Capital Roundup

ITAA to Herman: Hire an Adviser<@VM>Lawmakers Rap China Encryption Regs<@VM>New Bill Cuts IT Worker Requirements

Alexis Herman

By Anne Gallagher

The Information Technology Association of America has urged Labor Department Secretary Alexis Herman to hire a senior adviser for information technology issues.

ITAA President Harris Miller criticized the department for recent decisions, such as Herman's proposal to include stock options as a component of an employee's base pay.

"ITAA urges you to consider incorporating an adviser knowledgeable about the high-tech industry's labor challenges into the process for promulgating and interpreting regulations," Miller said to Herman in a Feb. 8 letter.

Miller added that a skilled labor force is the IT industry's most important asset, and government decisions that inadvertently jeopardize IT companies' ability to employ the highest degree of skilled workers could harm the new economy and U.S. productivity.
The Chinese government has introduced new encryption regulations that U.S. lawmakers said invade the privacy of computer users worldwide and ban foreign-designed IT products.

The new regulations would require companies doing business with China to list the computer products they use that contain commercial encryption software, detail who uses such software and the computers from which they use it, and turn over the telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of anyone who uses such software, said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.

The new rules ban the use of foreign designed encryption software in computer products that are essential to security and privacy in electronic commerce and communication, he added.

"It's time for the Chinese government to support the privacy of its citizens, instead of invading it, and to create an environment in which electronic commerce can flourish," Goodlatte said. "To that end, China should abandon its attempt to control the use of encryption and to monitor its computer users. Erecting new barriers to commerce will not help China's effort to join the World Trade Organization."

Tom Davis

Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., introduced a bill Feb. 8 that would restrict the use of mandatory minimum personnel experience and education requirements for federal government contractors.

The legislation would require government agencies to justify the use of such mandatory minimum requirements before imposing them in a particular solicitation for IT services, the Information Technology Association of America said.

Many IT firms have become frustrated by trends in some agencies to impose minimum experience and educational requirements in solicitation for IT services, according to the ITAA.

Such requirements have no relation to whether the proposed personnel effectively can perform the required work and fail to account for the extensive in-house training programs that many companies use to teach technical skills that go far beyond those acquired in college or through work, ITAA said.

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