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Tech groups want Trump to actually notice their industry

Grant Gross | July 21, 2016
The little Trump has said about tech so far has largely antagonized the industry

Trump's opposition to free-trade deals, which are widely popular in a tech industry that seeks to expand its overseas sales, seems to have influenced the Republican platform. The platform this year offers a less full-throated defense of free trade than in past years, Atkinson noted.

When Trump has otherwise waded into tech debates, he hasn't made friends with most in the tech industry. He's criticized immigration programs and shifted positions on the H-1B skilled worker visa program popular with many tech companies.

In late 2014, he suggested "the internet and the whole computer age is really a mixed bag."

Trump has also criticized Apple for fighting the FBI's attempts to force the company to unlock an iPhone used by one of the suspects in the 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. In February, he called on Apple's customers to boycott the company over the unlocking court fight.

The new Republican platform appears to depart from Trump's views on encryption by calling on Congress and the president to develop a consensus. "No matter the medium, citizens must retain the right to communicate with one another free from unlawful government intrusion," the platform says. "It will not be easy to balance privacy rights with the government’s legitimate need to access encrypted information."

CCIA's Black praised the platform for embracing encryption. It was good to see the platform recognize strong privacy protections as "crucial" to the digital economy, he said. "We certainly had concerns after Trump's prior claims that Apple is aiding terrorists and ought to be boycotted for refusing to develop a backdoor" for the FBI, he added.

Trump has also criticized Apple for building products overseas, saying he's going to force the company "to start building their damn computers and things in this country instead of in other countries." Trump's clothing line, however, is made in Bangladesh, Honduras, and other countries.

Trump has also said he's open to shutting down the parts of the internet that terrorists use to communicate.

In the past, Trump, a casino operator, has called for the U.S. to legalize internet gambling.

 

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