WASHINGTON, DC — November 13, 2012 —
BSA | The Software Alliance today called on Congress to complete work on five critical issues for software and the broader information technology sector during the lame duck session of the 112th Congress.
“Lawmakers are rightly focused on averting budget sequestration. But even against that backdrop there is an opportunity to complete work on a number of issues that are critical to driving growth in the IT sector,” said BSA President and CEO Robert Holleyman. “There are straightforward steps lawmakers can take to build trust and confidence in digital commerce, add to America’s reservoir of human capital, curb software piracy and expand access to key overseas markets.”
Holleyman offered a five-point tech to-do list:
- Bring cybersecurity legislation back up for debate. “It was disappointing that the Senate wasn’t able to reach agreement on cybersecurity legislation in August, but there is still time,” said Holleyman. “It is a complicated issue, but there is enough common ground to have a substantive debate during the lame duck session. Congress can and should reach an agreement before the end of the year.”
- Reform the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). “In the cloud computing era, digital files should be subject to the same laws and protections as paper files,” Holleyman said. “ECPA was enacted when the Internet was the province of a few cutting-edge researchers. Today, we depend on cloud-enabled smartphone apps. We need to update ECPA to clarify its standards while preserving the tools needed to protect the public. The ideal would be a stand-alone bill, but attaching amendments to other legislation could prove to be the most efficient way to reform some of ECPA’s key provisions.”
- Pass legislation to reform the H1-B Visa and Employment-Based Green Card system. “If we want America to keep its place as a leader in technology innovation, we need meaningful reforms to the H1-B Visa and Employment Based Green Card systems,” said Holleyman. “We have to allow more highly trained and educated professionals to contribute to the invention, design, production and innovation of advanced technology.”
- Establish Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia. “Russia is a significant market for IT goods and services, and its recent accession to the WTO makes it subject to new market-access and IP-protection rules,” said Holleyman. “BSA urges Congress to swiftly approve legislation opening the way for America to establish permanent normal trade relations with Russia. This will allow US industry to fully benefit from Russia’s WTO obligations. It also will provide new tools to challenge Russia when it fails to live up to its commitments.”
- Press China to curb piracy and end market-access restrictions during upcoming negotiating sessions of the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT). “When US and Chinese officials meet for their annual JCCT talks in December, we need to make real progress in increasing legal software sales by addressing the persistent problem of software piracy in China. We also need to end exclusionary ‘indigenous innovation’ policies there,” Holleyman said. “We urge Congress, as it has in past years, to communicate to Chinese officials the paramount importance of these talks in yielding measurable results to strengthen the bilateral economic relationship.”
“Congress has a lot on its plate in the lame duck session,” Holleyman said, “but completing work on these issues will bring real benefits for the digital economy.”
BSA |The Software Alliance ( www.bsa.org ) is the leading global advocate for the software industry. It is an association of world-class companies that invest billions of dollars annually to create software solutions that spark the economy and improve modern life. Through international government relations, intellectual property enforcement and educational activities, BSA expands the horizons of the digital world and builds trust and confidence in the new technologies driving it forward.