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Hillary Clinton’s tech policy proposal sounds like a love letter to Silicon Valley

Tech diversity. Affordable internet. Entrepreneur debt forgiveness. It’s all there.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff (l) and Hillary Clinton (r)
Justin Sullivan / Getty

Silicon Valley loves Hillary Clinton. Or at least they like her a lot more than they like Donald Trump.

And Hillary Clinton, based on her Bay Area fundraising tours and newly leaked tech policy proposals, loves Silicon Valley back.

Her “Initiative on Technology & Innovation,” unveiled today, includes the following items that sound as though they were hand-crafted to win Silicon Valley’s heart, votes and fundraising dollars:

  • Affordable, high-speed internet in all American households by the end of her first term.
  • A commitment to defend the principles of net neutrality and recent FCC rulings in favor of it.
  • Investment in computer science and STEM education, like offering more computer science classes and training 50,000 teachers in related subjects.
  • Diversifying the tech workforce and funding tech and STEM education at historically black colleges and universities.
  • A student loan deferment program for entrepreneurs with the option to forgive up to $17,500 in debt if they launch a business “that [operates] in distressed communities, or social enterprises that provide measurable social impact and benefit.”
  • A blue-ribbon commission on digital security and encryption, which sounds like a neat way to avoid infuriating the military, law enforcement and the tech industry.
  • A “high-level” working group consisting of “experts, business and labor leaders” to tackle the Uber-style gig economy.

Like many such campaign documents, this is filled with carrots and very few sticks. The thornier issues — encryption, labor protection and the so-called “sharing economy” — are getting placed in working groups that can be fussed about later.

Last week, a number of Silicon Valley notables like Sheryl Sandberg, Reid Hoffman and Marc Benioff officially endorsed Clinton. Donald Trump notwithstanding, this document is a pretty good idea of why.

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