US tech companies ask Trump to review espionage laws and support encryption

The Internet Association, which includes 40 tech companies such as Google and eBay, has sent a letter to incoming US President Trump. In it, the companies ask the president to support strong encryption and review espionage laws.

In the letter, the companies refer to a roadmap that should ensure that the internet can develop. Strong encryption is part of the requested privacy and information security policy. The companies say that encryption ensures that citizens are protected against “governments that want to limit democracy and freedom of expression.” In addition, deliberately incorporating vulnerabilities would endanger privacy and national security.

Reuters previously wrote that Trump attacked the American tech industry several times during his campaign and, for example, suggested shutting down parts of the internet to counter extremist propaganda. He also called for a boycott of Apple for refusing to assist the FBI in accessing an iPhone. The news agency now writes that the letter appears to be a reconciliation attempt by the tech industry, which itself often criticized Trump.

In the letter, the companies further request that surveillance laws be reviewed, as existing laws are used in violation of applicable privacy rules. This would also affect non-Americans, according to the Internet Association. Copyright is another topic in the letter. In this regard, the organization asks for exceptions such as fair use, which allow the reuse of protected material in certain cases, to be protected. In addition, the companies want the liability of internet intermediaries to be limited, for example for material shared by users themselves.

Finally, the companies warn that the US government should not introduce legislation that limits ‘data innovation’. By this they mean companies that collect user data for analytical purposes. That is why the government should ‘look at the damage that data collection causes and not prevent the collection itself’. The companies also prefer not to limit the amount of data collected through data minimization.