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Tech Giants Offer Road Map to EU's Digital Future

ITI (the Information Technology Industry Council) has weighed in with its Policy Recommendations for a European Tech Agenda as the European Union that it said can help that future be a secure and prosperous one. 

Those include embracing free trade, preserving technological sovereignty without excluding foreign entities, and relying on global, adopting industry-led standards rather than regulation-driven, overly prescriptive government standards, avoiding artificial boundaries on the use of data, pushing back on data localisation efforts (requiring that a member country's citizens' data be collected and stored in that country under local privacy laws), and a host of others. 

It contains the tech trade group's recommendations for helping to shape the EU's "vision for a digital future..." as the EU pursues its Shaping Europe's Digital Future initiative launched this month as a road map to Europe's goal of investing in "connectivity, deep tech and human capital, as well as in smart energy and transport infrastructures," with the security of those connected systems a key to that "digital transformation." 

ITI said the tech industry must be a constructive and active partner in that effort and outlined 10 key policy areas. 

1. "International Cooperation. Global cooperation and open competition are essential to advancing innovation. ITI’s recommendations offer steps to ensure Europe’s commitment to open competition and international cooperation continues to drive technological breakthroughs and help home-grown innovators compete globally. 

2. "Artificial Intelligence. Global convergence will benefit the people, society, and economy of Europe. AI transforms lives and addresses some of society’s most challenging issues. ITI’s approach to AI promotes the technology’s ethical development and deployment globally to manage AI’s potential challenges while ensuring Europeans can reap its benefits and keep innovators on the cutting-edge. 

3. "Privacy. Individual and enterprise trust is key to innovation. ITI’s recommendations offer steps for European policymakers to continue to empower people through a strong, uniform, and consistent set of privacy protections no matter where their data is located.  

4. "Data Governance. Economic growth can be catalyzed by supporting voluntary data sharing agreements, facilitating access to government data, and implementing an ‘open by default’ principle. ITI’s recommendations outline how Europe can responsibly promote a balanced framework for data governance. 

5. "Cyber and Supply Chain Security. Cybersecurity is integral to the EU’s economy and competitiveness. However, cybersecurity risks have intensified and supply chain risk management becomes increasingly complex as the world’s digital infrastructure has become more and more interconnected. ITI’s recommendations support the EU’s continuous work with its international partners to strengthen cybersecurity and reflect shared responsibility and the changing nature of cyberspace.   

6. "Tax. Ensuring a strong, functioning and dependable international tax system is essential for business certainty and growth. ITI’s recommendations call for a multilateral solution that addresses cross-border taxation in a digitalized global economy. 

7. "Trade. Open markets and free trade agreements are catalysts for innovation. ITI’s recommendations offer the industry’s views to ensure Europe’s trade commitments enable the free flow of data, curb forced data localisation, and enhance regulatory and enforcement cooperation globally. 

8. "Digital Services. Online platforms drive innovation and create opportunities for people and businesses across Europe. Our industry understands platforms’ transformative role and is committed to helping ensure the internet stays a safe and open place for all. ITI’s recommendations aim to shape policies that encourage innovation and resolve proven market failures by bringing together all actors involved in the debate. 

9. "Competition. To encourage economic growth, ITI suggests policies that support free and undistorted competition to promote continued innovation and consumer welfare, while also addressing the challenges arising from technological change globally and in the EU. ITI and its members advocate for an approach that maintains the EU’s long-standing commitment to collaborating with like-minded democracies and economic partners in order to help European players be competitive globally. 

10. "Sustainability. ITI supports Europe’s ambitious goal to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050. We are aware that our industry has an important role to play in this transition and we stand ready to support Europe in this endeavor. Our recommendations for industry-led, collaborative policies are the starting point for Europe to meet its goals while promoting innovation." 

"Our industry looks forward to serving as a trusted resource in these efforts," said ITI president Jason Oxman. 

ITI members comprise an A-list of tech companies including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, HP, Intel and Microsoft.