US President Bill Clinton has pledged to further push technology and the Internet into everyday life. At the same time he promised to protect personal information held on computers.

The initiatives, announced during his final State of the Union address, detailed measures designed to offer the less advantaged access to computer technology.

Clinton promised to "close the digital divide" between IT haves and have-nots. He added that the ability to use technology is vital to opening the door of opportunity.

Clinton’s people Clinton said: "This spring, I'll invite high-tech leaders to join me on another New Markets tour to close the digital divide and open opportunity for our people."

Touching on a new series of tax incentives, he called on more companies in the IT industry to join him in achieving this goal.

In the education sector, he announced plans that will see all new teachers "trained to teach 21st century skills. This is a national crusade. We've got to do this, and we've got to do this quickly", he said.

The US President also addressed measures to prevent personal information being freely distributed. He said: "First and foremost, we have to safeguard our citizens' privacy. Last year, we proposed rules to protect every citizen's medical records. This year, we will finalize those rules.

"We have also taken the first steps to protect the privacy of bank and credit card records and other financial statements. Soon I will send legislation to the Congress to finish that job."