The Influence Peddlers

  1. Encryption. The Clinton administration has eased restrictions on the export of encryption software, but only global business leaders -- including CIOs -- can determine whether the new limits are relaxed enough.
  2. Y2K. Y2K liability was a big issue in 1999. This year CIOs must share their millennium successes and setbacks to help prevent such a situation from happening again.
  3. Taxation. Whether they work at Amazon.com Inc. selling books to consumers or Dell Computer Corp. selling PCs to businesses, CIOs should be concerned with the question of whether to tax e-commerce transactions. Congress is mulling this issue now.
  4. Intellectual property. How does a company like Time Warner Inc. protect its copyrighted material -- magazine articles, music and cartoon images -- in a digital environment? The Clinton administration advocates market-driven self-regulation, but content providers may want to send a different message to Congress.
  5. Privacy. Should government control how financial and health-care institutions transmit sensitive data? CIOs have a vested interest in helping self- regulation succeed or risk seeing privacy standards imposed by Congress.
  6. Telecommunications. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 paved the way for open competition in the telecommunications marketplace. But is the marketplace working as advertised? CIOs are in the best position to answer this question for regulators.
  7. IS staffing. Congress has raised the quota for H-1B nonimmigrant work visas -- good news for high-tech companies that employ foreign programmers. But what about for nontechnology businesses? CIOs across industries must draw attention to their unique recruiting, retention and retraining concerns.
  8. R&D tax credit. In 1999, Congress passed a temporary extension to the federal tax credit, which gives a tax break to all companies that avail themselves of IT skills training. Several IT trade associations are lobbying to extend this tax credit indefinitely, but it would behoove CIOs from non-IT businesses to express their support too.
  9. Information Technology Agreement. The orriginal ITA helped eliminate foreign tariffs on U.S. high-tech exports. Now industry leaders want to see customs duties eliminated on other IT-driven products, such as telecommunications instruments and some consumer electronics. ITA is quickly becoming a broad business issue that CIOs should weigh in on.
  10. Critical infrastructure protection. Government sites aren't the only targets of electronic terrorists. Public utilities, financial institutions and hospitals are also at risk of hacker attacks. Private-sector CIOs have much to gain -- and much to share -- from helping government protect critical electronic assets.

This story, "The Influence Peddlers" was originally published by CIO.

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