IBM Fly-in Brings Tech Insights & Expertise to Capitol Hill

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This week, more than 100 senior IBM leaders from across the country visited Washington, D.C. for the company’s seventh annual Congressional fly-in. Their goal? To share the company’s policy positions and priorities with Congress.

IBM Government and Regulatory Affairs hosted its seventh annual Congressional Fly-in on Capitol Hill this week, during which more than 100 senior IBM leaders from across the country gathered to discuss key public policy issues with members of Congress.

The 2015 dl-boxcloud-co-jpm6gevent kicked off with a brief recap of last year’s legislative landscape and a look forward to the dynamics already at play in the 2016 election cycle. Keynote speaker Brendan Hannigan, General Manager and head of IBM Security went on to discuss a topic that’s made its fair share of recent headlines: cybersecurity. With cybersecurity legislation moving forward in both the House and Senate, Hannigan emphasized the need for more sharing of cyber threat data between business and government to better defend against major attacks.

“It’s no longer possible to build a high enough wall or dig a deep enough moat to protect sensitive computer networks. The ability to rapidly detect, analyze and shut down attacks is the key to defending against online threats that grow more sophisticated with each passing day,” added Christopher A. Padilla, Vice President of IBM Government and Regulatory Affairs.

IBM’s emphasis on strategic priorities, from cloud computing and advanced analytics to mobile, social and security services, relies on the ability to move data freely around the world. Given the phenomenal growth in these areas, the company used the fly-in to discuss ways policymakers can foster even more growth and innovation while protecting the rights of individuals. One example is the LEADS Act, which IBM strongly supports, and which would extend digital privacy protections to non-U.S. citizens.

Speaking at an IBM reception in the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce committee room, Representative Tom Marino (R-PA) discussed the LEADS Act, which is he is sponsoring with Representative DelBene (D-WA), and the importance of preserving individual privacy and the rule of law in the digital age.

Another key IBM policy priority? Digital trade. In 2011, the free movement of data across borders contributed $14 trillion to the global marketplace. IBM views cross-border data flows as essential to harnessing the transformative power of big data, and supports efforts by Congress and the Administration to protect digital trade in upcoming legislation and landmark trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

IBM’s fly-in also included guest remarks from several members of Congdl-boxcloud-com8ress.

Representatives Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Gene Green (D-TX) discussed their effort to secure passage of the SOFTWARE Act, which would modernize regulatory statutes in the healthcare space.

Commenting on the power of data-driven innovation to help doctors improve patient care, Congressman Blackburn stressed that, “Data is not a device, and it is not a drug. It must be treated differently.”

Closing out the formal program, and just before IBMers departed for more than 200 meetings with members of Congress and staffers, Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) reminded the group of the need for sensible government reforms that will preserve America’s high-tech competitive edge.

IBM believes in the importance of a healthy exchange of ideas with leaders in the U.S. and abroad. The annual fly-in is just one highly-visible aspect of that engagement. Follow@IBMPolicy for more updates and insights throughout the year.

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Upper: IBMers, Members of Congress and Congressional Staffers gather in the House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee room for technology demos and presentations during IBM’s 2015 Congressional Fly-in.

Lower: Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) discussing her sponsorship of the SOFTWARE Act, part of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s 21st Century Cures Initiative.

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