Clinton Defends Net Neutrality Position

Senator Clinton's silence prompts questions about her commitment to open networks.

Sen. Hillary Clintons campaign said Nov. 15 her long silence on network neutrality should not be interpreted as waning support for the idea of mandating that broadband providers treat all network use in a nondiscriminatory manner.

Two weeks before announcing her presidential campaign in January, Clinton, along with Sen. Barack Obama, signed on as original co-sponsors of legislation that would make network neutrality the law of the land.

Since the campaign began, though, Clinton hasnt mentioned network neutrality, despite having issued a nine-point technology plan. In October, she announced an Internet strategy, also without a reference to network neutrality.

"Hillary Clinton has been and continues to be a strong supporter of net neutrality," Jin Chon, a spokesperson for the Clinton campaign, told eWEEK. Chon also said Clinton told the YearlyKos convention in August that she will "make sure that the architecture of the Internet stays open."


Click here to read about a net neutrality complaint brought by a video distributor against Comcast.

Clintons silence was the subject of a Nov. 15 teleconference involving several top-ranking Obama campaign officials. The conference came the day after Obama told a large crowd at Googles California headquarters, "I will take a backseat to no one in my commitment to network neutrality."

In October, Obama said he would appoint only pro-network-neutrality Federal Communications Commission officials.

One Obama official ruminated about Clintons silence. "If you look at the record, both [Obama and Clinton] were original supporters of the Snowe-Dorgan legislation. [Obama] has spoken on the issue in at least two appearances. I dont recall Sen. Clinton specifically speaking to the issue."

Obama supporter, Stanford law professor and Internet icon Lawrence Lessig suggested that Clintons silence might be tied to her "acknowledged funding from telecoms."

Chon dismissed the speculation.

"If Sen. Obama is so concerned about the influence of contributions from the telecommunications industry, perhaps he should return the more than $84,000 he has received during this campaign," Chon said.

The liberal grassroots organization has pressed Clinton to officially commit to network neutrality. "Although Hillary Clinton supported net neutrality legislation in the past, the Internet agenda she unveiled last month did not mention the issue at all. Net neutrality opponents pointed to this as proof that she was backing away from her stance on this issue," the group said in a Nov. 15 statement.

MoveOn said it wanted "the same level of commitment [as Obamas] from Hillary Clinton."


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