Federal Communications Commissioner Robert M. McDowell was in Nashville Thursday, March 31, for a one-on-one discussion with former FCC Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate on the latest political developments in digital technology and its effects on our lives and incomes.
Tennessean Q & A with Commissioner McDowell
Lumination video of McDowell's March 31 comments
McDowell’s discussion, exploring the legal issues surrounding various issues such as cybersecurity, online safety for children, net neutrality and broadband expansion, was the first in a four-part series, Leadership and Civility in the Digital Age, moderated by Tate, who served on the FCC from 2006-2009 and is currently a Lipscomb executive-in-residence.
Recent events in the Middle East and Japan have made it clear that digital technology is an unstoppable force shaping our culture, our economy and our future, McDowell said prior to the event.
“While we must allow and encourage the unleashing of exciting new ways to communicate here and around the world, we must also educate and empower our citizens – but especially our children – to be safe, responsible online citizens,” McDowell said. “I am delighted to have the opportunity to be back in Nashville again and especially to join former Commissioner Tate in this series of important forums regarding technology and its effect on our economy, our communities and our families.”
McDowell, a Republican, was appointed to a seat on the FCC by President George W. Bush in 2006 and reappointed to the Commission by President Barack Obama in 2009. He brings 16 years of private sector experience in the communications industry. He has worked to increase competition and help consumers enjoy the benefits of more choices, lower prices and useful innovations by creating opportunities for creation of new technology delivery platforms.
Leadership and Civility in the Digital Age will include four free sessions featuring a panel of local and national experts moderated by Tate. Each will explore how technology has affected leadership, community and citizenship.
“Is it fitting for this series to kick off with a community forum to hear first-hand about the issues being hotly debated in Washington – connecting policy and policymakers to the real world,” said Tate, who was known as the “children’s commissioner.” “The FCC plays a role in almost every aspect of our daily lives from mobile devices to emergency preparedness to our leadership in the global communications sector. Commissioner McDowell, who exemplifies civility, integrity and vision, is precisely the type of leader who launch this community series.”
The remaining installments of Leadership and Civility in a Digital Age series, all moderated by Tate, include:
Raising and Protecting a Digital Native
April 5, 7 p.m., Ezell Center
Featuring via Skype, Jim Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media, a foundation dedicated to educating, empowering and protecting families in the digital world and a panel of experts from Centerstone who deal with cyberbullying, online privacy concerns and health issues related to Internet use on a daily basis.
Building Community Through Technology
April 12, 7 p.m., Ezell Center
Featuring Carter Andrews, Nashville entrepreneur and founder of Not Alone, a Centerstone affiliate that includes an on-line community serving soldiers and their families impacted by combat stress. Local and national leaders will focus on how technology can shape and serve strong communities.
Digital Citizenship and the First Amendment
April 26, 7 p.m., Ezell Center
Featuring Gene Policinski, senior vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center, discussing the tenets of the First Amendment – religion, speech, press, assembly and petition – and how all have been affected in a digital world.
Leadership and Civility in the Digital Age is a project of the Nelson and Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership, an organization devoted to building on the legacy of Nashville leader Nelson Andrews by engaging government, business and not-for-profit leaders in collaborative projects for the common good.
“Thriving communities require the free flow of information and equitable access to current communication technology, however it evolves,” said Linda Peek Schacht, executive director of the institute. “We are fortunate to have a former and a current FCC commissioner to help us understand the public policy that affects our ability as communities and individuals to be informed and connected.”
“We work hard to prepare our communication students to face a rapidly changing media world that often moves faster than they can. Parents and the community need those skills to face rapid change just as much, if not more,” said Craig Carroll, chair of Lipscomb’s communication and journalism department. “We are excited to be a part of this effort to inform and strengthen our local community members as the digital world takes over huge aspects of their lives.”