US president elect Donald Trump

Tech giants petition Trump with priority list

Image credit: Reuters

US tech companies have sent a letter to Donald Trump outlining their policy priorities, some of which are likely to clash with the President-elect’s vision of future internet.

The letter sent by the Internet Association on behalf of firms such as Facebook. Google, Amazon and Twitter calls for the future US President to push for strong encryption, maintain liability protection from content shared by users and to carry out an immigration reform that would simplify hiring overseas skilled workers.

“The internet industry looks forward to engaging in an open and productive dialogue,” reads the letter seen by Reuters and signed by Michael Beckerman, president of the Internet Association.

The letter is seen as Silicon Valley’s attempt to start fixing relationships with the magnate, whom they previously called ‘a disaster for innovation’. A supporter of traditional industries, Trump has been known for a lukewarm attitude towards the digital sector. His ambitions to force Apple to manufacture the iPhone in the US and to close parts of the internet to fight ISIS have been criticised by the tech whizzes.

Trump is likely to support the tech companies’ calls for easing regulation on the sharing economy, lowering taxes on profits made from intellectual property and applying pressure on Europe to not erect too many barriers that restrict US internet companies from growing in that market. However, calls for strong encryption that would prevent law enforcement agencies from using tech companies data in investigations may be met with less understanding, similarly to requests for maintaining net neutrality rules, which Trump criticised during his campaign.

The association also seeks an immigration reform that would make it easier to keep high-skilled workers in the US beyond the temporary H-1B visa. Trump’s anti-immigration stance has been the cornerstone of his campaign. He has indicated in the past, however, he may soften about the issue as the US needs ‘to have talented people’.

While urging support for trade agreements, the letter does not mention the Trans Pacific Partnership, which Trump has repeatedly assailed with claims it was poorly negotiated and would take jobs away from US workers. The technology sector supported the deal, but members of Congress have conceded since the election it is not going to be enacted.

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