Tech Leaders Slam Donald Trump In Open Letter - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Government

Tech Leaders Slam Donald Trump In Open Letter

Nearly 150 tech leaders, researchers, founders, and VCs posted an open letter characterizing presidential candidate Donald Trump as a "disaster for innovation."

Beyond BlackBerry: Outdated Tech The Feds Should Dump
Beyond BlackBerry: Outdated Tech The Feds Should Dump
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Donald Trump's presidential candidacy appears to be facing opposition among some in the tech community, as 145 tech leaders, entrepreneurs, researchers and venture capitalists issue an open letter calling him a "disaster for innovation."

The group, which includes Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, internet luminary and pioneer Vint Cerf, Box cofounder Aaron Levie, and Sun Microsystems cofounder and VC Vinod Khosla, outlined its concerns in a letter posted on Medium, part of which says:

We believe in an inclusive country that fosters opportunity, creativity and a level playing field. Donald Trump does not. He campaigns on anger, bigotry, fear of new ideas and new people, and a fundamental belief that America is weak and in decline. We have listened to Donald Trump over the past year and we have concluded: Trump would be a disaster for innovation. His vision stands against the open exchange of ideas, free movement of people, and productive engagement with the outside world that is critical to our economy  --  and that provide the foundation for innovation and growth.

The letter details three areas of concern for the group, including Trump's views on diversity, his position on open communication on the internet, and his lack of a detailed tech agenda.

(Image: andykatz/iStockphoto)

(Image: andykatz/iStockphoto)

The group supports progressive immigration policies, and notes that 40% of the Fortune 500 companies have been founded by immigrants or their children. But the letter-signers fear Trump could potentially hamper innovation because he "traffics in ethnic and racial stereotypes, repeatedly insults women, and is openly hostile to immigration. He has promised a wall, mass deportations, and profiling."

On the controversial issue of H-1B visas, which allow temporary workers to enter the country for jobs that are difficult to fill with the existing pool of American workers, Trump, as noted in a Washington Post report, has flip-flopped on the issue.

Tech companies argue that the current H-1B program is inadequate and needs an increase in the number of temporary visas allowed so that the industry's available jobs can be filled with skilled workers. However, US tech workers and organizations question whether H-1B visas are being used to create a form of cheap labor.

Trump has also raised concern over the free and open exchange of ideas, particularly through his various proposals of "shutting down" portions of the internet as a means to bolster security. But the group says that this strategy demonstrates Trump's "poor judgment and ignorance about how technology works."

The group is also wary of Trump because of the important role government plays in technology, especially regarding its investments in both infrastructure (as in buying computers and servers) and scientific research. The letter characterizes Trump as having "few policies beyond erratic and contradictory pronouncements."

Additionally, the groups wrote that Trump "risks distorting markets, reducing exports, and slowing job creation."

[See The Brexit Effect: 8 Ways Tech Will Feel the Pain.]

While the letter notes that those who signed the document are representing themselves and not the companies or organizations they work for, some notable names were missing, such as Apple CEO Tim Cook.

However, while Cook has not come out publically against Trump with a statement, he did throw his money and support to House Speaker Paul Ryan and a joint fundraising committee aimed at helping to elect other House Republicans via a private breakfast event in June, according to a Politico report.

The group wrapped up its letter with this statement:

We stand against Donald Trump's divisive candidacy and want a candidate who embraces the ideals that built America's technology industry: freedom of expression, openness to newcomers, equality of opportunity, public investments in research and infrastructure, and respect for the rule of law. We embrace an optimistic vision for a more inclusive country, where American innovation continues to fuel opportunity, prosperity and leadership.

Trump's campaign was not immediately available for comment.

Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
WesleyP336
50%
50%
WesleyP336,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/24/2016 | 11:50:48 AM
Wow
Im am honestly sickened by these comments. If you're going to put down the republican party with no knowledge whatsoever about the history of either party, you should keep it to yourself. Little does anybody know, that the father of the democratic party was good ol' Andrew Jackson. A slave owner who didnt care the slightest about his slaves. They faught life and limb to keep african-mericans as slaves, and founded the KKK as their private batallion, killing blacks and any white man that opposed their agenda. The democratic party faught against womens rights and their right to vote, as well as that of blacks. They founded planned parenthood, placing their facilities in underpriveliged neighborhoods, why you may ask? Because the lynching of blacks became taboo, and thought of as wrong among the general public, so they began providing abortion services. Killing babies instead!! And throughout all this, till this day, the only time i hear a word of someone being sexist, or racist, is from a democrat. Black Lives Matter was founded by democrats, and supported by obama and hillary. More unarmed white men are killed every year by cops then black men, so where are the white lives matter protesters? How about we keep it gender and racially neutral and protest that ALL lives matter. And republicans are not against gay marriage. They dont support it, but many just want you to do what you want and not have a hissy fit because some hard-core bible-thumper doesnt want to go against her religion and issue a marriage license. Here's an idea, drive 10 miles and try the next city. Lastly, its no secret, just wether you want to listen or not, that the Clintons are CROOKS! They got credit for raising so much money to help the victims of the Haitie earthquake, and didnt use a single penny to help those victims. Instead they build a textile factory in an unaffected part of Haitie. "Oh but they created so many jobs" Bullsh*t! They didnt need jobs, they needed their homes and cities rebuilt. Thanks for nothing clinton foundation. And maybe while they're at it, they can sell more uranium fields to russia. Oh yeah, the Clinton's made hundreds of millions of dollars from selling uranium fields belonging to the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA to Russia. I just wish people would look into history before thinking they know everything. Understand that they are being manipulated into lining the pockets of the democratic party. Good day America
vnewman2
100%
0%
vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
7/20/2016 | 12:00:57 PM
Re: Slam One, Endorse Another?
Great points @jastroff - perhaps this explains why there were some key players missing - Tim Cook, Zucky, and Sergey all opted out of signing the letter.  Perhaps they have learned something from the FB situation last may when they were accused of suppressing conservative content in their Trending section - decided to sit this one out.
jastroff
50%
50%
jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
7/20/2016 | 11:18:37 AM
Re: Slam One, Endorse Another?
Another way to look at this is let's say you are a CIO, or CTO or working in IT, and you are asked to make a recommendation for a vendor of X. 

Would you only present the negatives of why a vendor or technology should not be used? You would rate them, and present both sides

Similarly, if you were a manager requesting a technology evaluation, youy would expect the good and the bad, or at least a scale which shows the relevant aspects.

 

 
jastroff
50%
50%
jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
7/19/2016 | 4:48:39 PM
Re: Slam One, Endorse Another?
Exactly! I am not taking a side in the presidential contest, and I'm sorry we have some acrimony in this discussion.

 

But if these people are so smart, they need to put their brains to work for people to understand how to make a choice, etc. It's just lazy to argue one side of the equation, isn't it?
vnewman2
50%
50%
vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
7/19/2016 | 1:18:13 PM
Re: Slam One, Endorse Another?
@jastroff - "Slamming one, but not endorsing an alternative, is sloppy thinking and not helpful."

It's like listening to chronic complainers who always have something negative to say but never have an actual solution.  

By publishing this letter, they are just promoting the devisiveness they are decrying themselves.
moarsauce123
50%
50%
moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
7/19/2016 | 6:09:31 AM
Re: Slam One, Endorse Another?
The US voters have the choice between plague and cholera. You pick which one is which, but it doesn't really matter. The only thing the Democrats have going for them is that their political party mindset is not stuck in the 1830s or before.

The Republicans want constituional amendments to eliminate marriage equality, they consider being gay or lesbian as a desease that can be cured through prayer.

They want to get tough on immigration...which if their predecessors did that neither Trump nor most if not all of them would not be living in the US. So if they want to kick out all the foreigners does Trump have to buddy up with the ketchup Heinz clan and take a trip back to Germany? Does a good number of MLB players have to take the ferry back to Cuba? Push the many actors and comedians over the Canadian border?

They court the gun huggers who are the main reason why there are more shooting deaths in the US than through vehicle accidents. They still want to cut taxes (for the rich) although the most recent example in Brownback's Kansas ended in less state services, higher unemployment, a shift to tax increases that hit low and middle income households the most, and an overall decline of the state's economy while only a select few rich individuals and business raked in more money. Yes, there were more private sector jobs created, but the number pales drastically when compared to the huge number of state workers who got fired. Yet, this is the model the Republican party wants to push at the federal level.

I do not like Clinton, she is washed up and too much stuck in the establishment with an agenda I'd see fit for a moderate Republican, but not for a Democrat. But I take Clinton as President any time if that means keeping the Republicans away from ruining this fine country even more.

Lastly, my apologies for discussing this in what should be a technology web site.
moarsauce123
50%
50%
moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
7/19/2016 | 5:49:39 AM
Re: UK Concerns
As far as the UK vote is concerned, the one group with the lowest participation rate where the young Britains. If they did not take the vote seriously enough to bother and drop a ballot into a box, then don't complain now that the old geezers want their Empire back. Quoting Konrad Adenauer: "Every nation gets the government it deserves."

As far as Trump goes, if he would be only bad for innovation we'd be OK. He is the front runner of a bunch of pseudo-christian ultraconservative dimwits that excel in hate, homophobia, and utterly unrealistic ideas and complain about issues a Republican dominated Congress had many years to fix. Instead, they did absolutely nothing and wasted time on the Tea Party lunatics who did not accomplish a single thing they set out to do. Instead, we had 234243 hearings about Benghazi who all came to the exact same conclusion.

It is shocking that there are so many dumb people who fall for the baseless blahblah of the US Republicans, UKIP, or other right-wing nutball parties.
TerryB
50%
50%
TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
7/18/2016 | 1:12:15 PM
Re: UK Concerns
Naw, I'll be watching a Spurs game most likely. I've long given up on idea any politician will make a difference. Now that we are considering electing a reality TV character, I've just changed my hope the world survives long enough for my daughter to grow up. 
sefarkas
50%
50%
sefarkas,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/18/2016 | 1:04:49 PM
Re: UK Concerns
Nija Terry make sure all the sharp knives and so on are out of your house before you start watching election returns on Tuesday 1Nov.
TerryB
50%
50%
TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
7/18/2016 | 12:46:45 PM
Re: UK Concerns
I'm just impressed a Trump supporter actually reads this site. Most of the ones I've seen on TV don't even look like they own a computer. 

@Whoopty isn't exactly campaigning with what he says. It's pretty obvious Trump talks first and thinks second. He is from the school that all publicity is good publicity.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Slideshows
9 Steps Toward Ethical AI
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  5/15/2019
Commentary
How to Assess Digital Transformation Efforts
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  5/14/2019
Commentary
Is AutoML the Answer to the Data Science Skills Shortage?
Guest Commentary, Guest Commentary,  5/10/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
2018 State of the Cloud
2018 State of the Cloud
Cloud adoption is growing, but how are organizations taking advantage of it? Interop ITX and InformationWeek surveyed technology decision-makers to find out, read this report to discover what they had to say!
Video
Current Issue
A New World of IT Management in 2019
This IT Trend Report highlights how several years of developments in technology and business strategies have led to a subsequent wave of changes in the role of an IT organization, how CIOs and other IT leaders approach management, in addition to the jobs of many IT professionals up and down the org chart.
Slideshows
Flash Poll