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President Clinton and Vice President Gore: America's Agenda for the Information Age

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The Briefing Room

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 3, 2000


Today in a speech in Silicon Valley, the President will outline his agenda to ensure that America continues to lead the world in the Information Age, and that more Americans have the opportunity to participate in the extraordinary technology revolution. To ensure that government is doing its part to keep the Internet secure, the President will issue an Executive Memorandum directing agencies to safeguard their systems against the "denial of service" attacks that shut down a number of high-profile web sites last month. The President will also challenge Internet companies to improve their privacy policies, and will highlight the importance of bridging the "digital divide."

The President will speak at the Aspen Institute's Forum on Communications and Society before an audience of high-tech executives, educators, and leaders of non-profit organizations and foundations.


Information technology and the Internet are driving the U.S. economy -- accounting for 1/3 of U.S. economic growth, generating jobs that pay almost 80 percent more than the private sector average, and changing the way companies in all industries do business. President Clinton's forward-looking agenda will help strengthen America's leadership in the digital economy by:

  • Strengthening the security of the Internet: The digital economy must be built on a strong and secure foundation. In January, the President released the first National Plan for Information Systems Protection, and called for $2 billion in federal investments and a partnership with industry. Last month, President Clinton convened a summit of industry leaders, academic researchers and privacy experts to further joint government-industry action.

    • Today, the President will issue a directive to federal agencies to safeguard their systems against "denial of service" attacks. He will ask his Chief of Staff, John Podesta, to coordinate a review of federal government vulnerabilities in this area.

  • Investing in long-term research and development with a $3 billion budget increase: The President has proposed an almost $3 billion increase in the "21st Century Research Fund" in his FY2001 budget, with a $600 million increase in information technology research and a new, $500 million initiative in nanotechnology. Nanotechnology could lead to the ability to store the equivalent of the Library of Congress in a device the size of a sugar cube. Many of the innovations that are driving today's economy (e.g. the Internet) are the direct result of government-supported research in the 1960's and 1970's.

  • Challenging the private sector to improve privacy protection on the Internet: Concerns about privacy are one of the top reasons that people don't shop online. The Administration has challenged the private sector to engage in effective self-regulation, with enforcement by organizations such as BBBOnline and TRUSTe. More than 2,500 companies have joined one of these organizations, or have applications pending. Today, President Clinton will challenge Internet companies to improve the quality of their privacy policies. High-quality privacy policies are based on "fair information practices" such as:

    • Notice about what information is collected and how it will be used;

    • Choice about whether personal information will be shared with third parties;

    • Access to the information that the site has collected, including the right to check it for inaccuracies; and

    • Security of the information during its transmission and storage.


President Clinton and Vice President Gore believe that access to technology and the skills needed to use it are becoming increasingly important for full participation in America's economic, political and social life. That's why President Clinton has proposed significant new initiatives to create digital opportunity for our children, families and communities. He will lead a New Markets trip this April designed to mobilize significant private and public efforts to close the digital divide. Initiatives that the President has proposed in his FY2001 budget include:

  • $2 billion over 10 years in tax incentives to encourage private sector donations of computers, sponsorship of community technology centers, and technology training for workers.

  • $150 million to help train all new teachers entering the workforce to use technology effectively.

  • $100 million to create 1,000 Community Technology Centers in low-income urban and rural neighborhoods.

  • $50 million for a public-private partnership to expand home access to computers and the Internet for low-income families.



March 3, 2000

President Clinton and Vice President Gore have worked hard to grow the digital economy and to help create opportunity for more Americans in the information age.

To strengthen America's high-tech competitiveness and promote e-commerce and the Internet, the Administration has:

  • Opened up foreign markets for high-tech goods, cracked down on foreign piracy and liberalized export controls on computers and telecommunications equipment. This includes the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), which will eventually eliminate tariffs on $600 billion worth of goods, and the World Trade Organizationís Basic Telecommunications Agreement, which will promote competition and privatization in a global telecommunications services market worth $1 trillion.

  • Extended the Research and Experimentation tax credit, including a 5-year extension last year, the longest extension ever.

  • Passed the first comprehensive telecommunications reform legislation in over sixty years in order to lower prices, increase customer choice, and speed the deployment of high-speed networks.

  • Submitted budgets containing steadily increasing investments in research and development, helping to develop the ideas that will fuel productivity growth for decades to come.

  • Promoted a market-led approach on e-commerce that relies on self-regulation whenever possible.

To help close the digital divide, President Clinton and Vice President Gore have set a national goal of ensuring that every child is technologically literate, with Internet access, modern computers, trained teachers, and high-quality educational software. As a result of the initiative:

  • The number of classrooms connected to the Internet has increased from 4 percent in 1994 to 63 percent in 1999, while the number of schools connected to the Internet has increased from 35 percent to 95 percent during the same period.

  • The "e-rate", part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, is providing $2.25 billion (in the form of 20% - 90% discounts) to connect schools and libraries to the Internet, with the deepest discounts going to the poorest schools. The e-rate alone has provided Internet access for children in more than 1 million classrooms.

  • Our total investment in educational technology at the federal level (including the e-rate) has increased from $23 million in 1993 to over $3 billion today.

  • Grants supported by the Department of Education are training 400,000 new teachers to use technology effectively in the classroom.


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