Data Foundry Speaks Up: Declares Need for Tech Committee in State Legislature

Nov 16, 2016 | Policy

As a technology company whose founders, Ron and Carolyn Yokubaitis, were advocates before they were entrepreneurs, Data Foundry has always been involved in policy issues concerning technology and our fundamental rights.

We’ve advocated and continue to advocate for reform on several pieces of legislation to address technology and privacy issues, including the reform of: ECPA (Electronic Communications Privacy Act), CISA (Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act), and FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act).

Our latest project is to push for the formation of a Technology Committee in our home state’s legislature. We aren’t picking on Texas. Texas has led the charge for privacy in many ways. For example, Governor Perry signed an email privacy bill (HB 2268) into law in 2013 before any other state had passed such a bill. Texas is far ahead of the federal government in this issue, which still hasn’t reformed the 1986 ECPA. The need for closer attention to the potential effects of technology on society is great in all states and the country as a whole. As a Texas-based technology company, we feel that we can help make a difference in our home state.

The government needs to be more aware of how different technologies work and how they can be exploited. Many government and law enforcement agencies (not just those in Texas) use technologies such as StingRays, RFID chips and other biometric collection technologies to collect data on individuals, irrespective of being suspected of a crime or not. Some technologies are necessary for law enforcement to do its job, but how and when they can be used should be defined by elected officials. We are behind on this work as a state and as a nation.

As a technology company, we know that it’s hard enough for someone working in the technology field to keep up with all of the world’s technological advancements and their implications, let alone a part time government staffer without a background in computer engineering or IT. That’s why we are suggesting that Texas implements a Technology Committee consisting of technology experts to help in the process of understanding these issues and creating the necessary legislation.

We’ll provide updates on our progress in our blog and social media as we advocate for the establishment of a Texas Technology Committee.

Read the Op-Ed in the Texas Tribune: