Where the President-elect stands on 5 key tech issues

Published
  • November 09 2016, 7:07am EST

Where the President-elect stands on 5 key tech issues

Trump’s positions on H-1B visas, cybersecurity and information technology policies.

H-1B visas

Early on in his campaign, Donald Trump promised major reforms to the H-1B visa program. In his platform as the Republican presidential candidate, Trump stated that before green cards are issued to foreign workers "there will be a pause where employers will have to hire from the domestic pool of unemployed immigrant and native workers." During a GOP presidential debate in Detroit last March, Trump seemed to soften his position and embrace the idea of encouraging foreign students who graduate from U.S. schools to remain in this country. But following the debate, Trump took an entirely different tack. In a statement intended to clarify his position, he wrote: “I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program.” There will be "no exceptions," he added.

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Cybersecurity

Trump’s position is that he will begin an “immediate review of all U.S. cyber defenses and vulnerabilities, including critical infrastructure, by a Cyber Review Team of individuals from the military, law enforcement, and the private sector.” According to his campaign site, the team will make recommendations for safeguarding various assets with technology designed to meet the most likely threats, will established defensive protocols and will provide awareness training for all federal employees. His plan is for the Justice Department to coordinate federal, state and local law enforcement cyberattack responses. And, according to Trump, he will look to the Defense Department for ways to enhance the U.S. Cyber Command’s offense and defense capabilities.

Tech education

Trump’s ideas on educating tomorrow’s tech professionals are unclear. His official policy is to “Ensure that the opportunity to attend a two or four-year college, or to pursue a trade or a skill set through vocational and technical education, will be easier to access, pay for, and finish.”

Tech trade/tech sharing

Trump’s vision for technology trade and tech sharing agreements is based on reasserting American economic independence. Trump believes “failed” U.S. policies have allowed foreign countries to subsidize their goods, devalue their currencies, and violate their trade agreements. According to Trump, trade reform and the negotiation of “great trade deals” is the way to bring American jobs back. The Trump administration aims to change America’s failed trade policy by:

• Withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has not yet been ratified.

• Appointing the toughest and smartest trade negotiators to fight on behalf of American workers.

• Directing the Secretary of Commerce to identify every violation of trade agreements a foreign country is currently using to harm our workers.

• Directing all appropriate agencies to use every tool under American and international law to end these abuses.

• Renegotiating the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement to get a deal for America.

• Instructing Treasury Secretary to label China a currency manipulator. Any country that devalues their currency in order to take unfair advantage of the United States will be met with sharply, and that includes tariffs and taxes.

• Instructing the U.S. Trade Representative to bring trade cases against China.

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Broadband/net neutrality

During the presidential campaign, Trump took no position on increasing access to broadband. He did, however, briefly weigh in on the issue of net neutrality, objecting to the FCC’s Open Internet Order. Trump provided another indication of his views on Internet regulation last month, when his campaign hired an aide to help him develop a telecom plan. The aide, Jeffrey Eisenach of the American Enterprise Institute, was described by Politico as "a crusader against regulation" and is a staunch opponent of net neutrality rules. While Eisenach's appointment suggests that Trump might pursue a deregulatory telecommunications agenda, he has yet to present any specific policies. Initially, the FCC is liable to accomplish little under a Trump administration. During an August campaign speech in Detroit he promised “a temporary moratorium on new agency regulations.”