Hillary Clinton said at a Silicon Valley conference for women leaders Tuesday that she supports President Barack Obama’s call for the strongest possible rules to safe guard net neutrality.
That includes, Clinton said, reclassifying broadband providers under what’s known as Title II of the Communications Act, the most controversial option available to the government. It’s the first time the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate has voiced support for the Title II option.
Clinton’s speech and interview at the Lead On Watermark Silicon Valley Conference for Women marked the first time she has spoken publicly in the country this year. And while she didn’t directly address any 2016 plans, it was the closest she’s come to saying that she’ll run.
In an interview with longtime tech journalist and Re/Code editor Kara Swisher after her speech, for which she was paid handsomely, Clinton admitted she’s “obviously” thinking about running, but has to check a few more things of her list before making a decision.
“I have a very long list. I’m going down it. And I haven’t checked off the last couple of things yet,” she said, cheekily. The crowd, dominated by women entrepreneurs, applauded in approval.
While the former secretary of state’s prepared speech traded largely in platitudes about equal pay for women and breaking glass ceilings, the interview with Swisher afterward was one of the most substantive public discussions Clinton has had in months. Swisher asked primarily about technology-related policy issues, like net neutrality, encryption, and privacy.
Clinton was most precise in her policy position about whether the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) should reclassify broadband providers under Title II of the Communications Act—a controversial move that puts Internet companies in the same category as more highly-regulated industries, like mobile phone companies and public utilities.
“For the FCC to… create net neutrality as the norm, they have to have a hook to hang it on,” Clinton said. “[Title II] is the only hook they’ve got.” The FCC will vote Thursday on whether to use Title II to regulate net neutrality rules.
With regards to former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, Clinton acknowledged that while she can’t condone his decision to leak secret documents about the agency’s surveillance programs, she said her own position is mixed. She called on the NSA to be more transparent with the public—”I think a lot of the reaction about the NSA was that people felt betrayed,” she explained—but added later that some surveillance is necessary. “I do want to get the bad guys,” she said.
As for the threat of ISIS in the Middle East, Clinton said she supports the Obama administration’s efforts against the Islamist militant group. “I think the right moves are being made,” she said, before underscoring the complexity of the issue. “It’s a very hard challenge because you can’t very well put American or Western troops in to fight this organism. You have to use not only air force but also army soldiers form the region, and particular from Iraq.”
Clinton laid blame on former U.S. ally, ex-Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, for stoking sectarian conflict in Iraq and “decimating” the country’s army, which helped allow ISIS to become “a metastatcizing danger” in the region.
The interview ended with a couple softball questions. If Clinton could wave a magic wand and change anything she wanted in the country, what would it be? Swisher asked.
Clinton said she would “get us back to working together cooperatively again.” The crowd roared.
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