Technology Voters' Guide: Hillary Clinton

She supports tax incentives to extend broadband, wants open, unimpaired Internet access for all, and has serious concerns about Real ID. Special coverage: Election 2008

Iraq, immigration, taxes, and health care probably have been the four most pressing topics of the 2008 presidential campaign. Technology has made nary an appearance.

Sure, there have been the YouTube-ified debates, polls, record-setting fund-raising efforts, and the now-obligatory Google office visits.

But knowing where the candidates stand on high-tech topics like digital copyright, surveillance, and Internet taxes can be revealing, which is why we've put together this 2008 Technology Voters' Guide.

In late November, we sent questionnaires to the top candidates--measured by funds raised and poll standings--from each major party. We asked each the same 10 questions.

Not all candidates chose to respond: Republicans Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, and Fred Thompson rebuffed our requests, as did Democrats Joe Biden and Bill Richardson. In all such cases, we made repeated efforts to try to convince them to change their minds.

Read on for responses from Sen. Hillary Clinton, or check out CNET's election coverage roundup, featuring other Technology Voters' Guide candidate reports.

Q: Politicians have been talking for years about the need for high-speed Internet access. Should this be accomplished primarily through deregulation and market forces, or should the federal government give out grants or subsidies, or enact new laws?
Hillary Clinton: Broadband is the infrastructure of the 21st century. It will play an important role in everything from commerce to education to the delivery of medicine. Our relatively low broadband penetration rate is unacceptable. I believe that there is a role for private industry and for the federal government to play in expanding access to broadband.

As president, I will strengthen tax incentives for extending broadband to underserved areas. I will support state and local broadband initiatives, from new wireless technologies to high-speed fiber optics. And I will change the FCC rules so that we finally have an accurate, detailed picture of broadband deployment and penetration rates.

At present, the FCC data is unreliable because it is based on loose estimates and outdated standards. I will also create a public-private partnership to effectively map broadband availability and broadband demand, and to extend broadband to every corner of every state in the country.

Congress has considered Net neutrality legislation, but it never became law. Do you still support the legislation that was re-introduced in 2007 (S 215), which gives the FCC the power to punish "discriminatory" conduct by broadband providers?
Clinton: Yes. I am an original co-sponsor of the Internet Freedom Preservation Act, and I supported its reintroduction. No other communications medium in recent history has had such a profound impact as the Internet on free expression, education, the proliferation of commerce, and the exchange of political ideas. And it is the basic principles of neutrality and nondiscrimination that have allowed the Internet to flourish.

Thanks to these principles, a small business has been able to market to the same customers as the biggest corporation. The average citizen has been able to voice grievances in the same forum as the editors of the largest newspaper. And students, entrepreneurs, and consumers have been empowered by the wealth of information and opportunities afforded by an open Internet.

As we continue to build on the innovations brought forth by the Internet, we must ensure that there continues to be open, unimpaired, and unencumbered Internet access for both its users and content providers. We need to ensure that the Internet of the 21st century opens the same doors, creates the same opportunities, and fosters the same innovation that we have seen so far.

Telecommunications companies such as AT&T have been accused in court of opening their networks to the government in violation of federal privacy law. Do you support with intelligence agencies or law enforcement, which was proposed by the Senate Intelligence Committee this fall (S 2248)?
Clinton: I have said that I oppose retroactive immunity for telecommunications providers, and I oppose the retroactive immunity provisions in the Senate Intelligence Committee bill.

The section restricting the "circumvention" of copy protection measures is supported by many copyright holders but has been criticized by some technologists as hindering innovation. Would you support changing the DMCA to permit Americans to make a single backup copy of a DVD, Blu-ray Disc DVD, HD DVD, or video game disc they have legally purchased?
Clinton: Strong copyright protections and efforts to stem piracy are critical to ensuring that our technology industries remain competitive in the global market. As we go forward, I would support a review of a range of issues related to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act insofar as it did not concern degrading copyright protections or encourage copyright infringements.

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