Big IT Takes Step To Influence Tech Policy In U.S. - InformationWeek
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3/29/2006
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Big IT Takes Step To Influence Tech Policy In U.S.

Influencing public policy in Washington and throughout the country requires more than hiring K Street lobbyists to push a legislative agenda. Look at the success of the modern conservative movement in shaping public policy. Its roots date back to 1973 with the founding of the think tank, The Heritage Foundation. Big IT vendors are tearing a page out of the right-wing playbook by establishing their own think tank.

Influencing public policy in Washington and throughout the country requires more than hiring K Street lobbyists to push a legislative agenda. Look at the success of the modern conservative movement in shaping public policy. Its roots date back to 1973 with the founding of the think tank, The Heritage Foundation. Big IT vendors are tearing a page out of the right-wing playbook by establishing their own think tank.The Information Technology Industry Council--a lobbying group of 40 of the most powerful tech firms, including Cisco, Dell, eBay, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle SAP, and Sun--is the principal backer of the nonpartisan Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, or ITIF. The foundation will be chaired by two former House members, Republican Jennifer Dunn and Democrat Calvin Dooley. Day-to-day operations will be headed by its president, Robert Atkinson, who most recently was VP and director of the Technology and New Economy Project at the Clinton-ish think tank, the Progressive Policy Institute.

To prove its bipartisan credentials, a statement issued this week announcing the formation of the foundation has ringing endorsements from Republicans Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Fred Upton and Democrats Sen. Joseph Liebermann and Rep. Adam Smith.

ITIF touts itself as a foundation that will educate officials at all levels of government. The foundation points out that the development of technology policy is relatively new, and government officials have varied awareness of what is needed and what will work. By providing its take on vital tech policy issues, ITIF says it'll help fill this chasm by educating decision makers and the media.

No doubt that viewpoint will have a big IT flavor.

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