Key Issues

IBM believes active engagement in global policy is key to enabling innovation that is essential to our company, and the world. For 2019, IBM’s public policy and U.S. legislative priorities include:

IBM SUPPORTS PASSAGE OF THE U.S.- MEXICO – CANADA AGREEMENT (USMCA):  IBM competes in over 170 countries and benefits from international trade that opens world markets to U.S. innovations. Data is the lifeblood of the global economy, enabling cognitive and blockchain solutions,  and cloud computing – services that rely on constant streams of information flowing securely across international borders. The new USMCA digital trade chapter supports a strong 21st Century U.S. economy. Specifically, the new USMCA includes language prohibiting customs duties on e-commerce, allowing the free movement of data across borders, prohibiting requirements to store or process data locally, ensuring free and fair market access for digital goods and services, and protecting source code, algorithms and other sensitive IP from disclosure requirements. IBM strongly urges Congress to take up and pass the new USMCA without delay. Contact Steve Stewart,  & Kevin Walsh,

HIGHER EDUCATION ACT:  Employers and students depend on the Higher Education Act (HEA), to prepare graduates for jobs. IBM urges Congress to advance bipartisan legislation that will prepare students to enter the workforce with the skills they need for lifelong success including: (i) Assistance for shorter-term programs of study that can be used for certifications by students, i.e. workforce Pell,  (ii) Internships and other work experience in their area of study with private-sector employers through increased Federal Work Study funding and flexibility, (iii) Additional pathways to credentials such as apprenticeships, competency-based and distance learning, and collaborations between new providers of higher education and traditional colleges and universities. Career- oriented provisions in legislation will help students get jobs in growth industries and will close a skills gap that has become severe in the information technology sector. Contact Ned McCulloch, 

DATA PRIVACY LEGISLATION:  IBM strongly supports national legislation to protect consumers’ privacy. Legislation should: (i) provide consumers with basic rights, such as the right to know what personal data of theirs is collected, used, and shared, and the right to exert control over that data, (ii) place primary responsibility for protecting personal data and privacy on organizations that collect or handle that data, (iii) avoid overly prescriptive requirements that might impede development of emerging technologies, including privacy-enhancing ones, (iv) require businesses to protect consumers’ privacy by assessing and mitigating risk, and (v) enhance the enforcement authority of the Federal Trade Commission as the lead U.S. privacy supervisory agency. National privacy legislation must also prevent a patchwork of state privacy laws and create a uniform, national standard for protecting the privacy of U.S. consumers. IBM urges Congress to pass strong, bipartisan privacy legislation this year. Contact: Marc Williams,  & Kevin Walsh,

EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES: AI, BLOCKCHAIN AND QUANTUM COMPUTING:  As an industry leader in AI, blockchain, and quantum computing, IBM works with policy-makers to explore the benefits to society in a vast array of areas including, but not limited to trade, healthcare, financial services, taxes, education, government, public safety and infrastructure. AI or “augmented intelligence” systems enhance human capabilities such as decision making with more information than ever before; blockchain enables distributed ledgers and trusted networks to secure vast amounts of business, government and personal information; quantum computing will bring significant advancements in processing data to tackle problems too complex for current computers. IBM thanks Congress for passing the National Quantum Initiative (2018) that will be critical for research and development, systems development and skills and training for the quantum “ecosystem.” Contact Mark O’Riley, & Kevin Walsh,

HIGH PERFORMANCE COMPUTING/EXASCALEIBM thanks Congress for passage of the Energy Act of 2018. (Including the House-passed Department of Energy Innovation and Research Act, H.R. 589 and Senate bill 1460, the Energy and Natural Resources Act). We request ongoing support for advanced computing including the current budget request for exascale computing. Contact Mark O’Riley, & Kevin Walsh,

H.R.5/S.788, THE EQUALITY ACT:  For more than a century, IBM has been a leader on inclusive workplace policies. For the last thirty-five years, we have included sexual orientation, followed by gender identity and gender expression, in our non-discrimination policies. IBM strongly supports the Equality Act, H.R.5 and S.788, that would add affirmative non-discrimination protections for LGBT+ individuals to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The Act covers housing, public education, employment, credit, public services and spaces, and jury service. These changes reflect IBM’s corporate values, and they make good business and economic sense. As IBM Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty stated in a March 7 letter to Congress, “As employers, America’s leading companies know that our economy works best when our employees can be who they are, without fear of bias, discrimination, or inequality – in the workplace or in their communities.” We encourage Members of Congress to co-sponsor and vote for the House bill when it comes to the floor this year.  See for more on the IBM position.  Contact Meredith Singer, & Yelena Vaynberg,

IMMIGRATION REFORM — DACA FIX:  IBM supports a bi-partisan permanent legislative solution for DACA work-authorized individuals that would provide them with legal protections and a permanent means for remaining in the United States. IBM has several DACA employees who serve in technical, marketing, finance and sales roles across multiple states. IBM supports H.R.6., The Dream and Promise Act., and S.874, the DREAM Act, that would permanently solve the DACA issue. We therefore urge Members of Congress to co-sponsor and vote for this legislation.  Contact Meredith Singer, & Yelena Vaynberg,

CYBERSECURITY:  IBM supports a risk-based management approach to cybersecurity that is flexible, voluntary, and uses international standards. Reasonable data security practices based on an entity’s cyber risk profile are foundational to a strong cybersecurity posture as follows: (i) Access to WHOIS database: law enforcement, cybersecurity professionals, consumer protection agencies, brand protection counsel, and others use WHOIS data (contact data linked to domain name registrants), to help determine who is operating a criminal website, initiating cyber-attacks, or committing fraud under the guise of a known brand. The WHOIS database is gradually “going dark” as domain name owners shut down access for fear of being non-compliant with the EU’s GDPR. IBM asks Congress to work with industry to make WHOIS registration data publicly available to protect internet users from criminal or fraudulent activity, (ii) Supply Chain Security: threats to global digital supply chains involve national and economic security interests. IBM encourages Congress to be mindful of the myriad government initiatives and regulations that exist for U.S. supply chain management. Furthermore, IBM supports public private partnerships such as the DHS ICT Supply Chain Task Force initiative, to address pressing issues in supply chain security policy. Contact Katie Ignaszewski, & Kevin Walsh,

Download the PDF: IBM’s 2019 Public Policy and U.S. Legislative Priorities