The Clinton-Gore Administration: Leadership for the New Millennium -- A Record of Digital Progress and Prosperity
Tuesday, January 16, 2001
Chief of Staff John Podesta released today a report outlining the Clinton-Gore Administration’s record of digital progress and prosperity and preparing the United States for the Information Age of the 21st century.
Over the last eight years, the Administration has harnessed the power of the Internet to expand access to education, training, medical and health information; empower our citizens and reinvent government; and spur growth, raise productivity, limit inflation and create jobs.
The Third Annual Report of the U.S. Government Working Group on Electronic Commerce, "Leadership for the New Millennium: Delivering on Digital Progress and Prosperity," details the Administration’s accomplishments in promoting electronic commerce, using the Internet to address our most urgent social challenges, and establishing a strategy and vision for the future.
The complete report is available as a PDF on the Electronic Commerce web site at: http://www.ecommerce.gov/
A LEGACY OF DIGITAL ACHIEVEMENT
Since 1993, the Clinton-Gore Administration has helped guide and accelerate one of the most fundamental transformations in our country’s history. Information and communication technologies have altered the way we play, work and do business.
- The number of unique Internet addresses has ballooned from 1.3 million in 1993 to more than 93 million today and the number of Internet users has increased by roughly 423 million.
- At every income level, but especially at middle income levels, Americans are connecting at far higher rates from their homes than even two years ago. Today, more than two-thirds of all households earning more than $50,000 have Internet connections.
- The number of personal computers installed in classrooms tripled from 1992 to 1999, with the number of educational users of the Internet projected to exceed 110 million by the year 2003.
- The Clinton-Gore Administration has vastly expanded access to higher quality medical information online. A recent survey found that about half of Americans online who use the Internet to search for medical information believe the Internet has improved they way they take care of themselves.
- When the Clinton-Gore Administration began, there was no appreciable business activity online. While estimates vary, some suggest that business-to-consumer e-commerce could total $61 billion in 2000, and business-to-business e-commerce could total about $184 billion.
- The expanded use of information technologies has produced profound changes in the overall economy. Despite a modest 8.3 percent share of the economy, IT industries have contributed 30 percent of U.S. economic growth since 1995 and accounted for half or more of the recent acceleration in U.S. productivity growth while generating hundreds of thousands of new jobs.
CREATING DIGITAL EQUALITY
The Clinton-Gore Administration has helped widen the circle of digital opportunity. Among other steps, the Administration has:
- Created the e-rate program, which is benefiting more than 90 percent of America’s public schools and providing Internet access for 30 million children in more than one million classrooms and 47,000 schools and libraries.
- Proposed tripling funding for Community Technology Centers in its FY 2001 budget to $100 million to create up to 1,000 new centers. These centers will help to close the digital divide by providing computers and Information Age tools to children and adults unable to afford them at home.
- Helped disabled persons get access to the Internet by supporting the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Accessibility Initiative; creating an interagency task force to explore enhancing Medicare and Medicaid to help pay for assistive technologies; creating state-based loan programs for the purchase of assistive technology; and awarding $9 million to AmeriCorps to put 1,200 volunteers into schools and communities to teach students with disabilities and others Internet skills.
BUILDING AN E-SOCIETY
The Administration has helped deliver on the potential of the Internet to improve our quality of life. Among other steps, the Administration has:
- Moved rapidly to deploy state-of-the-art technology to bring primary care and specialty medicine to remote communities. Currently, there are almost 40 telemedicine programs and partnerships within the Indian Health Service alone that are delivering care to isolated communities.
- Put online, accurate, up-to-date, quality health care information from the world's largest medical library, the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. The MedlinePlus service provides access to extensive information about specific diseases and conditions, and has links to consumer health information, dictionaries, lists of hospitals and physicians, health information in Spanish and other languages, and clinical trials.
- Awarded $18.7 million to link hospitals, schools, doctors, educators, patients and students in rural America with medical research institutions, universities, libraries, doctors, educators, and professors; and deployed Mobil Internet Vans to provide IT training in rural communities.
The Clinton-Gore Administration has used digital technologies to make government more accountable, efficient and responsive to its citizens than ever before. Among other steps, the Administration has:
- Launched the first-ever website that provides the public with easy, one-stop access to all Federal government online information and services. The customer-focused FirstGov permits users to search 27 million Federal agency web pages instantaneously by subject or by keyword.
- Directed agencies, under the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA), in May to plan for electronic filing by October 2003 and to use electronic signatures for the full range of government activities and services, considering risks, costs, and benefits.
- The Administration also has put hundreds of services online, including those that allow citizens to pay their taxes, consolidate student loans, receive estimates of social security benefits, compare Medicare health plans, and reserve a campsite.
ENHANCING CONSUMER CONFIDENCE
The Clinton-Gore Administration has worked to protect consumers and other users of the Internet. Among other steps, the Administration has:
- Enhanced consumer protection by successfully challenging industry to establish codes of conduct, encouraging consumer education, and aggressively fighting misleading and deceptive practices online.
- The number of commercial websites that post privacy policies has jumped from 2 percent in 1998 to 62 percent this year.
- The FTC issued rules to implement the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act in April 2000. The Administration actively supported enactment of this Act, which requires sites aimed at children to get verifiable parental consent before they gather and use personal information received from children under 13.
- The United States and the European Commission completed the safe harbor privacy accord, which helps to ensure that trans-Atlantic data flows will not be interrupted. This landmark accord is enhancing privacy protection for U.S. consumers and assuring effective privacy protection for European citizens whose data is transferred to the United States
CREATING A GLOBAL SEAMLESS MARKETPLACE
The Clinton-Gore Administration has worked to create a seamless global marketplace that will allow e-commerce and the Internet to reach their full potential:
- President Clinton signed into law the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-SIGN) on June 30, 2000. E-SIGN promotes electronic commerce by ensuring explicitly the legal validity of electronic records, signatures, and transactions.
- This year the Administration continued to build on the successful May 1998 WTO electronic commerce declaration to formally extend the existing moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions and continue the WTO work program regarding the application of all trade disciplines to e-commerce.
- The Administration has encouraged worldwide support for the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty through trade negotiations, speeches, and participation in conferences. As of November 2000, 21 and 19 countries respectively, had ratified the two treaties, representing all geographical regions of the world.