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ITI: Some Truth to Suggestion Media Perception Drives 'Techlash'

New Information Technology Industry Council president Jason Oxman said there is some truth to former Google CEO Eric Schmidt's assessment to Yahoo! Finance that part of what is driving dissatisfaction with the tech industry is a "perception that the press has."

Oxman was being interviewed by Fox Business host Liz Claman on Countdown to the Closing Bell.

Claman pushed back on the "blame the media" defense. She said it wasn't the press that was complaining that Google and Facebook were revealing private data--those complaints have come from legislators, Republican and Democrat, as well as activist groups, trade associations, regulators and others.

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She asked Oxman if he believed that was a perception problem pushed by the press.

"I think there is some truth to the idea that there is a "techlash," he said, but he also acknowledged that there was "some legitimacy" to consumer concerns about protection privacy, for example.

He said the tech industry is a force for good, and to the degree that the country was "getting away from that" was what Schmidt was alluding to, "the idea that we don't think of the innovation industry as beneficial anymore." He said it was necessary to restore some of the trust in the "crown jewel" tech companies, which the feds could help do with bipartisan privacy legislation.

Oxman said his members, which include Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google, back national privacy legislation, and know it is coming in some form. One reason is to supercede state efforts to regulate in the absence of federal privacy legislation, he said.

Oxman said state-by-state legislation is "not helpful to the industry" and that it was time for the federal government to step in, though he put in a plug for marketplace innovation. Claman responded that tech should get high marks for that, but should not be able to "steal or misuse our data."

Oxman said it was the government's role to step in to protect privacy, for which there is bipartisan agreement in Congress and from ITI. 

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.