The tech industry — which once said a Donald Trump presidency “would be a disaster for innovation” and donated and raised money to try to defeat him — is now asking him to consider its policy suggestions.
The Internet Association sent a letter to the Trump transition team Monday, enclosing a 10-page roadmap of the policy priorities of the 40 companies it represents. Those companies include Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter.
“Businesses of all sizes are able to connect with new customers at the touch of a button and compete on a global scale in ways impossible just a decade ago,” the letter states. “Nowhere was this more apparent than your use of the internet to connect with, and energize voters throughout the campaign. The internet industry looks forward to working with you on policies that encourage this kind of growth, innovation, and consumer choice.”
The key policy concerns mentioned in the letter include trade, an open internet, immigration reform — issues on which Trump and the tech industry disagree, at least according to what the president-elect has said and based on the few policy positions he has released. Unlike his rival, Hillary Clinton, he did not release a tech policy while campaigning.
Trump’s stated trade positions, which include raising tariffs and ripping up trade agreements, could affect tech companies such as Apple and the many other U.S. companies with global business interests.
Net neutrality, the principle that all internet content should be treated equally, could be in danger because of the incoming Trump administration and Republican control of Congress. (The FCC passed its Open Internet rules last year after a long fight.) Trump once tweeted that net neutrality was a President Obama “power grab.” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, once called it “Obamacare for the Internet.”
Trump has vowed to end the use of H-1B visas “as a cheap labor program.” FWD.us, a tech immigration advocacy group that has spoken out loudly against Trump’s rhetoric on immigration, said in a statement released the day after the election last week that “we need reform today for the exact same policy reasons that we needed it yesterday. It means working with new champions around the nation and it means engaging the new administration.”
The letter also mentioned the industry’s concerns about privacy and data security, including protecting strong encryption and surveillance reform. Trump took the government’s side when Apple was refusing to create a way for the FBI to hack into the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. And there is some concern about whether government surveillance will expand during a Trump presidency.
The letter also asks for policies that encourage increased STEM education and diversity in tech. Other concerns mentioned involve copyright, patent reform, intermediary liability — protection for tech companies over their liability for what their users post and share — and more.