Clinton espouses tech tools for diplomacy in Brazil

Appearing at a high-level meeting in Brazil, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged to distribute new policy guidance to all U.S. embassies on how to use digital technology tools to foster diplomacy.

Clinton spoke on April 17 at the first high-level meeting of the global Open Government Partnership, a group of more than 50 governments that have made commitments for transparency, accountability and citizen participation. The April 17 meeting had representation from 73 governments and more than 200 civil organizations.

The partnership was launched in September 2011 by President Barack Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. As a founding member of the partnership, the Obama administration released the U.S. National Action Plan outlining 26 initiatives for improving public integrity, participation, resource management and public services.

Related links:

New US transparency plan unveiled for global open government partnership

Global open government partnership gets mixed forecast

At the meeting, held in Brazil's capital city Brasilia, Clinton said that new media and technology tools are being applied by the United States in e-diplomacy efforts. Those include U.S. embassy Facebook pages, State Department Twitter feeds and internal social networks to foster more information-sharing within the department.

“We now have tools that other generations could only dream of,” Clinton said at the meeting, according to a video livestream of the event.

The tools have enabled release of large amounts of government data, publishing of national budget figures online and connecting citizens with each other and with government agencies, she added.

Clinton said she would be distributing policy guides to all U.S. embassies around the world on modernizing diplomacy through technology. A copy of the guidance document was not immediately available.

"We want to open up the State Department not only to U.S. citizens, but to people everywhere, because in keeping with the principles of open government and this partnership, we believe that when people are empowered to speak their minds and leaders are held to account for their actions, we all do better," she said.

At the same time, she cautioned that technology solutions alone will not make governments open. The key is cultural change and commitment.

“Technology is not some kind of a magic wand,” Clinton said. “Corruption, closed doors…those are as old as human nature. The new tools do not change human nature.”

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

The Fed 100

Read the profiles of all this year's winners.


  • Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump at a 2016 campaign event. Image: Shutterstock

    'Buy American' order puts procurement in the spotlight

    Some IT contractors are worried that the "buy American" executive order from President Trump could squeeze key innovators out of the market.

  • OMB chief Mick Mulvaney, shown here in as a member of Congress in 2013. (Photo credit Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

    White House taps old policies for new government makeover

    New guidance from OMB advises agencies to use shared services, GWACs and federal schedules for acquisition, and to leverage IT wherever possible in restructuring plans.

  • Shutterstock image (by Everett Historical): aerial of the Pentagon.

    What DOD's next CIO will have to deal with

    It could be months before the Defense Department has a new CIO, and he or she will face a host of organizational and operational challenges from Day One

  • USAF Gen. John Hyten

    General: Cyber Command needs new platform before NSA split

    U.S. Cyber Command should be elevated to a full combatant command as soon as possible, the head of Strategic Command told Congress, but it cannot be separated from the NSA until it has its own cyber platform.

  • Image from Shutterstock.

    DLA goes virtual

    The Defense Logistics Agency is in the midst of an ambitious campaign to eliminate its IT infrastructure and transition to using exclusively shared, hosted and virtual services.

  • Fed 100 logo

    The 2017 Federal 100

    The women and men who make up this year's Fed 100 are proof positive of what one person can make possibile in federal IT. Read on to learn more about each and every winner's accomplishments.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group