ITI Daily News Roundup

04/18/2014

Key Issues

Tax and the Economy

Initial impact of Japan sales tax rise muted. An increase in Japan’s national sales tax may be doing less damage to the economy in its initial days than some had feared, with two-thirds of companies saying in a survey that April sales were holding steady or improving compared with the same month in 2013. (Financial Times)

Workforce

House Republican leaders holding up immigration reform: Obama. President Barack Obama on Thursday called on the U.S. Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, which he said was being blocked by Republican leaders in the House of Representatives. (Reuters)

IP Enforcement

Pandora sued by record labels for copyright infringement. Sony, Warner, and Universal argue that under state law, the music streaming service must pay license fees for songs recorded before 1972. (CNET)

SOPA Defeat Haunts Efforts to Rein In Illegal Copying, British Official Says. “It’s going to be five years before anybody puts his head above the parapet again.” That’s how Michael Weatherly, a member of the British Parliament and intellectual property adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron handicapped the prospects for a fresh legislative push against online piracy in the United States. (New York Times)

Global Policy

China Becomes World's Largest Trader, As Treasury Flags Dip In RMB. China in 2013 surpassed the United States as the world's largest trader as measured by the sum of its exports and imports, even as the U.S. remained the largest importer of goods, according to a new World Trade Organization report. (World Trade Online)

Under Pressure To Show TTIP Progress, U.S., EU Focus On Market Access. Under pressure to show progress in the lagging negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and European Union Trade Commission Karel De Gucht have decided to focus first on advancing the market access part of the initiative, according to informed sources. (World Trade Online)

Privacy

Privacy professionals examine legal implications of security 'seals'. The International Association of Privacy Professionals has announced a meeting next month that will examine the legal implications of "seals" and "certifications" used by third parties to ensure the security of personal data. (Inside Cybersecurity) 

Cybersecurity

DHS asks industry to share information about 'Heartbleed' bug. The Department of Homeland Security has opened a channel to the private sector to share information about the so-called Heartbleed bug, an open-source vulnerability that could compromise vast amounts of consumer and other data. (Inside Cybersecurity)

DHS launches process to reconsider 'critical' infrastructure for cybersecurity. The Department of Homeland Security has launched a process to reconsider which infrastructure owners and operators belong on a list of infrastructure deemed "critical" in the context of cybersecurity. (Inside Cybersecurity)

Lawyers caution against broad info sharing under FTC-DOJ antitrust waiver. The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission have attracted widespread industry praise for their recently issued joint statement on waiving antitrust concerns about the sharing of cyber threat information by commercial competitors. (Inside Cybersecurity)

Environment and Sustainability

China admits widespread soil pollution in ‘state secret’ report. One-fifth of China’s agricultural land is polluted, particularly in the country’s southern rice baskets, according to a sobering government report previously classified as a “state secret”. (Financial Times)

It's the law: Big EU companies must report on sustainability. Wednesday was a historic day in Europe, where a new law will require its biggest companies to include sustainability factors as part of their annual financial report. (Green Business News)

Obama puts $15M into solar power. The Obama administration on Thursday announced a $15 million program to help state, local and tribal governments build solar panels and other infrastructure to fight climate change. (The Hill)

One in 10 Children Attend Schools Near Chemical Plants. Nearly 4.6 million children in 10,000 schools are located within a mile of a chemical facility, according to a group that is pushing new regulations. (Environmental Leader)

Ukraine Seeks Renewable-Energy Boost to Counter Russia. Ukraine is seeking U.S. investment in its biomass, wind and solar power industries. The idea is to use renewable energy to curb its reliance on fuel imports from Russia, which annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region last month and has troops massed on the border. (Bloomberg)

Public Sector

GAO: NASA improving its project management. Although NASA has shown improvement on managing project costs and schedules, the Government Accountability Office said its acquisition management still needs attention. (Federal Computer Week)

GSA touts new mobile management resource. The General Services Administration launched a centralized, uniform guide to help agencies wring additional savings from their expanding portfolios of mobile services and devices. (Federal Computer Week)

Pentagon looks to build a bridge between military, intelligence IT consolidation efforts. The federal government's intelligence community is in the process of building an interdependent system of shared IT services for all 17 of the nation's intelligence agencies. (Federal News Radio)

Rep. Wolf receives first report on cyber threats related to federal IT procurement. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), has received the first report from a federal agency on cyber threats related to the government's IT purchases, as required by provisions in the 2013 and 2014 omnibus appropriations bills that were widely seen as aimed at Chinese companies. (Inside Cybersecurity) 

Rethinking (again) the role of CIO. As Congress contemplates updates to agency CIO authorities, it might be worth asking how the role of top government IT executives has changed in the 18 years since the passage of the Clinger-Cohen Act, which created the position. (Federal Computer Week)

Innovation

A bionic ankle so natural, it's worth a happy dance. An artificial ankle created at the MIT Media Lab is made of chips and sensors that work together to adjust ankle stiffness, power, and position. One wearer was able to dance the rumba. (CNET)

First Earth-size planet that may hold water confirmed. Kepler-186f orbits an M dwarf star in the constellation Cygnus. More importantly, it's the first confirmed Earth-size, potentially habitable planet elsewhere in the universe. (CNET)

Scientists Make First Embryo Clones From Adults. Scientists for the first time have cloned cells from two adults to create early-stage embryos, and then derived tissue from those embryos that perfectly matched the DNA of the donors. (Wall Street Journal) 

Mobility

FCC chief defends plan to limit large carriers in auction. The head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is defending its plans to limit large wireless carriers when the federal government auctions off airwaves worth billions of dollars next year. (The Hill)

Libraries Seek High-Speed Broadband.  The federal E-Rate program has been a boon for schools and public libraries across the country, helping them acquire Internet access and telecommunications products at affordable or vastly discounted rates. But the sleek new computers, laptops and tablets do not mean much without high-quality broadband service to match. (New York Times)

Tech Business

Here’s what Dropbox is spending some of its massive cash pile on — startups. Dropbox has another two startups under its belt as it continues its sorta-stealthy buying binge. (GigaOM) 

Silicon Valley tech companies reap record-level investments. It's a good time to be a software company in Silicon Valley, where big money is flowing to the red-hot industry. (Silicon Valley News)

ITI Member News

Apple driving move to 64-bit mobile processors, TSMC says. After Apple announced its A7 processor last year, the industry has been moving to 64-bit, says a TSMC co-CEO. (CNET)

Chipmaker AMD's quarterly results beat Street, stock jumps. Advanced Micro Devices Inc's first-quarter results beat expectations, sending its shares higher as the chipmaker tries to replace dwindling sales of PC chips with its processors for game consoles. (Reuters)

Facebook plays offense in D.C. for new feature. The public first learned Thursday about Nearby Friends, which lets Facebook users who turn on the feature see in real-time how close they are physically to their online compatriots. But some in D.C. got an early rundown of the company’s major launch. (Politico)

Exclusive: Google's Project Loon tests move to LTE band in Nevada. Google has expanded its Project Loon tests to the Nevada desert and, for the first time, into licensed radio spectrum. (PCWorld)

Microsoft highlights big-data, analytics projects at TechFair research fair. Microsoft showed off a number of its latest research projects at the Silicon Valley TechFair research fair in Mountain View on April 17.bAmong the featured projects -- some of which the company had touted previously, others not -- were a couple of big-data- and analytics-focused ones. (ZDNet)

Samsung, Globalfoundries Agree to Adopt Same Production Process. Samsung Electronics Co. and Globalfoundries Inc. said Thursday they have agreed to adopt the same production process as they upgrade their chip-manufacturing services, an unusual alliance with implications for many designers of computer chips and other devices, notably Apple Inc. (Wall Street Journal)

VMware jumps into the DRaaS Market. VMware just jumped into a very busy market for disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) by launching VMware vCloud® Hybrid Service™ - Disaster Recovery. The goal is getting everyone who uses VMware vSphere Hybrid Service as part of their cloud computing infrastructure to also deploy a VMware-centric backup and recovery service as part of their disaster planning.  (ZDNet)

1600 Penn.

In the morning, President Obama will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing. Afterwards, the president will meet with Secretary of the Treasury Lew, followed by a meeting with the national commander and executive director of the American Legion.  In the afternoon, the president will present the Commander-in-Chief Trophy to the United States Naval Academy football team in the Rose Garden.

Today on the Hill

Congress is not in session.

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