Data Innovation and Intellectual Property Protection Top SIIA Policy Agenda for 2014

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SIIA’s Government Affairs Council met to identify the organization’s policy priorities for 2014.  Following the meeting, which took place Wednesday, SIIA announced that it will continue to take a leadership role in promoting the economic and social value of data-driven innovation, and to advocate for policies that enable innovation, rather than creating broad restrictions on the collection and use of data. SIIA also said that a top legislative priority in the year ahead will be enactment of patent litigation reform and legislative measures that assure that digital content providers can control the distribution of their products and services.

As the primary trade association representing software companies and digital content publishers, SIIA actively supports public policies – at the state, national and international level – that create a landscape that encourages innovation, strengthens the U.S. economy by supporting job-creating tech companies, advance the use of technology to improve education, assure effective intellectual property protections, and more.  While promoting the value of data and advancing intellectual property protections sit at the top of SIIA 2014 agenda, the group will focus its efforts in the following critical priorities, including:

  • Patent Reform. SIIA members use patents to protect their products and services, which improves the global competitiveness of our nation.  At the same time, SIIA members increasingly face frivolous and harassing patent infringement suits from Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs) that are diverting resources away from innovation. PAEs exploit flaws in both the patent system and litigation practices and exploit them to their advantage and the disadvantage of the innovative industries, their customers and the public.   It is essential that Congress promptly pass legislation that effectively addresses patent litigation abuse without harming the patent protections that spur innovation.  It is our hope that Congress will act quickly to take strong and effective steps to control abusive patent litigation, as we work to ensure our nation’s patent system continues to spur innovation and economic growth.
  • ECPA Reform. SIIA supports reforming the Electronic Communications Policy Act (ECPA) to create a warrant requirement for all electronic data and communications stored remotely.
  • International Data Flows. SIIA will aggressively promote policies worldwide that facilitate international data flows, ensure transatlantic data continues to flow smoothly, promote greater respect for intellectual property rights, and defend multi-stakeholder Internet Governance.
  • Student Data Protections. Through its Education Division, SIIA will promote policies and practices for safeguarding the privacy and security of personal student information.
  • Government Surveillance. SIIA supports policies that balance critical national security objectives with increased transparency and oversight of surveillance programs.
  • Copyright Reviews. SIIA will monitor the pending domestic and international reviews of copyright law and advocate strong domestic and foreign copyright laws that adequately and effectively protect software and digital content and oppose laws that would unjustly weaken these protections.

The members of the SIIA Government Affairs Council can be found here.

At the conclusion of the meeting, SIIA President Ken Wasch commented:

“SIIA is focusing on economic growth and job creation by supporting policies that promote and protect data-driven innovation.  Our work will involve a wide range of contexts, from education and data analytics to publishing and online information services.

“Recognizing that data is currently one of the biggest drivers of economic opportunity, SIIA will continue to advance the positive uses of data and data analytics.  Importantly, data-driven innovation is not only of advancing economic opportunity and jobs, but also providing tremendous consumer and societal benefits.  This effort is a key theme unifying our work on behalf of members. It is essential that public policy reflects the fact that innovation and business strategies are increasingly driven by data. We are convinced that this can be done in a balanced way that protects and preserves privacy and intellectual property rights.

“A major priority will be supporting the passage of meaningful patent legislation that effectively reduces litigation abuse without harming the patent protections that spur innovation.  We will also support trade agreements and domestic regulations that assure the flow of data across borders and will seek balanced approaches in student privacy and the reform of the U.S. domestic surveillance framework, and long overdue ECPA reform.”

SIIA also announced its specific policy priorities for 2014 in the areas of: technology policy, postal reform intellectual property, international public policy and education technology.

Technology Policy Priorities

  • ECPA Reform – Support legislation to reform the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA S. 607, H.R. 1847) to level the playing field for law enforcement access to electronic content, setting a warrant as the consistent standard, regardless of how or where the content is stored.
  • Privacy Multi-stakeholder Discussions – Participate in the NTIA’s multi-stakeholder discussions towards the development of an effective, voluntary code of conduct for the use of facial recognition technology.
  • Cybersecurity and Information Security – monitor pending Congressional legislation on information security and the very different issue of cybersecurity and intervene as necessary.

21st Century Postal Reform

  • Support legislation to create a postal service which would accomplish the following key objectives: repeal or flatten the recent exigent rate increase, create a rate-setting framework that provides for reasonable and predictable rate increases going forward, prevents the USPS from expanding into digital services that are likely to compete with private sector products and services, and “right-sizes” the Postal Service while preserving service standards.

Intellectual Property Priorities

  • Patent Litigation – On patent reform, see above.  We also support efforts by the Patent and Trademark Office to improve patent quality and full funding for the PTO.
  • Copyright First Sale – Ensure that the first sale doctrine remains inapplicable to licensed software and content, address the adverse impact of the Kirtsaeng decision on publishers ability to price differentiate, and oppose any expansion of the first sale doctrine that would include digital first sale.
  • Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) – Oppose changes to the CFAA that would unduly limit the ability of SIIA members to deter and prevent unauthorized access – and access that exceeds authorized access to databases, subscription services and cloud services.

International Public Policy Priorities

  • Government Surveillance – Support policies that balance critical national security objectives with increased transparency and oversight of surveillance programs, maintain strong encryption to protect data on the Internet, and promote a global dialogue among governments around the world to minimize adverse economic impacts of government collection of private sector data.
  • Data-Driven Innovation – Work with policymakers and thought-leaders around the world to promote the economic and social value of data-driven innovation (DDI), and to support policies that enable DDI, rather than creating broad restrictions on the collection and use of data.
  • EU Data Protection Review – Work with EU policymakers in support of a Data Protection Regulation that enhances the ability of American firms to work effectively with European consumers and businesses.
  • U.S.-EU Safe Harbor – Provide U.S. negotiating team with SIIA member input, and: urge U.S. and EU to focus on commercially viable changes; encourage stepped up DOC/FTC enforcement where possible to defuse pressure for more burdensome requirements, and; advocate for consumer-friendly and business-sensitive privacy conditions for subcontractors.
  • Data Localization Requirements – Oppose provisions in domestic law of other countries that restrict cross-border data flows or requires the local presence of data servers.
  • International Agreements – Ensure international agreements, including Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), and Information Technology Agreement (ITA) contain provisions promoting the cross-border flow of data these. These data-flow provisions should reflect the following principles:
    • Laws on protection of personal data should be in accordance with accepted international principles such as the OECD Privacy Principles and the APEC Privacy Framework
    • There should be a general prohibition on data localization requirements.
    • There should be a general obligation to permit cross-border data flows.

The international agreements should also contain provisions ensuring strong intellectual property protection.  Any exceptions or limitations from copyright should reflect the internationally accepted “three-step” test.

  • Internet Governance – Monitor and advocate for SIIA members’ views at 2014 Internet Governance Forum events and Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of the Internet in Sao Paulo, Brazil April 23-24.
  • Intellectual Property Rights – Monitor European Union Copyright Review – advocacy may be necessary in 2014 if the Commission comes out with proposals, and ensure OECD intellectual property rights work is analytically sound and descriptively correct.

Education Priorities

  • Investment in Education Technology – Seek increased investment in education technology and support for effective use in teaching and learning, including in the E-rate program, No Child Left Behind Act, and Higher Education Act.
  • 21st Century Learning Policies – Support reform of outdated regulations in favor of 21st Century personalized learning policies, especially the shift from seat-time to anytime, everywhere competency-based learning.
  • Student Data Privacy and Security – Support all stakeholders – educators, service providers and policymakers – in implementing the appropriate policies and practices for safeguarding the privacy and security of personal student information.
  • Digital Learning R&D – Support education technology research and development through government-industry partnership, not government competition with the private sector.
  • High-Skilled Workforce – Encourage education for a 21st century workforce, especially targeted STEM education, training and other workforce development policies to meet the economy’s needs for a skilled high-tech workforce.

Mark Mark MacCarthy, Senior Vice President, Public Policy at SIIA, directs SIIA’s public policy initiatives in the areas of intellectual property enforcement, information privacy, cybersecurity, cloud computing and the promotion of educational technology. Follow Mark on Twitter at @Mark_MacCarthy.