Hillary Clinton's Tech Policy Plan Includes Some Empty Broadband Promises And A Continued War On Encryption

from the making-friends-and-influencing-people dept

Hillary Clinton's tech policy plan has been released, and it includes some new, potentially hollow broadband promises, a pledge to continue defending the FCC's net neutrality rules from telecom industry attack, some feel good commentary on the sharing and innovation economies, and continued support for the candidate's absurd war on encryption.

With the FCC's recent net neutrality court victory, the broadband industry's best path forward is to elect a President who'll stock the commission with revolving door regulators who'll simply fail to enforce the rules. But Trump's proven so divisive to some Conservatives, that even AT&T's top lobbyist Jim Cicconi this week came out in gushing support of Clinton:
"Mr. Cicconi, who worked in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, said he has backed every GOP presidential candidate since 1976. “But this year I think it’s vital to put our country’s well being ahead of party,” he said in a statement provided by the campaign. “Hillary Clinton is experienced, qualified, and will make a fine president. The alternative, I fear, would set our nation on a very dark path."
Given AT&T's threat to take the neutrality fight to the Supreme Court, Cicconi's support is curious, but may say more about Trump's unpredictability than it does about Clinton. Regardless, the 14-page "technology and innovation agenda" includes upsetting her new BFF by continuing to fight for 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."
The plan also makes some arguably vague promises on broadband, promising to deliver ubiquitous broadband to all Americans by 2020:
"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."
While some outlets were quick to call this plan ambitious, historically vague broadband coverage promises haven't meant all that much.

A favorite pastime of politicians is to make broadband promises they know will be completed even if government doesn't lift a finger, then gobble up the easy political brownie points (with ample help from an unskeptical tech press) after the fact. Obama, for example, in 2011 promised wireless broadband coverage to 98% of all Americans, ignoring the fact that industry data at the time suggested we'd already met that mark (albeit poorly) with 2G and 3G wireless. Former FCC boss Julius Genachowski similarly received ample praise for issuing a "gigabit city challenge", knowing full well gigabit service was arriving without much help from him or other politicians at the time (mostly via frustrated towns and cities forced into the broadband business on their own).

And while the FCC will help us get to 100% broadband coverage by opening up spectrum for 5G, moving from the supposed 98% broadband coverage mark to 100% really won't require much government help. 5G is arriving by 2020 or so regardless of what Clinton does, as it's a cornerstone of AT&T and Verizon's plan to hang up on unwanted DSL customers they refuse to upgrade. That doesn't somehow mean the broadband that's "100% available" to you is going to actually be good or cheap, since that would involve the government acknowledging that lack of competition means Americans pay more for broadband than most developed nations. Fixing this will take significantly more than empty promises, and for Clinton, it will certainly involve pissing off new allies like Jim Cicconi.

The lion's share of Clinton's tech agenda consists of ambiguous promises that, as with all campaign promises, may or may not have any actual basis in fact.

Clinton's plan calls for improving government adoption of technology and efficiency, improving our patent system (which the Clinton camp declares "has been an envy of the world"), and other feel good efforts such as "facilitating citizen engagement in government innovation" and using technology to "improve outcomes and drive government accountability" (doesn't that sound lovely?). But Clinton also makes it clear she intends to continue waging war on encryption -- her plan for a "Manhattan Project" to "solve" (read: weaken) encryption still very much on the table:
"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."
Yes, it's abundantly clear that Clinton and friends continue to struggle with the idea that encryption is simply a tool, and like any tool it can be used for a myriad of purposes. That doesn't mean you unilaterally declare war on said tool -- or work tirelessly to make that tool less useful or more dangerous via backdoors -- a conversation we'll apparently be having over and over and over again should Clinton's presidency ascend beyond the rhetorical, larval stage.

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  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 28 Jun 2016 @ 8:20am

    Irony

    When you turn off all security on your private FOIA-defying server and don't use encryption and Russian and Chinese state-sponsored players browse through your data...

    ...and you are against encryption because security.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2016 @ 9:36am

    We need a 2nd and a half amendment to the constitution, the right to bear encryption. Encryption control is essentially the digital equivalent of gun control. Much like we apparently don't need AK-47s or semi-automatics, the new front will claim we don't need strong encryption because reasons

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 28 Jun 2016 @ 5:37pm

      Re: Encryption control is essentially the digital equivalent of gun control.

      The difference being that encryption is a tool, while guns are just weapons. Tools have constructive uses, weapons are purely destructive.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 28 Jun 2016 @ 6:18pm

        "guns are just weapons...weapons are purely destructive"

        Lawrence D’Oliveiro I wonder how you would regard the AK-47 on the flag of Mozambique considering it is recognized as an instrumental tool by which the nation's people established their independence. Do you regard the overthrow of oppressors as destructive?

        Just because guns are not tools of a sort that you approve doesn't mean they are not tools at all.

        I'd also be curious how you regard mining and demolitions (both of which use heavy amounts of explosives) as well as the HARP Cannon.

        Tools are tools. And it is up to us how we use them. Generally, though destruction is universally a precursor to construction. There are always old orders to disassembled before new ones are raised. Destruction has its place.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 28 Jun 2016 @ 7:14pm

          Re: curious how you regard mining and demolitions (both of which use heavy amounts of explosives)

          But no guns. Do you have a Constitutional right to bear explosives? Walk down the street with some C4, and you will likely be arrested as a terrorist, and no amount of pleading with the NRA will save you.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 28 Jun 2016 @ 7:32pm

            Re: Re: curious how you regard mining and demolitions (both of which use heavy amounts of explosives)

            Actually, we are allowed to use explosives, though C4 which is a military grade plastique isn't available, though it's damn safe, and I wouldn't be presenting any danger waving it around, even if I beat someone up with it or lit it on fire. C4 is crazy stable.

            If I'm looking to do some mining on my land (or on any claim, which I can still validly make), then yes, there are plenty of over-the-counter explosives available to me, and I can walk down the street with any of them.

            Thanks to the Oklahoma City Bombing, yeah, the Feds are now terrified of fertilizer used to make giant terror bombs. Not that terrorists will ever run out of things with which to home brew explosives. Mostly the new regulations inconvenience a bunch of farmers.

            If I have a project big enough then yes, I can get the industrial stuff that we use to liquefy mountains. It doesn't take a lot of paperwork.

            You never answered my question, nor satisfied my curiosity. It does sound like you have a hatred of guns more than is duly rational, and I'll repeat what I said before: people are stupid when it comes to deciding what is dangerous or not. If we let the state take away our guns, then we know it's going to try to take away our cell phones and our Rock-&-Roll music and our internet because it already has.

            I'm not a gun owner. But it's only a matter of time before moral panickers like yourself start trying to take away things I do value.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ehud Gavron (profile), 28 Jun 2016 @ 6:45pm

        Re: Re: Encryption control is essentially the digital equivalent of gun control.

        "The difference being" is that is your perceptual filter. Good for you.

        Cars kill more people than "guns" (you meant firearms, you anti-gun nazi, right, but you couldn't be bothered to use your words).

        > Tool have constructive uses
        Just like cars.

        >weapons
        Wait now it's weapons. First you said "guns". You probably meant firearms. Now it's weapons. No worries, anti-gun nazi, cars are weapons.

        >Weapons are purely destructive
        Like a scythe?

        LOL

        Stop mixing metaphors. You don't make sense.

        E

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 28 Jun 2016 @ 7:12pm

          Re: Cars kill more people than "guns"

          Comparing per-car versus per-gun? Or per-car-owning-person versus per-gun-owning person? Per-car-trip versus per-shot-fired? How do you want to do this comparison?

          Another fun fact to ponder: even as car ownership and usage has been increasing, traffic injuries and deaths have been decreasing, in both absolute and relative terms.

          The same cannot be said for guns. Cars are safe, and continue to get safer, while “gun safety” is an oxymoron.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Ehud Gavron (profile), 28 Jun 2016 @ 7:31pm

            Re: Re: Cars kill more people than "guns"

            LOL
            > The same cannot be said for guns

            Still refusing to use a specific word. First guns then weapons but never firearms. Whatever.

            > Cars are safe

            No, cars cause most deaths. Period.

            Now go make up more sophistry while the facts and data are clearly showing cars to be the #1 safety hazzard and the #1 killer in the US.

            Best and all that.

            E

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 28 Jun 2016 @ 10:12pm

              Re: Now go make up more sophistry

              You were the one trying to make ad-hominem attacks like “nazi”. But that didn’t work, did it? It just made you look like the one who has run out of rational arguments, that you had to try and make things personal.

              Shame on you.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 28 Jun 2016 @ 6:35pm

      The first amendment should do it.

      I suspect that our right to encrypt data and communications would fall under the first amendment.

      The need for police to know what you said is not something that they should legally be allowed to force. When they do have the capability, it should still be subject to the fourth and fifth amendments.

      And given that we now have tech for crypto with plausible deniability, they can criminalize crypto all they want and you'll still be able to encrypt your crap.

      The end result will not be no crypto, it will be underground crypto.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2016 @ 8:29am

      Re:

      Encryption was put on a list of export-restricted technologies back in the 1990's. There is a (potentially) valid 2nd Amendment case to be made for personal encryption technologies based on that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ambrellite, 28 Jun 2016 @ 10:03am

    Anything about investment in new public transportation tech? Drafting legislation to better regulate autonomous vehicles? Encouraging innovation by reforming the broken USTPO? Lowering copyright terms to a sane level? Protecting fair use rights? Establishing a federal agency to inform congress and POTUS about technology? Tech approaches to global warming? Investment in commercial space travel? Asteroid mitigation?

    Adding 2% broadband coverage and breaking private encryption is doing less than nothing. This sucks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    kallethen, 28 Jun 2016 @ 10:24am

    I'm of the belief that no matter who becomes president, we'll have to fight tooth-and-nail for encryption.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeremy2020 (profile), 28 Jun 2016 @ 10:32am

    She believes in it during the election. When she becomes President, we'll see how long that belief lasts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 28 Jun 2016 @ 12:29pm

      Re:

      This is the reason they're backing Hillary: they know how wishy-washy she is. Whatever she's saying today, she'll do a complete 180 before the year is up. It was one of the main reasons Bernie did as well as he did - Hillary keeps flip-flopping, and he called her on it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2016 @ 10:35am

    puppet strings are already attached

    With the threat of indictment regarding the email server looming over her, of course she's going to be the compliant lap dog for the police state advocates.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 28 Jun 2016 @ 10:43am

      We already see the strings.

      Clinton is Mrs More-Of-The-Same.

      Madam Status Quo.

      More copyright maximalism. More surveillance. More police overreach. More presumption of guilt. More War on Terror and War on Drugs. More torture and drone strikes. More administration opacity.

      Obama Part II / Bush Part III.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2016 @ 11:30am

        Re: We already see the strings.

        ... and Trump would be worse

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Ehud Gavron (profile), 28 Jun 2016 @ 11:50am

          Politics

          How about we compare the candidates in terms of how they will address the topic (war on encryption)... rather than what scumbag criminal a-holes they are?

          Not that I mind politics. I'm fine with discussing it. Just I once was told not to mix it with sex or religion or techdirt.

          *goes to have religious sex*

          E

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2016 @ 12:12pm

            Re: Politics

            "How about we compare the candidates in terms of how they will address the topic"

            This makes it sound like you may actually believe what comes out of their mouths.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              BentFranklin (profile), 28 Jun 2016 @ 1:48pm

              Re: Re: Politics

              Clinton: No
              Trump: Hell no
              Sanders: Yes, please
              Clinton: Goddamn it, if I have to

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                AJ, 28 Jun 2016 @ 3:44pm

                Re: Re: Re: Politics

                Sigh. As a right leaning independent, I really do feel your pain. We really dont have much of a choice.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Uriel-238 (profile), 28 Jun 2016 @ 4:03pm

                There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight

                We tasted it already with Obama vs. McCaine and Palin

                The safe choice vs. the unthinkable choice is ultimately what our elections have become:

                Choose one for President:
                ~ Shilly Puppet McBigBizOwnsMe
                ~ Kitteneater Azathoth, Charnel Lord of the Bottomless Pit

                And Shilly will only be slightly better than Azathoth until eventually enough people get fed up Azathoth gets elected.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 28 Jun 2016 @ 3:51pm

            Re: Politics

            How about we compare the candidates in terms of how they will address the topic (war on encryption)...

            Easy enough.

            Trump: Almost certainly doesn't understand the topic in the slightest, but will lie and say whatever he thinks will be most beneficial to him at the time.

            Hilary: Likely does understand the topic, or at least enough to make an informed statement on it, but will lie and say whatever she thinks will be most beneficial to her at the time.

            So between the two you've got one person who doesn't understand the topic and will lie, vs another person who likely does understand the topic and will lie. Not exactly much to go on there to differentiate the two.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 28 Jun 2016 @ 10:40am

    Hillary doesn't like encryption because security.
    Trump loves encryption because "I loved dead people! They love me too! I've got the best crypts!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2016 @ 10:42am

    She really likes tech. Really. Really. No, not kidding. Really.

    I.T. works best when it is boring, reliable, and standardized.

    HRC's campaign has been run in exactly the fashion you'd expect from somebody with NPD. Everything has been about leveraging division, and appealing to her victems (constituency) ego. This discord is a fair indicator that she is completely unable to understand anything that isn't about her.

    Which is to say, that she will do whatever her handlers tell her will make her more famous. That is and has been, mostly about creating mayhem so that she can subsequently be at the center of it. So you can expect NOTHING that she does to conform with any kind of standards oriented process.

    It doesn't matter what advice she gets. She will be unable to take advice on this subject. There is nothing about this person that would suggest that she could at any level, EVER, do anything without fucking something up for somebody.

    Creating mayhem is what she does. It is at the core of her personality. If you think there is any possibility that that is good for I.T. people then I have an antivirus suite to sell you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Rapnel (profile), 28 Jun 2016 @ 10:47am

    Bullshit, Hillary.

    Encryption is, to your royally fucked over constituents, an assertion of privacy. You don't get to fucking say what I can and can't try to protect any longer so .. fuck off. Tosser.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 28 Jun 2016 @ 10:58am

    Like a typical politician, her words conflict with her words.

    These two are at odds with each other:
    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

    The "needs" of law enforcement wanting a backdoor to encryption will put the privacy and security of all Americans that use technology at risk. No way around it. No magic unicorns or pixie dust can make that happen.

    I like this one:
    "advance our larger national security and global competitiveness interests."
    Should read
    advance our larger national security interests. Global competitiveness and National security have nothing to do with each other and are lumped together to sound like a good thing. Well if its one thing we've seen is our "national security interests" are hell bent on breaking encryption.

    "Hillary will finish the job of connecting America’s households to the internet..."
    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150728/08375931774/shocker-billions-broadband-subsid ies-wasted-as-government-turns-blind-eye-to-fraud.shtml
    I read that as a bunch of more money going to ISP's that will never deliver and never be held accountable for the money.


    This bovine fecal matter is making me sick.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 28 Jun 2016 @ 11:13am

      Clinton's contradictions smack of fed talking points.

      My take on it is that she's saying what someone has informed her is the thing she needs to say, that either the alleged people or some important contributor wants to hear.

      Contrast Trump, whose perception of the world changes with the wind and his recent mixed drink, though he does do some platforming, probably on issues about which he doesn't really care.

      Either way, we're talking candidates not grounded in reality, who haven't done their homework, and who are going to be puppets for others in the shadows.

      Like Bush, and with the same outcomes on the nation that Bush had.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 28 Jun 2016 @ 8:29pm

        Re: Clinton's contradictions smack of fed talking points.

        Contrast Trump, whose perception of the world changes with the wind and his recent mixed drink...

        Trump doesn't drink alcohol, actually.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 28 Jun 2016 @ 9:30pm

          Trump doesn't drink.

          Interesting. I didn't know that.

          Disturbing that he can be that crazy when sober, though.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            John Fenderson (profile), 29 Jun 2016 @ 11:37am

            Re: Trump doesn't drink.

            That might be why he doesn't drink.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              nasch (profile), 29 Jun 2016 @ 3:04pm

              Re: Re: Trump doesn't drink.

              That might be why he doesn't drink.

              Apparently he doesn't drink because his brother died from alcoholism. Which, depending on the exact angle, raises the question of whether he is capable of experiencing something akin to human emotion.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                John Fenderson (profile), 29 Jun 2016 @ 5:01pm

                Re: Re: Re: Trump doesn't drink.

                I think Trump is a classic high-finance con man. If he's like the majority of such people, then he does feel human emotion, but it's pretty much limited to people he considers "family". Outside of family, their behavior is essentially sociopathic.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Giles Byles, 28 Jun 2016 @ 11:05am

    Hillary makes me illary.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2016 @ 12:14pm

    Alphabet/Google's chosen candidate

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2016 @ 1:07pm

    Gary Johnson 2016

    He doesn't have the strongest Net Neutrality policy, but at least he is on the right side of encryption!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2016 @ 3:20pm

    Without encryption there is no security and privacy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2016 @ 12:46am

    Stupid cunt, she prefers the bitches. Then what about Bills son? If these two faced mother fuckers could just be honest about anything. Didn't inhale my ass. To say nothing about the blow on the dashboard. She will make sure you suffer America, but damn you deserve it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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