ITI Daily News Roundup

04/23/2013

Key Issues

Tax

Looming Internet sales tax bill jolts consumers, retailers.  The U.S. Senate begins debate on a proposed law that would require Internet retailers to collect sales taxes around the country, despite objections from online sellers that the bill goes too far.  (CNET)

In Tax Fight, Amazon Hands Baton to eBay.  EBay has taken up the fight against forcing Internet retailers to collect state sales tax wherever they ship, just as the issue is moving through Washington in earnest.  (NYT)

Why Amazon Supports An Online Sales-Tax Bill.  Amazon spent years trying to avoid charging sales tax. Now, the company supports a bill that would require it.  (NPR)

The consequences of an online sales tax.  Online sales taxes are up for debate again and big guys like eBay are crying foul. What are the real consequences of an online sales tax for retailers?  (Marketplace)

Of Course Google Isn't Doing Tax Avoidance In Britain.  It comes to a pretty pass when the Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, has to go on the BBC and point out what everyone should already know about business taxation. Google is not tax avoiding in the UK (and most certainly not tax evading).  (Forbes)

Obama Budget Spreads the Tax Pain.  President Barack Obama's budget proposal would lead to significant tax increases on upper-income Americans and also to moderate increases on some lower-income Americans, according to an analysis by a Washington think tank.  (WSJ)

Cybersecurity & Privacy

Cost of cyber attacks triples in a year.  The cost of cyber security breaches against British businesses has tripled in the past year as attacks on valuable intellectual property and customer data accelerate.  Some 87 per cent of small businesses and 93 per cent of large organisations experienced at least one kind of security breach in the past year, according to a report by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills issued on Tuesday.  (FT)

What nation does most cyberspying?  Estimates show 96 percent of recorded, state-affiliated attacks can be traced to one country.  (Politico)

Thailand revising cybercrime law for balance, better security.  The government says current computer crime law does not address current information security issues, and is planning a public hearing for citizen participation in the law revision, which is expected to take three years.  (ZDNet)

China: Cyberattacks Are Like A-Bombs.  Cyberattacks could be "as serious as a nuclear bomb," according to a top Chinese general, who rejected suggestions that the Chinese military is behind cyberspying aimed at Western companies.  (WSJ)

Data spies hunt industrial secrets.  State-sponsored industrial espionage became a bigger cyber-threat to companies in 2012, reveals a report into data breaches.  (BBC)

Stern Words, and a Pea-Size Punishment, for Google.  Google Street View cameras in Germany. Regulators there fined Google $189,225 on Monday.  In the latest example of a meager fine for corporate wrongdoing, German regulators assessed Google $189,225 for violating privacy laws with its Street View project.  (NYT)

Google Execs Talk Privacy, Security In 'The New Digital Age.'  Imagine a world with machines that wash, press and dress you on the way to work and vacations via hologram visits to exotic beaches. In his new book, The New Digital Age, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt does just that — but it's no gee-whiz Jetsons fantasy.  (NPR)

Global Trade

US-India Business Council, TIA and DeiTY want clarity on preferential market access to telecom gearmakers.  Powerful trade bodies in the US want India to clear the air on whether preferential market access (PMA) given to domestic telecom gearmakers on security grounds will only apply to government contracts or will also include private procurements.  Three leading US trade bodies - the US-India Business Council, Information Technology Industry Council and Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) - want the Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DeiTY) to put in a clarification that the "PMA policy does not apply to the private sector, which includes managed service providers and telecom licensees".  (Economic Times)

APEC Ministers Call For Mid-Summer Wrap-Up Of ITA Talks, Warn On Bali.  After expressing their support for the initiative two years in a row, trade ministers hailing from the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum countries over the weekend gave an extra push to the effort to expand the 1996 Information Technology Agreement (ITA) by calling on participants to conclude talks by the middle of this year.  (Inside US Trade)

Workforce

Boehner Faces Competing Immigration Paths.  Two immigration trains have left the station in the House, but no one knows which one Speaker John A. Boehner wants to eventually arrive on the floor.  A secretive bipartisan working group — akin to the Senate-side “gang of eight” — is trying to finalize its “comprehensive” proposal. But House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte is flexing his muscles by launching a piecemeal-type legislative push, causing tension between the two factions and questions about who will take the lead.  (CQ)

US immigration bill could slow Indian outsourcers.  Low cost efficiency put India's outsourcing companies at the heart of global business and created a multibillion dollar industry that for years has skated over criticism it was eliminating white collar jobs in rich nations. Now, the industry's long-held fears of a backlash are being realized in its crucial U.S. market.  (AP)

Durbin slams H-1B visa program.  Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) slammed the H-1B visa program during a Monday hearing on the comprehensive immigration reform bill unveiled last week, arguing that the bulk of those temporary worker visas have been awarded to IT services companies headquartered in India.  (The Hill)

Immigration bill debate sidetracked following Boston bombings.  Congressional advocates of comprehensive U.S. immigration legislation were diverted into a sometimes testy debate on Monday over whether the measure should be delayed because of questions arising from the Boston Marathon bombing allegedly carried out by two immigrant brothers.  (Reuters)

Boston bombings underscore urgency of immigration reform.  If people like Sen. Chuck Grassley really believe If you believe they shouldn't have been allowed in -- something that's not at all clear based on what we know now -- shouldn't you want to plug existing holes, and quickly, to keep Americans safe?  (San Jose Mercury News editorial)

Innovation

Robots, biofuel, whiz kids impress at the annual White House Science Fair.  Highlighting STEM achievements, Obama says the work of young inventors is “pretty spectacular stuff.”  (Washington Post)

Data centers are getting more sophisticated, so why aren’t our metrics keeping up?   As the web giants, co-lo providers and cloud companies add millions of square feet of data center space we need to start getting more sophisticated in how we view these rooms full of servers.  (GigaOM.com)

Amazon's Vogels: Big Data Belongs In The Cloud.  Amazon CTO Werner Vogels predicts real-time analysis and "invisible" Hadoop capacity on demand are the future of big data computing.  (Information Week)

Regulation

ITC tosses Motorola's legal complaint against Apple.  The International Trade Commission has tossed out Motorola's patent case against Apple, saying its proximity sensor patent is invalid.  (CNET)

Germany Fines Google Over Data Collection.  The 145,000-euro levy, the equivalent of about $189,000, was called woefully inadequate to assure compliance by a company with $10.7 billion in 2012 profit.  (NYT)

India's national investigator may probe Google as map saga escalates.  Delhi Police have escalated a complaint about Google India's alleged breach of local mapping laws, which could see the company's activities scrutinized by the Central Bureau of Investigation.  (ZDNet)

Environment & Sustainability

Indonesia warns multinationals not to be greedy over resources.  Indonesia's president told major investors in his country's natural resources not to be greedy, comments that suggest he is in no mood to row back on policies that foreign mining and energy firms have called a deterrent.  (Reuters)

India Offers to Foot Bill for 30% of Solar Cost.  India proposed to fund almost a third of solar-plant construction costs as it outlined rules for a second phase of project auctions today.  The country, seeking bids next month to build 750 megawatts of capacity, is offering grants of as much as 25 million rupees ($46,000) a megawatt or 30 percent of project costs, according to the draft guidelines published on the website of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.  (Bloomberg)

U.S. States Turn on Renewable Energy as Gas Plunges.  More than half the U.S. states with laws requiring utilities to buy renewable energy are considering ways to pare back those mandates after a plunge in natural gas prices brought on by technology that boosted supply.  (Bloomberg)

Thermostat whiz Nest wants to reset your peak power use.  The new Nest Energy Services are a set of tech-driven features intended to help you and utility companies reduce energy demand during peak periods -- without you losing control of your comfort.  (CNET)

Earth Day and the polling of America, 2013.  When it comes to making environmental decisions, consumers are dazed and confused. Who's to blame? Companies, of course.  (GreenBiz.com)

Tech Business

The United States of Innovation: Ranking the States (and a District) for Innovation.  Our statistical ranking reveals which states have the most thriving startup communities, and which states have work to do.  (Fast Company)

Netflix doubling down on exclusive content.  "If it's not exclusive and on cable and other services, it's pleasant to watch but it's not reinforcing customers to stay with Netflix," says CEO Reed Hastings. (CNET)

Demand for new chip designs boosts Arm.  Arm Holdings, the designer of microchips used in most of the world’s smartphones and tablets, cited strong demand for its latest designs as it reported revenues and profit ahead of expectations for the first quarter.  (FT)

Israel's Babylon in 4-year Internet deal with Yahoo.  Israeli translation software provider Babylon has signed a four-year cooperation agreement with Yahoo Inc in the Internet sector, including on mobile devices.  (Reuters)

VC investment down in China, up in India in 2012.  China saw overall number of venture capitalist investments drop 40 percent, though size of deals were stable; India's rise continued with 17 percent growth, characterized by late stage investments and smaller sized deals, according to Ernst & Young report.  (ZDNet)

More ITI Member News

Nokia says awarded injunction against HTC One.  Nokia Oyj said it won a court injunction that would prevent rival HTC Corp from using microphone components made by STMicroelectronics NV in HTC One phones.  (Reuters)

ValueAct takes $2 billion Microsoft stake.  Activist investor ValueAct Capital has taken a $2 billion stake in Microsoft Corp , according to ValueAct's chief executive, helping Microsoft shares climb to a seven-month high.  (Reuters)

Apple's Wall Street Identity Crisis.  Apple is grappling with jittery investors and a recent stock-price plunge as Wall Street wonders how to value it—as a hardware company or a software firm?  (WSJ)

What Apple Bears May Be Missing.  All news about Apple seems to be bad these days. And with the company reporting earnings Tuesday, it's likely that's not going to change so fast, analysts said.  (CNBC)

Texas Instruments Continues Shift.  Texas Instruments continued a shift away from some mobile-chip markets in the first quarter, putting a squeeze on revenue while profit rose 37% on a one-time gain.  (WSJ)

CA snaps up Layer 7 as API management arena heats up.  Last week it was Intel buying Mashery, now it’s CA buying Layer 7. Both Mashery and Layer 7 are in the business of managing application programming interfaces.  (GigaOM.com)

Today on the Hill

Senate:  The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. ET to work on a bill that would allow states to collect sales taxes from most online retailers.  At 5:30 p.m., Senators will vote on whether to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the bill.

House:  The House is not in session.

1600 Penn.

At 2:15 p.m. ET, President Obama will honor the 2013 National Teacher of the Year and finalists at the White House, thanking them for their hard work and dedication each and every day in the classroom.  At 2:45 p.m., the president will meet with the Amir of Qatar, His Highness Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, in the Oval Office.  Tonight at 6:30 p.m., President Obama will have dinner with a bipartisan group of women Senators at the White House. 

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