ITI Daily News Roundup

01/29/2013

Key Issues

Workforce

Immigration Plan Faces Resistance Among Republicans.  Members of Congress will have to overcome deep-seated resistance to advance immigration legislation.  (NYT)

Skilled Science Workers at Focus of a Second Proposal.  As one bipartisan group of senators released its blueprint on Monday for a comprehensive overhaul of the immigration laws, another group in the Senate was ready to present a proposal addressing one dysfunctional aspect of the system: a shortage of visas for highly skilled immigrants working in science and technology fields.  (NYT)

High-skill immigration reform evolving.  Most of Washington agrees there's a need to keep workers in the United States who have expertise in the science, technology, engineering and math fields, but the ideas taking shape on Capitol Hill and at the White House are far from a done deal.  The so-called Gang of Eight's outline, unveiled at a major news conference Monday, appears to leave out a few of the reforms desired most by tech companies. The industry is hardly panicking: Another bipartisan group of Senate lawmakers plans to unveil as soon as Tuesday a robust bill focused entirely on high-skilled immigration.  (Politico Pro)

McCain open to visa bill in comprehensive immigration package.  A bipartisan group of lawmakers including Marco Rubio is set to introduce legislation Tuesday on visas for high-skilled foreign workers.  (The Hill)

Obama to call for sweeping changes to immigration laws.  The president’s proposals are said to be more liberal than a separate Senate effort’s and include a quicker path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.  (Washington Post)

Immigration reform could boost economic growth.  The sluggish U.S. economy could get a lift if President Barack Obama and a bipartisan group of senators succeed in what could be the biggest overhaul of the nation's immigration system since the 1980s.  (Reuters)

Cybersecurity & Privacy

Google pledges fight over government access to users' email.  Google will lobby Washington in 2013 to make it harder for law enforcement authorities to gain access to emails and other digital messages.  (Reuters)

The Real Privacy Issue.  Policymakers should create rules that protect individuals from harm rather than to try to prevent the advancement of technology and the associated benefits.  (ITIF)

Post-Senate, Kyl softens on cyber order.  Former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl has backed off his staunch objection to a presidential executive order aimed at beefing up the nation’s cyber defenses — a prospect he only months ago asserted would be unconstitutional overreach.  The ex-GOP whip complained that both Senate Democrats and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — long one of his key allies — have been “unbending and unreasonable.”  (Politico Pro)

Researchers warn of widespread networking gear bugs.  Bugs in widely used networking technology expose tens of millions of personal computers, printers and storage drives to attack by hackers over the regular Internet, researchers with a security software maker said.  (Reuters)

Data Privacy Day: A Good Time to Approve ECPA Reforms.  One part of data privacy that doesn't get as much attention as it deserves are the issues surrounding government surveillance.  (Huffington Post/Edward Black)

Whatsapp rebuked over privacy policy.  The Whatsapp messaging app is criticised by privacy regulators for storing the contact details of people who have not signed up to the service.  (BBC)

Tax

Google will not oppose clampdown on tax avoidance, chairman says.  Eric Schmidt says company which has been using Bermuda as a tax haven to will pay whatever they owe for business in the UK.  (The Guardian)

Software Firms Find Tax Advantages.  Expanding use of cloud computing to deliver software as a service is making it easier for global software companies to earn and keep profits outside the reach of U.S. taxes.  (WSJ)

Innovation

Self-Driving Cars Could Ease Insurance Burden.  Lawmakers are starting to pass the first set of rules governing self-driving vehicles. But there's one question they haven't addressed that's likely on the minds of some car owners: Will the technology save me money?  (WSJ)

Visa relies on APAC innovations, partnerships for growth.  Payment provider looks to its VisaLabs center in Singapore to spot new business opportunities and forge partnerships with the region's ecosystem vendors as it extends its innovation footprint.  (ZDNet)

Intellectual Property Rights

Caribbean Nation Gets an International Go-Ahead to Break U.S. Copyright Laws.  Antigua and Barbuda has threatened to strip copyright protections from American movies and music if a dispute over online gambling isn’t resolved.  (NYT)

Playing Whac-a-Mole With Piracy Sites.  New attention is being given to an aspect of online commerce that critics say finances online piracy: advertising.  (NYT)

Environment & Sustainability

Cheapest Wind Energy Spurring Renewables Deals.  Acquisitions of renewable-energy companies in Brazil will rebound from a four-year low as wind- farm developers seek buyers and European companies expand, the industry’s biggest legal and financial merger advisers said.  (Bloomberg)

Startup Gridco wants to build a next-gen power grid that looks like the Internet.  A new type of smart grid is emerging that includes power electronics and specifically sold state transformers. That’s the type of power grid that looks a lot more like the Internet with distributed and decentralized power grid management. (GigaOM.com)

Tech Business

The Chief of Yahoo Lifts Sales, and Spirits.  Marissa Mayer’s first months as chief executive have impressed investors, and the company’s stock, recently at a four-year high, rose after hours.  (NYT)

Asian groups set the pace in IT investment.  Companies in the Asia-Pacific region are spending a much greater proportion of their IT budgets on the latest technologies and expect to increase those investments more quickly, according to research published on Tuesday by Insead. The business school found that more investment in emerging information technologies can greatly increase competitiveness and help companies outperform their peers. (FT)

Singapore IT jobs could see pent-up hiring after freezes.  With big data, cloud and mobile among the fore in IT jobs demand, hiring activity could see upswings with the gradual easing off of previously implemented recruitment freezes.  (ZDNet)

ITI Member News

As Developing World Goes Mobile, Can Apple Make The Sale?  The next billion people who get online are likely to do so with a mobile device. And while the global democratization of computing power is just around the corner, this trend has left Apple — the company that more or less created the modern smartphone — in an awkward spot.  (NPR)

Apple Gives Details About Where it Makes iPhones, iPads.  In an effort to be more transparent, Apple has released for the first time ever specific information about its final assembly facilities.  (CNBC)

Does Apple have an innovation problem?  Analysts blamed flat profits for the steep slide in Apple’s stock price last week. But what’s ailing the iconic tech company is not a profitability problem. It’s an innovation problem. And, perhaps, an expectations problem.  (Washington Post)

Will the BlackBerry Win Back Users?  Many RIM investors are still optimistic the company's two new phones—the first BlackBerrys in about 18 months—will help turn around nearly two years of delayed product rollouts, network outages, falling BlackBerry sales and wilting market share. RIM shares have risen 41% this year, and more than doubled in the past three months to $16.18 Monday. Several once-bearish analysts have jumped on the back of the share-price rally, raising their ratings and price targets.  But the turnaround is dependent on winning back corporate clients, particularly in security-minded professions like law, banking and government, which RIM counts as its most loyal.  (WSJ)

Nokia invests $250 million in venture funding.  Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia said on Tuesday it would invest $250 million in a new venture fund for mobile technology startups.  (Reuters)

VMware sharpens its focus — and its knife.  Hybrid cloud, software-defined data center, and end-user computing are all in. Other VMware efforts will be out in the upcoming year as the company seeks to regain focus.  (GigaOM.com)

VMware's financial forecast sends its shares plummeting.  Shares of software-maker VMware plunged nearly 15 percent in late trading Monday after the company announced it will eliminate about 900 jobs and provided an earnings forecast that failed to meet Wall Street's expectations.  (San Jose Mercury News)

Sony, Nintendo Up on Report China May End Ban.  Sony and Nintendo, Japan’s biggest makers of gaming devices, rose after China Daily said the world’s most-populous country may end a 12-year ban on the sale of video-game consoles.  (Bloomberg)

1600 Penn.

Immigration reform, Las Vegas style.  Today, the President heads to Las Vegas, Nev., where he will deliver remarks on the need to fix the immigration system.  

Today on the Hill

House:  The House will be in a pro forma session at 1 p.m. ET.

Senate:  The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. ET and recesses for the weekly caucus lunches from 12:30 until 2:15 p.m.  If the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee approves the nomination of Senator Kerry to be the next Secretary of State, then the confirmation vote will be this afternoon.

Subscribe by E-mail
ITI Daily News Roundup

By providing your email address below you agree to receive ITI's Daily News Roundup, a free daily email with the day's most relevant stories on tech policy and tech industry.