ITI Daily News Roundup

04/29/2013

Key Issues

Tax

Nations on defensive as anger grows over tax avoidance.  Across the world, the ability of multinationals to exploit cracks in the international tax system has ignited intense anger from an austerity-weary public.  (FT)

OECD figures shed light on tax haul.  The Netherlands and Luxembourg had booked foreign direct investment of $5.8tn by the end of 2012 – more than the US, UK and Germany combined, according to data that will fuel controversy over aggressive corporate tax policies. (FT)

Ireland fears threat from UK tax overhaul.  Irish government and business leaders fear the country’s allure as a low tax destination for foreign investment risks being undercut by the UK following George Osborne’s drive to slash corporation tax and create a more business friendly environment. (FT)

The 'big four', transparency and tax reform.  The public accounts committee's report highlighting the "big four" accountancy firms' conflict of interest in advising the government on tax reform while advising clients on tax avoidance is welcome but only scratches the surface of a much bigger problem. The Treasury is not the only department to receive secondments from firms to advise on policy matters in which they have a direct conflict of interest. (The Guardian)

Push to Require Online Sales Tax Divides the G.O.P.  Antitax groups seem to be losing their influence, as Republican lawmakers’ constituents support legislation that would require Internet retailers to collect sales taxes.  (NYT)

Crovitz: 9,646 Tax Burdens on the Internet.  We take the largely free and untaxed Internet for granted, but often forget it was the rare act of politicians voting to keep their hands off that made today's Internet possible.  (Wall Street Journal/column)

Internet Sales Tax Coming Too Late for Some Stores.  Congress is considering taxing sales made by Internet retailers like Amazon, but some sellers believe it should have been done years ago.  (NYT)

Level the sales tax playing field for online and local retailers.  Congress should pass a national online sales tax bill to ensure all businesses are playing by the same rules and to provide revenue for essential services. Online retailers no longer need the boost the tax advantage was intended to provide.  (San Jose Mercury News/editorial)

Workforce

Immigration Reform Splits Tech Industry Afflicted by Outsourcing.  As both worker and boss, Neeraj Gupta has profited from the H-1B U.S. immigration program.  (Bloomberg)

How Big Data Is Playing Recruiter for Specialized Workers.  In industries where good talent can be hard to find, companies are using algorithms to scour the Web for recruits, and in the process, they are challenging some traditional notions of hiring.  (NYT)

Immigration’s dead-enders.  A conservative backlash challenges an overhaul of a broken system.  (Washington Post/editorial)

Blazing the Trail for Female Programmers.  Sarah Allen has been the only woman on a team of computer programmers a few times over the more than two decades she's worked in the field. Most notably, she led the team — as the lone female programmer — that created Flash video, the dominant technology for streaming video on the Web.  Since only about 20 percent of all programmers are women, her experience isn't uncommon, and now she's trying to bring more women into the field.  (NPR)

Female execs see barriers for future leaders.  American universities graduate more women than men, and women make up just under half the U.S. workforce. Yet women remain largely missing from the top echelons of corporate America. Fewer than 25 of Fortune 500 corporations are headed by women.  (Denver Post/Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Cybersecurity & Privacy

Panel pushes to expand wiretaps for online activity.  Driven by FBI concerns that it is unable to tap the Internet communications of terrorists and other criminals, a government task force is preparing legislation that would penalize tech firms that fail to heed wiretap orders.  (Washington Post)

LivingSocial Warns 50 Million Customers of Cyberattack.  LivingSocial is communicating with customers whose data may have been breached, the Washington-based company said in an e- mailed statement today. That includes clients in every country where LivingSocial operates, except South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, which use different systems, the company said.  (Bloomberg)

Rep. Chaffetz: Don’t want government ‘searching my Facebook page.’  Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) warned that the government’s search for information online is approaching a “dangerous line.”  (The Hill)

Your privacy, under attack.  Your privacy is being debated by lawmakers in Sacramento and Washington D.C. and there’s a good chance you’re going to lose out: In Congress, a poorly written bill could erode your privacy, while in the California Legislature, a good bill that would enhance it, is coming under fierce attack.  (San Jose Mercury News/column)

Global Trade

A transatlantic tipping-point.  An historic trade pact between America and Europe needs saving.  (The Economist)

Barack Obama cements focus on trade for second term.  Barack Obama has cemented the elevation of trade in his second-term agenda with the expected appointment of his top White House adviser on the global economy as the new US trade representative. (FT)

Innovation

Brain Computer Interfaces Inch Closer to Mainstream.  Soon, we could be turning on the lights at home just by thinking about it, or sending an e-mail from our smartphone without even pulling the device from our pocket.  (NYT)

Bringing design thinking to information technology.  Design is more than just creativity, or a phase in creating a product, service, or application.  It’s a way of thinking that can transform an entire enterprise.  (ZDNet)

Sequester funding cuts have researchers worried.  As government spending on medical research drops, some would-be scientists are having second thoughts.  (Marketplace)

Mobility

China's 4G bonanza to shake up mobile gear vendor market.  Chinese telecom operators will start awarding contracts for super-fast mobile networks this year, kicking off the third wave of a global investment cycle that is reshaping the competitive landscape among telecom equipment makers.  (Reuters)

Tax strategy may be key to Verizon Wireless deal.  Verizon Communications Inc's chances of buying the 45-percent stake in Verizon Wireless owned by the UK's Vodafone Group Plc will hinge, at least in part, on the quality of tax advice it is getting.  (Reuters)

Regulation

Twitter Speaks, Markets Listen, and Fears Rise.  After a Twitter hoax caused the Dow to drop temporarily by 150 points, regulators are increasingly concerned about the combination of social media and high-frequency trading.  (NYT)

Court Ruling Takes a Stand on Essential High-Tech Patents.  A federal court ruling determined that licensing fees on essential communications and data-handling patents used in devices like smartphones, gaming consoles and tablets should be low.  (NYT)

Tech Business

Huawei looks to dial a different number.  Eric Xu, executive vice-president and one of the three men who jointly run the company as rotating chief executives, stunned analysts last week when he told them the company was “not interested in the US market any more”.  Huawei’s about-turn throws a spotlight on the question of how much further the Chinese company’s rapid rise can go as long as it remains largely blocked out of the world’s most important telecoms market.  (FT)

Netflix Looks Back on Its Near-Death Spiral.  Reed Hastings, the video streaming giant’s chief executive, offered a rare public comment on his company’s 2011 Qwikster debacle, which nearly destroyed it, and its improbable rebound.  (NYT)

Investor Leaves Facebook Board.  Facebook said venture capitalist Jim Breyer is stepping down from its board, the first director to depart since the company went public in May.  (WSJ)

Venture shops rethink big bets on China.  Two years ago, it was one of the hottest areas in tech investing. Venture capitalists were lining up to throw money at it. Social networking? Nope. China.  (Denver Post/San Jose Mercury News)

IT honchos say stress levels in IT industry similar to other sectors.  Nasscom forecasts show the industry will hire 50,000 fewer people in 2013-14 compared with last year because of a tepid global economy.  (Economic Times)

ITI Member News

Google's Eric Schmidt and the New Digital Age.  Eric Schmidt tells CBS that -- despite the efforts of repressive gov'ts -- global citizens will find ways to connect via the Internet, but will have to work even harder to protect their privacy from thieves.  (CBS)

Motorola Buy Delivers Google More Heartbreak Than Help.  Google Inc.’s $12.4 billion purchase last year of mobile-phone pioneer Motorola Mobility Holdings partly for its trove of more than 17,000 patents is showing signs it wasn’t much of a bargain.  (Bloomberg)

'Wintel' on the wane: Intel goes Google.  Intel has been synonymous with Windows PCs seemingly forever. But it's trying to change that in a hurry. Enter Google.  (CNET)

Dell investors may still gain after Blackstone pullout: Barron's.  Dell shareholders could still stand to profit even after Blackstone Group LP withdrew its bid to buy the world's No. 3 personal computer maker more than a week ago, Barron's said on Sunday.  (Reuters)

IBM Fellow’s mission: ‘Push the frontiers of science and technology.’  Big Blue just passed the 50-year anniversary of its celebrated IBM Fellows program. During that time just 246 employees have been recognized as IBM Fellows, the company’s top technical honor.  (Austin American Statesman)

For Patient Bulls, Apple's Day Will Come Again.  The tech giant has been through plenty of ups and downs, and buyback and dividend plans provide plenty of incentive to hold the stock.  (Barron’s)

1600 Penn.

President Obama today is expected to nominate Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony Foxx to be transportation secretary, replacing Ray LaHood who has announced his intention to leave the Cabinet.  A time for the announcement has not yet been released.  This is the first of what is expected to be three Cabinet announcements this week.  We anticipate USTR and Department of Commerce leaders being tapped in the next few days.

At 11:20 a.m. ET, the president makes remarks at a 150th anniversary ceremony for the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.  Expect Obama to promote his science and innovation agenda, which is part of ongoing budget talks with Congress.

Today on the Hill

The House and Senate are in recess this week.

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