Principles for continued tech leadership in America

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When companies pursue profit in a principled way by creating long-term value for customers, they can fundamentally transform society for the better. This principled approach to entrepreneurship has been the driving force for how America has become a global tech leader.

In order to expand that trajectory, it’s important that technology companies continue to embrace openness, equal rights, and mutual benefit. This is based on our belief that business is powerful a force for good in society. Private companies drive enormous human progress in America, which is based on a system that creates products and services that improve people’s quality of life. In order to accomplish and maintain those standards, businesses must act consistently with integrity.

We believe that businesses, specifically in technology, are best positioned to drive value in society and continue our nation’s tradition of innovation by espousing the following principles:

1. Freedom of speech and association are essential to our society.

Companies, especially those in the “Big Tech” sector, should recognize that they and their customers thrive best in an open environment. Thus, they should resist efforts to stifle speech, whether from above by government or from outside interest groups. At the same time, these companies should practice openness themselves. When exercising their right to set appropriate rules for their customers, they should do so in a clear, equitable and transparent manner.

2. Americans want companies that use data to be trustworthy.

Transparency is critical to appropriately handling user data. Companies should provide their consumers with clear, understandable and accessible data-use policies. When data problems do occur, companies should be upfront with users and the public about the problems involved and their solutions.

3. It is only through multiple failures that we find what new ideas will succeed.

Technological advances happen when companies allow their employees to pursue ideas and experiment without having to “ask permission.” At the same time, they should recognize that their competitors have a right to challenge them without hindrance and that this dynamic of competition accelerates innovation for society as a whole. 

4. The private sector plays a key role in explaining the real-world impact of proposed regulatory regimes.

Companies know firsthand the onerous burden of too much regulation. Therefore, they should articulate that impact and advocate policies that encourage, rather than inhibit, technological and economic dynamism. In that same spirit, they should not advocate regulatory regimes that hinder their competitors.

5. Americans deserve protection from unwarranted government surveillance.

While companies should comply with law-enforcement requests made with meaningful due process (and be transparent with the public when they do so), they should protect their customers from unwarranted government surveillance. This includes resisting calls for creating “backdoors” in encrypted services that make it easier for bad actors to access user data.

We live in a moment ripe with promise – one where technology has the potential to remove even more barriers and improve our lives. American tech companies should spur on that innovation with the same tried and true principles that got us here: freedom, transparency and competition.

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