Monthly Archives: September 2012

September 21, 2012 | ICYMI, News

ICYMI – “The people’s Web” must be protected

In Case You Missed It, Dominic Basulto gave a lighthearted shout out to our YouTube Video from our launch in his Washington Post blog post today, The Internet: We built it. He said “Oh, and there’s a cool introductory video for IA complete with Nyan Cat and other references to the Internet’s greatest hits.” His article was strong and he affirmed our point and platform for Internet freedom. We agree that Congress “should be thinking long-term and talking about keeping it cool for kids to finish school, study programming and make their first job working at a startup with the potential to change the world.” Mr. Basulto, you are right, We the People built the Internet. We also appreciate that he got the point of our video… that our video represents “what the real job of the IA needs to be — to ensure that the Internet continues to be the freewheeling, cat-loving and meme-inspiring place we’ve all comet to know and love.” We agree with him that “the people’s Web” must be protected.

We want your feedback. What do you think of our video? What do you think Internet Freedom means?

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September 20, 2012 | News, Op-Eds

Congress Must Allow More STEM Visas Today

Original story in TechCrunch

Highly skilled and talented people are a powerful source of new innovation and job creation, and Internet companies across America know first- hand that immigrants create jobs, build companies, invent new products and services and push the U.S. economy forward in a critically important way.

Even after graduating from top U.S. institutions with degrees in science, math, or technology, too many skilled foreign graduates do not have the opportunity to make significant contributions to the U.S. market. Unable to remain in the United States to work, they are forced to leave the U.S. and transfer their skills and knowledge base to a foreign market. As the United States loses this talent we risk losing in the global marketplace as these graduates move on to work for our competitors.

One major obstacle preventing many of these talented individuals from entering into the American workforce is their inability to secure H1-B work visas. These three- to six-year work visas are reserved for specialty occupations (requiring a Bachelor’s degree or higher) where no qualified U.S. worker is available to fill. For those seeking an employment start date in fiscal year 2013, which begins October 1, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reached its 65,000 cap on H1-B visas this past June, less than three months after it opened.

At the behest of individuals, universities, advocacy groups, and major tech companies, Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are working to address the shortage of visas for qualified high-skilled workers in technical fields essential to innovation and economic growth. In the past week alone, the House and Senate are circulating three skilled worker bills – “STEM bills” – to help retain well-educated, foreign-born graduates, including bills from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), Senator Schumer (D-NY), and Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). We applaud Congress for considering these high tech immigration bills to rectify this important issue.

Here’s a brief explanation of each bill:

Today, the House will consider Chairman Smith’s STEM Jobs Act of 2012. Introduced on the House floor this past Tuesday, the bill aims to “promote innovation, investment and research” by eliminating the diversity visa lottery program and reallocating those 55,000 annual green cards to a new green card program for foreign graduates with advanced STEM degrees from U.S. universities (first made available to doctorate graduates and then to master’s degree graduates). Accredited research universities that have been in existence for 10 or more years will qualify (including certain for-profit and online universities).

This week, Senator Schumer introduced the Benefits to Research and American Innovation through Nationality Statutes Act  (“BRAINS Act”). Rather than eliminate the diversity visa lottery program, Schumer suggests creating a separate program that will also issue 55,000 new green cards to STEM graduates at the masters level or higher.

Representative Lofgren’s Attracting the Best and Brightest Act 2012  is similar to Schumer’s bill. Like the BRAINS Act, this bill does not eliminate the diversity program. Rather, it lays out criteria for a two-year program where advanced STEM graduates will have 50,000 green cards available to them. After two years, the program will cease to allow for an assessment of the program’s effectiveness.

We regret that in election season, immigration reform continues to stand out as a recurring, hot button topic. If none of these bills passes this Congress, the next Congress and Administration must face the immigration reform issue head on. The Internet Association supports policies that promote innovation, job creation, and economic growth and is pleased that both parties are deeply engaged in this critical issue.

Let us know what YOU think. Join the discussion and let your voice be heard.

September 19, 2012 | News, Op-Eds

The Internet Vote

Original story in The Huffington Post.

Campaign strategists and pundits are always trying to predict the newest or most important political demographic groups. For a long time, it was seniors. That was followed by the dawn of the “soccer mom” and lately there has been a lot of talk about “NASCAR dads.” But the strongest untapped political factor these days is rarely mentioned, despite representing a force central to the lives of nearly every American — the Internet.

The political awakening of the Internet voter happened earlier this year when an unprecedented effort to censor web content came dangerously close to becoming law. This threat to free expression awoke a sleeping giant, and on January 18, 2012, the Internet went dark. During the blackout, more than 10 million Americans and 100,000 websites participated in a day of online activism, engaging their elected representatives in direct democracy in mass for the first time.

But who exactly were these Internet activists? The movement crossed party lines and united millions of liberals, conservatives, libertarians and independents. Much like the Internet itself, the protest was organic, bottom-up and decentralized. One thing is clear, they all passionately believe they have a vested interest and stake in the future of the Internet — and they are right.

The attempt to censor the Internet was a political wake-up call. Today, we are proud to announce that some of the most recognized Internet companies in the world — Amazon.com, AOL, eBay, Expedia, Facebook, Google, IAC, LinkedIn, Monster Worldwide, Rackspace, salesforce.com, TripAdvisor, Yahoo!, and Zynga — have joined forces to create The Internet Association, an umbrella public policy organization dedicated to strengthening and protecting an innovative and free Internet.

These leading companies that form the backbone of the Internet economy recognize that the Internet needs a unified voice. Congress nearly altered the Internet’s fundamental DNA without fully appreciating the perspectives and concerns of the engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and tens of millions of individual users that make the Internet what it is today. The Internet Association was formed to protect an innovative and free Internet and to relentlessly represent this critical economic sector, in collaboration with main street businesses and individual users, to ensure that the Internet will always have a seat at the table in Washington.

The three planks of the association’s advocacy platform are: protecting Internet freedom; fostering innovation and economic growth; and empowering users. The unique nature of the Internet, free from government control, has unleashed unprecedented entrepreneurialism, creativity and innovation, far beyond imagination. But what about tomorrow? No one can predict what innovations will happen next. But we do know that the Internet’s decentralized and open model has been the catalyst that has powered this information revolution.

The Internet is now ubiquitous when it comes to business. That is why the Internet is the fastest growing sector of the U.S. economy, representing a full 15 percent of U.S. GDP growth in the past five years. The more interesting reality is that “Internet jobs” are not just in Silicon Valley anymore, they are on located in every city and town across the country.

The Internet provides incredible benefits to our economy and to society at large. Policymakers must understand that our country, and the world, depends on a free Internet. As we approach another presidential election, the gold standard of democracy around the world, our message to both parties and both candidates is simple: The Internet is one of the greatest engines for economic growth, freedom and prosperity the world has ever known. The Internet Association, and millions of active users (and voters), stand ready to protect a free Internet and the innovation it fosters.

Michael Beckerman is the president and CEO of The Internet Association.

September 19, 2012 | News, Other, Press Releases

The Internet Association’s Press Kit

The following documents are available in The Internet Association’s press kit: Full Launch News Release and Fact Sheet

September 19, 2012 | News, Press Releases

The Internet Association Announces Membership and Policy Platform

The unified voice of the Internet economy in Washington formally launches.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Internet Association, the nation’s first trade association representing the interests of the Internet economy, America’s leading Internet companies and their vast community of users, today unveiled its full membership roster and policy platform.  The Internet Association, led by President and CEO Michael Beckerman, comprises 14 diverse Internet companies that form the backbone of the Internet economy.

The member companies – Amazon.com, AOL, eBay, Expedia, Facebook, Google, IAC, LinkedIn, Monster Worldwide, Rackspace, salesforce.com, TripAdvisor, Yahoo!, and Zynga – have joined forces to form The Internet Association, an umbrella public policy organization dedicated to strengthening and protecting a free and innovative Internet.  The Internet Association will relentlessly represent this critical economic sector, in partnership with Main Street businesses and individual users, to ensure that the Internet will always have a voice in Washington and a seat at the table.

“A free and innovative Internet is vital to our nation’s economic growth,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of The Internet Association.  “These companies are all fierce competitors in the market place, but they recognize the Internet needs a unified voice in Washington.  They understand the future of the Internet is at stake and that we must work together to protect it.”

The Internet Association’s policy platform is based on three planks: protecting Internet freedom; fostering innovation and economic growth; and empowering users.  The Internet Association and its member companies engage in direct advocacy, educating policymakers on the profound positive impacts of the Internet and Internet companies on jobs, economic growth, freedom, creativity, commerce, productivity, education, prosperity and the global economy.

“The Internet is the fastest growing sector of the U.S. economy with an unparalleled record of job creation and innovation across all sectors,” Beckerman said.  “It is the Internet’s decentralized and open model that has unleashed unprecedented entrepreneurialism, creativity and innovation.  Policymakers must understand that the preservation of that freedom is essential to the vitality of the Internet itself and the resulting economic prosperity.”

To view The IA press kit, please visit www.internetassociation.org/category/news.

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Top Internet Business Leaders Confirmed To Speak At Internet Association’s Third Annual Virtuous Circle Summit BECKERMAN: “The value of the Virtuous Circle Summit is the conversations that take place when you bring together the leading voices in the internet innovation and policy space.” Washington, DC — Today, Internet Association announced its initial list of confirmed speakers Read more »

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