ITI Daily News Roundup

05/16/2013

Key Issues

Workforce

Meeting of House Immigration Group Could Prove Make-or-Break.  Republican members of the bipartisan House immigration group have threatened to walk away if a Thursday meeting does not produce a final agreement. “We’ve just negotiated enough,” said Raúl R. Labrador of Idaho. “We need to make a decision.” The talks have bogged down over provisions involving a guest-worker program and health insurance requirements.  (CQ Roll Call)

Rubio: Sen. Hatch's support of immigration bill would be 'huge asset.'  Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said getting his fellow GOP colleague Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah) on board with the Gang of Eight's immigration bill would "one of the biggest steps forward" towards passing the measure in the upper chamber.  (The Hill)

Senators struggle with tech industry concerns on U.S. immigration bill.  Senate supporters of a broad U.S. immigration bill struggled on Wednesday to satisfy technology companies that want greater leeway to hire high-skilled foreign workers.  (Reuters)

Tax

Apple Said to Be Subject of Offshore Tax Hearing.  Apple Inc. (AAPL) will be the subject of a May 21 Senate hearing on U.S. companies’ offshore tax practices, said two people familiar with the inquiry.  Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook will testify at the hearing of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, one of the people said.  (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Wicker: 'Cold water' hits tax reform.  The senator says the trio of controversies could hurt efforts to reach deals on the budget and tax reform.  (Politico)

Google to face UK lawmakers again over tax.  Google faces another grilling over its tax affairs from a committee of British lawmakers who have called the company back after questions were raised about testimony given in an earlier hearing.  (Reuters)

Amazon faces new questions over tax.  Exclusive: Guardian investigation shows key role of British-based staff in pushing tax rulebook to its limits.  (Guardian)

OECD sees action on corporate tax avoidance.  International leaders are moving closer to taking action on corporate tax avoidance, despite challenges, a top official at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said on Wednesday.  (Reuters)

Cybersecurity & Privacy

Apple, Samsung Devices Seen Raising Pentagon’s Cyber Risk.  The Pentagon risks exposing itself to hackers by opening its communications networks to Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) smartphones and tablets, according to cybersecurity officials.  (Bloomberg)ZDNet)

Cybersecurity Starts in High School with Tomorrow’s Hires.  high-school students got a glimpse of the labor market’s appetite for their skills as sponsors such as network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc. described career opportunities. Internships start as young as 16 at Northrop Grumman Corp.  (Bloomberg)

Preteens’ use of Instagram creates privacy issue, child advocates say.  The photo-sharing app is having tremendous growth, but some say too much of that is from minors.  (Washington Post)

Global Trade

USTR Official Makes Case For Tokyo's Constructive Participation In TPP.  The United States is confident Japan will be a constructive participant in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations based not only on bilateral commitments Tokyo made as a condition for joining the talks but also on domestic political developments in the country, according to Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Wendy Cutler.  (Inside US Trade)

China in innovation challenge to Europe.  Continent’s business leaders voice fears.  (FT)

China says EU solar duties to "seriously harm" trade ties.  China warned the European Union on Thursday that imposing duties on Chinese solar panels would "seriously harm" bilateral trade ties, upping the tone of its criticism a week after the EU said it would move ahead with hefty penalties in June.  (Reuters)

EU trade probe against Huawei, ZTE to strain China ties.  Chinese official says China will take "firm measures" to protect its interest should European Union trade chief Karel De Gucht insist on investigating alleged unfair trade practices by the Chinese companies.  (ZDNet)

Global firms bet on India's spending power.  Global companies betting on India's potential as a consumer market are looking beyond the worst patch in a decade for Asia's third-largest economy and investing billions of dollars in the country.   (Reuters)

Regulation

AT&T CEO's comments prompt net-neutrality fears.  AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson stoked fear among open Internet advocates on Wednesday when he told investors that he expects content owners to soon begin paying to subsidize smartphone traffic to their websites and services.  (The Hill)

Google CEO: Internet hampered by 'outdated' laws.  Google CEO Larry Page on Wednesday slammed many of the regulations that govern the Internet at the company's annual conference for software developers, expressing frustration over how institutions such as the law haven’t kept up with the pace of change.  “The law can’t be right when it’s 50 years old,” said Page. “It’s before the Internet — that’s a pretty major change.”  (The Hill)

Innovation

Google Joins Supercomputing Project.  Google plans to help create a new laboratory to study quantum computing, a high-profile endorsement of the esoteric technology—and D-Wave Systems, the Canadian company that has been pursuing it since 1999.  (WSJ)

Twitter’s Costolo Optimistic for Wearable Tech.  Twitter Inc. Chief Executive Officer Dick Costolo said the online service for 140-character messages is increasingly being used to track personal health with wearable computing gadgets such as Nike Inc. (NKE)’s fitness devices.  (Bloomberg)

Senators see ‘great potential’ in driverless car technology.  Senators examining the future of driverless cars said they held “great potential” but also expressed uncertainty about safety issues for the new technology during a key committee hearing Wednesday.  (The Hill)

Google speaks up on desktops and laptops.  Google unveiled the next step in voice recognition technology today at its developers' conference. The race is on for computers to really understand us.  (Marketplace)

Google Escalates the Competition in Map Services.  Larry Page, chief executive, says the new maps have a cleaner and more intuitive layout.  The new service creates real-time, personalized maps and incorporates 3-dimensional images from inside businesses and from Google Earth.  (NYT)

Environment & Sustainability

Counting the cost of India's blackouts.  Is it better to pay more money for more electricity, or keep prices low and look forward to blackouts that will conk out offices, factories and homes in India? That is the question that lies at the heart of an ongoing debate about whether authorities should allow utilities to raise tariffs, writes Matthias Williams.  (Reuters)

VERGE Boston: M2M's 'huge leap forward' on energy savings.  New technologies that enable billions of devices to collect and analyze data can help systems operate with startling efficiency.  (GreenBiz.com)

Tech Business

Google to Microsoft: Stop blocking our YouTube app ads.  Google says Microsoft is blocking ads with its YouTube app for Windows Phone 8 - in violation of its terms of service.  (ZDNet)

Google sets up to challenge Amazon Web Services.  Google's cloud platform garnered a ton of interest at Google IO and comparisons to Amazon Web Services. However, the burden of enterprise proof lies with the search giant for now.  (ZDNet)

Cisco Profit Tops Estimates on Data-Traffic Demand.  Cisco Systems Inc., the biggest maker of networking equipment, reported fiscal third-quarter profit that topped estimates as corporate customers increased spending to meet surging demand for data delivery via the Web.  (Bloomberg)

More ITI Member News

Microsoft’s Anti-Google Campaign Gets a Boost, From Google.  For the last few months, Microsoft has been running a pointed PR and ad campaign against Google, where it accuses the search giant of screwing over its customers.  You gotta hand it to Microsoft: Yesterday they got Google to help promote their message for them.  (All Things Digital)

Samsung 'undisputed' Android king, takes 95 percent of Q1 profits.  The Android smartphone market generates US$5.3 billion in operating profits for the quarter, and Samsung contributes US$5.1 billion of that figure.  (ZDNet)

Samsung’s Galaxy S4.  Google plans to sell its own version of Samsung’s popular Android smartphone. It will be available in Google’s online store on June 26.  (NYT)

Google chief touts utopian ambitions.  Tech vision where ‘being negative is not how we make progress.’  (FT)

Letter gives Hirai chance to aid Sony.  Daniel Loeb’s tilt at Sony has achieved one goal already. As the activist investor quietly built his $1.1bn stake in the Japanese electronics icon, its shares were climbing. The disclosure of his “timely plan to strengthen Sony”, as he dubbed it in his letter to chief executive Kazuo Hirai, sent them higher still.  (FT)

Thorsten Heins: The only mobile exec who gets post-PC.  But BlackBerry's CEO seems unkeen to take a leadership role on the evolution of tablets.  (ZDNet)

Today on the Hill

Senate:  The Senate convenes at 11 a.m. ET and today will consider the nomination of Ernest. Moniz to be Secretary of Energy.  The Senate Judiciary Committee resumes its work on the bipartisan Gang of 8 immigration reform legislation at 9:30 a.m. in Dirksen room G-50.

House:  The House convenes at noon ET for legislative work, and is expected to debate and vote on a measure to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  At 2 p.m., the Ways and Means Trade subcommittee holds a hearing on the U.S.-EU trade deal in Longworth room 1100.

1600 Penn.

President Obama refocuses on Middle East diplomacy today when he welcomes Turkey Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan to the White House for a series of talks.  A primary topic will be the civil war in Syria.  At 9:50 a.m. ET, the two leaders will hold a bilateral session.  At noon, they will hold a joint news conference where questions for Mr. Obama likely will focus on domestic issues.  Then at 6:30 p.m., the president hosts a working dinner with the prime minister.

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