Tech wasn’t State of the Union mascot but Obama backs a tech agenda

In State of the Union speeches, the tech industry has become used to President Obama calling out tech or specific companies as symbols of America ingenuity and success, particularly during the recent recession.

Tech wasn’t a prop during Obama’s State of the Union on Tuesday night but its agenda was intertwined in the president’s speech.

Obama hinted at NSA reforms he proposed earlier this month, saying they are necessary “because the vital work of our intelligence community depends on public confidence, here and abroad, that the privacy of ordinary people is not being violated.”

He put patent, tax and immigration reforms on his to-do list. But he didn’t delve deeply into immigration reform because the administration is expected to issue its priorities of reform this week and didn’t want to stir up the delicate political balance, The Huffington Post writes. House Speaker John Boehner also struck an upbeat note about immigration reform, saying that the Republican party will issue its own principles for reform next week, Reuters reports.

Obama proposed using federal funds to create six high-tech manufacturing centers nationally, saying that there is a “chance, right now, to beat other countries in the race for the next wave of high-tech manufacturing jobs.” The hubs would be in addition to centers in Raleigh, N.C. and Youngstown, OH. He didn’t say where the hubs might be located.

Obama announced the FCC’s partnership with Apple, Microsoft, Sprint and Verizon to create high-speed broadband in 15,000 schools in the next two years.

While tech industry groups applauded the speech in statements, Daniel Castro, senior analyst for the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, said the president’s speech missed an opportunity to address “the government’s introduction of vulnerabilities in cryptographic standards and commercial products.”

“As long as these questions go unanswered, U.S. technology companies will face a disadvantage in global markets and lose market share to foreign competitors,” he said.


Photo: President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on January 28, 2014 in Washington, D.C. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)


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