Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Facebook, Google, and Twitter urge Trump to support encryption and immigration reform


 
A group of tech companies including Facebook, Google, and Twitter has called on President-elect Donald Trump to protect encryption, reform immigration policy, and curtail surveillance during his administration. The Internet Association, whose members also include Uber, Amazon, and Netflix, outlined its policy positions in a letter published on Monday.

Tech executives have been wary and sometimes openly critical of Trump, in part due to the president-elect's divisive campaign rhetoric and positions on immigration and encryption. In June, more than 100 Silicon Valley leaders said in a letter that a Trump presidency would be a "disaster for innovation." The letter released Monday strikes a more optimistic tone.
"The internet industry looks forward to engaging in an open and productive dialogue," the letter reads.

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During the Republican primary, Trump called for a boycott of Apple products after the company refused an FBI order to unlock an iPhone that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters. He dismissed the company's argument that unlocking the phone would threaten the privacy and security of all iPhone users, saying in a February interview: "Who do they think they are?" The Internet Association hopes he'll reconsider.

"Laws that require companies to engineer vulnerabilities into products and services harm personal privacy and endanger national security," the letter reads. "Support for strong encryption makes America more secure."

The letter also calls on Trump to support net neutrality and implement stronger reforms on government surveillance programs. Trump has been critical of net neutrality in the past, and his transition team includes two prominent defenders of the National Security Agency (NSA). But he may be more sympathetic to some of the Internet Association's other policy priorities, including its calls to ease regulation of the sharing economy and lower regulatory barriers in Europe.

On immigration, the Internet Association wants Trump to "expand and improve the green card program," and to create a green card system for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) graduates. Trump built much of his candidacy around a hardline anti-immigration position, and although his position on expanding the H1-B visa program for skilled workers remains vague, there are concerns that the program could be curtailed under his administration.

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