January 20, 2015

WASHINGTON – The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), representing the world’s leading technology companies as the global voice for the tech sector, released the following statement from President and CEO Dean Garfield responding to tech specific items in President Barack Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress:

Cybersecurity:

“We welcome the president’s renewed commitment tonight to improve and invest in cybersecurity and look forward to learning more about his proposal. The tech sector is constantly investing and working to offer the online world the tools needed to protect and defend the networks we rely upon. Given our reliance on technology and the fact that incidents will happen—whether from sophisticated attacks or other causes—it’s imperative that we elevate cybersecurity to more than an after-thought because it is a critical component in today’s world.” 

Data Breach Notification:

“We have long called for a federal notification standard that replaces the current patchwork of state data breach notification requirements. We’re encouraged by the emerging bipartisan support shown by the president and congress for a federal notification framework, and properly crafted, it is an opportunity to help consumers protect themselves when a data breach occurs."

Cybersecurity Threat Information Sharing:

“We welcome the renewed focus the president has brought to this issue. Cybersecurity is really about risk management, and that means protecting and defending networks. We hope lawmakers will engage with experts to promote cybersecurity threat information sharing in a way that protects privacy and offers legal liability protection for businesses.”

Tax Reform:

“Our outdated tax code is in dire need of an upgrade if the U.S. is going to compete in today’s hyper competitive global marketplace. The absence of comprehensive tax reform has created a messy patchwork of policies causing instability and uncertainty, and stunting both investments and job growth here at home. That’s why we welcome President Obama’s commitment to working with Congress to achieve comprehensive tax reform. Tax reform would encourage tech sector companies to choose the U.S. as the home for their enterprises and put Americans to work in good-paying jobs, developing the innovations that are transforming our world and making our lives better." 

Trade:

“We are pleased to hear the president’s support and call for the passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).The ability to reach new customers around the world is what makes American businesses, large and small, successful in today’s global economy.  Without TPA, America is losing the opportunity to level the playing field for U.S. companies to reach new customers, make our economy more competitive, and spur job creation here at home that expanding trade makes possible. We encourage Congress to work together and pass TPA so that more American businesses can sell their goods and services overseas and create new jobs here at home.” 

Immigration:

“Both parties agree that our immigration system is broken, and we echo the President’s call for lawmakers who want to work together and fix our dysfunctional immigration system. Immigration policy is really innovation policy, but in the global race for talent, our country is falling on the wrong side of the brain drain.  Every day that Congress does not act is another day when new companies creating new jobs start in foreign countries instead of here in America.”

Surveillance Reform:

 "We are encouraged by the president's commitment to take steps to ensure that the nation's surveillance programs operate with greater transparency and that abuses are avoided.  Action must be taken to restore the public trust in online services and to avoid any disruption to the open and borderless Internet our innovation economy relies upon." 

STEM:

"We're competing in a global marketplace that requires workers to have 21st century skills, but the reality is too many students are leaving school without STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. We can do better, and we welcome the president's emphasis on STEM skills. The tech sector has been investing heavily in initiatives that boost STEM literacy in our schools to help students pursue the good paying jobs of the future that drive prosperity for our economy."

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Public Policy Tags: Tax Policy, Cybersecurity, Data & Privacy, Trade & Investment, Skills/STEM