposite.

We need real change in Washington, we need a different tone . . .[I offer] real world experience of persuading and moving immovable forces.

Democratic State Senator Ted Lieu holds the distinction as the only “pure geek” in the race, a label he embraced explaining that “as a computer science major I am very aware of technology.” Lieu is sensitive to Silicon Beach concerns about government regulation and believes in regulating with a light touch in this area since “frankly government does not do technology well.”

Lieu stressed that he was the only candidate who “has taken action on a lot of these issues.” On Silicon Beach, Lieu explained:

It’s clear to me, one of the reasons Silicon Beach is growing the way it is, is not just technology but with creativity, innovation and that’s something I want to foster in California as well as the nation.

Marianne Williamson was very energetic in discussing Silicon Beach and her independent candidacy:

Los Angeles is not a place where people come to do the same thing as everyone else. . . Americans are waking up . . We want a candidate to disrupt the status quo.

Net Neutrality

Candidates Kanuth, Lieu and Williamson all strongly supported Net Neutrality. Williamson declared that the “Internet is the last bastion for equal opportunity for expression of opinion or entrepreneurship” due to consolidation flowing from telecommunications “reform” in the 1990’s.

Elan Carr was less emphatic, explaining that it was “important that there be no content based discrimination on the internet”, while adding he opposes any “blanket one-size fits all” solution that does not permit ISPs to manage their traffic.

NSA Reform

The candidates also differed on reforming NSA surveillance practices, with Marianne Williamson favoring an outright ban while Elan Carr stressed that there was a

[t]ension between freedom from government and the freedom that only the government can allow us to have. . . . End of the day we have to keep our citizens safe.

David Kanuth asserted that as criminal defense lawyer, he is only candidate who appreciates the difference between when “Government acts as your friend versus when it acts as your foe.”

Ted Lieu believed that the surveillance program “is completely unconstitutional.” Senator Lieu has introduced legislation to limit state support for such efforts unless there is a warrant.

TPP Fast Track

Elan Carr was the only candidate to embrace the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and using a fast track approval process. The other candidates strongly opposed it with Ms. Williamson calling it a multinational corporate attempt to “override US sovereignty.”

Cyber Security and Privacy

On government’s role in promoting cyber security within the private sector, the candidates believed that at least for the time being the government should focus on incentives rather than mandates.

The candidates also emphasized consumer privacy and believed there needed to be more transparency and consumer choice.

You can listen to the debate at www.siliconbeachdebates.com or download it viaiHeartRadioiTunes, Stitcher or WebmasterRadio.fm.

The slideshow below provides some background on the debate and participating candidates.