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Senator Ron Wyden Lauded by CCIA

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Washington Caucus Event Capped by Congressional Award

CCIA President & CEO Ed Black is a Washington insider who glided across a ballroom at Union Station this week greeting his membership and event sponsors from Google, Intuit, AMD and Data Foundry. Among the faithful were also Verizon and other tech and telecomm industry heavyweights. Then Black reached out to Rep. Zoe Lofren (D-CA) and ultimately brought Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) to the stage to bestow CCIA's 2011 High Tech Defender award.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) held its 38th annual Washington Caucus with government affairs meetings on the Hill. Starting the "Hill Day" with a special briefing from Larry Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, Department of Commerce and Administrator, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the CCIA membership then talked with Congressional leaders about key innovation and policy issues.

The agenda included: online privacy legislation, safe harbor protecting Internet providers and sites from prosecution for content, digital goods and Internet taxation. In short, a laissez faire agenda to allow the Internet and communications companies to operate unfettered and unimpeded by legislation.

At the top of the itinerary is online privacy. Senators John Kerry (D-MA), and John McCain, (R-AZ), are amending online privacy legislation with a draft bill introduced last month. They say the goal is to update outdated laws to protect Americans' privacy online and offline. The Computer & Communications Industry Association recognized the need for baseline privacy practices.

But the star of the show was Sen. Wyden. The Portland-based Chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitivenes wields incredible power and influence on trade issues, and said Internet filtering and censorship should be treated as trade problems. He is also generally well-liked and his open net and safe harbor protections have remained the standard since the early days of Internet commerce and communications. Wyden and his coalitions have provided the political platform for the Internet to grow without government interference or tax -- so far!

"The internet will be the shipping lane of the 21st Century," said Wyden pertaining to online commercial business. Wyden is currently holding hearings on digital goods activity in the Senate. "We are pro-innovation and pro-entrepreneur," he told the CCIA assembled members. After receiving the CCIA appreciation, he said "you are on the right side of history" and seemed to suggest a political Moore's law that "the more you learn" (about technology and innovation), "the less you know."

Mike Smith is a Washington insider and CEO of Mike Smith Public Affairs