Most of us might look at our politicians like computer illiterate dinosaurs of a bygone era. But Hillary Clinton wants to make it very clear to voters she is pro-technology. To show it, the presumptive Democratic nominee just released a technology plan which pretty much reads like a love letter to Silicon Valley.
In the Initiative on Technology & Innovation released July 27th, Clinton says she wants every US household to get high speed internet by 2020. She supports current net neutrality rules and believes Internet providers don’t have a right to throttle internet speeds. She wants to increase investment in STEM education and calls for greater diversity in the process.
While continuing on much of the progress made under the Obama administration, Clinton takes a few steps further in her approach to fostering startup entrepreneurship. She proposes a “start-up visa” like what Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us political action group has proposed for foreign founders who want to start their businesses in the U.S. And in an initiative to tackle student debt, the founders of a startup as well as up to 20 employees can defer payment of their loans for three years.
“Hillary believes that with the right public policies, we can ensure that technology is a force for broad-based growth, reducing social and economic inequality, and securing American leadership on the global stage.” the plan states loftily.
Released on July 27th, the 15-page treatise received an expectedly welcome reception among the tech elite.
“No doubt, lots of good stuff included in Secretary Clinton’s tech agenda,” said Bobby Franklin, CEO of National Venture Capital Association. “If the details are as good as the blueprint, we would be very supportive of this type of agenda in a Hillary Clinton Administration.”
Of course, writing up a plan at this point is one thing. Getting the proposals past a potentially Republican-held legislature is another. Anis Uzzaman, CEO of Fenox Venture Capital, had a more cautiously optimistic reaction. “What she has proposed is ambitious and may not be approved right away, but it sets a good starting point.”
And on some points, Clinton is being criticized for not going far enough.
“We urge the Clinton campaign to do more to recognize Americans’ serious concerns about unchecked spying and surveillance,” Craig Aaron, president and CEO of the Free Press Action Fund, said in a statement.
Others speculate the proposal is Clinton’s way of returning the favor to her most high-profile donors in the technology industry. Something she is accused of doing regularly in Peter Schweizer’s New York Times bestselling book, Clinton Cash.
Still, it’s a very detailed look at what we might expect from a Clinton presidency. It gives us much more insight than anything out of the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump, who has yet to release a technology plan of his own.
In absence of a proposal, experts speculate on his policy based on his anti-immigration and pro-censorship stances. And the rhetoric has people worried. According to Crowdpac, which measures campaign contributions, of the 35,234 tech industry members analyzed in the study, only 52 donors have contributed to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
It’s no wonder Clinton is using the opportunity to roll out the welcome mat to tech leaders and voters.