ITI Daily News Roundup

09/16/2013

Key Issues

Privacy

Privacy advocates look to California.  Supporters of Do Not Track policies hope a state bill will kindle a national debate.  (Politico)

Google's Eric Schmidt says government spying is 'the nature of our society'.  Tech giant's executive chairman calls for greater transparency but declines to 'pass judgment' on spying operations.  (The Guardian)

How NSA Revelations Are Really Impacting Google and Facebook.  Edward Snowden's unprecedented exposure of U.S. technology companies' close collaboration with national intelligence agencies, widely expected to damage the industry's financial performance abroad, may actually end up helping.  Despite emphatic predictions of waning business prospects, some of the big Internet companies that the former National Security Agency contractor showed to be closely involved in gathering data on people overseas - such as Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. - say privately that they have felt little if any impact on their businesses.  (Reuters)

Survey: Americans Still Trust Government More than Tech Companies.  Given revelations of widespread clandestined data collection by the National Security Agency, you'd think the U.S. government would have a PR problem. But that's nothing compared to the tech companies that provided data to the NSA, according to a new study of smart phone users in the U.S.  (Ad Age)

Just how connected do you want to be?  The more connected our home sand ourselves become, the most we open ourselves up to security and privacy preaches. We outline the problem and offer a solution for industry stakeholders.  (GigaOM guest column/Vidya Narayanan)

Former NSA and CIA director says terrorists prefer Gmail.   Former NSA and CIA director General Michael Hayden had a lot to say about the Internet Sunday.  (Washington Post)

NSA taps credit card transaction data, report claims.  The NSA may have found a way to monitor some credit card transactions, according to a Snowden-derived report from Germany’s Der Spiegel. The agency said in leaked documents that it found a way to access Visa transactions in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, but the financial services company denies the tapping of its networks. The report highlights an NSA financial database called Tracfin, into which SWIFT international transfer information also flows through the interception of “SWIFT printer traffic from numerous banks.”  (GigaOM)

NSA chief shared only part of the story at Black Hat.  When NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander addressed the Black Hat conference earlier this year, he painted a rosy picture of how well the agency controls access to its phone record database, but he never brought up cases when those controls broke down, unauthorized access was made, and data was shared among analysts who shouldn't have seen it.  (PC World)

Don't blame the corporations for the surveillance state.  If the law of the land requires Microsoft or Google or Facebook to surrender data about their customers then that's what they have to do. They're victims of the situation.  (ZDNet)

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity business booming in Silicon Valley.  Hewlett-Packard is one of many technology powerhouses -- including Apple, Google, Intel and Cisco Systems -- that have snapped up security companies in recent years to gain a foothold in the industry, which already boasts worldwide annual sales of more than $67 billion.  (San Jose Mercury News)

Say Goodbye to the Password.  Biometrics are just the beginning in efforts by tech companies to come up with new authentication systems that are more secure and more convenient than conventional passwords.  (WSJ)

Workforce

Obama: Senate immigration bill would pass House if it got a vote.  President Obama said Sunday the immigration reform bill that passed in the Senate would get through the Republican-controlled House if leadership put it up for a vote.  “It would pass, it would pass,” Mr. Obama told ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”  (Washington Times)

Indian IT Firms Need To Hire More Locals.  Amidst concerns over the visa curbs set out in the US Immigration Reform Bill, Infosys Chairman N R Narayana Murthy said Indian IT firms need to hire more locals for their onsite operations and that he is not a great fan of running a company based on visas.  (SiliconIndia)

Global Trade

Brazil's Rousseff urged by top advisers to cancel U.S. visit.  Top advisers to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff are urging her to cancel her planned state visit to the White House next month after revelations the U.S. National Security Agency spied on her and other Brazilians.  (Reuters)

Govt may hike import duty on electronic goods outside WTO pact.  The Government of India is looking to raise duties on items not covered by the duty-free Information Technology Agreement of the World Trade Organisation.  This is part of its ongoing drive to restrict rising imports of electronic products to boost domestic industry as well as bring down the current account deficit.  (Hindu Business Line)

Tax

House GOP takes step forward on Internet sales tax legislation.  A key chairman has decided to issue principles on the issue rather than burying the legislation.  (The Hill)

Mobility

Dell mantra: one cloud, not even Amazon’s, doesn’t fit all.  For customers fearing ghosts of Christmas cloud outages past, Dell thinks the answer is cloud choice and multi-cloud management.  (GigaOM)

Tackling Mobile Technology Challenges in Government.  Like many of their counterparts in the private sector, government agencies are struggling to adapt to-and capture the potential value of-mobile technologies.  (WSJ)

As Australia steps aside, who will pick up the broadband torch?  Australia has a new government, so its days rolling out the biggest fibre-to-the-home network are numbered as it moves to fibre to the node. Where will a world leader in broadband come from next?  (ZDNet)

Innovation

“Special Forces” Innovation: How DARPA Attacks Problems.  Over the past 50 years, the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has produced an unparalleled number of breakthroughs. Arguably, it has the longest-standing, most consistent track record of radical invention in history. Its innovations include the internet; RISC computing; global positioning satellites; stealth technology; unmanned aerial vehicles, or “drones”; and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), which are now used in everything from air bags to ink-jet printers to video games like the Wii. Though the U.S. military was the original customer for DARPA’s applications, the agency’s advances have played a central role in creating a host of multibillion-dollar industries.  (HBR)

Minecraft, an Obsession and an Educational Tool.  Teachers and parents are using Minecraft, a video game popular with children, to help teach science, history, languages and ethics.  (NYT)

Cutting-Edge Tech Is Helping the Speech-Impaired Speak.   A tech breakthrough is letting people who are physically unable to speak talk out loud in their own, unique voice.  (Huffington Post)

How Bluetooth LE and Crowdfunding Are Accelerating the Connected Hardware Boom.  Fuelled by crowdfunding, hardware startups are hard at work extending the capabilities of mobile devices – the phones and tablets that have otherwise become boringly alike – and building out the long anticipated Internet of Things in the process. In case you haven’t noticed, this network of connected objects is beginning to materialise around us, piece by Bluetooth-connected piece. (TechCrunch)

Why outsourcing innovation is going to be big for the tech industry and beyond.  Paul Jozefak, co-founder and managing director of innovation laboratory Liquid Labs, argues that outsourcing innovation will become a mainstream business practice and a key driver of growth, specifically in the tech sector.  (The Next Web)

IP Enforcement

The war on patent trolls.  Rather than incentivizing the creation of the next-generation iPhone or a lifesaving drug, they are misusing patents by suing unsuspecting consumers and extorting settlements.  (Politico Pro column/Sens. Leahy and Lee)

Dear Apple: Good Luck Against The Smartphone Black Market.  The new iPhone's fingerprint recognition technology is the company's first major effort to combat smartphone theft. But with an insatiable global appetite for the devices, will it really make a difference?  (NPR)

Industry in dark on how to value streaming rights.  Most of these originals premiering on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon aren't owned by those companies, and the producers of the shows are in a bit of bind when it comes time to license subsequent rights. How can content owners and potential buyers gauge any show's popularity - and its value in the market - when the streaming services don't share what one TV executive calls "near-perfect data" on audience viewing habits?  (San Francisco Chronicle)

Regulation

Samsung, Motorola Antitrust Rulings Close: EU.  The European Union’s antitrust chief said probes are close to completion into whether Samsung Electronics Co. and Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Motorola Mobility abused key mobile-phone patents in their struggle for supremacy with Apple Inc.  The European Commission’s approach on standard-essential patents will be “clarified” in two separate cases, one concerning Samsung, the other Motorola Mobility, Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said today at an event in Florence, Italy. Decisions are in the “pipeline,” he said. The timing of the decisions “does not depend only on the commission side.” (Bloomberg)

A champion for the ‘free’ information crowd.  Jeffrey Eisenach is leading a new technology policy center at the American Enterprise Institute, one of the nation’s best known conservative think tanks. In this interview, he makes the case for limiting the role of government in all aspects of the Internet.  (Washington Post)

Trying (Again) to Freeze the Internet.  Judges keep telling the FCC to back off, but the regulators won't stop.  (WSJ column/ L. Gordon Crovitz)

Tech Business

Industry Powering the Technology World Struggles for Status.  Chip makers are wrestling with a fundamental question: How can the semiconductor business grab a bigger portion of the profits it enables?  (NYT)

Looking to Twitter to Reignite Tech I.P.O.’s.  Investors and deal makers hope that Twitter’s stock sale will help the once-soaring tech sector take flight again.  (NYT)

App economy jobs seem destined to go overseas.  Manufacturing jobs are primarily located overseas, and Apple and Google hire relatively few people to work for them directly. This leaves the so-called app economy, a network of remora-like companies that do such things as write software for mobile platforms. These platforms offer American app developers relatively unfettered access to a global market of smartphone users - and at the same time open up competition from cheaper developers abroad.  A critical question, then, is whether American developers can expand globally faster than apps made in other countries poach customers on their home soil.  (San Francisco Chronicle)

Tencent Approaches Facebook Value Amid China Internet Explosion.  Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s market value surpassed $100 billion within a decade of going public as Asia’s biggest Internet company capitalizes on China’s explosion in online gaming and messaging.  (Bloomberg)

Lone Star phone: The Texas town where the Moto X gets built.  Motorola and Google have teamed with contract manufacturer Flextronics on the first smartphone ever to be assembled in the United States.  (CNET)

Denver Startup Week: Why Denver wants to attract tech entrepreneurs.  To understand Denver's infatuation with growing its startup community, look no further than Sympoz. The Denver company, founded by veterans of the Bay Area tech community, was almost forced to become a Silicon Valley startup.  (Denver Post)

More ITI Member News

Tough Questions Await Microsoft.  Microsoft executives this week are hosting the company's first major huddle with financial analysts in two years.  Intense questioning seems all but assured in the wake of a string of moves that left investors puzzling over their spreadsheets.  (WSJ)

Did Microsoft buy Nokia because it was flirting with Android?  Microsoft's purchase of Nokia came as a bit of a surprise last week, but a report Friday seems to shed light on why Microsoft may have decided to pay up and buy its partner: Nokia was testing Android versions of its devices.  (Los Angeles Times)

Welcome to the era of the personal cloud: Alcatel-Lucent.  The "Personal Computer Era" has evolved into the "Personal Cloud Era" with the surprising new entrant, the tablet, says Michel Emelianoff, executive vice president of Alcatel-Lucent and president of Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise.  (PC World)

Samsung invests $500 million in new China facility.  Samsung Electronics Co Ltd will invest $500 million to build a packaging and testing facility in northwestern China, the official China Daily reported on Saturday, as South Korea's biggest company expands operations in China.  (Reuters)

Dell Says It's 'Doing Exactly' What CIOs Need.  Dell's U.S. sales chief says the vendor has already evolved into a full-service company, but the market may need more convincing.  (WSJ)

Intel Plant Replenishes Aquifer for Thirsty Arizona City.  Most people don’t associate Intel Corp. (INTC), the world’s largest semiconductor maker, with water.  Yet each day, 2 million gallons of industrial wastewater -- enough to fill at least 30,000 bathtubs -- are piped from Intel plants in Chandler, Arizona, to a facility a mile away where it’s treated, then returned to an underground aquifer. Intel, the city’s largest employer, recycles about 60 percent of its water and is expanding the treatment facilities and increasing the amount it reuses as the company finishes a $5 billion plant that will build more efficient computer chips. (Bloomberg)

1600 Penn.

At 11:40 a.m. ET, President Obama will deliver remarks in the Rose Garden to mark the five-year anniversary of the financial crisis.  In the evening, he and the First Lady will welcome various music artists to the White House for a celebration of Latin music during Hispanic Heritage Month.

Today on the Hill

Senate:  The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. ET and resumes consideration of S. 1392, a bill that would develop energy-saving technology and building codes.  Senators also will vote on two judicial nominees.

House:  The House at 2 p.m. ET meets in a pro forma session with no legislative business expected.

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