Can Trump and tech get along?
Much of Silicon Valley was shocked to learn Donald Trump was elected president. Now, they’re asking themselves how they can work with him to improve the country’s tech sector.
Photo: Evan Vucci
Most of Silicon Valley didn’t receive the news Donald Trump was elected president on Tuesday well. One startup founder went on an expletive-laden rant, melting down onstage at a conference in Portugal. An AOL co-founder expressed “disappointment” in a Twitter post. Two investors even pledged to fund a campaign for California to secede from the rest of the nation.
Aside from a select few including Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal, the technology industry has indignantly opposed the Trump campaign. But now that Mr. Trump has upset Hillary Clinton, the industry is asking itself how it can work with a president whose positions it resented.
Some leaders and observers have voiced concern over how Trump could affect the immigration of highly skilled workers, as well as internet privacy and cybersecurity. Others have urged caution because, they say, it all depends on the company president-elect Trump keeps.
Anne Weismann, executive director of the Washington-based Campaign for Accountability, cites Maureen Ohlhausen, a commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), as most likely to chair the FTC for Trump.
“Tech companies would have nothing to fear from the FTC under Olhausen,” Ms. Weismann writes Wednesday in an email to The Christian Science Monitor, referring to Ms. Olhausen’s general opposition to strong antitrust or privacy enforcement. Olhausen “would be a huge gift” to Google, writes Weismann.
She also mentions Mr. Thiel, an ardent Libertarian who has downplayed competition and praised monopolies such as Google. After Thiel publicly endorsed Trump and gave $1.25 million to his campaign last month, some wondered if he was angling for an appointment in the Trump administration, according to The Wall Street Journal.
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