Koch-Backed Business Group Releases Tech Principles

Pro-business and pro-tech group Stand Together (founded by Koch Industries chairman Charles Koch) will be taking to Facebook and Twitter this week with paid ads looking to head off what the group clearly sees as potential overregulation of companies like, well, Twitter and Facebook. 

It is promoting its newly released "Principles for Continued American Tech Leadership. 

At the heart of those "business is a force for good" principles, it says, are: 

1. "Protect free speech and association 

2. "Act as responsible stewards of data

3. "Welcome, not hinder, emerging technologies

4. "Respond to the regulatory threat

5. "Protect users from government surveillance

Protection of free speech includes allowing tech companies to "set appropriate rules for speech that serve their consumer base," and " resist efforts by government that limit lawful speech." 

Data use and privacy principles include being "upfront with users and the public when problems inevitably occur, as perfection is not possible." 

Related: House Continues Deep Dive Into Big Tech and Antitrust

 Government Surveillance principles include complying with law enforcement requests "that have meaningful due process," but also "resist[ing] calls to create so-called 'backdoors' in encrypted services that make it easier for bad actors to access our information." 

Under the "regulatory threats" category, which is primarily about private sector messaging on the impact of "regulatory regimes," there are advisories about relaying "how burdensome policies keep Americans from realizing the promise of innovation." 

The Emerging Technology principles are about spurring "permissionless" innovation while "remaining humble" about consumer needs. 

Big Tech is under a big magnifying glass in D.C. There have been bipartisan calls for regulation--including limiting or eliminating shields from third-party content liability--and ongoing antitrust investigations by the Department of Justice and the FTC, the latter which has taken action against Facebook, YouTube and others.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.