Tech industry wants Trump agenda

Tech industry wants Trump agenda
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The tech industry is pressing Donald TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Korea conducts potential 6th missile test in a month Kemp leading Perdue in Georgia gubernatorial primary: poll US ranked 27th least corrupt country in the world MORE to “get into the game” after Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Armageddon elections to come Poll: Trump leads 2024 Republican field with DeSantis in distant second The politics of 'mind control' MORE released a wide-ranging platform that touched on internet connectivity, cybersecurity and computer science education.

Industry officials generally applauded Clinton’s agenda, released this week, as hitting many of their top priorities. Now they want to hear from Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee.


The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) called on Trump to "get into the game," while the Consumer Technology Association told him to "follow suit." Both were part of a handful of trade groups that previously pressed the candidates to outline their platforms.

“TechNet is pleased that one candidate has taken up the challenge,” said Linda Moore, who leads the major trade group TechNet. “We hope that the other major candidate in the race for president will lay out his technology and innovation policy agenda as well so that voters can assess them side-by-side.”

Together, the groups count many of the largest names in the tech industry as members, including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, HP, Yahoo and dozens of others.

Republicans on Capitol Hill said it is important for candidates to detail their platforms early, but said the decision is Trump’s to make. 

"I think it's always good when people know where you stand on various policies and to do it as early as you can, but it's up to him,” said Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchMeet Washington's most ineffective senator: Joe Manchin Lobbying world Congress, stop holding 'Dreamers' hostage MORE (R-Utah), who leads the Senate GOP’s high-tech task force. “A lot of presidential candidates don't do it until after the convention.”

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneThere is a bipartisan path forward on election and voter protections Juan Williams: It's Trump vs. McConnell for the GOP's future Biden's year two won't be about bipartisanship  MORE (R-S.D.) said he expects Trump to release something on tech policy before the general election debates begin, noting the presumptive nominee's business background and social media savvy.

“I think both candidates are going to be vying on some of these issues for the so-called tech vote, and whether it happens now or some point in the future, I’m sure that Donald Trump will also have an agenda that will compete for the support of the tech community,” said Thune, a major voice on tech issues.

A spokesperson for Trump’s campaign did not respond to a question about the campaign’s plans. 

Trump appears to be lacking support in the tech industry heading into the general election, after the candidate clashed with several major companies during the Republican primaries. 

Earlier this year, Trump called for a boycott of Apple when it refused to help the FBI unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. He has also promised to try and force the smartphone maker to manufacture its products in the United States. 

Trump also got into a public spat with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, accusing the executive of using his ownership of The Washington Post to target the candidate to distract from antitrust and tax avoidance concerns about the company. Bezos and The Post have pushed back on those allegations.

The few tech positions that Trump had taken, on issues like trade and encryption, are at odds with the industry.

“Clearly to the extent that he has reached out in the national security space, he's reached out to people that have positions generally against the tech industry on encryption, cybersecurity and things like that,” Ed Black, who leads the Computer and Communications Industry Association, said last month.   

Both Clinton and Trump are on the opposite side of the debate over the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which a number of tech groups have endorsed. But Trump used a speech on Tuesday to describe his opposition to the deal as unconditional, contrasting with Clinton, who talked it up during her time at the State Department before opposing the final deal. 

Some have downplayed the significance of an official tech platform. Even before Clinton released her agenda, Black said the technology industry has become established enough that there is “early and ongoing interaction between key people” in the industry and on campaigns. He said platforms have been more about making sure people know “they had a home” with a campaign. 

Still, Black said he hadn’t seen that from Trump.

“I don't think there is a lot of people that I can identify as being reached out to by Trump,” he said. “The Republican Party is different. There are people in the Republican Party who have made a substantial effort to connect with a lot of people in the tech industry, but not the Trump campaign, to what I can tell.” 

Clinton’s campaign rolled out her tech agenda earlier this week. The platform calls for every household in America to have access to broadband by 2020, student loan deferment for young entrepreneurs and a slate of other items welcomed by Silicon Valley.

She also backed many of the tech policy moves made under the Obama administration, including the net neutrality rules approved by the Federal Communications Commission last year.

A Clinton aide said on a Wednesday call that the campaign had consulted “stakeholders really across the board,” including those in the industry, while building the plan. She spoke about the proposals at a coworking space in Denver, Colo. on Tuesday and later appeared at a town hall featuring an audience of digital content creators.

“Well, I’m sure he will in due time and [it’s] somewhat ironic, I suppose ... that’s a lot of tech talk for somebody who didn’t understand what it means to wipe a server clean,” Thune quipped, referring to Clinton’s use of a personal email account while serving as Secretary of State.