Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came out in support of net neutrality and an “open Internet,” in a discussion at a technology conference on Tuesday. Clinton was a keynote speaker at the Dreamforce technology conference in San Francisco.

“I think with all the issues around the Internet, and there are many, about access, affordability, the big digital gap that exists, particularly between women and men, in developing and developed countries, it is absolutely clear to me that we have to keep the Internet open,” Clinton said.

She was speaking in a discussion with the founder of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, after delivering her keynote address at the Dreamforce conference organized annually by the Internet company Salesforce.com Inc.

The discussion covered areas including the trade-off that leaders are making between fund-raising and long-term statesmanship, in part, Clinton said, under the intense scrutiny of the media that is constantly looking to expose “the biggest embarrassment.”

The U.S. and its democratic allies around the world are in a struggle with more authoritarian regimes that want greater control over the Internet to suppress the individual freedoms enshrined in America’s Bill of Rights, she said. Internet Freedom is a “core value" in line with other individual freedoms such as freedom of speech and expression, Clinton said.

America has spent time, effort and money in trying to keep the Internet open, and it is an ongoing struggle against “more oppressive regimes around the world who want more control over the Internet, want to be able to shut it down at will, want to interfere with people’s freedom,” she said, adding: “When I was Secretary of State ... it became obvious that individuals, especially those with activist approaches, dissident opinions were increasingly becoming the targets of governments.”

Clinton, who is widely expected to become the Democratic candidate for the U.S. presidential elections in 2016 but is yet to formally announce that she will run, parried a question on a woman American president. "I don't want to make any news here," she said.

Clinton also applauded President Barack Obama’s stance in favor of “net neutrality.”

America is “trying to figure out how we’re going to make sure those channels remain open and accessible and how we protect people who are exercising those rights on the Internet from the heavy hand of the governments who oppose them ... partnership between public and private sector is the only way to go forward on it,” she said.