Tech companies lean on presidential hopefuls

trumpuckerThe tech industry is already leaning on the US presidential hopefuls to see which one will give it a shopping list of things it wants ranging from cheap Chinese workers to supporting the god-awful Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.

Ahead of the Republican and Democratic conventions in July, the tech industry plans to issue on Wednesday an open letter charting a dozen policy recommendations for the candidates running in the November 8 presidential election. The groups are not aligning themselves with either of the two major political parties.

Backing for the TPP runs counter to positions taken by Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. Trump has slammed international trade agreements and he is not fond of bringing in immigrants that to take over US worker’s jobs.

However in March the billionaire real estate developer shied away from arguing against more H-1B visas for skilled foreign workers, saying he was “softening the position because we need to have talented people in this country.” So basically he is just anti-Mexican.

Clinton has not said if she would try to renegotiate TPP, which was signed in February but has not yet got congressional approval. She has said she supports expanding the number of visas for high-skilled workers.

The tech coalition letter, signed by groups including the Internet Association, Telecommunications Industry Association and Information Technology Industry Council, is the first time a wide range of technology trade organisations have staked out a common platform during a presidential campaign, according to a person familiar with its writing.

The platform also calls for “narrowly targeted government access to user data” and recognition of encryption as a “critical security tool.”

Trump wants the National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk collection of US phone records, saying that U.S. authorities should err on the side of protecting national security over privacy concerns. He also called for an Apple boycott the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation over unlocking an encrypted iPhone linked to a San Bernardino, California gunman.

Clinton has supported some reforms to the NSA and has said a balance needs to be found between privacy and security in the encryption debate.

The association letter also calls for preventing censorship online by limiting unreasonable third-party liability for speech, support for the sharing economy, and an updated and simplified tax code, among other issues.

Signing the letter are Amazon, Uber, Apple, Facebook, Allied for Startups, the BSA, The Software Alliance, Computer Technology Industry Association, Computer & Communications Industry Association, Consumer Technology Association, Semiconductor Industry Association, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Software & Information Industry Association, Technology CEO Council and TechNet.