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Rand Paul sweet talks crowd at SXSW, tries to woo techies and millennials

Leah Yamshon | March 19, 2015
Paul talked Snapchat, privacy, and net neutrality during his tech-centric interview, that was definitely not part of a pre-election ramp up (wink wink).

Paul called himself the leader of the "Leave Me Alone Coalition," a group that thinks that the government shouldn't be telling people what to do and should, basically, leave them alone--for the most part. He firmly believes that traditionally liberal voters will be open to embracing a Republican candidate who campaigns hard for privacy. It's not that he's against the NSA, but he wants to make sure their practices don't violate the Bill of Rights.

He also couldn't help but make jabs at potential opponent Hillary Clinton.

"Don't use your private email server, that's my first piece of advice," Paul said, criticizing her controversial choice to use a private email server for government email during her time as U.S. Secretary of State. Paul said she could have put President Obama in jeopardy, since private email doesn't have the same level of security as the systems put in place at the White House.

On net neutrality 
Paul says he's against net neutrality in its current form, calling it an "unauthorized power grab at a private industry." He thinks the answer to keeping the Internet open and affordable lies with preventing the utility from becoming monopolized. He's pushing to break up cable and Internet monopolies (using New York City as an example) to open up the competition, so customers have different price and speed options. That way, it doesn't interfere with the market. 

He wants to be clear, though, perhaps suspecting that the Austin audience was mostly in favor of net neutrality: He's opposed to net neutrality because he believes in the free market, not because he wants to throttle the Internet.

"The Internet is free of regulation, and we should keep it that way," he said. "I don't want the government to screw up one of the greatest resources we have."

So, it's technically unclear on whether or not Paul will be running for president, but one thing is crystal clear: He certainly knew what stances to take in front of a room full of tech enthusiasts.


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