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Building the Future Tech's Policy Platform for U.S. Candidates

An Open Letter to 2020 Candidates:

Americans will make consequential decisions for the future of the nation when they cast their votes in November. The coronavirus pandemic, and its impact on the health of our people, our economy, and our way of life makes the choice of candidates more impactful than any election in recent memory. Our democracy is stronger than any challenge facing our nation, and, as always, America will rise to the occasion.

As voters weigh their decisions, the pandemic has raised the profile of public policy issues that impact our ability to adapt to, and eventually recover from, the coronavirus. To help Americans cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, the technology sector reacted quickly to equip parents, students, and educators; businesses and consumers; employers and employees; and government and community partners with the tools, solutions, and resources they need to adapt to new ways of working, shopping, communicating, learning, and living.

Technology enables safer and more socially-distant commerce where in-person shopping for essentials might be a risk to personal health. Technology has made it possible for millions of Americans to work remotely when it is not possible or advisable to be in an office. Our industry is transforming supply chains and developing new products to address life-threatening shortages of personal protective equipment. We provide supercomputing power and analytics capabilities to scientists and researchers to understand the virus and develop therapeutics and vaccines at an unprecedented scale and speed.

But not all Americans have been able to avail themselves of the benefits brought about by technology in this critical time. The COVID-19 pandemic brought tragedy through illness and death; it also brought into focus the continued presence of systemic racism and inequality in our nation. For example, access to high-speed internet remains out of reach for many of America’s students and their families and threatens to leave underserved communities behind financially and educationally.

The world has quickly evolved in ways that may forever change the workforce landscape, but that need not mean we leave participants in the workforce behind. Not only do we support opportunity through investment in communities and schools across the nation, alternatives to four-year college degrees, and reskilling for workers at all stages of their careers to make opportunity accessible to everyone, but we recognize that diversity in our workforce supports the development of inclusive and innovative products and services. The tech industry plays a vital role in closing this gap, and we stand ready to work with policymakers to ensure that the benefits of a digitized economy are realized by many, not just the few.

To meet the challenges of today, we urge policymakers to adopt an agenda that enables (1) education and opportunities for all in America to both foster individual success and ensure the realization of the benefits of a diverse workforce; (2) the continued prosperity of American businesses by fostering an open global market for goods and services; (3) the continued growth of America’s technological and innovative edge; and (4) continued trust in the technology solutions that will drive our recovery and ensure the resiliency of the infrastructure that underpins it.

In deciding how to mark their ballots this election season, Americans want to know that their elected leaders support policies that will protect, promote, and empower them. We respectfully propose the following policy recommendations to further these goals of enabling the economic recovery and future prosperity, maintaining America’s global leadership, and fostering greater opportunity across all communities.

Jason D. Oxman, President & CE0, ITI

Enable a Diverse Future Workforce

A diverse and inclusive workforce will further America’s economic success and strengthen our communities. Ensuring that our workforce is prepared and skilled is critical to continued economic growth and competitiveness. Policies that support education, industry-led training and retraining programs, and high-skilled immigration can ensure that the American workforce is ready to succeed in the jobs that are available now and in the jobs that will be created in the future.

STEM Education

Develop the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and increase diversity in the science and technology workforce through investments in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education at the earliest stages of learning.

Close Skills and Opportunity Gaps

Develop policies to advance and incentivize apprenticeships, college-alternative education, and training programs in STEM fields. Promote a ready and inclusive science and technology workforce and narrow the skills and opportunity gaps by ensuring this STEM pipeline is accessible to and inclusive of historically disadvantaged groups.

High Skilled Immigration

Support the global competitiveness of employers in the United States by reforming our immigration system to enable the recruitment and retention of highly qualified professionals from other countries to supplement the U.S. workforce and to meet immediate hiring needs. This should include the elimination of arbitrary per-country caps on employment-based green cards and a permanent legislative solution for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients to ensure these individuals can continue to contribute to the U.S. economy.

Enable Prosperity

Technology powers the 21st century digital economy. To ensure that all Americans can benefit from today’s economy and the opportunities it provides, free trade and a competitive tax system should be at the center of the United States’ economic agenda.

Trade

Foster economic competitiveness, job creation, and U.S. innovation by encouraging open markets and reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade. Pursue a forward-thinking digital trade agenda that enhances market opportunities for technology products and services and broadens acceptance of inclusive, state-of-the-art commitments. Advance trade agreements that protect and advance a free and open internet, strengthen and expand good regulatory practices, safeguard intellectual property, prohibit forced data localization or processing, encourage the free flow of data across borders, ensure the protection of personal information, and support U.S. businesses of all sizes by creating greater certainty and predictability within the increasingly digitalized global marketplace.

Tax

Promote a tax system that encourages job creation, economic growth, and international competitiveness. Support a competitive and fiscally responsible corporate tax rate. Foster U.S. innovation and manufacturing by pursuing policies that support research and development (R&D) and investment. Support a cohesive global tax system that provides certainty and predictability to businesses, avoids fragmentation through digital services taxes and other discriminatory unilateral tax measures, and allows companies to flourish globally.

Enable U.S. Innovation & Leadership

Continued leadership in innovation is key to U.S. companies’ competitive edge and to America’s growth and future success. Smart investments in new and emerging technologies will help the United States remain the leader of technological advancement.

Innovative Technologies

Invest in research and development in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), quantum information science, additive manufacturing, and other digital innovations. Support U.S. industry leadership in international standards development organizations and encourage the global development and adoption of international, voluntary, and consensus-based standards. Support a flexible, risk-based approach to AI regulation to help facilitate trust and promote responsible, ethical development of the technology.

Public Sector Use of Technology

Streamline policies to accelerate IT modernization, leverage commercial innovation, and adopt data-driven approaches that improve the delivery, efficiency, and security of government services for Americans. Invest in the recruitment and retention of a STEM-skilled workforce to support modernization efforts and protect federal technology infrastructure.

Online platforms and e-Commerce

Pursue policies that enable innovation, protect freedom of expression online, and preserve the legal incentive to proactively remove harmful or exploitative material. Advance a legal and regulatory environment that fosters competition and growth.

Leadership in Sustainability

Promote technology as a solution to sustainability issues and foster U.S. leadership in renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable procurement, and the circular economy. Support voluntary, consensus-based sustainability standards and ecolabels and promote global harmonization of regulatory and voluntary sustainability policies.

Enable Trust & Resiliency

A strong trust relationship between companies and their customers is a key pillar of innovation. Furthering trust among American consumers, whether relating to personal data or global supply chains, will enable innovation, encourage increased economic activity, and promote the resiliency of American infrastructure.

Infrastructure of the Future

Improve resiliency by expanding broadband access nationwide and incorporating smart technology in infrastructure deployment. Support students, teachers, and families by ensuring ubiquitous access to high-speed internet and equipment necessary for telehealth and remote learning. Spur investment in next generation wireline broadband, future proof fiber optics, and 5G by streamlining regulatory barriers, increasing spectrum availability, and providing government incentives and funding to reach unserved areas.

Cybersecurity

Embrace new technologies, leverage existing public-private partnerships, and encourage international coordination and collaboration to defend against ever-changing cyber threats. Prioritize investment in cybersecurity workforce development and training, and promote cybersecurity education and awareness in the private and government sectors. Recognize the importance of encryption as a critical tool to protect data and physical safety.

Privacy

Ensure the protection of Americans’ data by creating a uniform, federal privacy regime that enhances transparency, increases consumer control, and promotes security. Foster citizen trust in the government and the technology sectors by modernizing domestic government access to data laws. Promote global trust in U.S. digital products and services by tailoring government access to data to that which is needed to protect safety and security. Prioritize collaboration on developing globally interoperable solutions to protecting privacy in cross-border data flows.

Supply Chain Security

Ensure the security of global supply chains, including 5G infrastructure deployment, through risk management-based, public-private partnership efforts that take a holistic view of security threats. Streamline ongoing government efforts to improve supply chain security to ensure a coherent, consistent approach. Protect national security by enhancing cooperation between government and industry, coordinating with like-minded economies in ways that promote U.S. technological leadership and global competitiveness.