Newt the libertarian on technology issues?
. . . Twenty years ago, Gingrich’s appreciation of technology was more novel among Republicans, showing that there was a conservative libertarian interest in preserving the burgeoning Internet from efforts to regulate it. The 1995 Wired magazine cover interview was headlined “Friend and Foe.” At the time, Gingrich talked up the transformative power of the Internet and a world where schools and hospitals would be wired.
Media in his home state dubbed him “Newt Skywalker.”
As House speaker, Gingrich marshaled forces on issues such as data scrambling technologies, freedom of speech on the Internet and securities litigation reform. He helped launch Thomas, the Library of Congress website that provides information about bills. He started the High Technology Working Group, now the Technology Working Group, composed of Republican leaders involved in a wide swath of tech issues.
Gingrich is "sensitive to innovation, to job creation, to startups and not having the government doing — but getting out of the away," said McNealy, who is now chairman of social media startup Wayin. Gingrich "is a spectacular idea guy."
Some of the early, libertarian-leaning views that won him fans in Silicon Valley were potential time bombs with the GOP faithful, but he stood his ground. In 1996, Gingrich — then the speaker of the House — resisted an attempt to fight porn on the Internet.
When the Senate began to push for the Communications Decency Act of 1996, Gingrich put up a road block that helped to undermine the act, which was later struck down by the Supreme Court. The act, introduced by then-Sen. Jim Exon (D-Neb.), would have made indecent materials on the Internet illegal and made intermediaries — such as Internet service providers — responsible for policing content on the Web. . . .