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Clinton’s tech policy proposal sounds like a love letter to Silicon Valley

Marc Benioff and Hillary Clinton at Salesforce.com's Dreamforce 2014 Conference. At right is Klaus Schwab.
Tim Mosenfelder | Getty Images
Marc Benioff and Hillary Clinton at Salesforce.com's Dreamforce 2014 Conference. At right is Klaus Schwab.

Silicon Valley loves Hillary Clinton. Or at least they like her a lot more than they like Donald Trump.

And Hillary Clinton, based on her Bay Area fundraising tours and newly leaked tech policy proposals, loves Silicon Valley back.

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Her "Initiative on Technology & Innovation," unveiled today, includes the following items that sound as though they were hand-crafted to win Silicon Valley's heart, votes and fundraising dollars:

  • Affordable, high-speed internet in all American households by the end of her first term.
  • A commitment to defend the principles of net neutrality and recent FCC rulings in favor of it.
  • Investment in computer science and STEM education, like offering more computer science classes and training 50,000 teachers in related subjects.
  • Diversifying the tech workforce and funding tech and STEM education at historically black colleges and universities.
  • A student loan deferment program for entrepreneurs with the option to forgive up to $17,500 in debt if they launch a business "that [operates] in distressed communities, or social enterprises that provide measurable social impact and benefit."
  • A blue-ribbon commission on digital security and encryption, which sounds like a neat way to avoid infuriating the military, law enforcement and the tech industry.
  • A "high-level" working group consisting of "experts, business and labor leaders" to tackle the Uber-style gig economy.
  • Like many such campaign documents, this is filled with carrots and very few sticks. The thornier issues — encryption, labor protection and the so-called "sharing economy" — are getting placed in working groups that can be fussed about later.
  • Last week, a number of Silicon Valley notables like Sheryl Sandberg, Reid Hoffman and Marc Benioff officially endorsed Clinton. Donald Trump notwithstanding, this document is a pretty good idea of why.

Like many such campaign documents, this is filled with carrots and very few sticks. The thornier issues — encryption, labor protection and the so-called "sharing economy" — are getting placed in working groups that can be fussed about later.

Last week, a number of Silicon Valley notables like Sheryl Sandberg, Reid Hoffman and Marc Benioff officially endorsed Clinton. Donald Trump notwithstanding, this document is a pretty good idea of why.

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