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04/24/2017

Key Issues

Tech Politics

Trump seeks symbolic win this week as 100-day milestone nears. The White House is urging lawmakers to make progress on a high-profile issue like healthcare or tax reform - or at least to avoid the disruption and embarrassment of a federal government shutdown on Friday, a day before President Trump marks his first 100 days in office. (LA Times)

Twitter Summons Triggers Internal Investigation at U.S. Homeland Security Department. A recent attempt by federal officials to pressure Twitter Inc. to unmask the identity of those behind an account critical of the Trump administration has triggered an internal investigation into whether those officials abused their power, according to a letter released Friday. (Wall Street Journal)

Scientists, Feeling Under Siege, March Against Trump Policies. Thousands of scientists and their supporters, feeling increasingly threatened by the policies of President Trump, gathered Saturday in Washington under rainy skies for what they called the March for Science, abandoning a tradition of keeping the sciences out of politics and calling on the public to stand up for scientific enterprise. (New York Times)

The March for Science was the moment 'the Science Guy' has been waiting for. Educator-entertainer Bill Nye, beloved by millennials for his PBS series that made him an icon, is now taking on the mantle of activist for science - leading the people who grew up with his show into political battle. (Washington Post)

Antitrust

Op-Ed: Is It Time to Break Up Google? In just 10 years, the world's five largest companies by market capitalization have all changed, save for one: Microsoft. Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Citigroup and Shell Oil are out and Apple, Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Amazon and Facebook have taken their place. They're all tech companies, and each dominates its corner of the industry. (New York Times)

Google, Facebook and Amazon: monopolies that should be broken up or regulated?. At some point, a giant company can cross the line from market dominance to monopoly. Have Google, Facebook and Amazon reached that point? (San Jose Mercury News)

Democrats plan to press Trump's competition cop on his ties to AT&T, tech giants. Trump's selection for the post - Makan Delrahim - previously spent years working at a Washington, D.C.-focused corporate law firm, where his legal and lobbying clients included such companies as AT&T, Comcast, Google and Qualcomm, according to federal records. (Recode)

Public Sector

Will the Government Be Open in a Week? Here Are the Dividing Lines. The administration is trying to use Friday's deadline for government funding as leverage for several of President Trump's goals. Democrats aren't so sure that leverage exists. (New York Times)

Trump's Push for Border-Wall Funding Muddies Budget Talks. Less than a week before the government could run out of money, President Trump wants any spending deal to include some funding for a border wall, despite little appetite among congressional Republicans for risking a partial shutdown over the issue. (Wall Street Journal)

Showdown looms over money for border wall as budget deadline nears. President Trump and his top aides pressed congressional Republicans to use the threat of a government shutdown to win funding for a wall along the U.S.- Mexico border, an effort that could lead to a standoff with lawmakers in both parties ahead of Friday's deadline to pass a spending bill. (Washington Post)

Trump Administration Begins Shutdown Preparations. The Trump administration has begun preparing for a government shutdown that could begin next week, even as congressional negotiators work to finalize a preliminary agreement to keep agencies open. (Government Executive)

Low morale, cut corners just a few of agencies contracting woes while Congress debates federal funding. Congress has been criticized for kicking the can down the road when it comes to federal spending, but as the government shutdown clocks ticks closer to midnight - and agencies dust off their contingency plans - some are wondering if that kicked can might be the best option right now. (Federal News Radio)

New DARPA program seeks cybersecurity through hardware design. Pentagon scientists say they could stop 40 percent of current cyberattacks by producing secure computer chips, and Friday they explain how to a closed-door meeting of government contractors. (FedScoop)

The Pentagon's Bug Bounty Program Should Be Expanded to Bases, DOD Official Says. The Hack the Pentagon bug bounty program that allowed citizens to test the defenses of Defense Department websites could soon see a spinoff inviting hackers to probe the Pentagon's critical infrastructure. (DefenseOne)

Trade

Macron, Le Pen Outcome Offers Encouragement for EU. Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen look headed for the May 7 presidential runoff. A win by Mr. Macron would strengthen the conviction of Europe's mainstream politicians that they can beat back anti-EU nationalists such as Ms. Le Pen. (Wall Street Journal)

Germany's Merkel encouraged U.S. will consider EU free trade deal. German Chancellor Angela Merkel fueled expectations of a future EU-U.S trade deal on Sunday, saying she was "very encouraged" talks were being looked at after her recent trip to Washington. (Reuters)

IMF meeting drops anti-protectionism pledge. Global finance leaders from the IMF and World Bank have dropped a pledge to fight trade protectionism from the closing note of their spring meetings. (BBC News)

Concerns About Trump Administration, Geopolitics Dominate IMF, World Bank Talks. Possible U.S. trade wars, French election result could derail global economic recovery, finance ministers fear. (Wall Street Journal)

Australian PM says U.S. had 'right' to pull out of TPP; Pence promotes 'America first,' bilaterals. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, standing alongside Vice President Mike Pence, said Saturday that the U.S. had the right to end its participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and that "each nation is committed to protecting its economic interests first and foremost," while Pence reiterated the U.S. "America-first" policy and the administration's preference for bilateral trade deals. (Inside Trade)

Japan's Aso: 'No guarantee' U.S. would get better conditions in bilateral than it did in TPP. Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso this week offered "no guarantee" the United States will strike a better deal with Tokyo if it chooses to pursue a bilateral trade agreement, stressing that U.S. gains with Japan in the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership depended on other countries "balancing out the gains and losses." (Inside Trade)

Taxes

White House offers conflicting details of Trump tax plan. President Trump promised a plan is coming Wednesday. But his advisers remain split on key details. (Washington Post)

The real story behind Trump's tax cut promise. Trump's vow to unveil the plan "Wednesday or shortly thereafter" puts the announcement just after Congress returns from the two-week Easter recess - and just ahead of Friday'sdeadline for avoiding a government shutdown, and Saturday's 100-day mark for his presidency. Sources quickly told Axios' Jonathan Swan that it would be kind of principles, plus: a 100,000-foot document, with no real path for how to get there - just targets. (Axios)

Mulvaney Says Trump Tax Plan Details Won't Be Ready Until June. Mulvaney said the administration hasn't decided whether its plan will be revenue neutral, which would be needed to meet the criteria set by lawmakers to make tax changes permanent, or will add to the national debt. (Bloomberg)

Immigration

'Dreamers' Are Not Target of Immigrant Crackdown, Cabinet Officials Say. Two members of President Trump's cabinet appeared to retreat on Sunday from one of Mr. Trump's signature campaign promises: to "immediately terminate" an Obama administration executive order meant to protect the legal status of children of undocumented immigrants. (New York Times)

The World's Advanced Economies Should Think Twice About Curbing Migration. Halting immigration would drastically reduce the working age population of G-7 nations, potentially slowing growth. (Bloomberg)

STEM

These robotics students were told 'to go back to Mexico.' The taunt only fueled their success. Just a few months ago, not many knew about these five fourth-graders from a low-income community in Indianapolis. But now, the Panther Bots, a thriving robotics team at Pleasant Run Elementary School, have become the face of a success story about a group of kids who were taunted with racial slurs but were too determined to let that affect their confidence. The group travels to Louisville on Sunday to compete in a worldwide robotics contest. (Washington Post)

Energy and Environment

Trump to set new executive orders on environment, energy this week. U.S. President Donald Trump this week will sign new executive orders before he completes his first 100 days in office, including two on energy and the environment, which would make it easier for the United States to develop energy on and offshore, a White House official said on Sunday. (Reuters)

Britain goes a day without coal-fired power for first time since the 1880s. Great Britain has gone an entire day without using electricity produced from coal for the first time since the industrial revolution says National Grid, the country's energy utility. (The Verge)

Bloomberg to world leaders: Ignore Trump on climate. New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg urged world leaders not to follow President Donald Trump's lead on climate change and declared his intention to help save an international agreement to reduce carbon emissions. (Washington Post)

Antarctica is melting faster than originally thought, new study finds. While it's no secret that the ice on Earth's poles is melting, scientists are still learning about how rapidly these changes are happening. Now a new study of water across the surface of Antarctica finds that the melting is occurring to a greater degree than previously thought. (ABC News)

Cybersecurity

Trump to sign executive order on cybersecurity. Trump is also expected to sign his long-awaited executive order on cybersecurity later this week, but will no longer contain a section on modernizing federal IT systems, according to these source, according to multiple people familiar with the White House's plans. The directive, which could come on Friday, will kick off reviews of each federal agency's digital defenses and direct agency heads to adopt specific cyber standards. (Politico)

Russian Hacker Sentenced to 27 Years in Credit Card Case. The schemes of Roman Seleznev led to the theft and resale of more than two million credit card numbers, resulting in losses of at least $170 million. (New York Times)

German cyber crime rose 80 percent in 2016. The German government registered 82,649 cases of computer fraud, espionage and other cyber crimes in 2016, an increase of just over 80 percent from 2015, a German newspaper reported on Sunday. (Reuters)

Local police don't go after most cybercriminals. They need better training. Outside of a few cutting-edge offices like Manhattan's district attorney and some computer crime task forces that work with the FBI or the Secret Service, the vast majority of American police and prosecutors have received precious little training in how to investigate and prosecute cybercrimes. (Washington Post)

NIST releases all public comments on cyber framework update. The National Institute of Standards and Technology has posted online all the public comments received on a proposed update to the federal framework of cybersecurity standards that includes new provisions on metrics and supply chain risk management. (Inside Cybersecurity)

Tech industry groups stress flexibility in measuring NIST framework effectiveness. Three major technology sector groups are urging the National Institute of Standards and Technology to protect the flexible nature of the federal framework of cybersecurity standards as NIST develops a process for measuring effective use of the framework. ITI is mentioned (Inside Cybersecurity)

Privacy

Uber responds to report that it tracked devices after its app was deleted. Uber tracked former users even after they deleted the app from their iPhones, a practice that eventually earned CEO Travis Kalanick a scolding from Apple chief executive Tim Cook, who reportedly threatned to pull Uber from the Apple App Store, the New York Times reports. (TechCrunch)

Internet of Things

How Technology Will Solve Cities' Parking Nightmare. New technologies, from small-scale renewables and vertical farms to smart grids and digitally connected sensors, promise some of the most exciting changes for the world's cities in the 21st century. Far less exciting, but arguably even more important, will be the coming revolution in the nightmare that is urban parking. (Wall Street Journal)

Virginia wants to steal some of California's driverless-car thunder. The states are taking sharply different approaches to regulation, and Virginia thinks its hands-off approach gives it an edge. (Washington Post)

Intellectual Property

Snap snaps up crucial patent. The patent is called "Methods and Systems of providing visual content editing functions." It powers what Snapchat users call a "geofilter" - an artistic overlay you add after a Snap is taken, offered at specific times and places, and available or advertisers to sponsor and customize. (Axios)

Artificial Intelligence

A robot-delivery startup helped write state laws that are locking out competition. Two U.S. states - Virginia and Idaho - have now passed laws to allow delivery robots to operate statewide. The new laws, both of which were passed this year, were written with the help of Starship Technologies, a delivery-robot company based in Estonia that was founded by Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis, two of the co-founders of Skype. (Recode)

Big Data

Three Hard Lessons the Internet Is Teaching Traditional Stores. A reckoning is coming for brick-and-mortar retailers, whose survival depends on learning more of the data-driven, tech-powered ways of their internet competitors. (Wall Street Journal)

Innovation

Elon Musk on mission to link human brains with computers in four years. Tesla Inc founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk said his latest company Neuralink Corp is working to link the human brain with a machine interface by creating micron-sized devices. Neuralink is aiming to bring to the market a product that helps with certain severe brain injuries due to stroke, cancer lesion etc, in about four years, Musk said in an interview with website Wait But Why. (Reuters)

Tech Business

Jack Ma Sees Decades of Pain as Internet Upends Older Economy. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Chairman Jack Ma said society should prepare for decades of pain as the internet disrupts the economy. The world must change education systems and establish how to work with robots to help soften the blow caused by automation and the internet economy, Ma said in a speech to an entrepreneurship conference in Zhengzhou, China. (Bloomberg)

Once-Flush Startups Struggle to Stay Alive. Venture capitalists have stopped funding scores of startups that rose to high valuations during a two-year boom, forcing them to fight for survival as they burn through their stockpiles of cash and scramble for new money or buyers. (Wall Street Journal)

The smartphone is eventually going to die - this is Mark Zuckerberg's crazy vision for what comes next. Basically, Zuckerberg's uses this roadmap to demonstrate Facebook's three-stage game plan in action: First, you take the time to develop a neat cutting-edge technology. (Business Insider)

Uber's C.E.O. Plays With Fire. Travis Kalanick's drive to win in life has led to a pattern of risk-taking that has at times put his ride-hailing company on the brink of implosion. (New York Times)

Semiconductor Gear: Still Some Chips to Play. Good news for the party raging in the semiconductor-manufacturing-gear business: Last call still seems to be a ways off. (Wall Street Journal)

Sheryl Sandberg Finds Comfort, and Offers It. With new perspective after her husband's unexpected death, the Facebook executive and author of "Lean In" addresses criticism of that book in her new one, "Option B." (New York Times)

ITI Member News

Alphabet's Waymo Claims Uber Hid Self-Driving Tech From Court. Waymo LLC, the self-driving car unit of Google parent Alphabet Inc., accused Uber Technologies Inc. of intentionally hiding a key project from a federal court
that Waymo says shows the ride-hailing company copied its design plans for a laser sensor used in autonomous vehicles. (Wall Street Journal)

Apple self-driving car testing plan gives clues to tech program. Apple Inc outlined a plan to train operators of self-driving cars in documents submitted to California regulators earlier this month, the latest clues to the company's autonomous vehicle technology aspirations. (Reuters)

How Google Cashes In Underneath the Search Bar. The real estate on a Google search page, used for an array of ad formats, is a driver of profits for the parent company, Alphabet. (New York Times)

Twitch Entices Video Creators With More Revenue Sharing. Amazon.com Inc.'s Twitch is allowing more broadcasters to make money on its platform, a move that could help the live-streaming business seize on challenges facing bigger
rivals YouTube and Facebook Inc. (Wall Street Journal)

Facebook Briefly Suspends Account of Outspoken Chinese Billionaire. Facebook said it had erroneously blocked the account of Guo Wengui, who has accused the relatives of Chinese government officials of corruption. (New York
Times)

1600 Penn.

In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will speak with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany by telephone. The President will then have a video conference with NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Later in the morning, the President will receive his daily intelligence briefing. The President will then have a working lunch with ambassadors of countries on the United Nations Security Council. In the afternoon, the President signs a proclamation on Holocaust Remembrance. The President will then host a credential ceremony for newly appointed ambassadors to Washington, D.C. Later in the afternoon, the President will meet with Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford. The President will then participate in a reception with conservative media. In the evening, the President will have dinner with Senator and Mrs. John McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham.

Today on the Hill

The U.S. Senate will convene at 3:00pm on Monday, April 24, and following any Leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session for consideration of Calendar #31, the nomination of Sonny Perdue to be Secretary of Agriculture. The time until 5:30pm will be equally divided. At 5:30pm, the Senate will vote on confirmation of the Perdue nomination. Following disposition of the Perdue nomination, the Senate will immediately vote on the motion to invoke cloture on Executive Calendar #34, the nomination of Rod J. Rosenstein to be Deputy Attorney General.

Today, the House will meet at 12:00 p.m. in pro forma. No votes are expected in the House.