Update: Trade Policy Forum Meeting in India

posted by in Global Markets, Intellectual Property October 21, 2016
Oct 21

Intellectual property protection is crucial for software innovation. It encourages research and development that creates jobs in the US and around the world. That is why BSA is so pleased that USTR prioritized trade secret and patent protection in its Trade Policy Forum (TPF) discussions with India this week. TPF is an important bilateral dialogue to promote policies targeted at advancing trade between both countries. As such, it is encouraging that the impact of IP on digital trade and job creation was reflected on the agenda of yesterday’s meeting. BSA has been working with both the US and Indian government to help inform TPF discussions and provide the perspective of the software industry.

We appreciate that the US and India included a dialogue focused on the importance of protecting trade secrets. Trade secrets are a critical tool for the innovation economy because they enable software companies to protect their hard-earned research and development and thus, continue to foster innovation. BSA supported passage in the US of the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), and we are pleased that the importance of civil and criminal trade secret protection was discussed at the event. Other positive outcomes of the meeting include commitments to support liberalization in the IT services area and to promote the digital economy.

The meeting also allowed for continued discussion on the importance of patent protection for computer-related inventions (CRI). CRIs play a pivotal role in the products and systems that form the basis of the digital economy, and patent protection provides the incentives needed for future innovation. The current Indian Guidelines for Examination of CRIs may, if not addressed, hinder innovation. We appreciate that the Government of India expressed openness to reconsidering the CRI Guidelines and we hope they will soon be revised to reflect international best practices. This will be an important step towards enabling innovators to protect and capitalize on their inventions, benefiting the Digital India initiative.

BSA and its members look forward to continuing working with both governments to advance policies that allow the fostering of the digital economy.

Congratulations to BSA’s 2016 Girls Who Code Class!

posted by in Industry August 31, 2016
Aug 31

BSA’s Girls Who Code class of 2016 graduated this month, marking the end of an intensive seven-week coding program. While most of the 19 girls in the BSA classroom began the program with no knowledge of coding, they are now proficient in several programming languages, including Python, Scratch, HTML, and CSS. They have created websites and apps, met with Members of Congress, and have networked with leading women computer scientists and engineers.

Girls Who Code was founded in 2012 with the mission of closing the gender gap in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. In four years, Girls Who Code has gone from 20 girls in New York to 10,000 girls in 42 states. The program couldn’t have come at a better time. We need a well-trained pipeline of computer scientists in our software-dependent economy, and right now the software industry has more jobs than it can fill. By 2024 there will be 4.4 million jobs available in computer and information technology. Encouraging women to join this field is critical to fill this gap: Women held 36 percent of computing occupations in 1991, but just 25% in 2015.

BSA is fortunate to have member companies who are committed to contributing to the Girls Who Code mission. Not only did BSA members–including Adobe, Autodesk, IBM, Intuit, Microsoft, and Workday–sponsor Girls Who Code in several cities across the nation, they also pitched in to specifically support the BSA classroom this summer.

We would like to thank our member companies for their contributions and participation in BSA’s 2016 Girls Who Code program:

  • The BSA classroom toured Symantec’s Cyberthreat Center and received a threat briefing detailing the dangers of specific threats like zero-day attacks.
  • IBM brought Lisa Seacat DeLuca, the most prolific female inventor in IBM history, to the classroom to share her thoughts about creativity and confidence.
  • Kat Holmes, Microsoft’s Principal Design Director of Inclusive Design, spoke to the girls about viewing disabilities as opportunities rather than as disadvantages, and improving accessibility through design.
  • Microsoft hosted a mentorship workshop for the girls to hone their networking skills with female professionals from across government and industry.
  • Dell emceed the first BSA/Girls Who Code Hackathon on the Hill, where the girls presented coding projects to Members of Congress.
  • Dell also donated laptops for the girls to use during the summer program. At the graduation ceremony, we surprised the girls with the news that the laptops were theirs to keep.
Reaction photo of girls learning they could keep laptops
The 2016 BSA classroom learns they are keeping their laptops from Dell

Last year, 94% of the girls in BSA’s Girls Who Code inaugural classroom reported that the program made them more likely to pursue a major in computer science. One of this year’s students commented on the thrill she gets from coding: “My favorite part is that it really took me out of my comfort zone. I feel like I’m actually doing something. When I finish coding something, and I test it, and it works – that’s my favorite part.”

BSA is proud to play a part in teaching these bright, enthusiastic girls how to code. Congratulations to our 2016 graduates!

For more information on the 2016 BSA Girls Who Code program, visit www.bsa.org/girlswhocode.

Racing to the Finish Line with Software

posted by in Industry August 8, 2016
Aug 08

The biggest sporting event of the summer has arrived, bringing together impressive elite athletes, dedicated fans, and innovative technologies. Software and data have become critical components of many athletes’ training regimens. While some of these technologies—like wearable heart rate monitors—are well known to the average sports fan, athletes use many more complex tech tools to better their performance. In the spirit of summer athletics, let’s look at some of BSA’s member companies’ contributions to sports technology:

  • The USA Women’s Cycling Team uses IBM’s cognitive computing and advanced analytics to improve their performance in Pursuit Cycling, a sport in which the team competes as a single unit. IBM’s Watson Internet of Things Platform, Analytics, and the IBM cloud work together to show real-time data, which the cyclists can view in their eyewear and the coaches can view on a dashboard.
  • The Microsoft Band 2, used by elite runners and cyclists, goes beyond simply recording heartrate and sleep. This wearable calculates calories, fats, and carbs burned; tracks athletes’ maximum, minimum, and average speeds; and even records UV exposure during training. The band can also examine the user’s heartrate and compare it to previously recorded data to determine his or her cardio progress.
  • ANSYS’ engineering simulation technology produces highly complex models of athletic performance and equipment. These models mimic real-world behavior to predict and address possible challenges. By varying the data in the models, designers can create equipment that helps minimize the risk of injury while improving an athlete’s performance.
  • By analyzing 15 years’ worth of NFL data last year, Splunk was able to accurately predict plays during football games. In doing so, Splunk proved how helpful big data is for coaches and players—whether the data analysis is used to predict a competitor’s next move or fake them out by doing the opposite of what they expect.
  • Thanks to a research project conducted by Oracle, stadium operators can deliver a more efficient and innovative experience to fans by improving inventory management, loyalty rewards, and third-party integrations for in-seat ordering. For example, in a recent survey conducted by Oracle, the company found that food and beverage technology is being underused in stadiums, despite a strong demand from sports fans. This finding is paving the way for the adoption of mobile ordering.

Fans also benefit from advances in software and, in particular, the power of cloud computing. Before major sporting events were broadcast live on television, geographic location restricted most of the world from enjoying these competitions as they happened. Today, the Summer Games are more available than ever. Thanks to streaming services enabled by Microsoft Azure’s cloud services and Adobe Primetime delivery, fans will be able to watch the Games on their phones, laptops, tablets, and even in virtual reality. They’ll have access to a wealth of statistics and predictions at their fingertips, as well as the ability to share updates and reactions in real time via social media.

It’s clear that technology continues to enrich the athletic experience for spectators as well as athletes. Just think: since the last Summer Games, we’ve seen breakthroughs in connectivity, mobile technology, 3D printing, drones, robotics, and health monitoring devices, all of which impact athletes, coaches, and fans in some way. Who knows what the next four years will bring?

Privacy Shield Attracts Strong Company Support

posted by in Data, Privacy August 1, 2016
Aug 01

BSA President & CEO Victoria Espinel penned the op-ed below that ran earlier today in The Hill. As she notes, today is the first day that companies can certify with the Commerce Department for the Privacy Shield.

Why are data transfers across the Atlantic so important? Cloud computing services and data analytics increasingly depend on the ability to move data across borders. And these services dramatically improve the efficiency and competitiveness of businesses large and small. They also improve our cybersecurity defenses. If data has to stop at national borders, the benefits of cloud computing will be greatly reduced, and the economies on both sides of the Atlantic will suffer as a result.

BSA thanks the US Department of Commerce and the European Commission for their hard work and successful completion of the Privacy Shield.

Privacy Shield Attracts Strong Company Support

August 1 marks the beginning of a more stable and secure era for trans-Atlantic data transfers. That’s the day Privacy Shield, a new agreement between the United States and the European Union, takes effect. And it’s off to a good start, with a number of major companies already announcing that they will join, and many others favorably considering participation in the new framework.

Privacy Shield, completed in July after lengthy negotiations, is the successor to the Safe Harbor Framework, the U.S.-EU agreement that for fifteen years had provided a reliable basis for transfers from Europe of personal data in commercial contexts. Privacy Shield – as its name suggests — offers strengthened privacy protection, including rigorous oversight of company compliance, and greater controls on onward transfers of data to third countries for processing. Companies that pledge to implement its provisions, and live up to their commitments, will be able to freely move personal data from Europe to the United States.

Today’s software companies — and their customers — need this firm legal foundation for moving data across the Atlantic swiftly and efficiently. So companies are carefully studying what the Privacy Shield has to offer, and, in many cases, moving quickly towards qualifying for the new framework. A number of BSA members – Workday, CA Technologies and Microsoft among them — already have announced they will self-certify their participation on or soon after August 1, and are working hard to put into place the enhanced privacy measures that the Privacy Shield requires.

Privacy Shield brings important certainty and stability to the current environment for trans-Atlantic commerce and privacy protection. It’s an important diplomatic achievement, for which the U.S. and EU authorities deserve much credit.

And it comes at the right time, just as another principal method of cross-border data transfers, standard contractual clauses, is facing judicial scrutiny. A suit is now pending in Ireland challenging the legitimacy of such clauses, in a legal dispute that likely will be referred to the European Court of Justice for resolution. BSA has joined the Irish case as a friend of the court, to make sure the economic importance of trans-Atlantic data flows is fully understood.

Privacy Shield thus arrives at a moment when the political and legal environment for trans-Atlantic data transfers still is not entirely settled. That’s exactly why it’s a key step forward for software companies, their customers, and for the data-driven economy.

Privacy Shield Marks a Promising Step Forward – Not the End of the Road – on Privacy

posted by in Privacy July 14, 2016
Jul 14

When you think about how the internet operates, you probably think about “how many bars” you have and making sure your device has a charge strong enough to last the day. Perhaps you think about software and data. What you might not think about are obscure agreements on paper or Congress’s everlasting arguments on privacy.

And yet those details are vital to the operation of the internet. They create the legal framework that allows the technical components to all work together. In short, it takes paper pacts to keep the data flowing and the LEDs lit.

That’s why this week’s signing of a new agreement between the United States and the European Union should be a cause for major celebration as well as a time to acknowledge the real work that remains to be done to support cross-border data flows.

As for this week’s development, the new EU-US Privacy Shield, finalized in a meeting between EU Commissioner Vera Jourova and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, is indispensable to the future of digital commerce. The Privacy Shield will allow US and European companies to send data back and forth across the Atlantic.

This is important because data is now instrumental to so many elements of our interconnected, global economy. Moving data is crucial at almost every step of financial lives. Without the Privacy Shield, multinational companies would have struggled to ensure their employees received their paychecks. Businesses would have had to find new ways to process international orders. Software companies, a trillion-dollar sector of the US economy, would have needed new systems to move, process, and store their customers’ data. Those crises, thankfully, have been averted.

Looking ahead, though, much more remains to be done. As a start, international policymakers need to create a durable framework to govern the new age of data-related investigations, and Members of Congress must continue to rebuild trust among technology users by improving the US privacy regime.

Today’s criminal investigations, like today’s crimes, are not limited by national boundaries. But our legal regimes were crafted for a system focused on physical – not digital – evidence. In the physical world, it’s still obvious that borders matter. And the system for obtaining physical evidence that belongs to a citizen of another country requires an exchange of both legal comities with other countries – and the proper paperwork.

Such regimes were not designed for an age when the police could access the contents of a person’s digital communications located almost anywhere in the world with a few clicks of a mouse and without the involvement of the country’s legal system – or privacy protections. But even there borders still matter. As Americans we would never accept foreign investigators reaching across border to snatch our data, and yet the United States has argued that it can do exactly that to others. Such claims threaten not only our bilateral relations but the trust that US companies have cultivated in their customers around the world.

Congress can begin to address this concern by adopting legislation designed to craft appropriate boundaries for digital requests. The International Communications Privacy Act, or ICPA, would do just that. The legislation, which was introduced last month, by Sens. Hatch, Coons, and Heller, and Reps. Marino and DelBene, will help investigators do their jobs while also preserving consumer privacy. The bill ensures that law enforcement officials obtain warrants for the content of U.S. persons’ communications, removes the uncertainty around how to access such information belonging to foreign nationals, and it improves the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty system, which is the mechanism used to access evidence abroad.

In addition, Congress should take the lead in continuing to improve the privacy protections of Americans in the digital realm. Lawmakers can do so by extending warrant protections to all digital data, by considering appropriate protections for new types of data, and by increasing the transparency around law enforcement requests by limiting the use of gag orders. First, the Senate should join the House in passing reforms to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. That legislation, the most popular in Congress, would require law enforcement officials to obtain a warrant for access before obtaining the contents of our online communications. Further, as we generate location data and other new sources of information for investigators, Congress should consider how to balance the government’s ability to access that data and the opportunities for service providers to inform their customers when their data is demanded.

The foundation of the digital age is trust, and the aim of each of these efforts is to expand users’ trust in the products and services that power today’s economy by creating appropriate privacy protections. By doing so, we can advance the aims of today’s Privacy Shield agreement, and extend the celebration.

Read recent media highlights from BSA on the Privacy Shield agreement here.

BSA Gives Back

posted by in Uncategorized June 20, 2016
Jun 20

On Friday, BSA kicked off our inaugural Global Day of Service – a day for the BSA team around the world to donate some time as a group to public service. It was gratifying on many levels, including seeing the great ideas and wonderful generosity of spirit from our global team.

In DC, I joined many of my colleagues near the FDR memorial on the National Mall to pick up trash and haul driftwood from along the shore of the Potomac River. We spent several hours filling many, many bags of trash and 2 tons of driftwood.


The $1 Trillion Economic Impact of Software

posted by in Industry June 15, 2016
Jun 15

cover-techpost-275Today, I’ll be at New America talking about the impact software has on the economy. Software is at the forefront of American innovation — laying the groundwork for advances that promise to make businesses more efficient, jobs more plentiful, opportunities more pervasive, and the economy even more prosperous.

BSA | The Software Alliance has released “The $1 Trillion Economic Impact of Software,” a first-of-its-kind study conducted by researchers at The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to quantify software’s impact on the US economy.

Here are a few key findings:

  • Software supports nearly 10 million jobs nationwide.
  • Software drives economic gains in all 50 states.
  • The average annual wage for a software developer is $108,760. That salary, along with big career prospects and satisfying work is why Glassdoor named “data scientist” as the best job for 2016 and CNN named “software architect” as the number one job for 2015.

Software jobs are interesting high paying jobs — but we need more engineers and coders.

Our industry has more jobs than we can fill. The Department of Labor projects that by 2020, US universities will only be able to fill less than one-third of 1.4 million computer specialist job openings. We need to encourage more young people to pursue science careers, including computer science.

I will be discussing the study’s findings, as well as the need to expand the pipeline of software talent, at a New America event today called “Software’s Economic Impact + The Drive for Talent.” I will be joined by Ryan Burke, Senior Policy Advisor, National Economic Council, The White House; Mark Doms, PhD, Former Undersecretary for Economic Affairs, Department of Commerce; Lisa Guernsey, Director of New America’s Learning Technologies Project; Melissa Moritz, Deputy Director of STEM, Department of Education; and Cameron Wilson, COO and VP, Government Relations, Code.org.

The full study, along with detailed summaries of the findings, is available at www.bsa.org/softwareimpact.

Encryption: Securing Our Data, Securing Our Lives

posted by in Cybersecurity, Data June 1, 2016
Jun 01

Encryption impacts our daily lives from the moment we get up in the morning to the moment we fall asleep. When we log into work from home, use a credit card to pay for lunch, or just text a friend, encryption is keeping our data secure. Encryption is also keeping us safe by protecting critical infrastructure and the information that moves across national security networks.

There is an important debate going on around the country — and around the world — about the importance of strong cybersecurity, which relies on encryption, and the legitimate needs of law enforcement to access encrypted data. The conversation has, at times, been heated. When discussions get heated, facts often get left behind.


New BSA Survey: Organizations Can Combat Cyberattacks by Avoiding Unlicensed Software

May 25

BSA GSS 2016Organizations worried by the ever-increasing threat of cyberattacks should start by looking inward. One of the first, critical steps an organization needs to take is to ensure that all of the software running on its own network is legitimate and fully licensed.

Doing so matters, as highlighted in Seizing Opportunity Through License Compliance, this year’s Global Software Survey from BSA | The Software Alliance. As that study demonstrates, use of unlicensed software is strongly linked to the introduction of malware and all of its dangers.  And once into a network, cybercriminals and malicious hacking can do significant harm.


BSA Heads to the Hill

posted by in Industry May 20, 2016
May 20

On this past Wednesday, BSA | The Software Alliance hosted its annual fly-in. Board members from BSA spent the day on Capitol Hill meeting with Members of Congress to talk about policy priorities like ECPA reform, international data flows, TPP, and computer science education. Our delegation included representatives from Bentley, CA Technologies, Datastax, IBM, SAS Institute, Siemens, Splunk, Workday, and Dell.

Fly-ins help us share our industry advocacy priorities with Members of Congress and educate them about what our member companies do. Our fly-in was also a valuable way to thank lawmakers for their leadership on issues like the Judicial Redress Act, the Defend Trade Secrets Act, and patent legislation. On Wednesday, we met with 5 House Members and 9 Senators. Meetings with leadership included Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, and Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry.