Presumptive presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, firing the first shot in a bid to capture Silicon Valley's vote, released a comprehensive technology strategy she’s said to follow if she wins the presidency. For the most part, it was a hit among industry leaders.
The 15-page policy report contains a list of ambitious goals, including universal broadband for U.S. homes by 2020, continued support of net neutrality policies, infrastructure support for 5G data networks, an expansion of public Wi-Fi at transportation hubs, a general softening of tech regulation, a streamlined path to citizenship for foreign students earning STEM degrees in the U.S., and student loan relief for young entrepreneurs.
"We are encouraged to see that Secretary Clinton understands the value of the Internet to the U.S. economy — both domestically and as an export," Internet Association spokesman Noah Theran said. "The Internet sector is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, employs nearly 3 million Americans, and represents 6 percent of GDP."
In addition Clinton proposed a federal government program to counteract a general cooling of financing and loans from banks for start-up businesses and venture capital funds.
She called on government “supporting incubators, accelerators, mentoring and training for 50,000 entrepreneurs in underserved areas."
In contrast, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has been mum on any policy proposals toward technology. He has, however, gone out of his way to attack influential tech execs including Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Apple's Tim Cook. Silicon Valley is also not fond of Trump's emphasis on protectionist business policies and his most likely negative impact on immigration, which the tech industry relies on for skilled workers.
“Given the critical importance of our sector, it's encouraging that Secretary Clinton is taking the initiative as the first major presidential candidate in this election cycle to put technology and innovation issues front-and-center in the national policy debate," Consumer Technology Association president Gary Shapiro said in a statement. "Technology and innovation are major drivers of the U.S. economy and provide hope for the future by creating jobs, leading our nation’s competitiveness and providing solutions to global challenges. We encourage the other presidential candidates to soon follow suit and lay out their agendas to support innovation and the U.S. tech economy."
Clinton's efforts to woo the tech world set her up in direct contrast with the Obama administration's sometimes contentious relationship with tech in areas of digital privacy when it comes to government surveillance and investigations.
Still, Silicon Valley for the most part supported Obama's initiatives as the president hosted regular brainstorming dinners with leading tech execs, who helped shape some of the administration's proposals on immigration, regulation and infrastructure. Clinton, through her proposals, seems poised to accelerate Washington's relationship with Silicon Valley.