Laws Need to Keep Up with Innovation in Manufacturing

We are living in the world of modern manufacturing.  Walk in to a manufacturing facility on any given day and you will see state-of-the-art technology seamlessly integrated with manufacturing products and processes.  Much of this is being driven by the proliferation of connected devices—known as the Internet of Things (IoT)—which is increasing efficiency and product quality across the supply chain.

The IoT and other advanced technologies with the help of powerful cloud computing are now leveraging previously unused data to create a competitive differentiator for manufacturers. It is making products safer. It is getting users more real-time information on performance.

All of this is leading to increased growth across all industries. This is not just happening in the United States—this technology is having a tremendous impact on our facilities and our customers around the world. Manufacturing is global. It is digital. It is a data-driven industry.

Manufacturers have embraced technology and kept pace with the dynamic environment it has created in recent decades. It is time for the laws governing data and how it is accessed by governments to catch up with them. If they do not, it will put in jeopardy the leadership position that manufacturers in the United States have worked so hard to create. This discussion of how innovation and outdated laws have an impact on U.S. competitiveness will be center stage tomorrow at a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, titled “International Conflicts of Law and Their Implications for Cross Border Data Requests by Law Enforcement.”

Manufacturers understand the very real and important needs of law enforcement and national security when it comes to data and electronic communication. At the same time, the security and privacy of communications and data flows between manufacturers and their customers must also be considered. We are pleased that tomorrow Congress is examining these issues and the body’s important role in crafting potential legislative solutions that will update the 30-year-old laws that govern this space.

The world has changed quite considerably since the 1980s. So has our nation’s manufacturers. We have been pioneers in innovation, and it has fueled our growth. We are at the beginning of another innovative revolution. We need our laws to reflect today’s data-driven, modern manufacturers and help them grow—not do the opposite.

Brian Raymond

Brian Raymond

Director of Innovation Policy at National Association of Manufacturers
Brian Raymond is the Director of Innovation Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). He works with NAM members, the Administration and Congress to shape and advance pro-manufacturing positions on technology policy issues ranging from intellectual property protection, privacy issues and cyber/data security to net neutrality and R&D funding.
Brian Raymond

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