Leading tech groups push Congress to provide funds for IT, cybersecurity during pandemic

Leading tech groups push Congress to provide funds for IT, cybersecurity during pandemic
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Leading tech industry groups on Thursday urged Congress to support efforts to modernize information technology and ward off cybersecurity threats during the COVID-19 pandemic, as Americans move online and networks are put under increasing stress. 

The Internet Association, CompTIA, the Cybersecurity Coalition, the Alliance for Digital Innovation, the Center for Procurement Advocacy and the Information Technology Industry Council sent a letter to congressional leaders strongly urging them to include funding for IT modernization and cybersecurity in the next coronavirus stimulus package.

Companies that are members of the tech coalitions include Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Airbnb, AT&T and Mozilla, along with many leading cybersecurity groups. 

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“The current national emergency continues to highlight the need for additional IT investments to ensure our nation is able to effectively respond to this crisis,” the groups wrote. 

They advocated for Congress to provide funding to modernize federal agency networks, upgrade IT for state and local governments in order to streamline coronavirus assistance, and ensure investment in cybersecurity as hackers continue to take advantage of the pandemic. 

Funding to improve IT for various agencies was included in the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package signed into law by President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test MORE last month. The package included $9.1 million in funding to boost the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency, along with $200 million to help the Federal Communications Commission boost telehealth services. 

But the tech groups said these funds are not enough to fully support the pressure put on networks by a spike in working from home and use of online services. 

“Congress has already made it clear that improving our digital infrastructure is a critical priority for America, and we urge you to ensure funding of the appropriate size and scope to address these obvious needs is included in any subsequent relief package,” the groups wrote. 

The tech groups included a list of specific IT issues to be addressed in a future coronavirus spending package. They advocated for the inclusion of funding to train Americans working from home how to use certain technologies, to promote moving to the cloud and to promote the growth of the cyber and IT workforce. 

The timing around the passage of any future coronavirus spending bill is unclear, as the Senate is not set to reconvene in person until next month, and the House has not yet set a date to return amid the coronavirus pandemic.