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9/2/2014
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Hillary Clinton Talks Tech: 9 Facts

Hillary Clinton explained how she sees technology fitting into the recovering US economy, at Nexenta OpenSDx conference. Here are nine things we learned.

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Presumed presidential candidate and former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton discussed her views on tech last week, speaking at the Nexenta OpenSDx conference in San Francisco. Addressing a crowd that included the CEOs of several major tech companies, she confessed to being a little out of her depth.

"I have to start by admitting I'm not an expert in software-defined storage. Or the intricacies of cloud computing," she said, drawing amused applause. "But I have learned enough to be tremendously excited about how the advances you are making are helping to build a 21st century American economy that is vibrant and dynamic, and if we make smart choices and investments, inclusive and broadly shared as well."

What could another Clinton administration mean for the tech industry and the nation at large? Here are nine things we learned from Hillary Clinton's appearance at OpenSDx.

1. Clinton believes cloud computing, big data, and SDN are engines for US economic growth.
Clinton emphasized that tech has and will continue to play a key role in America's recovery from the Great Recession. "The power of the Internet wasn't just dot-coms," she said. "It was wonderful to see new companies creating jobs, but more important were the productivity gains that computing and the Internet brought to industries we wouldn't think of as being high-tech."

[Lack of cohesive policy is hobbling mobile tech adoption by government workers. Read Why Federal Agencies Lag Behind On Mobile Tech.]

Clinton argued current tech trends such as cloud computing, big data analytics, and software-defined architectures will fuel future rounds of US growth. She briefly cited a range of ways in which new technologies will change traditionally non-tech fields, from farmers' use of weather data to stores that use real-time data to optimize retail and distribution operations. She also echoed a favorite talking point of her husband, former president Bill Clinton, describing tech's potential impact on healthcare alone as "staggering."

2. Clinton wants more public-private tech partnerships.
Clinton praised Silicon Valley's role in correcting the infamously botched healthcare.gov rollout. She said problems plagued the website because the government hasn't kept up with the pace of technology. "Let's face it, our government is woefully, woefully behind in all policies that affect the use of technology," she said, adding that when she became Secretary of State in 2009, the department wasn't equipped to support BlackBerrys for service officers.

Compared to the tech currently coming out of Silicon Valley, she pointed out, much of the government is one to two generations behind. "When people say, wow, look at the [healthcare.gov] rollout, that was not done right, well, [that was] in part because the rules, the procurement rules, the technology rules ... make it very difficult."

While Clinton allowed that other factors marred the website as well, she stressed that in the future, greater collaboration between businesses and the government could help avoid such debacles altogether. "Going forward, government could use more of your expertise on the front end," she told the crowd. "Designing and launching programs rather than coming afterward to help save them, embracing and launching a classically American public-private partnership -- it brings out the best of both worlds."

3. Clinton said privacy and security often conflict.
"[There is] no doubt we may have gone too far in a number of areas," Clinton said of post-9/11 intelligence efforts. Speaking directly to the NSA surveillance scandal, she said the agency "didn't so far as we know cross legal lines, but [it] came right up and sat on them."

"We have to rebalance," she added.

She cautioned, however, that "our privacy and our security are in a necessary, inevitable tension," a dynamic she said goes back to the beginning of our

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Michael Endler joined InformationWeek as an associate editor in 2012. He previously worked in talent representation in the entertainment industry, as a freelance copywriter and photojournalist, and as a teacher. Michael earned a BA in English from Stanford University in 2005 ... View Full Bio

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LindaJoyAdams
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LindaJoyAdams,
User Rank: Guru
9/6/2014 | 5:54:29 AM
PARTNERSHIPS DO NOT WORK, SEC CLINTON
 This nation is already in crisis over government in partnership with business. Govt must retain over sight controls and authority to investigatie and bring to justice any crimes or civil wrongs committed. This has not been going on for several years especially at HHS and other agencies and one reason most think " governemnt is not working" for IT  ISN'T WORKING FOR ITS NOT,  Few have any idea what is gong on inside the partners of the govt and Congress never seems to ask them to testify who can really answer the questions.   Our very lives have been adversely affected in many ways. Business can help out, advise,  and be fairly compensated, but we have come close to some international cabals overthrowing the govt and become the  ones in control and its not working out too well.     Of course the health insurace exchange has had crashes and porblems for there are too many illegal offline systems being used inside the partners of the govt now and for over a decade and no one at HHS has been allowed to investigate although we presented the evidence of horrendous illegal things and thefts going on by some of the partners. Its still going on and more money is being thrown at the problem instead of doing the criminal investigations and shutting down what one Ast US attorney called the biggest ricco case in the history of USA and  they could do nothing as there was no Federal law enforccment to investigate and refer anyone for prosecution.  This was verified many times over including  with the person assigned in the US Justice dept. as Congress had their 'hands tied' with no money to spend to shut down real crimes. Yet, nothing is done and Congress does not make sure real oversite is done as there have not been real internal audit controls for 20 years when the  main enforcement laws were suspended back in 1994.  and the same partners are running agency after agency now and at the state and local areas. too.  Ethical companies find it much harder to compete in such a corrupted climate and the taxpayers  precious monies is gone and the items it was to be used for?  PARTNERSHIPS DO NOT WORK. GOVT CONTRACTS WITH OVERSITE AND ACCOUNTABILITY FOR ACTIONS HAVE A PURPOSE.  Linda Joy Adams
soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
9/5/2014 | 1:11:14 PM
Re: Hillary on privacy pitfalls?
In the article, Hillary said, "...the rules, the procurement rules, the technology rules ... make it very difficult" to proceed with technology. So, did IT just skirt these issues? Did the government have to make changes to policy to accomodate technology? How did they deal with the issues?
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
9/4/2014 | 1:48:55 PM
Re: Hillary on privacy pitfalls?
@ Li Tan. What I wanted to hear from hilary more was her policies in helping decrease youth unemployment through technology.  As you pointed out, technology is the future of the country.  If we could train future workers in improving their skills on technology they will be more marketable to employers.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
9/3/2014 | 7:38:56 AM
Re: Hillary on privacy pitfalls?
I think we all saw how woefully unprepared our government is to take on large scale IT projects but did we really expect anything different?  Will we get true competitive private sector bidding or will we get the wink and a nod bidding and a friend of a congressman will get rich not delivering what they promised?  I think it needs to be more than the technology partnership that gets privatized.  I think they need some privatized management since the government seems to move at a very different pace than the private sector and they seem to need a bit more accountability that you can't get when it benefits government employees to hide issues. 
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
9/3/2014 | 2:57:16 AM
Re: Hillary on privacy pitfalls?
That's the point - there should be more cooperation between public sector and private ones so that their IT project will not fail. Furthermore, it's good and important that senior political leaders have more insight to high-tech end. This is essential for the future growth of the country.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
9/2/2014 | 9:55:20 PM
Re: Hillary on privacy pitfalls?
I think the article was very informative.  Some of her views on tech seem follow current technology trends.  I do agree with her that we need to increase the partnership between government and the private sector.  As the healthcare.gov website demonstrated, the public sector needs to work on getting their IT projects not to fail.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
9/2/2014 | 7:18:37 PM
Re: Hillary on privacy pitfalls?
Yeah, I thought she brushed that one off a bit too easily. Again, as David and I were discussing in this thread-- a talking point that distills a complicated issue into a deceptively confident statement. I thought it was kind of funny that she said "so far as 'we' know." As the former Secretary of State, I suspect she knows a few more details about this than "we" the public do.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
9/2/2014 | 7:13:56 PM
Re: Hillary on privacy pitfalls?
>"Hillary can't control my careless tweets, let alone what a real political enemy will do with her words."

Indeed-- and that spins off into a whole different world of political aggravation. The presence of PR pros (whether Hillary's allies or enemies) who try to manipulate these talking points speaks to the vested interest some parties have in conditioning people to continue to rely on talking points-- hence our increasingly divisive culture, and the "echo chamber" ideology that's developed in both right-focused and left-focused media channels. This in turn speaks to the influence of money in the overall process-- who writes the talking points, what gets distilled, what gets excluded, who gets targeted with messaging and why, what transparency the public has into the process, and so on. On the flip side, I think the recent voting record shows that some constituencies have rebelled against politicians and donors who backed talking points that turned out to be lies. I'm not convinced this sort of populist discontent amounts to a corrective measure, but it reminds you that hollow talking points have a shelf life, and often end up canceling out one another.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
9/2/2014 | 6:31:39 PM
Re: Hillary on privacy pitfalls?
>she said the agency "didn't so far as we know cross legal lines, but [it] came right up and sat on them."

Her interpretation of the Fourth Amendment appears to be pretty narrow then.
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
9/2/2014 | 6:15:44 PM
Re: Hillary on privacy pitfalls?
Well said. And Hillary can't control my careless tweets, let alone what a real political enemy will do with her words.
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