Building on Today’s Achievements, the EU Can Harness Software’s Full Potential

posted by in Industry November 22, 2016
Nov 22

This article originally ran on EurActiv on November 22, 2016.

We live with the benefits of software every day; so much so, in fact, it easy to underestimate its contribution.

Software contributes almost one trillion Euros to the EU’s GDP (including indirect and induced effects); if the software industry’s total contribution in Europe were a Member State, it would be the EU’s sixth largest economy. The software industry also supports jobs for almost 12 million people across Europe (including indirect and induced effects) and contributes more than 7 percent of all business R&D expenditure.

These figures are more than simply eye-catching numbers; they act as an important reminder to policy makers of the pivotal role of software in the EU economy. We call upon these policy makers to further help create a legislative environment that realises the full potential of software for Europe’s economy and citizens.

Software thrives on innovation. It evolves at exponential speed, increasing European competitiveness by boosting all other sectors of the economy. Unlike more traditional sectors of the economy, software does not need an external catalyst to bring about change — it is the catalyst. As the rate of innovation accelerates, the EU must embrace its ability to respond to change. To harness the full potential of software-driven innovation, the EU should continue implementing policies that will continue to encourage innovation and capitalise on the contribution of software.

The EU has taken some very significant steps in the last few years to foster its digital economy, breaking down national barriers and harmonising rules and regulations with the objective of unifying its digital single market. We can do even more.

Ensuring the free movement of data across borders, not only within the EU, but also globally, is therefore paramount in ensuring that Europe stays abreast of data-driven innovations. In this light, the Commission’s upcoming initiative on the free flow of data is an opportunity to recognise the general principle of unimpeded data movements and remove unjustified data localisation rules across the EU. The Internet of Things is already revolutionising our lives and opening a new world of opportunities. By pursuing policies that foster innovation and adopting a thoughtful and timely legislative framework, EU lawmakers can enable the EU to reap the benefits of IoT.

Our health, our wealth, our work, our social lives, our leisure, and our security are all improved by software, and the promise of further benefits is limited only by our imagination. Software is the key to the benefits of the 21st century; the EU should seize the opportunity.

**The figures in this article come from a report released today by BSA | The Software Alliance, prepared with data provided by The Economist Intelligence Unit. Read the report, “Software: A €910 Billion Catalyst for the EU Economy”, here.

It’s Time to Move the Encryption Discussion Forward

posted by in Cybersecurity, Data, Privacy November 15, 2016
Nov 15

Encryption Principles Art
The encryption discussion in Washington has been locked in a polarized stalemate for months — with loud voices on distant ends deeply dug in.

Encryption is a complex issue that affects a range of global stakeholders, from governments to businesses to individuals. The ideal solution needs to consider all legitimate sides of the argument and can only be achieved through open dialogue. It is time for this stalemate to end.

To move the conversation forward, BSA | The Software Alliance has developed a set of Encryption Principles, to be used by governments around the world to evaluate proposals on encryption in a balanced way. These principles frame a comprehensive approach to address the important needs of global cybersecurity, public safety, and personal privacy and prosperity.

Much of the recent coverage on encryption has centered on preventing terrorist attacks. The challenges confronting law enforcement as they work to keep us safe should not be underestimated, but we cannot examine this issue from a single point of view. There are consequences to undermining encryption. Although weakening encryption may help law enforcement investigate specific crimes in the short term, we shouldn’t lose sight of the significant long-term harm that could come from compromising these defenses.

Our national, state, and local governments rely on encryption to secure sensitive information. Data service providers also use encryption technology to protect private personal and business data, such as addresses and financial profiles. Banking, health, electricity, water, and other critical infrastructure providers depend on encryption to guard their operations. Encryption plays an integral part in guaranteeing the safety of online data that affects our day-to-day lives.

With the next Administration and Congress coming to Washington in January, industry and policymakers have an opportunity for a renewed focus on this issue. Let’s stop viewing the encryption debate as a competition with winners and losers. Only by engaging in collaborative discussions will we discover a solution that doesn’t undermine the security of everyone. BSA is prepared to evaluate any proposed legislation, regulation, or policy on encryption to determine if it meets these needs. We look forward to continuing the conversation.

To learn more about the BSA Encryption Principles, visit www.bsa.org/encryptionprinciples.

Software Meets Stethoscopes in the Fight Against Breast Cancer

posted by in Industry October 27, 2016
Oct 27

Software significantly impacts almost every part of our lives, and since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month we’d like to recognize some of the great contributions software makes to fight cancer. Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer worldwide and it’s imperative that we do all we can to improve diagnosis and treatment, and work toward a cure.

We’re already doing great things with software, like using AI software to diagnose breast cancer 30 times faster with 99 percent accuracy. However, the rate at which any form of cancer grows and its response to treatments differs from person to person. So, some are turning toward a more individualized approach. But to make that happen, you need a way to collect and analyze information faster than humans can.

To do that, doctors need software. Software companies, including many BSA members, are working with cancer treatment and research centers to develop technologies that quickly process large volumes of data – medical and family histories, risk factors, and previous symptoms – to help diagnose cancer or provide patients with the specific care they need.

  • IBM Watson and the American Cancer Society have partnered to build a “first advisor.” We’ve all been in a situation where something hurts or feels wrong and we don’t know who to turn to for answers. Cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers can look to the advisor, which will factor in the specific type of cancer, previous symptoms, and current stages of treatment. The advisor will use AI to learn from each interaction to provide increasingly tailored responses.
  • Salesforce provides the software platform behind the University of California’s Wisdom Study. Annual mammogram screenings can often yield false-positive results, which can lead to unnecessary biopsies – a very scary situation for any patient. Scientists are using Salesforce software to collect medical data from more than 100,000 women to make the case that check-up schedules should be customized to each woman.
  • A clinical study called Share the Journey developed a mobile app with Apple’s ResearchKit™ software to monitor symptoms after breast cancer treatment, which can vary greatly. The app asks each participant about her current and past health, and tracks her levels of energy, mood, daily movement, and quality of sleep. Researchers are using this data to better understand the different effects of treatment and ultimately improve them.

These are just a handful of examples of the many ways software is helping people advance breast cancer detection and treatment. Software has made some truly amazing strides to benefit the lives of people affected by cancer everywhere. We are hopeful that with the tech industry and medical community working side-by-side, finding a cure is only a matter of time.

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BSA staff around the world also participated in Breast Cancer Awareness Month and wore pink to the office last Friday to show their support.

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.
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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.
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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.

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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.
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