U.S. internet giants ask Trump to support encryption, net neutrality, and reform domestic surveillance

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) says a few words of support for Donald Trump (L) at a campaign rally in Naples, Florida, U.S. October 23, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The US-based trade group The Internet Association has released a policy roadmap for Trump's incoming administration and the GOP-led Congress with proposals “to enable continued growth and success in the internet ecosystem, and in turn, the U.S. economy.”

Companies including Twitter, Alphabet/Google, Facebook, Uber, and Amazon are among the group's 40 corporate members.

The Transition Letter [PDF], released Monday, describes for President-elect Donald Trump a list of policy priorities that includes protecting encryption, promoting immigration reform, and protecting social networks from content shared by users on those platforms.

From the intro:

The internet sector represented nearly 6 percent of GDP and 3 million jobs in 2014, with significant growth in the sector expected over the coming years. The roadmap encompasses nine key issue areas, focusing on policies that will continue to spur innovation, jobs, and economic advancement.

In the roadmap’s opening letter: “From its inception, the internet was built on an open architecture that lowers entry barriers, fosters innovation, and empowers choice. The internet represents the best of American innovation, freedom, and ingenuity.”

Not all of the policy recommendations in the organization's proposal are stuff we'd agree with around here, but here's a section worth noting:

Protect Strong Encryption: Strong encryption is critical to national and individual security.
Encryption is key to national defense, and it also protects our nation’s financial system and
critical infrastructure. It also protects users from repressive governments looking to stifle speech
and democracy, and it shields users from nefarious actors seeking to steal their sensitive data.
Laws that require companies to engineer vulnerabilities into products and services harm personal
privacy and endanger national security. Support for strong encryption makes America more
secure.

Surveillance Reform: Passage of the USA Freedom Act is a positive step, but it addressed only
a limited subset of surveillance concerns. Congress should consider reforms to Section 702 of the
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and Executive Order 12333, which have been used in ways
that are inconsistent with the important privacy values reflected in the Constitution and lack due
consideration for the privacy interests of non-U.S. persons.

The recommendations also include “upholding recent reforms to U.S. government surveillance programs that ended the bulk collection of call data by the National Security Agency, and maintaining net neutrality rules that require internet service providers to treat web traffic equally,” reports Reuters:

The association seeks immigration reform to support more high-skilled workers staying in the United States. Though Trump made tougher immigration policies a central theme of his campaign, he has at times shied away from arguing against more H-1B visas for skilled workers, saying in a March debate he was "softening the position because we need to have talented people in this country."

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 U.S. workers. The technology sector supported the deal, but members of Congress have conceded since the election it is not going to be enacted.

Trump's often-shifting policy proposals on the campaign trail frequently alarmed tech companies and sometimes elicited public mockery, such as when Trump called for closing off parts of the internet to limit militant Islamist propaganda.