ITI Daily News Roundup

03/07/2014

Key Issues

Tax and the Economy

A look at US job market on eve of February data. In advance of the February jobs report being released Friday, the U.S. economy has been skating on an icy patch. (Washington Post)

Camp Suggests Separating Education Tax Change From Revamp. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp signaled that he might break off a piece of the U.S. tax code revamp he outlined last week and try to advance it separately. (Bloomberg)

Workforce

President Obama: I'm ‘champion-in-chief’ on immigration. President Barack Obama called himself the “champion-in-chief” of comprehensive immigration reform Thursday but said once again that there’s nothing he can do stem the flow of deportations. (Politico Pro)

What the Fed-Friendly Budget Means for IT. The Obama administration’s 2015 budget blueprint released Tuesday stresses the need for a top-notch federal information technology workforce to enable the government to deliver on its goals for smarter IT services and focus IT projects less on compliance and more on delivering impact. (Nextgov)

IP Enforcement

Getty to Let Bloggers and Others Use Photos Free. In a move that promises to increase the use of photography across the Internet, the Getty Images photo agency announced that it would allow noncommercial websites and social media users to publish the agency’s images at no cost using an “embedding” tool. (New York Times)

Stalking trolls. After being blamed for stymying innovation in America, vague and overly broad patents on software and business processes could get the chop. (The Economist)

Global Policy

Turkey may ban Facebook and YouTube if Erdoğan wins elections. Prime minister blames political enemies for abusing social network sites with stream of fabricated internet postings. (The Guardian)

Telecoms chiefs urge EU to reform competition rules. Chief executives of Europe’s major telecoms groups have written to the European Commission to ask for an easing of competition rules in order to allow consolidation and boost profits for the industry. (Financial Times) 

U.S. Shows Flexibility On TPP SPS, Now Open To Dispute Settlement. The United States has backed off its earlier position of opposing dispute settlement for sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) rules in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and is now willing to consider it depending on the ultimate outcome of the SPS negotiations, according to a spokesman for the Office of the U.S. Representative. (Inside U.S. Trade) 

U.S. Announces Russia Sanctions, Suspends BIT Talks Over Ukraine Crisis. The Obama administration on March 6 rolled out initial economic sanctions targeting Russian entities that threaten the sovereignty of Ukraine, and Congress has indicated it may take additional steps to put economic pressure on Russia in light of that country's incursion into its western neighbor last week. (Inside U.S. Trade)

Privacy

Privacy groups ask regulators to halt Facebook's $19 billion WhatsApp deal. Privacy advocates have asked U.S. regulators to halt Facebook Inc's $19 billion acquisition of messaging service WhatsApp until there is a clearer understanding of how the company intends to use the personal data of WhatsApp's 450 million users. (Reuters)

Cybersecurity 

Administration defends voluntary nature of cybersecurity framework. Senior officials from the White House and Department of Homeland Security on Thursday defended the administration’s hands-off approach to improving critical infrastructure cybersecurity, arguing that mandatory regulations would stifle innovation, hurt the economy and raise difficult questions about privacy and civil liberties. (FedScoop)

Obama administration eyes DOJ guidance to knock down info-sharing antitrust concerns. Little-known Department of Justice guidance makes clear the government will not use antitrust powers to punish companies that share information to protect against cyber attacks, according to a senior Obama administration official who said DOJ may update the guidance in the "next couple of months" to emphasize the point. (Inside Cybersecurity)

Report offers steps for EU-U.S. pact on cybersecurity following Snowden debacle. A new report released by the German Marshall Fund recommends steps that U.S. and European Union officials could take to regain international trust in dealing with data security and privacy protections in the wake of documents leaked by former defense contractor Edward Snowden. (Inside Cybersecurity) 

Environment and Sustainability

Shareholders File Record-Breaking Number of Social, Environmental Resolutions. Investors have filed 417 social and environmental shareholder resolutions so far this year at least 50 more than the same time in 2013 and 20 percent more than in February 2012, according to an analysis of proxies. (Environmental Leader) 

Maritime Fuel Regulation Will Increase Pollution, Group Says. A new maritime fuel regulation from the EPA could crowd roads and increase onshore air pollution, according to a shipping group. (Environmental Leader) 

Method set to debut LEED Platinum factory in Chicago. Chicago soon will be the site for one of the few LEED Platinum factories in the U.S., where environmental cleaning products from soaps to laundry detergent will be produced. (Green Business News) 

Harry Reid: 'Climate Change Is The Worst Problem Facing The World Today'. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday that climate change is a really big deal -- the biggest, in fact. (Huffington Post)

Public Sector 

Hodgkins: 'No more three-week funding cycles'. IT budget numbers are flat for civilian agencies and lower for Defense, the Senate won’t write a budget again this year, and nobody expects the president’s proposal to get a serious hearing in Congress, but an acquisition industry expert is happy that at least something resembling a budget process is going on. (Federal Computer Week)

Senate approves 3 Homeland Security nominees. The Senate has confirmed three of President Barack Obama's Homeland Security nominees. (Federal News Radio)

McCaskill probes 'clunky' contracting databases. The federal government maintains information about federal contractor performance in a system of databases that is supposed to keep contract officers up to date on how well contractors are executing on their work, and whether they have been sanctioned or subject to criminal penalties. (Federal Computer Week)

Ed tech boom sparks curiosity — and caution. The packed halls at the SXSWedu conference in Austin this week attest to two truths: A whole lot of entrepreneurs want a piece of the $8 billion educational software market. And a whole lot of educators are interested in trying the new technology — but are wary of turning over their classrooms to the latest hyped-but-untested innovation. (Politico Pro)

Innovation

Two college students invented an adapter that allows 3D printers to print in full color for less than $100. Printing in full color is generally a privilege limited to professional and high-end consumer 3D printers. Spectrom could change that. (GigaOM)

Rollable displays and smart plasters inch closer as researchers claim transistor breakthrough. British academics and the Dutch electronics giant Philips have been working together on a new kind of processor component for many years, and now they say they’ve made enough progress to make the production of flexible electronics more viable. (GigaOM)

SXSW Tech Preview: Snooping, Wearables And More 3-D Printing. South by Southwest Interactive is the technology-driven part of the annual Austin-based festival for digital, film and music and it starts on Friday. (NPR) 

Mobility

Mobiles aid Africa’s women farmers. Mobile airtime is as precious to Lucia Njelekele as the chicks that are her livelihood. The poultry farmer relies on her mobile phone: for real-time information about demand for her 3,000 livestock from one of Tanzania’s biggest supermarkets; to arrange transport; source feed; and consult her vet. (Financial Times)

Senators urge ban on in-flight calls. Two senators are urging the Department of Transportation to ban in-flight calls to prevent fights from breaking out among passengers. (The Hill)

Tech Business 

IPO Dot-Com Bubble Echo Seen Muted as Older Companies Debut. Not many chief financial officers know what it’s like to see their companies double in value in one day. Peter Bardwick has seen it twice. (Bloomberg)

More Commercial Drone Flights Seen as Judge Rejects U.S. Fine. A judge overturned a U.S. regulator’s first fine against a drone operator, a ruling that may lead to more commercial unmanned-aircraft flights in the U.S. before rules are written to govern their use. (Bloomberg Government)

ITI Member News

BlackBerry CEO Briefs White House to Cultivate User Obama. BlackBerry Ltd. Chief Executive Officer John Chen has held talks with the White House to ensure President Barack Obama and other staff members continue to use their BlackBerry devices. (Bloomberg)

Google's mysterious tech barge greeted by Stockton residents weary of hard times. This San Joaquin Delta city has known hard times in recent years, with soaring home foreclosures, high unemployment, terrifying gang violence and a municipal bankruptcy. So when Google's mysterious tech barge arrived in port on Thursday, local residents greeted it like their ship had come in. (Silicon Valley News)

Mall or nothing: Nokia and Yahoo extend partnership to indoor mapping. Yahoo has extended its mapping alliance with Nokia, bringing indoor mapping to its service. (ZDNet)

1600 Penn.

This afternoon, President Obama and the First Lady will travel to Miami, Florida to visit Coral Reef High School. There, they will visit a classroom and the President will deliver remarks on the importance of a quality education to economic success in this country. President Obama and the First Lady will remain in Key Largo, Florida for the weekend.

Today on the Hill

The Senate and House are not in session.

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