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From the CEO: Notes from TTC Roundtable

By Jeff Joseph, President, SIIA

I was honored to serve as one of four presenters at a session held November 18, 2021 by the U.S. Department of Commerce as the agency seeks input to inform US government participation in the US-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC). The session provided a forum to enable a variety of stakeholders to discuss the importance of digital tools to the success of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and identify their needs, experiences, strategies and best practices with a “view to ensuring a better understanding of the barriers to their digital empowerment.”

I made four key points during my presentation:

First, we need to foster a regulatory environment that reflects the unique needs of SMEs. Specifically, we need tailored rules. As we have learned during the pandemic, small businesses require more flexibility now than ever before. A law that broadens its scope to expand the definition and provides leeway to include more small business exemptions would greatly benefit many sinking businesses that are trying to stay afloat. More, a lack of tailored regulations not only creates barriers for SME’s, it ultimately is anti-consumer and anti-economic growth, by slowing or preventing new innovations from coming to market altogether.

Annual or periodic filing requirements with regulators provides one example of the challenges presented by a one size fits all approach. It is one thing to require public companies to make annual filings with regulators. It is quite another to require essentially the same level of reporting and disclosure of SMEs and startups that cannot afford to slow-track innovation and hire a cadre of lawyers.

We’ve also seen close hand how the GDPR has made it harder for US-based SMEs to operate in Europe. The standard contractual clauses require American businesses to submit to the jurisdiction of a European regulator.  They also create third party beneficiary rights in data subjects via contract, giving them private causes of action against businesses that allegedly mishandle their information. A small business cannot afford to litigate overseas.

Second, we must ensure that the US and EU work together to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Our members are united in a shared belief that promoting better outcomes in DEI is not only morally correct but will lead to more innovation – research proves diverse organizations provide better business results – and expand economic opportunity.

This is not just esoteric. This view translates into the policy realm in many concrete ways for the TTC.

One, we should explore measures to increase access to high-speed broadband. There is a wide division of access across the EU as 36 percent of the Central and Eastern European population lack connectivity, compared to roughly 19 percent in Western Europe. While there are similar problems in the US we are extremely pleased that Congress has enacted measures to expand broadband access.

Two, we should develop joint US-EU credentialing and apprenticeship programs to create a diverse, multinational workforce, leveraging the available resources of the US and EU governments to support cross-border education and training opportunities.

And three, we should explore ways to enhance education, including upskilling and continuing education, to foster a diverse, skilled and robust workforce for the digital economy in both the US and the EU. This includes identifying policies that undermine these efforts such as those in place in the EU that impede access to US-based students and researchers to existing programs.

Third, regulators must recognize that efforts to regulate large tech companies can have debilitating, if not devastating, impacts on SMEs and continued innovation. More than 5,000 European and American companies – the vast majority small- or medium-sized – long relied on the Privacy Shield Framework to govern the transfer of personal data from the European Union to the U.S. In July 2020, the EU’s Court of Justice invalidated that framework in a case that’s become known as “Schrems II” – and thus launched a new era of legal peril for the vast daily transfer of transatlantic data. Large enterprises can afford the legal support to review and execute the now required standard contractual clauses. Not so for most SMEs.

In a similar vein, overly broad regulations governing competition in the tech sector and data privacy can handcuff smaller enterprises that lack the necessary legal and public policy resources, discourage investment and thus chill continued innovation.

And finally, we must collaborate to create a framework for a democratic digital era in this period of intense and expanded competition to set de facto or real global standards for the digital economy. The TTC can be one of the most important forums for shaping a global model and consensus to promote democratic values across a healthy digital ecosystem in a world that is being transformed by technological advancement.

Data localization requirements have grown exponentially in recent years. The rise of digital protectionism serves the interests of those who would segregate the Internet and use technology to further anti-democratic ends. As President Biden told the United Nations earlier this year, we must, together, “Ensure a future where technologies are a vital tool to solving human challenges and empowering human potential, not a source of greater strife and repression.”

We urge US officials to continue to reinforce these goals and focus on how the US and EU have deep, shared interests. Simply put, there is much more that brings us together than separates us.

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UK Data Reforms Embody Authenticity, Leadership and Trust through the Power of Data

In September 2021, the UK requested public input on a series of “reforms to create an ambitious, pro-growth and innovation-friendly data protection regime that underpins the trustworthy use of data.” Overall, the proposed reforms would retain the spirit of the data privacy framework embedded in GDPR, while enabling more widespread use of data for public services and fostering positive societal benefits across the global data ecosystem. Focusing on enhancing data flows to unlock the potential to boost productivity and trade, the proposed reforms seem designed to support job growth and streamline business processes involving innovative data practices and improve data use in scientific research. 

SIIA supports the UK’s leadership’s efforts to strengthen data privacy frameworks, ease and streamline procedures for data processing, expand cross-border data flows to boost trade and build a risk-based approach to using artificial intelligence and automated decision making in a safe and effective manner.

Read and learn more about it here.

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SIIA Statement on Deepfake Letter

Paul Lekas, Senior Vice President, Global Public Policy, Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) issued the following statement.

“SIIA supports the inclusion of the Deepfake Task Force Act of 2021 as an amendment to the FY22 National Defense Authorization Act and is one of the signatories of the letter sent today to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Reed and Ranking Member Inhofe. This bill is an important step towards increasing public and private sector collaboration in combatting the unique threat that digital content forgeries, misinformation and AI-enabled information campaigns represent to our national security and democracy. SIIA is committed to working with Congress to create a safe digital environment and restore trust online.”

Read the joint letter of support here.

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SIIA Statement on Draft of National Privacy Regulation

Earlier today, the Republicans on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee released a draft version of national privacy regulation.  Jeff Joseph, President and CEO of the Software and Information Industry Association, issued the following statement:

“This draft legislation reflects a growing bipartisan and bicameral consensus: the US needs a national privacy law both to prevent the burden of compliance with an unworkable, anti-business and anti-consumer quilt of disparate state regimes and to provide an interoperable alternative to the European standard.  We are particularly encouraged by the draft’s express recognition that we need a harmonized, national set of rules, as well as its attempt to treat publicly available information in a manner consistent with American free speech values.”

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Nominations Open for the 37th Annual CODiE Awards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Communications Contact:
Jennifer Baranowski
Managing Director, CODiE Awards, SIIA
jbaranowski@siia.net

Nominations Open for the 37th Annual CODiE Awards
New Categories Available for Entry in Peer-Reviewed Awards Program

WASHINGTON, DC (November 1, 2021) – SIIA, the principal trade association for the software, education technology and digital content industries, announced the nomination period for the 37th annual CODiE Awards. Applications, products and services and other related technologies across the technology industry are invited to apply between November 1 and January 21.

New categories in 2022

With the help of the CODiE Awards community, we have also added six new education technology categories and five new business technology categories in 2022. All categories are available at siia.net/codie/.

New in Education Technology

  •         Best Reading/Writing/Literature Instructional Solution for Grade 9-12
  •         Best STEM Instructional Solution for Grades 9-12
  •         Best Mathematics Instructional Solution for Grades 9-12
  •         Best Science Instructional Solution for Grades 9-12
  •         Best Personalized Learning Solution
  •         Best Learning Recovery Tool

New in Business Technology

  •         Best Technology Solution Deploying FIPS 140 Validated Encryption
  •         Best Digital Asset Management Solution
  •         Best Open Source Tool or Platform
  •         Best No Code/Low Code Tool
  •         Best Construction Management Platform
  •         New Leadership Categories

The 2022 CODiE Awards also offer 14 new leadership categories to celebrate excellence and achievements of outstanding teams, individuals and firms for their accomplishments, leadership and commitment to the industry.   

Education Technology Leadership Categories

  •         Best Student Experience
  •         Ed Tech Social Justice Impact Award
  •         Best Customer Experience in Ed Tech
  •         Best Higher Education Remote Learning Partner
  •         Best K-12 Remote Learning Partner
  •         Excellence in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion in Ed Tech
  •         Ed Tech Leadership Award

Business Technology Leadership Categories

  •         Best Business Technology Pivot
  •         Excellence in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion in Business Technology
  •         Business Technology Leadership Award
  •         Company of the Year
  •         Client Success Team of the Year
  •         Marketing Team of the Year
  •         Product Management Team of the Year

For complete instructions on how to nominate, visit siia.net/CODiE/nominate.

About the CODiE Awards The SIIA CODiE Awards is the only peer-reviewed program to showcase business and education technology’s finest products and services. Since 1986, thousands of products, services and solutions have been recognized for achieving excellence. For more information, visit siia.net/CODiE.

About SIIA SIIA is an umbrella association representing 800+ technology, data and media companies globally. Industry leaders work through SIIA’s divisions to address issues and challenges that impact their industry segments with the goal of driving innovation and growth for the industry and each member company. This is accomplished through in-person and online business development opportunities, peer networking, corporate education, intellectual property protection and government relations. For more information, visit siia.net.

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