The State of Tech Influence - Twitter, Secretary Schmidt? Do-Not-Track

TWITTER TAX BREAK – San Francisco is in the process of deciding whether or not Twitter and other companies will receive a major tax incentive. The legislation would grant Twitter a waiver on payroll tax to new hires for 6 years. Twitter has  played  its influence cards well by informing the city that they would move if the tax incentive wasn’t put in place.  

Why It’s Influential – Despite San Francisco being full of progressives who despise corporate tax giveaways, Twitter has managed to convince local elected officials that they are more than happy to relocate if they aren’t given what they want. Some may find such a position distasteful and not in the “doing good” category but the truth is municipalities and states are competing for jobs right now and will do what it takes to lure a giant like Twitter away. Twitter is right and smart to utilise their position as a major industry willing to relocate if the local government doesn’t match similar incentives in other areas. 

 

SECRETARY SCHMIDT ?  – The buzz in Washington now is that outgoing Google head Eric Schmidt is being considered as Commerce Secretary. Some will argue that based on decisions he made at Google he isn’t the right person for the job while others will argue that his business acumen is exactly what is needed as Commerce Secretary.

Lost In Translation – Is that Schmidt will be the de-facto leader on all things tech policy. As a prominent tech figure in a prominent Obama administration position, Schmidt’s actions will be scrutinized by the tech community even greater than they have been. But is that fair? Does he actually speak for tech or is he just another corporate CEO?

 

DO-NOT-TRACK– The Obama administration sent a high-level representative to Congress last week to testify on its support for a ‘consumer privacy bill of rights’ to protect online consumers with knowing when their privacy is being gathered/used.

Lobbying-Up – Many companies haven’t decided what they think of the general do-not-track options or the larger efforts in Congress to enforce privacy. With the Administration’s endorsement it is time for companies to work with larger coalitions in mapping out what this legislation would look like and what they feel would/wouldn’t work. Obviously the tech worry warts exist who believe that any government intervention in policing the web is bad, but practically something is going to be mapped out and your voice will either be there or not.

 

 

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