Hillary Clinton has recently released her campaign promises for the technology sector should she be elected as President Obama’s successor in November, reports Telecoms.com.
The technology agenda focused on a vast and varied number of issues within the technology industry, including the digital job-front, universal high-speed internet for the US, data transmission across jurisdictions, technological innovation and the adoption of technology in government. Although the statement does indicate a strong stance on moving technology to the top of the political agenda, there does seem to be an element of ‘buzzword chasing’ to gain support of the country’s tech giant.
“Today’s dynamic and competitive global economy demands an ambitious national commitment to technology, innovation and entrepreneurship,” the statement read. “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.”
But what did we learn about America’s technology future?
Focus on 5G and new technologies
One of the more prominent buzzwords through the beginning of 2016 has been 5G as it is seemingly the turn-to phrase for the majority of new product launches and marketing campaigns. The Clinton has aligned themselves with the buzz in committing to deploying 5G networks (no timeframe), as well as opening up opportunities for a variety of next gen technologies.
“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,” the statement said.
The deployment of 5G has been split into two separate areas. Firstly, the use of the spectrum will be reviewed with the intention of identifying underutilized bands, including those reserved for the government, and reallocating to improve the speed of deployment. Secondly, government research grants will be awarded to various vendors to advance wireless and data technologies which are directed towards social priorities including healthcare, the environment, public safety and social welfare.
A recent report highlighted from Ovum highlighted the US is on the right track for the deployment of 5G, as the team believe it will be one of the leading countries for the technology. Ovum analysts predict there will be at least 24 million 5G subscribers by the end of 2021, of which 40% will be located in North America.
Data Transmission between US and EU
From a data transmission perspective, the Clinton team are seemingly taking offence to the European Court of Justice’s decision to strike down Safe Harbour, and the varied reception for the EU-US Privacy Shield. It would appear the Clinton team is under the assumption the deal between the EU and US was struck down for economic reasons, as opposed to data protection.
“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,” the statement said. “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.”
While it is could be considered encouraging that the mission of the Clinton team is to open up the channels between the two regions again, it does seem to have missed the point of why the agreement was shot down in the first place. The statement seemingly implies EU countries refused the agreement on the ground of promoting the interests of EU countries in the EU, as opposed to privacy concerns and the US attitude to government agencies access to personal information.
Safe Harbour, the initial transatlantic agreement, was shot down last October, though its proposed successor has come under similar criticism. Only last month, the European Data Protection Supervisor, Giovanni Buttarelli, outlined concerns on whether the proposed agreement will provide adequate protection against indiscriminate surveillance as well as obligations on oversight, transparency, redress and data protection rights.
“I appreciate the efforts made to develop a solution to replace Safe Harbour but the Privacy Shield as it stands is not robust enough to withstand future legal scrutiny before the Court,” said Buttarelli. “Significant improvements are needed should the European Commission wish to adopt an adequacy decision, to respect the essence of key data protection principles with particular regard to necessity, proportionality and redress mechanisms. Moreover, it’s time to develop a longer term solution in the transatlantic dialogue.”
The Clinton team can continue to discuss changes to the transatlantic data transmission policy should they choose, however it is highly unlikely any positive moves are to be made until it gets to grips with the basic concerns of EU policy makers.
Access to Government data
Currently there are certain offices and data sets which are accessible to the general public, though this is an area which will be expanded under a Clinton regime. The concept is a sound one; giving entrepreneurs and businesses access to the data could provide insight to how money could be saved, used more efficiently or even new technologies implemented to improve the effectiveness of the government, though there could be a downside.
“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,” the statement said. “Hillary will continue and accelerate the Administration’s open data initiatives, including in areas such as health care, education, and criminal justice.”
The downside has the potential to ruin any politician. The program is opening the door for criticism from all sides, and will offer ammunition to any opposition.
Connecting American Citizens
One of the most focused points of the document was around the country’s commitment to ensuring each household and business has the opportunity to be connected to high-speed broadband. While this could be considered an effective sound-bite for the party, it is not a new idea by any means. A recent report highlighted there is currently a surprising number of Americans who do not currently have access to broadband. Although it may be expected those in the rural communities would struggle at times, the report indicated 27% and 25% of New York and Los Angeles respectively would be classed in the “Urban Broadband Unconnected” category, which could be considered more unusual.
Connect America Fund, Rural Utilities Service Program and Broadband Technology Opportunities Program are all well-established operations (Rural Utilities Service Program has been around since 1935) which had been drums for previous presidents to bang also. Clinton has said very little new here or has made little commitment to the initiatives.
The team have however committed to a $25 billion Infrastructure Bank which will enable local authorities to apply for grants to make improvements. This is a new concept which Clinton plans to introduce though the details on how it will be funded, what the criteria for application will be or whether there are any stipulations on which vendors the money can be spend with, are not detailed.