ITI Daily News Roundup

01/23/2013

Key Issues

Workforce

Moran to introduce updated high-skilled immigration bill this month.  Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) on Tuesday said he hopes legislation aimed at retaining foreign-born engineers and graduates with advanced technical degrees won't be held "hostage" in the political battle over comprehensive immigration reform.  (The Hill)

Leahy Wants Obama to Write Immigration Bill.  The debate buzzing in immigration circles these days isn’t so much about what President Obama will propose on one of his top domestic policy agenda items, but how he will do it.  (National Journal)

A New Group Aims to Make Programming Cool.  A nonprofit aims to make computer science as interesting to young people as smartphones, Instagram and iPads.  (NYT)

Tax

Firms Keep Stockpiles of 'Foreign' Cash in the U.S.  Much of the estimated $1.7 trillion in cash American companies say they have indefinitely invested overseas is actually sitting at home.  (WSJ)

As Foreign Profits Rise, Corporate Tax Rates Fall.  Globalization is creating two misleading impressions about corporate taxes in the U.S.  First, corporate-tax revenue is keeping up with recent historical averages as a share of gross domestic product. However, that’s only because globalization has raised the corporate-profit share of GDP, while reducing the share of labor compensation.  Second, both Democrats and Republicans in Congress are committed to corporate-tax reform in response to globalization. Yet they are unlikely to accomplish much, because each party’s desired reforms are pretty much the opposite of the other’s.  (Bloomberg column/Orszag)

Yahoo, Dell Swell Netherlands’ $13T Tax Haven.  As a deficit-strapped Europe raises retirement ages and taxes on the working class, the Netherlands’ role as a $13 trillion relay station on the global tax-avoiding network is prompting a backlash.  The Dutch Parliament is scheduled to debate the fairness of its tax system today. Lawmakers from several parties, including members of the country’s governing coalition, say they want to remove a stain on the nation’s reputation.  (Bloomberg)

Mobility

LTE users to hit 1 billion by 2016, says report.  The number of global 4G LTE wireless subscribers has skyrocketed from thousands to millions in just three years, and research firm iSuppli predicts that rate of growth will only speed up.  (CNET)

Google, AT&T at Odds Over U.S. Spectrum Sale.  U.S. regulators preparing to auction airwaves craved by wireless providers to meet demand from data- hungry smartphones are facing a divisive choice: how much to devote instead to mobile service that can be free.  Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, a Democrat who has pushed for broader access to high-speed Internet, backs a vision shared by Google Inc. (GOOG) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) of setting aside spectrum for mobile services not yet invented. He’s accused opponents of waging a “nascent war on Wi-Fi,” the aerial Internet connection found globally in coffee shops and offices.  (Bloomberg)

Cybersecurity & Privacy

U.S. government invites hackers to work on 'Civic Hacking Day'.  Agencies like NASA, Department of Labor, and the Census Bureau will give hackers access to data for a weekend in June in an effort to help the country's communities.  (CNET)

Bank security study highlights vulnerabilities.  More than two-thirds of banks have suffered at least one Distributed Denial of Service attack in the past 12 months, according to independent research conducted by the US-based Ponemon Institute. (FT)

Terry: Online privacy, data security to get fresh look.  The lawmaker says both issues remain on the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade panel's radar.  (Politico Pro)

'Privacy visor evades hidden cameras'.  A pair of glasses dubbed a "privacy visor" is developed to thwart hidden cameras using facial-recognition software.  (BBC)

70 percent of exploit kits come from Russia, says report.  A new report suggests that not only are we slow when it comes to patching up old exploits, but roughly 70 percent of exploit kits come from Russia.  (ZDNet)

Economy

Recession, tech kill middle-class jobs.  Increasingly, jobs are disappearing in the service sector, home to two-thirds of all workers.  They're being obliterated by technology.  Year after year, the software that runs computers and an array of other machines and devices becomes more sophisticated and powerful and capable of doing more efficiently tasks that humans have always done. For decades, science fiction warned of a future when we would be architects of our own obsolescence, replaced by our machines; an Associated Press analysis finds that the future has arrived.  (AP)

Republicans offer novel plan on federal debt.  Move to suspend enforcement of limit through May 18 would lift threat of default, relieve air of crisis that has surrounded House GOP budget battle with Obama.  (Washington Post)

U.S. Budget Discord Is Top Threat to Global Economy in Poll.  Global investors say the state of the U.S. government’s finances is the greatest risk to the world economy and almost half are curbing their investments in response to continuing budget battles, a Bloomberg poll shows.  (Bloomberg)

Global Trade

Cameron promises Britons straight choice on EU exit.  Prime Minister David Cameron promised on Wednesday to give Britons a straight referendum choice on whether to stay in the European Union or leave, provided he wins an election in 2015.  (Reuters)

Russia says U.S. rights law "odious" but wants constructive ties.  Russia wants constructive relations with the United States despite disputes over U.S. legislation designed to punish Russian human rights abusers and other difficulties in ties, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.  (Reuters)

China wants more local electronics success stories.  The government is urging manufacturers to integrate their core business with software and IT services. In the process, it hopes to have 5 to 8 companies with sales of over 100 billion yuan by 2015.  (ZDNet)

WTO, OECD Find U.S.-China Deficit Smaller Under 'Value-Added' Approach.  The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the World Trade Organization made the case last week that the way in which trade is currently measured fundamentally misrepresents the nature of global trade and oversimplifies the origin of imports and exports.  (Inside US Trade)

Exports Sagging? Try Some Free Trade.  The president did little to open markets during his first term. Here's hoping for the second one.  (WSJ column/Slaughter)

IPR

Music Pirates Buy 30 Percent More Songs Than Non-Filesharers.  According to a Columbia University study published this weekend, frequent users of peer-to-peer "piracy" networks in the U.S. legitimately purchase 30 percent more music than non-P2P users.  The study, called "Copy Culture In The US And Germany," also found a slew of other findings that might upset recording industry players. Top of the list? Internet users surveyed have a widespread dislike of current copyright enforcement practices, including bandwidth throttling, Internet access suspension and "criminal prosecution and fines."  (Huffington Post)

Tech Business

China Aims to Create Electronics Giants.  China's industry ministry set a goal of forging global giants in the electronics sector within the next two years through mergers and alliances, and urged Chinese companies to explore overseas acquisitions.

Firefox phone to go on sale in February, Mozilla says.  The new Firefox OS will debut on a pair of phones called the Keon and Peak. But these smart phones are meant mostly for developers.   (CS Monitor)

Energy & Sustainability

Obama's next climate steps apt to be temperate.  The Obama administration is likely to rely mostly on existing rules and on flexing executive power to execute its second-term environmental agenda, sidestepping Congress as it sets about radically reducing greenhouse gases.  (Reuters)

President Obama, the Born Again Climate Hawk...Now What?  The 2013 inaugural address brought attention to climate change and the policies we really need to move forward on the issue.  (ITIF blog)

Lisa Jackson's sustainability vision.  The outgoing EPA administrator wants to embed sustainability principles into the agency's mission and programs. Have we seen this movie before?  (GreenBiz.com)

Carter Seen Top Contender for Energy Secretary.  Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is the leading candidate to replace Steven Chu as energy secretary in President Barack Obama’s second term.  (Bloomberg)

Boxer targets energy efficiency. Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer is moving bills to improve building energy efficiency as one means of mitigating climate change.  (Politico)

Regulation

Democrat vows net-neutrality bill if FCC rules are overturned.  Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) on Tuesday pledged to introduce a net-neutrality bill if the Federal Communications Commission's regulations on the issue are overturned in federal court.  (The Hill)

Patent Politics.  The ITC has delayed the resolution of several patent cases in the wake of the FTC’s proposed consent decree with Google.  (Politico Pro)

Computer Fraud and Abuse Act under scrutiny.  Digital activist Aaron Swartz was being prosecuted under the law at the time of his death.  (Politico Pro)

Issa wants tech purchasing change.  Rep. Darrell Issa launched his first hearing this session with a vow to overhaul the government’s purchasing of information technology — an area he estimates sucks $20 billion in taxpayer money each year.  (Politico)

ITI Member News

Intel to wind down desktop circuit board business.  The chipmaker says it will leave the traditional desktop PC circuit board business. As a result, the venerable tower PC will likely begin to fade.  (CNET)

The pros and cons of an Apple-Intel divorce.  Rumors persist that Apple will switch the Macintosh from Intel’s x86 processors to ARM-compatible chips like those in the iPhone, iPad, and other iOS devices. Is that possible? Is it even a good idea? (Macworld)

Microsoft May Back Dell Buyout.  An investment by Microsoft — if it comes to pass — could be enough to push a leveraged buyout of the struggling computer maker over the goal line.  (NYT)

Microsoft to dissolve R&D unit in South Korea.  Software giant will disband research and development unit by end of next month as it consolidates resources in Beijing, but it downplays impact of the move on South Korean market.  (ZDNet)

On Google's big day, Google+ is a no-show.  Google talked up a lot of stuff during its earnings announcement but was silent about its social network.  (CNET)

Google Fiber 'not a hobby,' could expand, tech giant's execs say.  Google Fiber, the Internet search giant's super-fast Internet experiment in Kansas City, Mo., thatoperates at a speed 100 times faster than a typical broadband connection, could be coming to a city near you.  During Google's fourth-quarter earnings call, Google Chief Executive Larry Page and Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette made it clear Google Fiber is not a "hobby" for the company.  (LA Times)

Google Still in a Struggle With Mobile.  While Google’s most lucrative business, search on desktop computers, is slowing, the search giant has not yet figured out how to make equivalent profits on mobile devices.  (NYT)

New Worry for Apple.  Enter the cost-conscious iPhone buyer. Verizon Wireless revealed that it activated 6.2 million Apple iPhones, more than many analysts had expected. But it also said fewer than half of those customers paid up for the latest model.  (WSJ)

RIM sets stage for clients to run BlackBerry 10 devices.  Research In Motion has released a new system to allow its biggest customers to use its new line of BlackBerry 10 smartphones on their own networks, paving the way for the January 30 launch of the make-or-break devices.  (Reuters)

SAP Sees 12% Profit Gain on Software Demand.  SAP, the biggest maker of business-management software, forecast at least a 12 percent gain in full-year earnings as it adds Internet-based programs to attract users and fend off competition from Oracle Corp. (Bloomberg)

Soft PC-Chip Market Hits AMD, TI.  Advanced Micro Devices and Texas Instruments provided more evidence of soft demand for personal computers and other products, as AMD's net loss widened and TI's profit fell 11%.  (WSJ)

AMD builds executive ranks with former Apple, Qualcomm officials.  Advanced Micro Devices has hired two senior engineers with experience at Qualcomm and Apple, its latest high-level recruitments as it diversifies beyond a slowing personal computer industry, sources close to the Sunnyvale chipmaker said.  (San Jose Mercury News)

Sony unveils 'thinnest' tablet.  Sony unveils what it says is the thinnest 10in tablet while LG announces a 5in phablet with a 1080p resolution screen.  (BBC)

Today on the Hill

House:  The House convenes at 9 a.m. ET, with votes expected to start between 10 and 11.  On the schedule is a bill that would provide a four-month increase in the nation’s debt limit and would condition a long-term increase on adoption of a budget in each chamber of Congress.

Senate:  The Senate convenes at 9 a.m. with members continuing to work behind the scenes to change filibuster rules before the chamber begins legislative business.  

1600 Penn.

There are no public events on the President's and Vice President's schedule.

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