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If you care about technology, vote for Hillary Clinton

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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
Image: Andrew Harnik/AP

If you care at all about technology, you must vote for Hillary Clinton.

Throughout the campaign, both candidates have done a pretty poor job of explaining their tech policies, so you could be forgiven for assuming neither one of them has one. (And no, the ability to wield social media is not a tech position. It doesnt represent tech policy. Its just marketing.)

Tech is what underpins our lives, our infrastructure and our connection to the world. It takes more than an inspiring Instagram or a taunting tweet to make the difficult policy decisions in order to ensure that America remains a tech leader. Our next president will face a slew of issues: the growth of artificial intelligence, robotics, self-driving cars, data-mining for good without turning personal privacy inside out and upending our economy.

These issues demand from our candidates a very certain kind of policy information the sort of policy information I’ve been looking for. So I turned, as I have on occasion, to the candidates’ web sites. Here’s what I found: Donald J. Trump doesnt have a technology policy, per say. Clinton has one that could best be described as the kitchen-sink approach.

The SparkNotes version of Clinton’s plan can be found on her Technology and Innovation page. It checks off all the right boxes, like computer science and STEM support and attracting global talent to U.S. shores. Clinton promises to expand broadband, defend Net Neutrality and promote cybersecurity. This all sounds good, but theres zero detail. Instead, visitors get an unassuming link to a Fact Sheet that Clintons site calls The Briefing, which is amusing since there is nothing brief about Hillary Clintons Initiative on Technology and Innovation.

In a word, its exhaustive.

The 6,800-plus word document was released late last June, though I doubt many voters read it. Its comprehensive, aggressive and business-friendly. Clinton presents herself as a market-friendly centrist who believes in a connected world; she seeks to strengthen American technology interests, export our ideas and protect the sanctity of the Internet (Net Neutrality). As such, the “brief” talks about investment a lot of it in everything from computer science education to tech workforce diversity.

Clinton wants to:

  • Invest in small tech businesses and help defer loans for tech entrepreneurs.

  • Encourage research and development on big ideas by easing tech transfer from laboratories to the marketplace.

  • Expand broadband to rural communities and close the digital divide with, among other things, affordable broadband programs.

  • Fix the patents system and make life harder for patent trolls (yes, she uses the word “trolls”).

Clinton addresses digital data privacy and security, devoting a small section to security questions revolving around Internet of Things, and it’s worth noting that she expressed these IoT concerns months before a break of one such system resulted in massive Internet outages in the U.S.

Im especially impressed with her cybersecurity plan, which is neither over-reaching nor too vague to offer any kind of direction. This line gives me hope that at least someone in Clintons campaign understands what makes hackers tick:

She will encourage government agencies to consider innovative tools like bug bounty programs, modeled on the Defense Departments recent Hack the Pentagon initiative, to encourage hackers to responsibly disclose vulnerabilities they discover to the government.

Of course, some of the policy statements are lawyer-massaged mumbo jumbo:

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.

But others are blessedly specific:

She will maintain support for other federal tech programs 18F, Innovation Fellows, and Innovation Labsand look to them to develop a coordinated approach to tackling pressing technology problems.

The point is, when it comes to technology, Clinton has a point of view. That’s a good start.

Lets contrast that with what I found on Trumps campaign site.

A search of his site turned up no specific Technology page, but Trump does devote an entire page to cybersecurity. Its four main points are mostly about ordering or instructing the Department of Justice and Defense apartment to create entities to address this very real and growing threat. Plus, he advocates for the creation of a Cyber Review team made up of military, law enforcement and the private sector, which is encouraging.

Unfortunately, Trumps plan is as thin as the pixels its written on. Almost of third of his policy document is filled with links to media stories about the cyber security issues America faces. Another third is devoted to contrasting Trumps position with Clintons.

And thats it. No link to a lengthy treatise on a wider array of tech-related questions. No real acknowledgment of the wide swath of challenges America faces.

I get it. Trumps whole campaign has been a warbling siren song about “issues,” delivered loudly and in one note. But it should concern everyone that Trump has no visible plan for the myriad tech issues that face the country and the world. Clinton clearly does. She does not have a solution for everything, nor does she have the billions of dollars to fund the realization of some of her promises, but she has a tech plan and a real position on innovation.

If you are looking for a tech-minded candidate, someone who is thinking about the importance of R+D and has a global perspective on tech brain power, a politician who may be able to assuage the concerns of business by bolstering entrepreneurship through deregulation, that choice, at least, is clear: Hillary Clinton.

Originally found athttp://mashable.com/