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By Bruce Sussman
Wed | Sep 30, 2020 | 8:28 AM PDT

You probably won't see any campaign commercials on these topics, but they will impact how the United States and the world operates after the 2020 presidential election. 

This is a rapid read on where President Trump and former Vice President Biden stand on cybersecurity, encryption, internet governance, and privacy.

Where are we getting this information?

In every presidential election since 2008, the non-partisan Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) has examined the two major candidates' positions on a host of issues. So that is the source of our data.

Trump vs. Biden on cybersecurity

The ITIF report breaks down cybersecurity to a few bullet points on each side. Here they are.

President Trump on cybersecurity:

• Has signed executive orders on cybersecurity that have aimed to
improve cybersecurity for federal networks, critical infrastructure,
and the nation, as well as strengthen the federal cybersecurity workforce.

• Has given U.S. Cyber Command more freedom to engage in offensive hacking operations.

• The Trump administration's National Cyber Strategy has called
for using the power of the purse to drive sector-wide improvements in cybersecurity, and developing and implementing standards in
emerging areas such as quantum-resistant public key cryptography.

Former Vice President Biden on cybersecurity:

• Has called for "cybersecurity improvements to make smart grids
more resilient to attacks."

• The 2020 Democratic Platform calls for a Biden administration to
"maintain American capabilities that can deter cyber threats" and
"work with other countries—and the private sector—to protect individuals' data and defect critical infrastructure."

Trump vs. Biden on internet governance

President Trump on internet governance:

• The Trump administration has launched the "Clean Network"
initiative, which includes efforts to restrict sensitive personal
information and confidential business information from being
stored in China, restrict U.S. companies from making their
mobile apps available in Chinese app stores, and remove Chinese
apps from U.S. mobile app stores.

Vice President Biden on internet governance:

• The 2020 Democratic Platform states, "We will recommit the
United States to the principles of an open internet… and vigorously
oppose efforts to digitally silo off countries and populations from the
rest of the world."

Trump vs. Biden on encryption

When it comes to the encryption debate, President Trump has been silent for a long time, according to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation report. And the ITIF says Biden hasn't said anything about it.

Trump on encryption:

• Has not taken a position on encryption while in office. As a
candidate in 2016, criticized Apple for opposing a government order to assist with decrypting the mobile phone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.

• Within Trump's administration, Attorney General Barr has been an
outspoken critic of "warrantless encryption."

Biden on encryption:

• N/A

Trump vs. Biden on data privacy

Lastly, let's look at what the report uncovered about the presidential contenders and their views on digital privacy.

Trump position on data privacy:

• Supports national consumer privacy legislation with "the
appropriate balance between privacy and prosperity."

• Supported legislation that allow consumers to protect their private
information by placing a security freeze on their credit files.

Biden position on data privacy:

• Has said, "We should be worried about the lack of privacy [on tech
platforms]," and "we should be setting standards not unlike the
Europeans are doing relative to privacy."

• The 2020 Democratic Platform calls for passing federal data
privacy legislation, in particular expanding privacy protections for

• The 2020 Democratic Platform calls for updating the Electronic
Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to give digital content the
same privacy protections as physical content.

Where can I read more about Trump and Biden positions on technology?

We've intentionally focused on just four topic areas so you could do a rapid read on Trump and Biden and their positions. However, the ITIF report covers a slew of technology and innovation topics and is more than 20 pages long.

It concludes with this statement:

"Even in this intense election season, policymakers must work harder to develop a bipartisan consensus around the need to advance a serious and comprehensive competitiveness, innovation, and productivity strategy for the United States."

You can read the report for yourself (PDF): Trump vs. Biden: Comparing the Candidates' Positions on Technology and Innovation