No matter where one looks these days, the need for tech companies to be actively engaged in public policy initiatives has taken on a sense of urgency. From cybersecurity to privacy issues to immigration policies, and the push for things like sales tax collection on Internet sales and patent troll issues, the lawmakers dockets are quickly filling up. You can even throw sequestration into the mix as numerous sources have told me that government spending on IT has virtually come to a halt. The latter is likely to be reflected in the next quarter’s financial results for big and small names alike.
Whether or not Congress gets to any or all of these in the current session, they will eventually get to them, and there are billions of dollars riding on the outcome. That is why tech firms are beefing up their lobbying resources and spreading the wealth around to get as many feet on the street as possible.
The latest illustration of this is the announcement by the influential lobbying group the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), which has added Facebook and Samsung to its ranks. Facebook now has a strong voice in Washington, DC, and Samsung needed a seat at the table.
Joel Kaplan, Facebook's vice president of U.S. public policy, cited Dean Garfield, ITI president and CEO, as saying, "ITI has a proven track record when it comes to tackling complex policy issues that affect the broad tech community and that experience will help us as we continue to find ways to promote an innovation focused policy environment in Washington."
The Hill cited Garfield as noting that, unlike other technology-focused lobbying groups in Washington, the ITI has a broad agenda and addresses international issues. "We do our work on a global basis, which none of the other entities do," Garfield said.
Let the games begin!