French President François Mitterrand, a professed tech enthusiast, visited Silicon Valley in 1984 to meet with an entrepreneur named Steve Jobs. Thirty years later, another French president by the name of François is visiting Silicon Valley — the first presidential visit since Mitterrand’s.
After wooing the D.C. political elite Tuesday, President François Hollande will attempt to do the same Wednesday with Silicon Valley’s tech elite.
Over lunch with Google’s Eric Schmidt, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, Twitter and Square’s Jack Dorsey, and Tony Fadell, founder of Nest, Hollande will tell tech executives that France is open for business. The president wants tech companies to invest more in France, which is experiencing a brain drain as the country’s economy remains stagnant.
But he is facing a tough crowd. Hollande — who once said “I do not like the rich” — has been a vocal critic of U.S. tech companies’ privacy and tax practices. Just last week, Hollande, a Socialist, criticized companies like Google for avoiding paying their fair share of taxes.
“This is not acceptable and that is why, at both the European and the global level, we must ensure that tax optimisation … can be called into question,” Hollande said during a visit to a French Internet company last Thursday.
The EU’s legislative body also introduced reforms to global Internet governance Wednesday aimed at reducing U.S. control in light of recent revelations about the U.S. government surveillance program.
Not to mention, unlike the first François, this François has a reputation for being skeptical of new technologies. According to The Wall Street Journal and French newspaper Le Parisien, the president prefers newspapers to iPads and he does not use SnapChat. And when it comes to Twitter?
“I look when they show me,” said Hollande according to the French newspaper. “There’s an addictive side to all that stuff that you need to defend against.”
What We're Following See More »
"The Trump administration on Wednesday formally withdrew Obama administration rules granting transgender individuals access to the sex-segregated facilities of their choice, including bathrooms." In an official letter to the civil-rights divisions of the Justice and Education departments, the administration wrote that it prefers to let states set the course on the issue, and also that the Obama-era rules don't “contain extensive legal analysis or explain how the position is consistent with the express language of Title IX, nor did they undergo any formal public process.”
Congress will need to vote on Donald Trump's pick of Lt. General H.R. McMaster to be his next national security adviser, but not for the reason you think. The position of NSA doesn't require Senate approval, but since McMaster currently holds a three-star military position, Congress will need to vote to allow him to keep his position instead of forcing him to drop one star and become a Major General, which could potentially affect his pension.
"The Senate Intelligence Committee is seeking to ensure that records related to Russia’s alleged intervention in the 2016 U.S. elections are preserved as it begins investigating that country’s ties to the Trump team. The panel sent more than a dozen letters to 'organizations, agencies and officials' on Friday, asking them to preserve materials related to the congressional investigation, according to a Senate aide, who was not authorized to comment publicly. The Senate Intelligence Committee is spearheading the most comprehensive probe on Capitol Hill of Russia’s alleged activities in the elections."