Jan 25, 2021 - Technology

Tech's latest bid for influence in the Biden administration

Photo illustration of Joe Biden surrounded by cursors.

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Trade groups representing major tech firms are moving aggressively to push their ideas in front of the Biden administration, urging action on policy areas including privacy and broadband.

Why it matters: After a tumultuous few years under the Trump administration, the tech industry is hoping for a reset.

What's happening: In a slate of policy recommendations shared exclusively with Axios, the Information Technology Industry Council, which represents a wide swath of tech companies including Apple, Adobe, Amazon, eBay, Intel and Samsung, urges that the Biden administration and Congress:

  • pass an online privacy law;
  • set up a trade and tech council between the U.S. and the EU;
  • replace Privacy Shield, the U.S.-EU data-sharing pact that was struck down in court last summer;
  • invest $80 billion in broadband;
  • deepen research into 5G; and
  • establish international principles on how law enforcement can access user data.

Tech leaders have already applauded early executive orders from President Biden on immigration and LGBTQA rights.

ITI joined fellow tech trade groups the Internet Association, the National Foreign Trade Council, the Computer and Communications Industry Association and BSA | The Software Alliance on a letter Friday pressing the administration to lead multilateral talks on digital trade to reduce tech's barriers to market access and exposure to new digital taxes.

Between the lines: Countries including France have been pushing digital taxes on tech companies, something the Trump administration pushed back against. Tech is hoping to see the Biden administration continue to aggressively combat the trend of foreign digital taxes.

Our thought bubble: The industry has fallen sharply from Democrats' favor since the last time the party held the White House. But in focusing on issues like broadband funding and repairing bruised alliances, the groups are generally raising policy areas where the values of Silicon Valley and the new administration already overlap.

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