ITI Daily News Roundup

01/28/2013

Key Issues

Workforce

Bipartisan Senate group proposes immigration plan.  A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators has agreed on a framework for immigration reform that would provide a "path to citizenship" for those in the United States illegally but only after measures are put in place to secure borders and track undocumented immigrants.  (Reuters)

Senators plan major reform of immigration laws.  The framework of the bipartisan push to overhaul immigration laws includes a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.  Read the senators’ report  (Washington Post)

Friedman: Revolution Hits the Universities.  There is one big thing happening that leaves me incredibly hopeful about the future, and that is the budding revolution in global online higher education.  (NYT column)

Technology firms holding out hope for high-skilled immigration reform.  Lobbyists say the politics are different than they were in 2007, when Congress last tried to pass comprehensive immigration reform.  (The Hill)

As Obama takes up immigration, strategy poses a challenge.  Sending a bill with his name on it could automatically alienate Republicans who might otherwise support an overhaul.  (Tribune News Service)

Column:  A GOP vision for immigration reform.  Americans know how important immigration has been throughout our history. It's an indispensable part of our future.  Sadly, our immigration system is broken, and our dysfunctional Congress has been unable to put in place a new legal immigration system that honors our heritage as both a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws. To do this, we need to address three key areas.  (Las Vegas Review Journal op-ed/Rubio)

McCain to GOP: Accept path to citizenship in immigration-reform bill.  “Look at the last election,” said McCain. “We are losing dramatically the Hispanic vote."  (The Hill)

Editorial:  Lofren can point the way on immigration reform.  San Jose Democrat can help Obama finally deliver on campaign promise.  (Mercury News editorial)

African-American science fair attracts record numbers of students to buck the odds in Silicon Valley.  The Frank S. Greene Scholars Program -- named after the Bay Area's first black venture capitalist -- has served 500 children since its 2001 inception, providing year-round science, technology, engineering and math lessons for children from kindergarten through high school. The number of students involved has doubled, and the reach has expanded beyond Santa Clara County to include kids from San Leandro to Stockton.  (San Jose Mercury News)

Global Trade

U.S. Tech Groups: India’s Outreach ‘Absent’.  U.S. trade groups questioned India’s “lack of transparency” in developing rules to restrict imports of high-tech products, saying outreach to international stakeholders has been “conspicuously absent” during the process.  (ITI included/WSJ)

Telecom lobbies slam ‘unrealistic’ sourcing rule, COAI, AUSPI find no connection between security and place of manufacturing.  Opposition to the DoT's preferential market access (PMA) regulations, which mandate 100% sourcing of multiple classes of telecom gear from Indian-owned companies on security grounds, seems to be building up. Industry lobbies representing GSM, CDMA and dual-technology companies in India have decried these rules, claiming that the draft PMA notification is ambiguous and leaves considerable scope for abuse since there is no transparent depiction of how a product is deemed 'security sensitive'.  (ITI included/Economic Times)

EU, U.S. on verge of "difficult" free-trade negotiations.  The United States and the European Union are wrapping up final preparations for talks on a free-trade agreement that would encompass half the world's economic output, Europe's trade chief said on Saturday, while warning of "difficult negotiations."  (Reuters)

Latin America may rally behind single WTO candidate.  Latin American candidates bidding to head the World Trade Organization could step down from the race and rally behind the regional figure with the best chance of being appointed, Mexico's candidate to lead the trade body said.  (Reuters)

Latin America Commits to Open Trade After Year of Protectionism.  Latin American leaders who have put in place some of the world’s highest trade barriers agreed to fight protectionism in a summit with their European Union counterparts this weekend -- two days before handing leadership of the regional bloc to Cuba.  (Bloomberg)

Innovation

Only the digital dies.  The newest technologies look most likely to vanish; the oldest may always be with us.  Innovation tends to create new niches, rather than refill those that already exist. So technologies may become marginal, but they rarely go extinct. And today the little niches in which old technologies take refuge are ever more viable and accessible, thanks to the internet and the fact that production no longer needs to be so mass; making small numbers of obscure items is growing easier.  (The Economist)

Shocker: An electric car company actually meets production goals (and yes, it’s Tesla).  In contrast to the bulk of the electric car companies and vendors out there, Tesla actually reaches its planned production run rate of its Model S electric car. This is its path to profitability and mainstream auto status.  (GigaOM.com)

More Using Electronics to Track Their Health.  More Americans are tracking their health using smartphone applications and other devices that collect personal data automatically.  (NYT)

App-driven life: When in Rome, you can turn lights on back home.  Want to know how to change your smart phone into a light switch? Philips Hue bulbs are controlled by your Android or iPhone, letting you turn them on and off from another room or another country.   (CS Monitor)

Dickens, Austen and Twain, Through a Digital Lens.  Big Data is pushing into the humanities, as evidenced by new, illuminating computer analyses of literary history.  (NYT)

Peter Thiel on Tech's Evolution.  PayPal founder Peter Thiel discusses the future of technology, and how he would characterize what's going on in social media, with CNBC's Maria Bartiromo. "I think the story of technology more broadly is doing more with less," he says.  (CNBC)

IP Enforcement

Computing patents hit new peak.  The number of patent applications for computing products hit a fresh high in 2012 as technology companies sought to arm themselves for the often fraught battle over intellectual property in the sector.  (FT)

Cybersecurity & Privacy

Silicon Valley Companies Lobbying Against Europe’s Privacy Proposals.  A dispute has brought into the open how much Europe and the United States differ on privacy rights and their role in the digital economy.  (NYT)

Pentagon gives major push on cybersecurity.  The Pentagon has approved a massive expansion of its Cyber Command unit over the next several years, more than quadrupling its size in an effort to combat the growing threat in cyberspace.  (Washington Post)

Google Explains How It Handles Police Requests For Users' Data.  Google wants you to know how and when the police get to watch what you do online.  (NPR)

Yahoo, Like Google, Says It Demands Warrants for User E-Mail.  Yahoo demands probable-cause, court-issued warrants to divulge the content of messages inside its popular consumer e-mail brands — Yahoo and Ymail, the web giant said Friday.  (Wired)

In Swartz protest, Anon hacks U.S. site, threatens leaks.  Saying "a line was crossed" with the treatment of tech activist Aaron Swartz, the group hacks a government site related to the justice system and distributes encrypted files it says it will decrypt unless demands are met.  (CNET)

Enterprises using new tech to deceive hackers.  While honeypots are still the widely used tactic to mislead and "bait" hackers, organizations are moving toward the use of newer technologies that can trace and deceive cybercriminals.  (ZDNet)

Cloud Computing

The delusions that companies have about the cloud.  Despite the inexorable move to the cloud, some companies cling to the idea that the risks outweigh the benefits. Dave Girouard, former President of Enterprise for Google, argues that the logic these skeptics use is, well, “insane.”  (GigaOM.com)

Environment & Sustainability

Microsoft Research tackles ecosystem modeling.  Working with the United Nations, Microsoft Research is undertaking the task of digitizing the way we understand the global carbon cycle to offer novel software tools for other researchers.  (GreenBiz.com)

Darren Beck: Dialed in to sustainable telecommunications.  An interview with Darren Beck, Manager of Corporate Responsibility at Sprint, on how sustainability drives innovation.  (GreenBiz.com)

A Quiet Breakthrough in Geothermal Energy.  A rare startup called AltaRock Energy has recently delivered a promising breakthrough that it says can lead to the commercialization of its next-generation geothermal technology.  (GigaOM.com)

Mobility

Will The Smartphone Boom End Soon?  No market grows forever, even one like smartphones that has been driving tens of billions of dollars in revenues for years now. But last year, some forecasters started predicting that smartphone sales would soon peak -- and they could be right.  (Forbes)

Rural India to help add 48.9M telco subscribers.  Indian carriers are expected to gain 48.9 million new subscribers by 2014, thanks to their emphasis on rural areas which currently has a tele-density of only 40.6 percent.  (ZDNet)

Tech Business

Samsung to invest $1.7 billion in Kunshan plant: Xinhua.  South Korean electronics giant Samsung plans to invest $1.7 billion in expanding and fitting out its operations in Kunshan, a fast-growing manufacturing hub west of Shanghai, the Xinhua news agency said on Sunday.  (Reuters)

Huawei's Sales Eclipse Nokia, RIM.  China's Huawei jumped ahead of Nokia, HTC and Blackberry maker Research In Motion in the world-wide smartphone race in the fourth quarter on the strength of its inexpensive devices.  (WSJ)

Has Apple Lost Its Cool to Samsung?  Samsung Electronics is succeeding where other technology companies have tried and failed: closing the coolness gap with Apple.  (WSJ)

Twitter Valued at $9B as BlackRock Buys Shares.  Twitter Inc. was valued at about $9 billion after early employees sold $80 million in shares to a fund managed by BlackRock Inc. (BLK), three people with knowledge of the matter said.  (Bloomberg)

Twitter targets Mideast with ads tie-up.  Twitter has launched a partnership to sell adverts in the Middle East as the social networking site seeks to boost revenue in a region where the number of its users trebled last year. (FT)

Investors push Yahoo CEO for growth plan.  Yahoo Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer, scheduled to report the company's first annual sales gain in four years Monday, is being urged by investors to explain how she'll add to that growth by luring users and advertisers.  (SF Chronicle)

A brief guide to tech lobbyists in Europe.  Internet companies spend a lot of money lobbying governments to try and get what they want — and nowhere is the picture more complex than Europe. Here’s a quick look at who pulls the strings at federal and national levels.  (GigaOM.com)

Silicon Valley's 'Suicide Impulse.'   The industry's affection for Washington keeps growing. Facebook had 38 lobbyists working in 2012.  (WSJ)

Andreessen on enterprise: has he got it right?  When Marc Andreessen speaks, Silicon Valley takes notice. There are good lessons for enterprise generally but will they listen?  (ZDNet)

ITI Member News

Why a maturing Apple freaks us out, and why it shouldn’t.  After five crazy years, it seems that Apple’s breakneck-growth might be settling into a more reasonable pattern. With years of strong growth still left in the mobile industry, it’s not exactly time to panic.  (GigaOM.com)

In Asia's trend-setting cities, iPhone fatigue sets in.  Apple’s iconic iPhone is losing some of its luster among Asia's well-heeled consumers in Singapore and Hong Kong, a victim of changing mobile habits and its own runaway success.  (Reuters)

Has Apple peaked?  The world’s most valuable firm may be past its prime.  Tech blogs are abuzz. Pundits are busy pumping out predictions. The company that makes the new device that is attracting so much attention is teasing reporters by being coy about its innovative features. Apple’s product launches are always like this. But this time the fuss is not about an Apple product: it is about Samsung’s latest Galaxy smartphone, which is likely to be launched in March.  (The Economist)

Apple users campaign against Google.  A British group claims Google circumvented security settings on the Safari web browser when it installed tracking cookies.  (BBC)

Gates Says Surface, Windows 8 Doing Well.  MSFT Chairman Bill Gates said in an interview with CNBC that the company’s new Surface tablet and the latest version of its Windows operating system have done “well.”  Even as Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft faces stiff competition in its markets, the company has the potential to lead in several areas, he said in the interview.  (Bloomberg)

Oracle's cloud: Top marks for effort, but no straight A's.  A school report-style appraisal of Oracle's activities in the cloud shows a pupil with plenty of promise rather than a star of the class.  (ZDNet)

BlackBerry Debut Provides Steve Jobs Moment for CEO.  Research In Motion Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins, whose comeback plan has gained investor support in the past year, now faces the bigger test of winning over smartphone buyers.  (Bloomberg)

1600 Penn.

There are two events on President Obama’s schedule today.  He and Vice President Biden will meet at the White House with mayors and police chiefs – including from Newtown, Conn. – to talk about the Administration’s approach on gun violence.  The President also will welcome the Miami Heat to the White House to mark the team’s NBA 2012 championship. 

Later this week, there are two events that have tech-related themes.

Tomorrow, the President travels to Las Vegas, Nev., to deliver remarks on immigration reform.  The White House says that the President will focus on “the need to fix our broken immigration system so it is fair for and helps grow our middle class and it ensures everyone is playing by the same rules.”

Then, on Friday, innovation is front and center at the White House.  The President will award 12 researchers the National Medal of Science and eleven inventors the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.  These are the highest honors bestowed by the U.S. government upon scientists, engineers, and inventors. 

Today on the Hill

Senate:  Senators will begin today’s session at 2:00 p.m. ET.  They will begin consideration of H.R.152, the Hurricane Sandy Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill.

House:  The House is not in session today.  Members next are scheduled to meet at 1:00 p.m. ET tomorrow, January 29, 2013.

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