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Tech News Roundup

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05/22/2017

Key Issues

Broadband/Communications

Why 'Net Neutrality' Drives the Left Crazy. Protesters from the far-left group Popular Resistance have swarmed the Arlington, Va., street where Ajit Pai lives, placing pamphlets with his face on his neighbors' front doors. (Wall Street Journal)

Mozilla enters net neutrality lobbying fight. Internet nonprofit Mozilla is jumping in on the Washington, D.C., influence fight over the fate of net neutrality. (The Hill)

No, Google's Not a Bird: Bringing the Internet to Rural India. Babulal Singh Neti was sitting with his uncle on a recent afternoon, trying to persuade him of the merits of the internet. (New York Times)

Cybersecurity

North Korea's Unit 180, the cyber warfare cell that worries the West. North Korea's main spy agency has a special cell called Unit 180 that is likely to have launched some of its most daring and successful cyber attacks, according to defectors, officials and internet security experts. (Reuters)

Victims Call Hackers' Bluff as Ransomware Deadline Nears. With the clock ticking on whether a global hacking attack would wipe out his data, Bolton Jiang had no intention of paying a 21st-century ransom. (New York Times)

Amid industry pushback, China offers changes to cyber rules. China may delay full implementation of controversial new cyber security rules, giving companies more time to prepare, two people who attended a meeting on Fridaybetween the country's internet regulator, businesses and diplomats told Reuters. (Reuters)

Why do we need 'accidental heroes' to deal with global cyber-attacks?. To appreciate the perversity of our reliance on US technology giants, you just need to grapple with the fact that one of the likely winners in the global "cyber-outage" - caused by the series of crippling cyber-attacks that hit public and private institutions worldwide a week ago - might be the very company whose software was compromised - Microsoft. (The Guardian)
White House to target 'weakest links' in federal networks. Rob Joyce, the White House point man on cybersecurity, said the recent executive order on cybersecurity signed by President Donald Trump means that federal networks are going to be treated with new relevance and that government is going to take a harder look at eliminating weak links in the chain. (FCW)

Congress should be more aggressive in tracking down agency inefficiencies, GAO says. If Congress truly wants to save money, it should start asking agencies some tough questions about their improper payments and IT acquisitions, the Government Accountability Office said. (Federal News Radio)

Public Sector

Cautious optimism surrounds Thornberry's defense acquisition bill. A bill that would require the Defense Department to use marketplaces like Amazon to buy commercial goods is getting generally positive reviews, meanwhile other parts of the bill are still being analyzed by lawmakers, experts and defense officials. (Federal News Radio)

The White House will meet with tech execs for advice on giving the government a digital upgrade. The White House plans to huddle with top executives from Apple, Facebook, Google and other tech giants next month to brainstorm ways that the U.S. government can put more of its "citizen services" online and tackle thorny policy issues like high-skilled immigration. (Recode)

New York City's Chief Digital Officer Leaves City Hall. New York City's chief digital officer has departed City Hall as the government centralizes digital strategy under CTO Miguel Gamino. (Wall Street Journal)

Leaked budget document shows MGT funding in place. The Trump administration appears to be putting money where its mouth is when it comes to upgrading legacy IT at agencies. (FCW)

GAO: DHS coming up short on FITARA implementation. The Department of Homeland Security needs stronger IT contract evaluation and approval by its CIO in order to fully comply with the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. (FCW)

Data center optimization savings falls short. While agencies have made progress on their data center optimization efforts, they are reporting far less in savings than initially estimated. (FCW)

Artificial Intelligence

Most people prefer friendly robots - but not in France and Japan. As robots increasingly replace human jobs, thanks to record spending on automation, how should they behave? That preference depends on where you live. (Recode)

Privacy

House Republican unveils internet privacy bill. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced legislation on Friday that would force broadband providers and internet companies trying to collect and sell consumer's digital data to first get their expressed consent. (The Hill)

Killing C.I.A. Informants, China Crippled U.S. Spying Operations. The Chinese government systematically dismantled C.I.A. spying operations in the country starting in 2010, killing or imprisoning more than a dozen sources over two years and crippling intelligence gathering there for years afterward. (New York Times)

Taxes

Big Tech's Not-So-Easy Money. There are some things even half a trillion dollars can't buy. (Wall Street Journal)

GOP's Path to Tax Changes Slowed by Upcoming Budget Fight. To advance a tax overhaul this year, congressional Republicans first must clear a tricky hurdle: They need to agree on a budget. (Wall Street Journal)

Connecticut, Nation's Wealthiest State, May be Tapped Out on Taxing the Rich. The wealthiest state in the U.S. is having trouble collecting enough money to pay its bills, and the Democratic governor doesn't think taxing the rich is the answer anymore. (Wall Street Journal)

Taxes, Budget Are Focus for Trump Despite Probes. President Donald Trump is thousands of miles away, but his policy agenda faces tests back home this week as he looks to shift the focus from Russia investigations to his plans for boosting American military power and revamping the tax code. (Wall Street Journal)

Environment/Sustainability

How Rollbacks at Scott Pruitt's E.P.A. Are a Boon to Oil and Gas. In a gas field here in Wyoming's struggling energy corridor, nearly 2,000 miles from Washington, the Trump administration's regulatory reversal is crowning an early champion. (New York Times)
Cracking Washington's Gridlock to Save the Planet. One day, ideally in the not-too-distant future, when Congress finally passes major legislation to curb carbon emissions - to reduce the environmental and economic harm caused by climate change - Americans will owe a big thank you to the perseverance and discipline of the Citizens' Climate Lobby. (New York Times)

Wind Project in Wyoming Envisions Coal Miners as Trainees. Goldwind Americas, an arm of a leading wind-turbine manufacturer based in China, has been expanding its business in the United States. It has been careful to seek out local, American workers for permanent jobs on the wind farms it supplies. (New York Times)

Internet of Things

Details Emerge On Trump's $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan And What It May Mean For Autonomous Cars. As evidenced by an embarrassing moment at the LA Auto Show last year when a prototype Volvo autonomous vehicle carrying LA mayor Eric Garcetti couldn't collect enough visual data to move forward smoothly, even the most basic aspects of the nation's roadway infrastructure will need upgrading before fully self-driving cars can be successfully deployed. (Forbes)

Pittsburgh Welcomed Uber's Driverless Car Experiment. Not Anymore. When Uber picked this former Rust Belt town as the inaugural city for its driverless car experiment, Pittsburgh played the consummate host. (New York Times)

Uber Threatens to Fire Star Engineer in Legal Battle Over Driverless Cars. Uber has signaled that it might break up with the star engineer who led its driverless car efforts, as the company seeks to disentangle itself from a high-stakes lawsuit that could affect its future in self-driving vehicles. (New York Times)

Texas House Approves Regulations for Self-driving Cars. The Texas House has approved safety standards for self-driving cars, hoping to better regulate technology that's already been tested on the streets of the state capital. (AP)

Workforce/Diversity

All IT Jobs Are Cybersecurity Jobs Now. In the Appalachian mountain town of West Jefferson, N.C., on an otherwise typical Monday afternoon in September 2014, country radio station WKSK was kicked off the air by international hackers. (Wall Street Journal)

This Oakland high school robotics club should be the future of a more diverse tech industry. Just across the bay from San Francisco, a group of Oakland Technical High School students has been meeting twice a week for months, hacking away on robots slated to compete in two of the most important series of student robotics competitions in the world. (Recode)

Trade

To Trump, Human Rights Concerns Are Often a Barrier to Trade. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson had some advice on Saturday for Iran's newly re-elected president. The Trump administration, he said, hopes Tehran "restores the rights of Iranians to freedom of speech, to freedom of organization, so that Iranians can live the life that they deserve." (New York Times)

U.S. and Pacific Rim countries at odds in heated trade meeting. Japan and other members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreed on Sunday to pursue their trade deal without the United States, as the Trump administration's "America First" policy created tension at a meeting of Asia-Pacific countries. (Reuters)

Trump Administration's Push to Revamp Nafta Faces a Divided Congress. The Trump administration took the first step toward renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, plunging into a battle that pits some Republicans and industry supporters of the pact against Democrats and some of the president's most ardent backers. (Wall Street Journal)

With NAFTA on table, Canadians tout cross-border trade. Cross-border trade is part of the everyday rhythm of business for many companies in the Buffalo Niagara region and Southern Ontario. (Buffalo News)

Commerce Official Says TPP, NAFTA to Shape Future U.S. Talks . You can take the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but it seems the TPP is not out of the U.S. (BNA)

Asia-Pacific's 'Ocean's 11' huddle in Hanoi in bid to resuscitate TPP trade deal without US. Trade ministers huddling on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation talks in Hanoi, Vietnam, are faced with some tough challenges in resurrecting the TPP trade deal since U.S. President Donald Trump ditched it. (CNBC)

Asia Watching Fate of Nafta Amid Trump Review, Malaysia Says. Asian governments are watching with some anxiety the fate of the North American Free Trade Agreement as the Trump administration kicks off a review of the pact. (BNA)

What will President Trump do to NAFTA?. With all the chaos and scandal swirling around the White House, it can be easy to lose sight of President Donald Trump's immense power to shape America's role in the world. (Sacramento Bee)

TPP trade deal will continue without Trump. Mr Trump signalled in January he would block the passage of the 12-nation pact in order to protect American jobs. (BBC News)

Immigration

Silicon Valley leaders to discuss high-skill immigration with White House. White House officials will talk high-skilled immigration with top executives in the tech industry next month at the first meeting of President Trump's American Technology Council, Recode reported Friday. (The Hill)

Tech Politics

Twitter co-founder: 'Very bad' if Twitter helped make Trump president. Twitter co-founder Evan Williams apologized for the role Twitter may have played in electing President Trump. (The Hill)

Tech Business

'The Internet Is Broken': @ev Is Trying to Salvage It. Evan Williams is the guy who opened up Pandora's box. Until he came along, people had few places to go with their overflowing emotions and wild opinions, other than writing a letter to the newspaper or haranguing the neighbors. (New York Times)
AT&T Workers Start 3-Day Strike in Contract Impasse. More than 35,000 AT&T workers began a weekend-long strike on Friday after their union accused the company of failing to make a fair proposal during contract negotiations. (New York Times)

Softbank-Saudi tech fund becomes world's biggest with $93 billion of capital. The world's largest private equity fund, backed by Japan's Softbank Group and Saudi Arabia's main sovereign wealth fund, said on Saturday it had raised over $93 billion to invest in technology sectors such as artificial intelligence and robotics. (Reuters)

Texas lawmakers clear way for Uber, Lyft return to major cities. Texas governor Greg Abbott will sign in the next few days a bill that would shield ride-hailing firms Uber and Lyft from bruising battles over fingerprint background checks that led them to leave some of the state's most important markets. (Reuters)

The big six tech companies grew by $18 billion in total revenue and $4.5 billion in profit last quarter. First-quarter results are in for the big six tech companies: Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Netflix all saw increases in their top and bottom lines compared to the same quarter the year before, according to data from FactSet. (Recode)

This is the age of the Microsoft and Amazon economy. One of my first economics lessons contrasted perfect competition, which was judged to be a good thing, with monopoly, which was not. There are worse places to begin than by being shown the difference between championing the miracle of the free market and favouring the depredations of dominant businesses. (Financial Times)

Examining the NYC footprints of global tech titans. New York City has emerged as a technology powerhouse over the past few years. (TechCrunch)

ITI Member News

Alphabet, Amazon top LinkedIn's top companies list. Google's parent company Alphabet piqued the most interest from job seekers in 2017, placing it atop LinkedIn's list of top U.S. companies. (USA Today)
LinkedIn Top Companies List Shows That People Really Want to Work at Google. Job seekers are most interested in working at Google's parent company Alphabet over other U.S companies, according to LinkedIn's Top Companies list for 2017. (CNN)
Google grant helps Detroit-area students on path to STEM careers. A $250,000 grant from Google will provide more Detroit-area high school students with hands-on science and engineering after-school programs at the Michigan Engineering Zone, located at 3663 Woodward Ave. (MLive)
Apple Pay Violates Patents Held by Encryption Technology Inventor, Lawsuit Alleges. A small Boston company, founded by the inventor of a popular corporate encryption technology called RSA SecurID, sued Apple and Visa on Sunday, arguing that the Apple Pay digital payment technology violates its patents. (New York Times)

1600 Penn.

In the morning, President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will depart Riyadh, Saudi Arabia en route to Tel Aviv, Israel. The President will then participate in a bilateral meeting with President Reuven Rivlin of Israel. In the afternoon, the President will give remarks with President Rivlin. The President and the First Lady will then visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Later in the afternoon, the President and the First Lady will visit the Western Wall. In the evening, the President will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. The President will then give remarks with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Later in the evening, the President and the First Lady will have dinner with Prime Minister and Mrs. Netanyahu.

Today on the Hill

On Monday, the House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for morning hour and 2:00 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m.

3:00 p.m.: Convene and proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the nomination of Terry Branstad to be Ambassador to the People's Republic of China.