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Hillary Clinton on Technology

Secretary of State; previously Democratic Senator (NY)


Condemned China's use of Internet to monitor dissidents

Hillary Clinton had already demonstrated that she was willing to confront China. In 2010, she delivered a speech on the increasingly important and contentious issue of Internet freedom around the world. She criticized various countries' barriers to the free flow of information and their detention of bloggers. In particular, she condemned the use of the Internet to monitor and silence the activities of political and religious dissidents.

She singled out Tunisia and Egypt, but the country to which Clinton devoted the most attention in her speech was China. Later, Google publicly threatened to pull out of China because of cyberattacks on its email system and the targeting of Chinese dissidents and human rights activists. Clinton's response was swift and pointed: She called on the Chinese government to investigate the attacks on Google. Countries that engage in such attacks "should face consequences and international condemnation," she said.

Source: The Obamians, by James Mann, p.245 , Jun 14, 2012

WikiLeaks revealed State Department internal documents

In Nov. 2010, newspapers began publishing classified cables obtained by the website Wikileaks, sent from American embassies around the world to Washington. They represented the State Department's internal reporting on each country, setting forth both facts and opinions that the US government hadn't offered in public.

The media reaction to these stories concentrated heavily on Wikileaks itself, its founder, Julian Assange, and the process by which the cables became public. The substance of the cables got much less attention.

As a result, it was easy to overlook the impact of the Wikileaks cables overseas, particularly in smaller countries where autocratic rulers were described in unflattering terms. [As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton had to deal with those autocratic rulers].

Source: The Obamians, by James Mann, p.255 , Jun 14, 2012

Post-WikiLeaks "Apology Tour" to insulted world leaders

The media reaction to [WikiLeaks] concentrated heavily on Julian Assange. The substance of the cables got much less attention.

As a result, it was easy to overlook the impact of the Wikileaks cables overseas, particularly in smaller countries where autocratic rulers were described in unflattering terms. America's senior officials recognized the significance of the leaks more easily than the media because they were obliged to deal with the fallout--the furious protests from presidents and prime ministers whose foibles and private conversation were brought to light. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who traveled abroad much more often than other senior officials, joked to an aide while on a trip to the Middle East that she should wear a jacket like that of a traveling rock band, bearing an image of a globe with the words "The Apology Tour" surrounding it. "I think I will be answering concerns about Wikileaks for the rest of my life, not just my tenure as secretary of state," Clinton said.

Source: The Obamians, by James Mann, p.255-256 , Jun 14, 2012

PIPA: When information is stifled, Internet is diminished

if SOPA/PIPA are passed, the U.S. government and copyright holders can sue any website associated with infringing intellectual property. For you and me, this means if someone posts a YouTube song, a lyric, or a book quote, an image to our blog, WE could be sued or shut down.

Hillary Clinton captured the problem best in her response to SOPA/PIPA: "When ideas are blocked, information deleted, conversations stifled, and people constrained in their choices, the Internet is diminished for all of us," Clinton stated. "There isn't an economic Internet and a social Internet and a political Internet. There's just the Internet."

This week, SOPA was shelved (though many believe it's not gone for good).

Source: Ali Brown on alibrown.com blog, "Why Care About SOPA/PIPA?" , Jan 18, 2012

WikiLeaks tears at fabric of government

Hillary Clinton blasted the release of confidential diplomatic cables by online whistle-blower WikiLeaks and vowed to ensure that such a breach never happens again. "Let's be clear. This disclosure is not just an attack on America--it's an attack on the international community," Clinton said. Such leaks, she said, "tear at the fabric" of responsible government.

"There is nothing laudable about endangering innocent people, and there is nothing brave about sabotaging the peaceful relations between nations," she added. Clinton emphasized that she wanted to "make it clear to the American people and to our friends and partners that we are taking aggressive steps" to hold those who leaked the documents to account.

WikiLeaks posted more than 250,000 documents online and provided them to [several newspapers] for release. The documents offer an unprecedented look at the American diplomatic process--from 1966 to cables written as recently as this past February.

Source: Scott Neuman on NPR, "Clinton on WikiLeaks" , Nov 29, 2010

Infrastructure investment creates jobs AND improves security

Q: You’ve co-sponsored legislation to establish a national commission on infrastructure. Is our government actually doing anything better at making us collectively safer?

A: We have to make investments in infrastructure. This will create jobs, not only if we once again focus on our bridges, our tunnels, our ports, our airports, our mass transit--it will put millions of people to work--but it is also part of homeland security. We need to have a better infrastructure in order to protect us. And it’s not only the physical infrastructure, it is the virtual infrastructure, like a national broadband system that our police and firefighters can actually access and use to be safe. So I think that we’ve got to look at this, with the disaster that we see, from the levees of New Orleans to the bridge in Minneapolis to what happened to us in New York City on 9/11, as the highest priority, and it will be at the top of my list when I’m president.

Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum , Aug 8, 2007

Fight for interoperable communications for first responders

We have been fighting for interoperable communications since September 12. We have put in legislation. We’ve asked for more money, but when firefighters can’t talk to police officers, when emergency responders can’t talk to each other, we not only saw it on September 11, we saw it again during Hurricane Katrina. What was a natural disaster was turned into a national disgrace, and we need to get the funds directly where they are needed.
Source: 2007 IAFF Presidential Forum in Washington DC , Mar 14, 2007

Introduced CAMRA to study how sex in media affects teens

A 2004 study found that teens who watch a lot of television with sexual content and more likely to initiate intercourse in the following year. Overexposure to highly-sexed television made kids act older--12-year-olds behaved like 14-year-olds.

A decade of new research confirms that heavy exposure to violent and sexually explicit media triggers unhealthy responses from boys and girls alike, regardless of race. But we don’t yet know the full effects of all this technology on our kids. CAMRA, the Children and Media Research Advancement Act, which I introduced in the Senate, would coordinate and fund new research into the effects of viewing and using electronic media, including television, computers, video games, and the Internet, on children.

Source: 2006 intro to It Takes A Village, by H. Clinton, p. xiv&305 , Dec 12, 2006

Innovations make better parent-child connections at distance

Today’s electronic village has certainly complicated the challenge of parenting. When It Takes a Village was published, the Internet was largely the province of scientists; no one owned an iPod; and cell phones weighed as much as bricks. Innovations are now coming at an exponentially faster pace, and media saturates our kids’ lives as never before. Many of these changes are for the good: when I was in college, a phone call home was rare and a flight home, a once-a-year luxury. Now I know parents who see and speak to their kids every day by computer and video hookups, and I think how much Bill would have loved that when he was campaigning. But knowing that one third of kids under six have TVs in their rooms, that the fashion industry is marketing its latest styles to preteen girls, and that predators stalk our children through the World Wide Web makes me thankful to have raised Chelsea in a less media-saturated time.
Source: 2006 intro to It Takes A Village, by H. Clinton, p. xiii-xiv , Dec 12, 2006

Balance Internet freedom of speech against defamation

In 1998, reporters questioned Clinton on how the White House viewed the Internet’s decentralizing effects, in the context of White House sex scandal stories on the web:
Q: I wonder if you think this new Internet media is necessarily an entirely good thing?

A: Every time technology makes an advance, we are all going to have to rethink how we deal with this, because there are always competing values. As exciting as these new developments are, there are a number of serious issues without any kind of editing function or gate-keeping function. What does it mean to have the right to defend your reputation, or to respond to what someone says? I’m a big pro-balance person.

Q: Sounds like you favor regulation.

A: I don’t know enough to know what to be in favor of, because I think it’s one of those new issues we’ve got to address. We’ve got to see whether our existing laws protect people’s right of privacy & protect them against defamation. So I think we have to tread carefully.

Source: Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, by Amanda Carpenter, p.110-112 , Oct 11, 2006

$90M grant for Children and Media Research

One of the roles that government is uniquely capable of playing is providing parents with research on the pop culture industry. I am a strong advocate of federal investment in research regarding the impact on media content on children in particular. I stood with Sens. Brownback, Lieberman and Clinton to introduce a $90 million federal grant program to support research into the effects of viewing and using all types of media--including TV, computer games, and the Internet--on children's physical and psychological development, The Children and Media Research Advancement (CAMRA) Act would establish research into the role of media on the development of children from infancy through adolescence.

There have been thousands of studies investigating the impact of media violence on kids, but little in the area of sexually explicit me

Source: It Takes A Family, by Sen. Rick Santorum, p. 341-342 , Apr 30, 2006

Against charging for e-mail

The debate’s moderator asked Clinton and Lazio: “How you stand on federal bill 602p?” “I have no idea,” Clinton interjected. The moderator went on: “Under the bill that’s now before Congress, the U.S. Postal Service would be able to bill e-mail users 5 cents for each e-mail they send. They want this to help recoup losses of about $230 million a year because of the proliferation of e-mail. So I’m wondering if you would vote for this bill, and do you see the Internet as a source of revenue for the government in the years to come?“

Clinton said she wouldn’t support such legislation, but - ever careful - said she was basing her answer on what the moderator had said. ”Well, based on your description, I wouldn’t vote for that bill,“ Clinton said. ”It sounds burdensome and not justifiable to me.“

The only problem is that the proposed bill, ”602p,“ does not exist. The hoax has circulated widely over the Internet since April 1999, despite continuing attempts to knock it down.

Source: MS-NBC report on debate in Manhattan , Oct 8, 2000

Details of “Bill 602P” hoax

The debate’s moderator asked Clinton and Lazio: “How you stand on federal bill 602p?” The only problem is that the proposed bill, “602p,” does not exist. An advisory on the Postal Service’s Web site put it this way in May 1999: “A completely false rumor concerning the US Postal Service is being circulated on Internet e-mail. A similar hoax occurred recently concerning Canada Post. The e-mail message claims that a ‘Congressman Schnell’ has introduced ‘Bill 602P’ to allow the federal government to impose a 5-cent surcharge on each e-mail message delivered over the Internet. The money would be collected by Internet Service Providers and then turned over to the Postal Service. No such proposed legislation exists.“

The hoax has persisted despite warnings on some House members’ Web sites and despite the fact that ‘602p’ is not a valid designation for a congressional bill, which normally bears the preface of ”H.R.“ in the House and ”S“ in the Senate. Nor is there any member of Congress named Schnell.

Source: MS-NBC report on debate in Manhattan , Oct 8, 2000

Increase spending for libraries

We live in an information age when every New Yorker’s future depends on his command of that ever growing store of knowledge. This is a time to strengthen, to modernize, and to invest in our libraries. As Senator, I would fight for new initiatives that increase funding for construction, technology, and updating critical resources of our public and school libraries.
Source: Speech before NY Library Association, Albany , Mar 15, 2000

Equal opportunity will bridge the digital divide

America faces a capital, educational & digital divide that needs to be bridged, especially to help minorities move forward in the 21st century. The lack of equal opportunity for access to capital and jobs is one of the unfinished pieces of business from the last century. We should support tax credits & incentives and government guaranteed loans to leverage billions in new private investment and reduce the initial risk for businesses that agree to hang out their shingles in areas of high unemployment.
Source: (X-ref Welfare) Paul Hirschkorn, CNN.com , Jan 12, 2000

We can do more for New York’s biotechnology industry

All the elements are here, but much needs to be done to translate the state’s leadership in research to leadership in commercial applications. We need to promote the partnerships needed between business and research, between business and government to keep the fruits of New York’s innovations in-state.
Source: Biotechnology conference in Manhattan , Nov 8, 1999

Train teachers to use technology in classrooms

The federal government [should] expand resources for high quality professional development opportunities, including more specialized training to use technology in the classrooms. There are so many of my friends who are teachers that are the first to admit, like so many of us who are parents, that we cannot keep up with the technology that our children are able to master. And so our teachers need more support and opportunities to do that.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida , Jul 5, 1999

Voted NO on restoring $550M in funding for Amtrak for 2007.

An amendment to provide an additional $550,000,000 for Amtrak for fiscal year 2007. Voting YEA would increase Amtrak funding from $900 million to $1.45 billion. Voting NAY would keep Amtrak funding at $900 million.
Reference: Santorum amendment to Transportation funding bill; Bill S.Amdt.3015 to S.Con.Res.83 ; vote number 2006-052 on Mar 15, 2006

Voted YES on disallowing FCC approval of larger media conglomerates.

Vote to pass a joint resolution expressing congressional disapproval of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission. The rule would therefore have no force or effect. The rule in question deals with broadcast media ownership and would allow media conglomerates to own more television stations and newspapers.
Reference: FCC Media Ownership bill; Bill S J Res 17/H.J.RES.72 ; vote number 2003-348 on Sep 16, 2003

Chief information officer to digitize federal government.

Clinton adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

Performance-Based Government
The strong anti-government sentiments of the early 1990s have subsided, but most Americans still think government is too bureaucratic, too centralized, and too inefficient.

In Washington and around the country, a second round of “reinventing government” initiatives should be launched to transform public agencies into performance-based organizations focused on bottom-line results. Many public services can be delivered on a competitive basis among public and private entities with accountability for results. Public-private partnerships should become the rule, not the exception, in delivering services. Civic and voluntary groups, including faith-based organizations, should play a larger role in addressing America’s social problems.

When the federal government provides grants to states and localities to perform public services, it should give the broadest possible administrative flexibility while demanding and rewarding specific results. Government information and services at every level should be thoroughly “digitized,” enabling citizens to conduct business with public agencies online.

Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC8 on Aug 1, 2000

Fund nanotechnology research & development.

Clinton co-sponsored the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act

    Requires the President to implement a National Nanotechnology Program to:
  1. establish the goals, priorities, and metrics for evaluation for Federal nanotechnology research, development, and other activities;
  2. invest in Federal research and development programs in nanotechnology and related sciences to achieve those goals; and
  3. provide for interagency coordination of Federal nanotechnology activities undertaken pursuant to the Program.
H.R.766 is the corresponding House bill. Became Public Law No: 108-153.
Source: Bill sponsored by 18 Senators and 27 Reps 03-S189 on Jan 16, 2003

Facilitate nationwide 2-1-1 phone line for human services.

Clinton sponsored facilitating nationwide 2-1-1 phone line for human services

A bill to facilitate nationwide availability of 2-1-1 telephone service for information and referral on human services & volunteer services. Congress makes the following findings:

  1. The FCC has assigned 2-1-1 as the national telephone number for information and referral on human services.
  2. 2-1-1 facilitates critical connections between families seeking services, including community-based and faith-based organizations.
  3. There are approximately 1,500,000 nonprofit organizations in the US [which would be listed in the 2-1-1 service].
  4. Government funding supports well-intentioned programs that are not fully utilized because of a lack of access to such programs.
  5. A national cost-benefit analysis estimates a net value to society of a national 2-1-1 system approaching $130,000,000 in the first year alone.
  6. While 69% of the population has access to 2-1-1 telephone service from a land line in 41 States, inadequate funding prevents access to that telephone service throughout each of the States.
  7. 2-1-1 telephone service facilitates the availability of a single repository where comprehensive data on all community services is collected & maintained.

Introductory statement by Sponsor:

Sen. CLINTON: In the immediate aftermath of the devastation of September 11, most people did not know where to turn for information about their loved ones. Fortunately for those who knew about it, 2-1-1 was already operating in Connecticut, and it was critical in helping identify the whereabouts of victims, connecting frightened children with their parents, providing information on terrorist suspects, and linking ready volunteers with victims.

Every single American should have a number they can call to cut through the chaos of an emergency. That number is 2-1-1. It's time to make our citizens and our country safer by making this resource available nationwide.

Source: Calling for 2-1-1 Act (S.211 and H.R.211) 07-HR211 on Jan 9, 2007

Ensure net neutrality: no corporate-tiered Internet.

Clinton co-sponsored ensuring net neutrality: no corporate-tiered Internet

Sen. DORGAN. "The issue of Internet freedom is also known as net neutrality. I have long fought in Congress against media concentration, to prevent the consolidation of control over what Americans see in the media. Now, Americans face an equally great threat to the democratic vehicle of the Internet, which we have always taken for granted as an open and free engine for creative growth.

"The Internet became a robust engine of economic development by enabling anyone with a good idea to connect to consumers and compete on a level playing field for consumers' business. The marketplace picked winners and losers, and not some central gatekeeper.

"But now we face a situation where the FCC has removed nondiscrimination rules that applied to Internet providers for years. Broadband operators soon thereafter announced their interest in acting in discriminatory ways, planning to create tiers on the Internet that could restrict content providers' access to the Internet unless they pay extra for faster speeds or better service. Under their plan, the Internet would become a new world where those content providers who can afford to pay special fees would have better access to consumers.

"This fundamentally changes the way the Internet has operated and threaten to derail the democratic nature of the Internet. American consumers and businesses will be worse off for it. Today we introduce the Internet Freedom Preservation Act to ensure that the Internet remains a platform that spawns innovation and economic development for generations to come."

Source: Internet Freedom Preservation Act (S.215) 2007-S215 on Jan 9, 2007

Overturn FCC approval of media consolidation.

Clinton co-sponsored overturning FCC approval of media consolidation

Congressional Summary:Disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on February 22, 2008, relating to broadcast media ownership. Declares that the rule shall have no force or effect.

Proponents' Argument in Favor:Sen. DORGAN: The FCC loosened the ban on cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations. We seek with this resolution of disapproval to reverse the FCC's fast march to ease media ownership rules. The FCC has taken a series of destructive actions in the past two decades that I believe have undermined the public interest. [Now they have given] a further green light to media concentration.

The FCC voted to allow cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations in the top 20 markets, with loopholes for mergers outside of the top 20 markets. The newspapers would be allowed to buy stations ranked above fifth and above.

The rule change was framed as a modest compromise. But make no mistake, this is a big deal. As much as 44% of the population lives in the top 20 markets. The last time the FCC tried to do this, in 2003, the Senate voted to block it.

This rule will undercut localism and diversity of ownership around the country. Studies show that removing the ban on newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership results in a net loss in the amount of local news produced in the market as a whole. In addition, while the FCC suggests that cross-ownership is necessary to save failing newspapers, the publicly traded newspapers earn annual rates of return between 16% and 18%.

This Resolution of Disapproval will ensure this rule change has no effect. This is again a bipartisan effort to stop the FCC from destroying the local interests that we have always felt must be a part of broadcasting.

Source: S.J.RES.28&H.J.RES.79 2008-SJR28 on Mar 5, 2008

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Page last updated: Mar 14, 2014