ITI Daily News Roundup

03/05/2014

Key Issues

Tax and the Economy

Factbox: On U.S. tax reform, Obama and Republican rival on same page. U.S. President Barack Obama's call on Tuesday for an end to billions of dollars in tax breaks echoes a 979-page draft reform plan last week from Dave Camp, the top Republican tax writer in the House of Representatives. (Reuters)

Students to Highways Benefit in Obama Election-Year Budget Plan President Barack Obama’s $3.9 trillion budget proposal would benefit low-income families, college students, researchers and highway users, setting the tone for Democratic priorities in an election year. (Bloomberg)

Workforce

Equipping Young People With Workplace Skills. There are many problems facing the world of education today but one that must be urgently addressed is its failure to equip young people with the skills they need to move into the workplace. (Huffington Post)

Budget breakdown: Windfall for workforce, R&D and STEM education. Despite what many consider a very modest pay raise for government employees, the budget request for fiscal year 2015 appears to actually invest in the federal workforce. (FedScoop) 

Budget eyes better training for senior executives. A new focus on grooming candidates for positions as senior managers was a highlight for federal employees who had little else to cheer in the fiscal 2015 budget. (Federal Computer Week) 

IP Enforcement

Congress shouldn’t overlook design patents in its push for reform. With legislation passed in the House, the U.S. Senate is set to move forward on multiple bills to combat the costly problem of patent trolls. (The Hill)

Global Policy

Trade Agenda Contains New Telecom, Lumber Initiatives, Breaks Little New Ground. President Obama's annual trade policy agenda released March 4 announces a new telecommunications trade initiative and a new approach to the longstanding softwood lumber dispute with Canada but otherwise breaks little new ground on existing trade initiatives and enforcement pledges. (World Trade Online)

Malaysia TPR Identifies Massive Subsidies, Preferences For Local Firms. A World Trade Organization report released this week on Malaysia's trade and investment policies calls attention to the extensive subsidies the Malaysian government provides to domestic industries; its government procurement policy favoring ethnic Malays; and its concerted effort to build up government-linked companies (GLCs) into regional champions with policies such as local content requirements. (World Trade Online)

U.S. Suspends BIT, WTO Talks With Russia Over Ukraine Crisis; Threatens More Actions. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has suspended preliminary discussions on a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) with Russia as well as scheduled talks with Russian officials on the accession of Kazakhstan to the World Trade Organization, in response to Russia's military incursion into Ukraine last week, according to a USTR spokesman. (World Trade Online)

Leak Shows EU Not Bound By CETA Deal In Investment Talks With U.S. A confidential European Commission negotiating text for the investment chapter of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) reveals that Brussels is taking another stab at securing investor protections that in some respects go beyond those in U.S. trade deals, even after it backed off such provisions in a bilateral deal with Canada. (World Trade Online)

How trade really adds up. Economists attach little importance to bilateral balances, because it is a country’s overall trade balance that really matters, but the politics can get ugly. (South China Morning Post) 

Privacy

San Francisco bar bans Google Glass for fear of secret recordings. A bar popular with a high-tech crowd in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood has banned patrons from wearing Google Glass, the local CBS station in the city reports. (Los Angeles Times)

Cybersecurity

QDR Emphasizes Cyber, Science and Technology. The Pentagon’s latest Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) has emphasized the need to protect science, technology, research and development, specifically cyber capabilities, a key priority of senior defense officials. (Defense News)

Defense budget zeroes in on cyber spending. President Barack Obama's $496 billion defense budget for fiscal 2015 includes a $5.1 billion request for cyber operations, making it more than 1 percent of the total Pentagon request. (Federal Computer Week)

Cybersecurity push fuels liability debate for infrastructure software developers. The push to improve cybersecurity for critical infrastructure will put software developers in plaintiffs' crosshairs, but how the courts and Congress might address related liability issues is up for debate, according to lawyers with a wide range of views. (Inside Cybersecurity)

Pre-installed malware turns up on new phones. Security experts have long warned that downloading applications from third-party marketplaces for the Android platform is risky since the applications have often not undergone a security review. (PC World) 

Environment and Sustainability

Adding Clean Energy to PJM Grid Would Slash Emissions, Study Finds. Raising renewable energy to 14 percent of the electricity supply operated by power grid manager PJM Interconnection would reduce CO2 emissions by 12 percent compared to 2011 levels, according to a study. (Environmental Leader)

IEMA Acquires Sustainability Group. The Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA) is acquiring the Global Association of Corporate Sustainability Officers (GACSO). (Environmental Leader)

Install a building battery, save the grid? Having a backup battery to ride out a power outage is an obvious benefit to businesses. But distributed energy storage, particularly in combination with solar, has the potential to solve a host of emerging electric grid problems while making economic sense for businesses, say proponents. (Green Business News)

Public Sector 

IT spending drops in president's budget. Information technology spending would drop slightly under the president’s fiscal 2015 budget from $81.3 billion to $79.1 billion, with the Defense Department poised to absorb the full brunt of those cuts. (Federal Times) 

Innovation

A day at Singularity University, where the future belongs to glowing plants and robotic elephants. SU targets recent graduates, executives and startups with a curriculum and support focused on fast-changing technologies. Its goal is clear: shape the world’s discourse on inventions that could radically change the way we live. (GigaOM)

The 3D printing revolution might be Lego’s biggest test ever. 3D printing may prove to be one of the biggest tests the company has ever faced. Unlike the rise of PCs and tablets, which merely demanded that Lego invest in new digital products, 3D printing strikes at the heart of Lego's core business. Manufacturing small bits of plastic is, in fact, what 3D printers do best. (Washington Post)

Mobility

IDC: China Smartphone Growth To Slow. Over the past two years, smartphone shipments in China has nearly quadrupled, making the country the world’s largest smartphone market. But the rate of annual growth in the Chinese market is expected slow, to about 10% next year, according to forecasts by research firm IDC. (Wall Street Journal)

Tech Business

Japan considers regulating, taxing Bitcoin. A Japanese tax on Bitcoin could mean that it’s no longer viewed as a currency, but a commodity. (GigaOM)

Technology May Soon Get You To Be A Bigger Tipper. You're probably used to rounding up the bill on your taxi ride or dropping a buck in a jar at the coffee shop. Now, new high tech ways to pay nudge you to tip more generously and more often. (NPR)

Yahoo to require Yahoo ID; no more Facebook or Google logins. Yahoo has begun the gradual phase-out of letting people access certain services with their Facebook or Google logins. Now, to sign into all services, users will need a Yahoo ID. (CNET)

IDC: PC shipments worldwide dropped by nearly 10 percent in 2013. The global market intelligence firm described 2013's PC industry slump as "the most severe contraction on record." (ZDNet)

RadioShack Plans to Close Up to 1,100 Stores. The electronics retailer said it could close as many as 1,100 U.S. stores—one out of every four that it operates itself—underscoring the difficulty it has had adapting to a fast changing consumer landscape. (Wall Street Journal)

ITI Member News

Apple CFO Oppenheimer to Retire as Maestri Set to Succeed. Apple Inc. Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer will retire at the end of September, as Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook brings on a new lieutenant to navigate slowing growth at the iPhone maker. (Bloomberg)

HTC harvests smartphone power to help solve world challenges. The "Power to Give" initiative aims to turn unused processing power from millions of smartphones into a supercomputer that can tackle issues like cancer, climate change, and space travel. (CNET)

It’s the end of an era at Qualcomm as Mollenkopf becomes CEO. Steve Mollenkopf became the third CEO of Qualcomm Tuesday, ending the reign of the Jacobs family over the 28-year-old business. Mollenkopf replaces Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, who will become the executive chairman as part of a transition plan that was announced in December. (GigaOM)

Intel Marketing Chief Conrad To Leave In April. Intel said its chief marketing officer Deborah Conrad will leave the company after 27 years to pursue new opportunities. (Wall Street Journal)

1600 Penn.

President Obama travels to Connecticut today where he will deliver remarks at Central Connecticut State University on raising the minimum wage joined by Governors from Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The President will depart the Hartford area en route Boston, Massachusetts, where he will attend a DNC event this afternoon. President Obama returns to Washington, D.C. this evening.

Today on the Hill

HOUSE: The House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. First votes expected: 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. Last votes expected: 4:00 - 4:30 p.m.

Postponed Suspension Votes:

1) H.R. 2126 - Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2014, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. David McKinley / Energy and Commerce Committee)

2) H.R. 938 - United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen / Foreign Affairs Committee / Judiciary Committee / Science, Space, and Technology Committee)

SENATE:  The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m. and proceed to executive session to consider the nomination of Debo P. Adegbile of New York to be an Assistant Attorney General.

 

 

 

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