All Hands on Tech for Privacy Debate

All Hands on Tech for Privacy Debate

May 31, 2017

Texas is a long way from Silicon Valley -- and even farther away on values. Unfortunately, Apple CEO Tim Cook is trying to close that gap with a team of tech giants whose sole purpose is to get the conservative state to cave on privacy. When the state’s legislative session ended, an important piece of business was still looming: a bill protecting gender-specific bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers. No thanks to House Speaker Joe Strauss, the measure was bottled up for weeks in committee, where it ultimately stalled and died.

But even as leaders head back to their home districts, hope is not lost. Governor Greg Abbott (R) still has a few tricks up his sleeve -- including the ability to call a special legislative session to force members to decide the issue. That’s a very real possibility now, our friends in Texas tell us. So real, in fact, that this group of tech companies is racing to oppose the idea. In a letter to Texas lawmakers, they warn the state against passing the popular Privacy Act. Of course, this isn’t the first rodeo for CEOs from Salesforce, Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Facebook, Hewlett-Packard, Dell Cisco, Amazon, Google, and others. Led by Cook, a mighty ally for the LGBT community, most of these same names tried to elbow their way into Indiana’s religious liberty debate.

Now, sensing the urgency from Texas conservatives, they’re back at it -- demanding a policy their own offices won’t embrace. As usual, these 14 firms are calling on the state to do something they refuse to: fling open their doors to a genderless world that’s victimized people from Oregon to Massachusetts. But as usual, the Left never lets a double standard get in the way of their moral high horse. “As large employers in the state, we are gravely concerned that any such legislation would deeply tarnish Texas’s reputation as open and friendly to businesses and families. Our ability to attract, recruit, and retain top talent, encourage new business relocations, expansions, and investment, and maintain our economic competitiveness would all be negatively affected.”

Our view, they go on, “is grounded in values and our long-held commitment to diversity and inclusion.” That’s interesting, since it’s difficult to name a single company that has these same policies in their own headquarters. Instead, they want the government to do what they don’t have the nerve to. After all, no one wants to end up like Target -- which is almost belly-up after the 1.5 million-person boycott sparked by their transgender restrooms and changing rooms. If Apple wants to put its employees at risk, that’s their business – just like it’s Governor Abbott’s to protect his state. Help him do just that by calling his office at 512-463-2000 and encouraging him to call a special session!

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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