Hillary Clinton’s Initiative on Technology & Innovation

Today’s dynamic and competitive global economy demands an ambitious national commitment to technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. America led the world in the internet revolution, and, today, technology and the internet are transforming nearly every sector of our economy—from manufacturing and transportation, to energy and healthcare. Hillary Clinton’s priority is to harness the power of technology and innovation so that it works for all Americans, creating good-paying jobs throughout the country. Doing this right will not only boost economic growth, it will lead to immeasurable social benefits—home monitoring options for seniors will improve health outcomes and relieve pressures on family members; interoperable and next-generation public safety systems will mean faster response times and safer communities; smarter transportation networks will lead to less congestion, fewer accidents, and lower energy costs; and widely-deployed digital infrastructure will allow for wrap-around learning for our students in the home and in our schools. 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.

Today, Hillary is announcing a Tech & Innovation Agenda with five key parts. First, her plan will leverage technology to create good-paying jobs on Main Street—through new commitments in computer science and STEM education, support for entrepreneurial ecosystems, and other policies to build the human capital pipeline. Second, her plan will deliver high-speed broadband to all Americans, hook up public places like airports and stations—and enable them to offer free WiFi—and lay the groundwork for the next generation of the mobile internet and the Internet of Things.   Third, her agenda will ensure America remains the global leader in technology, by promoting more high-tech exports and ensuring the free flow of data. Fourth, her plan will establish rules of the road to support innovation—rules that foster healthy competition, reduce barriers to entry, and effectively protect intellectual property—while safeguarding privacy and security. Fifth, her plan will make our government smarter, more efficient, and more responsive, using new technologies to deliver real results for the American people.


Hillary’s technology agenda is focused on creating good jobs in communities across America. Entrepreneurship and innovation are fundamental to our future economic growth—not just in the information technology (IT) industry, but in energy, manufacturing, transportation, health, retail, services, and countless other sectors. New technologies are already transforming our economy, and they have the power to generate trillions in economic output.[1] Hillary believes we must harness these forces so that they create higher-paying jobs across the country, bring more people into the workforce, and reduce inequality. To do this, we need to educate our people and train our workforce; support entrepreneurship and promote inclusion in the digital economy; attract and retain talented people from all over the world; and invest in research and development, as well as in getting ideas to market. Specifically, Hillary will:

  • Invest in Computer Science and STEM Education: A new generation of potential scientists, engineers, coders, and mathematicians are learning in classrooms across America right now. But too few are getting the high-quality education they need to succeed, especially in computer science and STEM fields. Less than one in five high school students has ever taken a computer science course—a figure that has fallen by 24 percent over the past two decades[2]—and only 7% of our nation’s high schools even offer the Advanced Placement course in Computer Science.[3] Meanwhile, there were over half a million good-paying tech jobs unfilled last year[4]—and by 2020, there will be 1.4 million computer-science related jobs in America, with only 400,000 computer science graduates to fill them.[5] When our young people aren’t learning cutting-edge skills, this not only holds them back, but limits our collective potential as a nation. That is why Hillary will:
  • Provide Every Student in America an Opportunity to Learn Computer Science: Hillary supports the Obama Administration’s “Computer Science Education for All” initiative to ensure that all public school students in America have access to rigorous computer science education by the time they graduate within 5 years. Hillary will build on the Administration’s initiative by launching the next generation of Investing in Innovation (“i3”) grants—as sustained in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) as the Education Innovation and Research Program. She will double our investment in the program, and establish a 50 percent set-aside for scaling CS Education innovations. These new computer science grants (“CS-i3 grants”) will help scale instruction and lesson programs that are demonstrated to improve student achievement or increase college enrollment and completion in CS Ed fields—helping us prepare the diverse tech workforce of tomorrow.
  • Engage the Private Sector and Nonprofits to Train up to 50,000 Computer Science Teachers in the Next Decade: Hillary will launch an initiative to expand the pool of computer science teachers—both through recruiting new teachers into the field, and through helping current teachers gain additional training—so that we train an additional 50,000 CS teachers in the next ten years. To deliver on this goal, Hillary will commit federal financial aid, assistance to professional development programs, and support for public-private partnerships. She’ll work to improve CS Education certification pathways, and to broaden ongoing learning opportunities for CS teachers so they can remain up to date on the cutting edge developments in the field.
  • Other STEM Investments: Hillary believes that strong STEM programming in every public school is critical to our nation’s success, and to reducing economic and social inequality. Yet today, less than 40% of high school graduates have taken a physics course[6]—and the lack of STEM programming is even more pronounced in schools with high concentrations of students of color.[7] Hillary’s Department of Education will help to reverse this by supporting states, cities, and charters in developing innovative schools such as Denver’s School of Science and Technology and the Science Leadership Academy of Philadelphia, which have produced impressive results and engaged under-represented populations in science and technology. Grants could also be used to redesign high schools to focus more on STEM education; support local efforts to implement “makerspaces,” maker fairs, or robotics competitions in schools and after-school programs; or to help districts build partnerships with local universities and the private sector to improve STEM education, such as the partnership in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
  • Build the Human Talent Pipeline for 21st Century Jobs: Today’s economy requires more agile, adaptable, and technologically literate workers than ever before. People of all ages need continued access to a range of higher education and training opportunities—early career, mid-career, and even late-career—so that they can keep up with changes in technology and industry, and shift fields or move up in their fields. Employers also need a better mechanism for communicating to job seekers and educational institutions what sorts of skills and competencies they are looking for. In short, we need a lifelong learning system that is better tailored to the 21st century economy—one that enables ongoing skills building, emphasizes portable and performance-based credentials, and enables employers, job seekers, and education providers to be in constant communication. To do that, Hillary will:
  • Open up the Higher Education and Job Training Landscape: Hillary’s College Compact dedicates $10 billion in federal funding to enable students to participate in promising new programs—such as nanodegrees, accelerated learning programs for computer coding, career and technical training, certificates for “specializations,” and online learning. Companies are already partnering with universities and education providers to create degree programs outside of traditional settings, so that students can obtain skills directly relevant to career placements. Hillary will enable students to use federal student aid in these types of new programs, as long as they are accountable and have proven track records of success. And she will establish incentives for colleges and universities to accept these kinds of alternative learning programs as credit toward graduation.
  • Reboot Job Training Around Industry Needs and Job Credentials: Hillary will create a competitive grant program to support state and regional public-private partnerships that develop methods to tailor job training opportunities to match labor demands in technology-driven industries. Several promising initiatives point the way forward—including Colorado’s Business and Schools in Collaboration (BASIC), the Markle Foundation’s Skillful initiative, and the TechHire platform run by Opportunity@Work at New America. She would pay particular attention to supporting the development and use of advanced training technologies—applications that reduce the time needed for workers to gain the skills that are a ticket to a middle class job. In a parallel effort, Hillary will instruct the Department of Labor to modernize its system of cataloging in-demand job skills, so that there is better information-sharing between employers, job seekers, and education providers about the credentials and competencies employers are seeking.
  • Diversify the Tech Workforce: Hillary will put a special emphasis on minority and women advancement in the fields of research, technology, and engineering. She believes we must break down the barriers to full and equal participation by all groups in the 21st century economy—particularly in cutting-edge sectors. This isn’t only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do: diversifying the tech workforce can generate an additional $500 billion in new value for the technology industry, boosting GDP by up to 1.6%. [8] Hillary’s college plan creates a $25 billion fund to support colleges that serve minority students, such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). Hillary will also invest $20 billion in youth jobs and pathways for individuals from disadvantaged communities—through support for models like linked learning, P-Tech, apprenticeships, and Career Academies.
  • Increase Access to Capital for Growth-Oriented Small Businesses and Start-Ups, with a Focus on Minority, Women, and Young Entrepreneurs: Technological innovation and job creation is often driven by smaller companies and start-ups—today, small businesses create two out of every three new jobs.[9] But the percentage of bank loans that have gone to small businesses has declined by one-third since 2000; venture capital funding is highly clustered—with 70% of all VC funding going to three states, 40% going to one region[10], 7% going to firms with women founders, and a mere 1% directed to African-American women founders.[11] The result is that too few Americans are benefiting from the opportunity to access capital and put their job-creating ideas to the test. Hillary will support entrepreneurship ecosystems in all parts of the country, with the federal government playing its part to increase access to capital for SMEs and start-ups, especially for minority, women and young entrepreneurs. Hillary will:
  • Build Local Tech-Driven Economies by Investing in Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses: Hillary wants to see innovation clusters and entrepreneurship hubs, like Silicon Valley, emerge and thrive across the country. She is committed to supporting incubators, accelerators, mentoring and training for 50,000 entrepreneurs in underserved areas. And she is committed to investing new federal resources in the growth of small businesses in these areas—by extending and making permanent the New Markets Tax Credit, doubling Treasury’s investment in the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, doubling the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), and building public-private partnerships to invest in local innovation. Hillary believes that by supporting entrepreneurs in all types of communities, we can catalyze innovation hubs across the country, encourage talent and capital to invest in their communities, and build thriving local economies.
  • Defer Student Loans to Help Young Entrepreneurs: A smaller proportion of millennials today are starting new ventures as compared to their predecessors.[12] This is not for a lack of desire—more than half of America’s millennials say they want to start a business—but barriers like student debt and a lack of access to credit are holding young people back.[13] Hillary is committed to breaking down barriers and leveling the playing field for entrepreneurs and innovators who are launching their own start-ups. Hillary will allow entrepreneurs to put their federal student loans into a special status while they get their new ventures off the ground.  For millions of young Americans, this would mean deferment from having to make any payments on their student loans for up to three years—zero interest and zero principal—as they work through the critical start-up phase of new enterprises. Hillary will explore a similar deferment incentive not just to founders of enterprises, but to early joiners – such as the first 10 or 20 employees.   Additionally, for young innovators who decide to launch either new businesses that operate in distressed communities, or social enterprises that provide measurable social impact and benefit, she will offer forgiveness of up to $17,500 of their student loans after five years.
  • Attract and Retain the Top Talent from Around the World: Our immigration system is plagued by visa backlogs and other barriers that prevent high-skilled workers and entrepreneurs from coming to, staying in, and creating jobs in America. Far too often, we require talented persons from other countries who are trained in U.S. universities to return home, rather than stay in here and continue to contribute to our economy. As part of a comprehensive immigration solution, Hillary would “staple” a green card to STEM masters and PhDs from accredited institutions—enabling international students who complete degrees in these fields to move to green card status. Hillary will also support “start-up” visas that allow top entrepreneurs from abroad to come to the United States, build companies in technology-oriented globally traded sectors, and create more jobs and opportunities for American workers. Immigrant entrepreneurs would have to obtain a commitment of financial support from U.S. investors before obtaining the visa, and would have to create a certain number of jobs and reach performance benchmarks in order to pursue a green card.
  • Invest in Science and Technology R&D and Make Tech Transfer Easier: Hillary believes the benefits of government investment in research and development (R&D) are profound and irrefutable—they generated the science that spawned the internet and the Human Genome Project, and have helped spark lucrative new industries and countless high-paying jobs. Yet, federal funding for R&D as a share of GDP is lower than before Sputnik.[14] As President, Hillary will look to grow the research budgets of entities like the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and DARPA, so that we can tackle big challenges—like ensuring America continues to lead the world in High Performance Computing, green energy, and machine learning. Hillary will also make technology transfer easier and more efficient, as getting ideas to market is the catalyst for scaling innovations. She will support setting aside a small portion of federal research budgets for commercialization capacity building and accelerator grants, and expand proven models like the Regional Innovation Program and the NSF I-Corps program.
  • Ensure Benefits are Flexible, Portable, and Comprehensive as Work Changes: The digital economy is creating exciting opportunities for Americans to join the labor force in new capacities. It is enabling people to offer their services as freelancers and contractors, to earn extra cash through flexible and part-time work and assorted gigs, and to connect with customers and clients all over the country. These changes in the economy are also presenting new questions about the future of work in America, and about how to ensure that we have adequate protections for workers and families. Hillary believes that as our economy changes and more Americans take advantage of new work opportunities, the government must do all that it can to ensure that benefits are flexible, portable, and comprehensive. The Affordable Care Act, which created a subsidized health insurance alternative for millions of Americans who don’t have insurance through their employers, made an enormous difference in ensuring health security. We must consider more ways in which the government can build the next era safety net in other areas. Hillary will convene a high level working group of experts, business and labor leaders to recommend how best to ensure that people have the benefits and security they need no matter how they work.


Hillary believes that high-speed internet connectivity is not a luxury; it is a necessity for economic success and social mobility in a 21st century economy. Despite considerable progress and private investment in the last eight years to close the digital divide, there remains work to be done. Millions of American households, particularly in rural areas, still lack access to any fixed broadband provider,[15] around 30% of households across America have not adopted broadband (with much higher levels in low-income communities),[16] and American consumers pay more for high-speed plans than consumers in some other advanced nations.[17] For years, Hillary has fought to deliver connectivity to all Americans. As President, she will finish the job of connecting every household in America to high-speed broadband, increase internet adoption, and help hook up anchor institutions so they can offer free WiFi to the public. Hillary will also take action to help America widely deploy 5G technology—the next generation wireless service that will not only bring faster internet connections to underserved areas, but will enable the Internet of Things and a host of transformative technologies. Hillary will:

  • Close the Digital Divide: Hillary will finish the job of connecting America’s households to the internet, committing that by 2020, 100 percent of households in America will have the option of affordable broadband that delivers speeds sufficient to meet families’ needs.  She will deliver on this goal with continue investments in the Connect America Fund, Rural Utilities Service program, and Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), and by directing federal agencies to consider the full range of technologies as potential recipients—i.e., fiber, fixed wireless, and satellite—while focusing on areas that lack any fixed broadband networks currently. Hillary also backs the FCC’s decision to extend Lifeline support to broadband, and she will work to connect this policy with community-based programs that help citizens with enrollment, offer digital literacy training and expand access to low-cost devices.
  • Launch a “Model Digital Communities” Grant Program: By leveraging the $25 billion Infrastructure Bank she plans to establish, Hillary will create a new competitive grant program to give cities, regions, and states incentives to create a “model digital community.” The end goal is simple: encourage localities to undertake actions that foster greater access to high-speed internet for their residents at affordable prices–whether through fiber, wireless, satellite, or other technologies. Regions would come forward with proposals, and grants would be awarded based on impact assessment. Qualifying proposals might seek to:
  • Reduce regulatory barriers to the private provision of broadband services: Localities may seek to stimulate more investment by current or new service providers by streamlining permitting processes, allowing nondiscriminatory access to existing infrastructure such as conduits and poles, pursuing “climb once” policies to eliminate delays, or facilitating demand aggregation.
  • Coordinate the development of broadband infrastructure with other municipal services: Localities may seek to develop information and maps about existing infrastructure and pursue “dig once” policies, where the development of broadband infrastructure (i.e., dark fiber) is coordinated with the development and maintenance of other municipal infrastructure and joint trenching is enabled where appropriate.
  • Develop public-private partnerships for broadband: Hillary will explore ways that targeted uses of the Infrastructure Bank could favorably change the economics of private capital investment in existing or new broadband networks. This approach opens the door to upgrading networks, filling gaps in underserved areas, and new models of public-private partnerships, such as in Huntsville, Alabama and Westminster, Maryland.
  • Connect More Anchor Institutions to High-Speed Internet: To fully realize the benefits of the internet today, people need a “continuum of connectivity”—the ability to get online in their homes and offices, but also in schools, libraries, transit systems, and other public spaces. Over the last few years, the E-rate program, launched under President Bill Clinton and updated under President Obama, as well as the BTOP program, have brought ultra-speed, fiber-optic broadband to schools and libraries nationwide. Hillary will expand this concept to additional anchor institutions by investing new federal resources. This would enable recreation centers, public buildings like one-stop career centers, and transportation infrastructure such as train stations, airports, and mass transit systems, to access to high-speed internet and provide free WiFi to the public.
  • Deploy 5G Wireless and Next Generation Wireless Systems: America’s world-leading rollout of 4G wireless networks in the first half of this decade has been a success story for policy-makers, industry, and American consumers. The Obama Administration played a key role by repurposing spectrum and auctioning licenses, as well as by making new spectrum available for unlicensed technologies. Hillary will accelerate this progress and help foster the evolution to 5G, small cell solutions, and other next-generation systems that can deliver faster wireless connections. Widely deployed 5G networks, and new unlicensed and shared spectrum technologies, are essential platforms that will support the Internet of Things, smart factories, driverless cars, and much more—developments with enormous potential to create jobs and improve people’s lives. Hillary will:
  • Reallocate and Repurpose Spectrum for Next Generation Uses: Hillary will enhance the efficient use of spectrum by accelerating the process of identifying underutilized bands, including ones now used by the federal government, that can become more valuable under revised regulatory regimes. She will focus on the full range of spectrum use policies—including new allocations for licensed mobile broadband, as well as unlicensed and shared spectrum approaches. She believes that creative uses of shared/non-exclusive uses of spectrum could unleash a new wave of innovation in wireless broadband technologies and the Internet of Things, much as WiFi did in the first generation of digital services.
  • Foster a Civic Internet of Things through Public Investments: Hillary will dedicate federal research funding to test-bedding, field trials, and other public-private endeavors to speed the deployment of next generation wireless networks and a civic Internet of Things. Governments around the world are already investing billions of dollars in developing and commercializing 5G technologies, and Hillary wants American companies to lead the world in wireless innovation. Her investments will aim at using advanced wireless and data innovation to drive social priorities in a range of areas, such as public safety, health care, environmental management, traffic congestion, and social welfare services.


Hillary’s technology agenda promotes American values and interests in the world. In the knowledge-based 21st century global economy, the most technically proficient economies will be the most prosperous. Hillary’s plan pairs our economic interests with our democratic values. We must position American innovators to lead the world in the next generation of technology revolutions –from autonomous vehicles to machine learning to public service blockchain applications –and we must defend universal access to the global, digital marketplace of ideas. But we face challenges to both of these goals. There is fierce global competition in the global tech economy. And there are many countries that would rather regulate than innovate, or who do not shy from closing off markets, forcing technology transfer from U.S. innovators, or even shutting down the internet. From her time as Secretary of State, Hillary was the champion of Internet Freedom and advancing technological innovation as part of foreign policy. She understands the interrelationship between these issues and will advance American interests effectively. Hillary will:

  • Fight for an Open Internet Abroad: As Secretary of State, Hillary boldly chose to elevate Internet Freedom to the top levels of American foreign policy and crystallized the issue in the international community as a contest between the values of open and closed societies. She embraced the power of technology as an asset of American leadership and an instrument of American ideals in the world.  She will continue this work as President –fighting for Internet Freedom and insisting on the responsibility of all nations to respect free speech and human rights online, as well as the open flow of data across borders and access to digital markets. She will oppose efforts to block or degrade internet access or to shutdown social media, and she will stand with likeminded countries against efforts by countries like China or Russia to create a balkanized internet run by governments.
  • Promote Multi-Stakeholder Internet Governance: Hillary believes that internet governance – the coordination of the technical systems that allow the internet to function seamlessly across the globe – should be left to the global community of engineers, companies, civil society groups, and internet users, and not to governments. That is why as Secretary of State she championed the “multistakeholder approach” to internet governance and vigorously fought back against efforts by national governments to control the internet through government-led multilateral organizations, such as the International Telecommunications Union. She supports the Department of Commerce’s plans to formally transition its oversight role in the management of the Domain Name System to the global community of stakeholders, viewing the transition as a critical step towards safeguarding the internet’s openness for future generations. She will continue to fight to defend the internet from government takeover and to empower those internet governance organizations that advance internet openness, freedom, and technical innovation.
  • Grow American Technology Exports:  America leads the world in technology exports, including in information technology hardware, software, and services. Hillary will continue to fight for American exports abroad—as she did during her tenure as Secretary of State—to support jobs and innovation here at home. To prevent foreign countries from abusing the rules and taking advantage of American workers and businesses, she will advance Export Control Reform, pursue policies to protect U.S. trade secrets and IP, and resist calls for forced tech transfer or localization of data. She will also build on the Obama Administration’s efforts to stop China’s cyber-enabled economic espionage and ensure that China adheres to its international commitments. And she will oppose trade agreements, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, unless they meet her high test of creating good-paying American jobs, raising incomes, and enhancing our national security.
  • Promote Cyber-Security at Home and Abroad:  Hillary will support efforts to strengthen cybersecurity, both for government networks and for the private sector. Cybersecurity is essential to our economic and national security, and it will only become increasingly important as more commercial, consumer, and government devices are networked. She supports expanded investment in cybersecurity technologies, as well as public-private collaboration on cybersecurity innovation, responsible information sharing on cyber threats, and accelerated adoption of best practices such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework. To ensure a coherent strategy across federal agencies, she will build on the Obama Administration’s Cybersecurity National Action Plan, especially the empowerment of a federal Chief Information Security Officer, the modernization of federal IT, and upgrades to government-wide cybersecurity.
  • Safeguard the Free Flow of Information Across Borders: The power of the internet is in part its global nature. Yet increasing numbers of countries have closed off their digital borders or are insisting on “data localization” to attempt to maintain control or unfairly advantage their own companies. When Hillary was Secretary of State, the United States led the world in safeguarding the free flow of information including through the adoption by the OECD countries of the first Internet Policymaking Principles. Hillary supports efforts such as the U.S.-EU Privacy Shield to find alignment in national data privacy laws and protect data movement across borders. And she will promote the free flow of information in international fora.
  • Update Procedures Concerning Cross-Border Requests for Data by Law Enforcement: Hillary recognizes the need for updated, streamlined, and privacy-protective procedures for the sharing of data across borders in response to legitimate law enforcement investigations. The current system for fulfilling governmental requests for data– which centers on the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) process—is cumbersome and time consuming. This system encourages data localization, the use of surreptitious means of accessing sought-after data, and unilateral assertions that often put U.S.-based companies in the middle of conflicting legal regimes. Hillary will seek to modernize the MLAT process, in keeping with the recommendations of the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, and pursue agreements with likeminded countries to allow for law enforcement agencies to obtain data across borders in a manner that respects privacy, security and human rights.


Hillary believes the government has an important role to play in laying a foundation for broad-based innovation and economic growth—by reducing regulatory barriers to entry, promoting healthy competition, and ensuring our IP laws effectively reward creators while allowing for additional experimentation. At the same time, she believes we should be ensuring that advances in technology and information technology protect individual privacy and security. She will:

  • Reduce Barriers to Entry and Promote Healthy Competition: Hillary believes that federal, state, and local governments all have a role to play in laying down rules of the road that foster innovation, promote healthy competition, and protect consumers. Hillary will:
  • Appoint a Chief Innovation Advisor to Reduce Federal Regulatory Barriers: Hillary will make the reduction of regulatory barriers to developing new products and services a top priority of the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs by appointing a Chief Innovation Advisor to that office.  This Chief Innovation Advisor would spearhead reforms across the government such as that spurred by the bipartisan FDA Safety and Innovation Act, which created a pathway for the quicker approval of medical device innovations to catalyze technological development.
  • Encourage States and Localities to Reduce Barriers to Entry: Hillary will challenge state and local governments to identify, review, and reform legal and regulatory obligations that protect legacy incumbents against new innovators. Examples include state regulations governing automotive dealers that stifle innovation and restrict market access, or local rules governing utility-pole access that restrain additional fiber and small cell broadband deployment.
  • Empower Federal Enforcement Authorities to Promote Competition: Hillary supports President Obama’s recent Executive Order, directing all agencies to identify specific actions they can take in their areas of jurisdiction to detect anticompetitive practices—such as tying arrangements, price fixing, and exclusionary conduct—and to refer practices that appear to violate federal antitrust law to the DOJ and FTC.
  • Defend Net Neutrality: Hillary believes that the government has an obligation to protect the open internet.  The open internet is not only essential for consumer choice and civic empowerment – it is a cornerstone of start-up innovation and creative disruption in technology markets. Hillary strongly supports the FCC decision under the Obama Administration to adopt strong network neutrality rules that deemed internet service providers to be common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act. These rules now ban broadband discrimination, prohibit pay-for-play favoritism, and establish oversight of “interconnection” relationships between providers. Hillary would defend these rules in court and continue to enforce them. She also maintains her opposition to policies that unnecessarily restrict the free flow of data online –such as the high profile fight over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
  • Improve the Patent System to Reward Innovators: Since our country’s Founding, the United States patent system has been an envy of the world and has helped propel inventions from the cotton gin to the computer. Hillary will ensure the patent system continues to reward innovators by enacting reforms to:
  • Reduce Excessive Patent Litigation: The Obama Administration made critical updates to our patent system through the America Invents Act, which created the Patent Trial and Appeals Board, and through other efforts to rein in frivolous suits by patent trolls. But costly and abusive litigation remains, which is why Hillary supports additional targeted rule changes. She supports laws to curb forum shopping and ensure that patent litigants have a nexus to the venue in which they are suing; require that specific allegations be made in demand letters and pleadings; and increase transparency in ownership by making patent litigants disclose the real party in interest.
  • Strengthen the PTO’s Operational Capacity: Hillary believes it is essential that the PTO have the tools and resources it needs to act expeditiously on patent applications and ensure that only valid patents are issued. That is why she supports legislation to allow the PTO to retain the fees it collects from patent applicants in a separate fund—ending the practice of fee diversion by Congress, and enabling the PTO to invest funds left over from its annual operations in new technologies, personnel, and training. Hillary also believes we should set a standard of faster review of patent applications and clear out the backlog of patent applications.
  • Effective Copyright Policy: Copyrights encourage creativity and incentivize innovators to invest knowledge, time, and money into the generation of myriad forms of content. However, the copyright system has languished for many decades, and is in need of administrative reform to maximize its benefits in the digital age. Hillary believes the federal government should modernize the copyright system by unlocking—and facilitating access to—orphan works that languished unutilized, benefiting neither their creators nor the public. She will also promote open-licensing arrangements for copyrighted material and data supported by federal grant funding, including in education, science, and other fields. She will seek to develop technological infrastructure to support digitization, search, and repositories of such content, to facilitate its discoverability and use.   And she will encourage stakeholders to work together on creative solutions that remove barriers to the seamless and efficient licensing of content in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Commercial Data Privacy: Hillary believes advances in computing like the rise of big data and the Internet of Things will yield transformative benefits to people. But this future raises important questions about privacy and fairness. Her policy approach to privacy will affirm strong consumer protection values through effective regulatory enforcement in an adaptive manner, encouraging high standards in industry without stifling innovation. She will carry through that approach globally to support data flows essential to the digital economy.
  • Protect Online Privacy as well as Security:  Hillary rejects the false choice between privacy interests and keeping Americans safe.  She was a proponent of the USA Freedom Act, and she supports Senator Mark Warner and Representative Mike McCaul’s idea for a national commission on digital security and encryption.  This commission will work with the technology and public safety communities to address the needs of law enforcement, protect the privacy and security of all Americans that use technology, assess how innovation might point to new policy approaches, and advance our larger national security and global competitiveness interests.


Hillary believes that, beyond enabling innovation and economic growth, we should look to technology and data to provide better services to the American people, and make government smarter and more effective. Specifically, Hillary will:

  • Make Government Simpler and More User Friendly: The federal government too often operates with websites designed from another era. They are too complicated, too hard to use, and rarely designed for mobile phones or tablets. After the rocky release of Healthcare.gov, the Obama Administration launched the U.S. Digital Service, with a small group of technologists in the White House and the vision of deploying small technology teams throughout federal agencies. The U.S. Digital Service is already delivering results—making it easier for students and their families to compare college options, and easier for applicants to file immigration forms. But USDS and similar programs are only in their infancy. Hillary will:
  • Make Digital Services a Permanent Priority for Federal Agencies: Hillary will make the USDS and other digital services a permanent part of the executive branch to ensure that technical innovation becomes an ongoing feature of American governance. There should be a constant flow of technology and design experts working to make it easier for Americans to get affordable health insurance, apply for student loans, or get the veterans benefits they deserve.   Hillary will expand dedicated Digital Service teams throughout federal agencies (including civil servants and outside experts), and ensure that CIOs are part of this innovation agenda. She will maintain support for other federal tech programs—18F, Innovation Fellows, and Innovation Labs—and look to them to develop a coordinated approach to tackling pressing technology problems. She will also explore ways to leverage these capabilities to help our state and local governments with their own tech issues and agencies.
  • Transform the Top 25 citizen-facing Government Services: Hillary will charge the USDS with transforming and digitizing the top 25 federal government services that directly serve citizens. For each one, the USDS would redesign them to meet the needs of citizens in the 21st century; publish detailed performance and customer service metrics, including creating a “Yelp for government” that allows for easy citizen rating; and embrace the industry best practice of continuous site improvement. Hillary will make sure that government delivers on results for citizens.
  • Eliminate Internal Barriers to Government Modernization: The federal government uses cumbersome processes for buying information technology and hiring technical experts. And it has outdated laws and rules which impose internal impediments to building modern digital services—i.e., it can take many months to make simple changes to a website or get a digital form approved. Hillary will streamline procurement processes and get rid of unnecessary internal red tape that prevents government from developing intuitive and personalized digital experience that they have come to expect from great consumer internet companies.
  • Use the Best and Most Cost Effective Technology: The federal government spends nearly $90 billion in information technology but the American taxpayer doesn’t get $90 billion in value. Hillary will make it easier for the federal government to find, try, and buy innovative technology—including open source software. She would also break large federal IT projects into smaller pieces, so it will be easier to stop projects that are over budget or failing to meet user needs, and also more feasible for small and medium-sized businesses to support public service projects.
  • Open up More Government Data for Public Uses: The Obama Administration broke new ground in making open and machine-readable the default for new government information, launching Data.gov and charging each agency with maintaining data as a valuable asset. With more accessible datasets, entrepreneurs can create new products and services, citizens can evaluate more effectively how the government does it job, researchers can look for new insights – and government can work better. Hillary will continue and accelerate the Administration’s open data initiatives, including in areas such as health care, education, and criminal justice. She would fully implement the DATA Act to make government spending more transparent and accountable to the American people, improving USASpending.gov so that Americans can more accurately see how and where their taxpayer dollars are spent. She would also bring an open data approach to regulation—making it easier for businesses to submit structured data instead of documents, and bringing greater transparency to financial and other markets so that regulators, watchdog groups, and the American people can more easily identify fraud and illegal behavior.
  • Harden Federal Networks to Improve Cybersecurity: U.S. government networks have long been subject to intrusions from hackers with various affiliations and objectives.  Hillary is committed to increasing the security of our government networks, making it harder for hackers to gain unauthorized access.  She will prioritize the enforcement of well-known cybersecurity standards, such as multi-factor authentication, as well as the mitigation of risks from known vulnerabilities.  She will encourage government agencies to consider innovative tools like bug bounty programs, modeled on the Defense Department’s recent “Hack the Pentagon” initiative, to encourage hackers to responsibly disclose vulnerabilities they discover to the government.  And she will bolster the government’s ability to test its own defenses by increasing the capacity of elite, cleared government red teams to help agencies find and fix vulnerabilities before hackers exploit them.
  • Facilitate Citizen Engagement in Government Innovation: The Obama Administration has encouraged agencies to use new approaches to improve their functions and better serve the American people. In turn, agencies are now using “incentive prizes” to uncover creative solutions from citizen solvers, Idea Labs to empower front-line employees, and flexible procurement authorities to engage startups. Hillary will champion these strategies, putting innovation at the heart of her management agenda. She will direct the members of her Cabinet to increase the number of federal employees that identify and implement new ideas from citizens and businesses to help government serve the country more effectively.
  • Use Technology to Improve Outcomes and Drive Government Accountability: Advances in data analytics, presentation, and communications have driven a transformation in how modern businesses track their performance, both internally and externally. Data-driven dashboards that present an organization’s goals and their performance against those goals are increasingly the norm, as is the open communication of this performance data to the entire organization. The Obama Administration embraced this management approach by creating performance.gov, which presents goals and progress for major government agencies. Hillary will also embrace this practice of prioritized goal setting and performance tracking for the federal government. Her agenda and priorities would be clearly articulated on performance.gov; progress against these goals would be demonstrated, using up-to-date, real time data; and issues blocking progress would be presented, along with action plans to address them. By promoting this high type of transparency and accountability, and leveraging technology to do so in a real-time manner, citizens will develop greater confidence that their government is working for their common good.

[1] Manyika, James et al., “Disruptive Technologies: Advances that will Transform Life, Business, and The Global Economy, McKinsey Global Institute, May 2013. http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/business_technology/disruptive_technologies.

[2] “The Nation’s Report Card,” Washington, D.C.: The National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, 2011.

[3] Of the 42,000 public and private secondary schools, only 3,075 high schools were accredited to teach AP Computer Science. For more information, see Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, “The Case for Improving U.S. Computer Science Education” (2016) and National Center for Education Statistics, “Table 91: Number of public school districts and public and private elementary and secondary schools: Selected years, 1869-70 through 2009 -10” (2011).

[4] The White House, “Computer Science for All,” Jan.2016, https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2016/01/30/computer-science-all.

[5] Nager, Adams and Atkinson, Robert, “The Case for Improving U.S. Computer Science Education,” The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, May 2016. http://www2.itif.org/2016-computer-science-education.pdf.

[6]  http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED547651.pdf

[7] Gewertz, Catherine, “Federal Data Show Unequal Access to Challenging Math and Science Courses,” Education Week, June 2016.

[8] Intel Corporation and Dalberg Global Development Advisors, “Decoding Diversity: The Financial and Economic Returns to Diversity in Tech” (2016).

[9] “Small Business Trends,” The U.S. Small Business Administration, https://www.sba.gov/managing-business/running-business/energy-efficiency/sustainable-business-practices/small-business-trends. See also: “The Importance of Young Firms for Economic Growth,” The Kauffman Foundation, September 2015.

[10] Mills, Karen, “Three Keys to a Better U.S. Entrepreneur Economy,” October 2013. http://karengmills.com/former-sba-chief-on-3-keys-to-a-better-u-s-entrepreneur-economy/.

[11] Andrew, Erin, “Bridging the Gender Capital Gender Gap,” The Small Business Administration, May 2016. https://www.sba.gov/blogs/bridging-venture-capital-gender-gap.

[12] Steinberg, Sarah, “Promoting Entrepreneurship Among Millennials,” The Center for American Progress, November 2014. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/report/2014/11/10/100804/promoting-entrepreneurship-among-millennials/.

[13] Ibid. See also: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/data-research/research-reports/student-loan-affordability/

[14] Atkinson, Robert, “Restoring Investment in America’s Economy,” Information Technology & Innovation Foundation,” June 2016.

[15] “2015 Broadband Progress Report,” Federal Communications Commission, February 2015. https://www.fcc.gov/reports-research/reports/broadband-progress-reports/2015-broadband-progress-report.

[16] “Community Based Broadband Solutions,” The Executive Office of the President, The White House, January 2015. https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/community-based_broadband_report_by_executive_office_of_the_president.pdf.

[17] “International Broadband Data Report,” Federal Communications Commission, February 2015, at 9, 12, https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-15-132A1.pdf.