2007 Tech Policy Agenda

CompTIA releases its top seven priorities for '07.
The Computing Technology Industry Association has released the "Top 7 For '07," which outlines priorities to help the United States create jobs, encourage innovation, and boost the economy.

The group, one of countless gearing up for the Congress' next session, released a list Thursday of top initiatives for 2007. Roger Cochetti, group director of U.S. Public Policy for CompTIA, says that while most of the goals have previously received broad bipartisan support and approval, the new Congress presents opportunities for the technology industry.

"By focusing on these seven core areas, the underpinnings of our industry will become more sturdy and resilient, and these proposals will also boost our sector's keystone ability to make the lives of all American workers, businesses, and consumers better through IT," he says.

Several holdover issues will linger from last year, including the need to make the United States more competitive in a global marketplace. CompTIA emphasizes the importance of keeping the U.S. workforce competitive.

Specifically, the group wants lawmakers to pass an IT training tax credit up to $2,500 and to increase funding for early math and science education. The group also wants lawmakers to increase funding for basic research and development at universities and to simplify research and develop tax credits for small business.

Health information technology will make strides with interoperability standards for government and private groups, according to CompTIA, which is also trying to reform the patent system to balance incentives and protection.

CompTIA joins the Consumer Electronics Association in advocating for a federal law providing incentives to promote computer reuse and recycling, as well as preparations for a smooth transition from analog to digital television. Finally, the group says it wants the government to balance the interests of small and large contractors in government procurement of IT assets.

Other tech-related policy discussions and hearings in the next congressional session are likely to center on federal security programs, including the Automated Targeting System, for assigning risks to everyone entering and leaving the country, the Real ID Act and the National Security Agency's once-secret and now controversial communications surveillance program.

Lawmakers, lobbyists, and special interest groups debated but did not resolve several other issues, which are likely to carry over. They include data protection, network neutrality, and electronic voting.

Information Gatekeepers, a company that organizes trade shows, is also preparing an agenda for the upcoming year. That agenda, which will be developed during a series of meetings from January through February, will focus on telecommunications. The groups will focus on how federal decisions will weigh on a broad group of market players, including carriers, regulatory lawyers, investors, suppliers, and consultants.

Finally, a few more issues and opportunities could surface because of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's pledge to "make this the most ethical Congress ever." Experts anticipate increased scrutiny on lobbying disclosures. In addition to the possibility that new requirements will call for new technology solutions, standards-based technology, interoperability, and vendor neutrality are likely to become increasingly important.