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"If we can make every American technologically literate, if we can make our government wise not only in its own use of technology but in giving those tools, if we keep building the right kind of information economy which respects privacy and has security, then what we have achieved in the last seven years will be just a small prologue of what will occur in the years ahead."

President Bill Clinton
Friday, March 3, 2000

Today, in San Jose, CA, in the heart of Silicon Valley, President Clinton outlined his agenda to ensure that America continues to lead the world in the Information Age. The President issued 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 also challenged Internet companies to improve their privacy policies, and highlighted the importance of bridging the digital divide so that more Americans have the opportunity to participate in the technology revolution. The President spoke 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.

Strengthening America's Leadership in the Digital Age. Information technology and the Internet are driving the U.S. economy - accounting for one-third of U.S. economic growth, generating jobs that pay almost 80 percent more than the private-sector average, and changing the way companies do business. President Clinton's agenda will help ensure America's leadership in the digital economy by:

  • Strengthening the security of the Internet. To ensure that government is doing its part to keep the Internet secure, President Clinton issued an Executive Memorandum directing federal agencies to safeguard their systems against Internet "denial of service" attacks. The President asked his Chief of Staff, John Podesta, to coordinate a review of federal government vulnerabilities in this area.

  • Investing in long-term research and development. The President has proposed an almost $3 billion increase in the 21st Century Research Fund in his FY 2001 budget, with a $600 million increase in information technology research and a $500 million initiative in nanotechnology.

  • Challenging the private sector to improve privacy protection on the Internet. President Clinton challenged Internet companies to institute “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 for inaccuracies; and
    • Security of the information during its transmission and storage.

Bridging the Digital Divide. President Clinton and Vice President Gore believe that access to technology is becoming increasingly important for full participation in America's economic, political and social life. President Clinton has proposed significant initiatives in his FY 2001 budget to help bridge the digital divide, including:

  • $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 to use technology effectively;
  • $100 million to create 1,000 community technology centers in low-income urban and rural areas; and
  • $50 million to expand home access to computers and the Internet for low-income families.

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