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Tech News Roundup

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Key Issues

Tech Politics

Tech backers launch new Clinton fundraising group. A number of tech executives and investors are banding together to try to raise more Silicon Valley cash for Hillary Clinton. (Politico Pro)

Facebook: More than 18 million engaged in debate conversation. More than 18 million people engaged in the conversation on Facebook about the first presidential debate of 2016 on Monday night, according to the company. (The Hill)

Hundreds of tech companies are letting employees skip work on Election Day. The 2014 electoral cycle marked a new low for U.S. voter turnout: Not since World War II had fewer Americans gone to the polls, as a percentage of the population. (Washington Post)

Global Trade

Hillary Clinton’s position on free trade? It’s (very) complicated. In the first few minutes of Monday's presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the two got into a back and forth about trade. Specifically, how Clinton feels about some of the free trade deals her husband has signed or she has advocated for. (Washington Post)

House Democrat expects support to grow for Pacific trade deal. A pro-trade House Democrat said Monday that there are more than 28 votes within his party for an Asia-Pacific trade agreement that may come up during the lame-duck session. (The Hill)

Pacific deal will boost exports for small businesses: report. The Obama administration is touting the export benefits of an Asia-Pacific trade pact for the nation’s smaller businesses in its efforts to promote the agreement to wary congressional lawmakers. (The Hill)


Drama builds for vote on FCC set-top box rules. The Federal Communications Commission's proposed rules to let pay-TV subscribers free themselves from set-top boxes may be in jeopardy. (USA Today)

FCC official: “Something’s not right” with Wi-Fi at Monday’s debate. One of the members of the Federal Communications Commission, Jessica Rosenworcel, has asked the agency to investigate the Monday evening ban on journalists’ Wi-Fi personal hotspots at the presidential debate held at Hofstra University. (Ars Technica)

Google pushes into India with free wi-fi. Google is to roll out a comprehensive public wi-fi platform in India, as part of its bid to get more people using its services. (BBC News)

Reid blocks Thune tech bill over FCC nomination fight. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday blocked a tech bill championed by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) because of the stalled re-nomination of a Democrat on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). (The Hill)


U.S. senators accuse Yahoo of 'unacceptable' delay in hack discovery. Six Democratic U.S. senators on Tuesday demanded Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O) explain why hackers' theft of user information for 500 million accounts two years ago only came to light last week and lambasted the company's handling of the breach as "unacceptable." (Reuters)

Trump: “The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough”. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced off in their first presidential debate—but they only touched on technological issues briefly Monday, and even then, in simplistic terms. (Ars Technica)

Commerce chief floats protections for businesses to encourage reporting of hacks. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker is floating the idea of giving businesses protections so that they can discuss cyberattacks with officials without risking any punishment. (The Hill)

A Voice Cuts Through, and Adds to, the Intrigue of Russia’s Cyberattacks. Living anonymously, down a winding road in the wilderness of western Siberia, not far from the Mongolian border, the only person so far implicated in the flurry of Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee and other political sites was obviously enjoying the moment. (New York Times)

Artificial Intelligence

Next Target for IBM’s Watson? Third-Grade Math. It knew enough about medical diagnoses and literature to beat “Jeopardy!” champions at their game, and has been put to use in cancer wards. Now, an IBM computer platform called Watson is taking on something really tough: teaching third-grade math. (New York Times)

Google's AI translation system is approaching human-level accuracy. Google is one of the leading providers of artificial intelligence-assisted language translation, and the company now says a new technique for doing so is vastly improving the results. (The Verge)

Automation, AI among key takeaways for security execs, ecosystem. Automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning were key themes at the Structure Security conference in San Francisco. (ZDNet)

An Infusion of AI Makes Google Translate More Powerful Than Ever. Last March, a computer built by a team of Google engineers beat one of the world’s top players at the ancient game of Go. (Wired)

Big Data

Why data is the new coal. “Is data the new oil?” asked proponents of big data back in 2012 in Forbes magazine. By 2016, and the rise of big data’s turbo-powered cousin deep learning, we had become more certain: “Data is the new oil,” stated Fortune. (The Guardian)


Roles of FTC, FCC Are Front and Center in Privacy Debate. The Federal Communications Commission’s proposed privacy rules for internet service providers have ruffled the feathers in the tech industry since the agency passed the proposal in March. (Morning Consult)

Internet of Things

Wolff: The self-driving revolution begins now. In this epoch of radical change, how would you have acted differently or considered things more deeply if you had better appreciated that disruption was coming, that it was certain and inevitable? (USA Today)

Autonomous Cars: The Future Of Mobility. Ford recently made an announcement that could change the world as we know it. The company’s public broadcast about the future of the company’s automobiles left consumers stunned and hungry for more information. (Forbes)

Public Sector

Industry asks for delay in fair pay, safe workplace rule implementation. Six industry associations are asking the government to delay the implementation of new rules around safe workplaces and fair pay for at least a year. (ITAPS Mentioned, Federal News Radio)

The true source of innovation in federal IT. There has been much discussion about the lack of technological innovation in the federal IT market. Steve Kelman, former administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, has been blogging on FCW's "The Lectern" about this very issue, with his focus seeming to be that industry, rather than government, is the problem. (FCW)

Geospatial-as-a-service isn't far off. Instead of fielding its own systems, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is developing a "credit card swipe" approach to adding commercially gathered, unclassified intelligence to its data, according to NGA Director Robert Cardillo. (FCW)

Senate fails to stop debate on continuing resolution bill. The Senate failed to clear a key hurdle in the process to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government through Dec. 9. (Federal News Radio)

DoD supplemental war budget coming in November. Congress will have a fresh request for funds from the Defense Department in November to pay for overseas operations. (Federal News Radio)

At DARPA, virtual reality is more than a toy. For virtual reality to become more than another quick-to-fade fad like 3-D televisions or the overhyped Google Glass, it needs the type of careful nurturing that only government can give it through long-term developmental investments, a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program manager told a crowd of VR enthusiasts Monday. (FedScoop)

DHS studying alternatives to GPS for vital sectors. The Department of Homeland Security is working with vital national industries to figure out what they could use as an alternative if satellite-based GPS stops working. (FedScoop)

Justice Department's national security lead to step down. The Justice Department’s top national security lawyer, who served as the lead for a slew of terrorism and cybersecurity cases, will be stepping down on Oct. 15. (FedScoop)

What Obama Did for Tech: Cloud by Default. In late 2010, then-CIO Vivek Kundra unveiled a 25-point plan to reform federal IT that contained several major policy shifts aimed at modernizing infrastructure and streamlining assets and major system deployments. (GovTech)


Amazon, Google and the White House team up to visualize climate risk. If you lived in New Orleans or New Jersey during the fallout from hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, resilience in the face of extreme weather isn't an abstract concept. (GreenBiz)

Beyond politics: The Clean Power Plan will benefit the economy. On Tuesday, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments on the U.S. Clean Power Plan, one of the most significant pieces of environmental policy the United States has ever seen. (GreenBiz)

Community-scale solar can power corporations, too. A new option for corporations interested in fueling their operations with clean energy is arising: community-scale solar. (GreenBiz)

California considers using high-traffic roads to produce electricity. All those cars on California's famously gridlocked highways could be doing more than using energy. They could be producing it. (LA Times)

Electric car tipping point may challenge pioneers. Electric car prototypes and plans are set to dominate the Paris auto show as the Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) diesel scandal and falling battery costs persuade executives and investors that plug-in vehicles are ready to go mainstream. (Reuters)

An App to Help Save Emissions (and Maybe Money) When Buying a Car. How much is your car contributing to climate change? A new study can tell you. (New York Times)


Sheryl Sandberg: Women Are Leaning In—but They Face Pushback. A freelance film director recently described walking into a negotiation. (Wall Street Journal)

Tech Firms Borrow Football Play to Increase Hiring of Women. The technology industry is borrowing a football tactic to try to recruit more women. (Wall Street Journal)

U.S. Accuses Tech Firm Palantir of Bias Against Asian Engineers. The United States Department of Labor sued Palantir Technologies, a prominent data analytics start-up, claiming systemic discrimination against Asian job applicants. The move again raises questions about diversity in Silicon Valley. (New York Times)

Tech Business

China’s Internet ‘Stream Queens’ Are Being Showered With Cash. At midnight, when most people in this central Chinese city of six million have gone to bed, Cui Yunkai, a 21-year-old live-streaming hostess, gets to work. (Wall Street Journal)

76ers Take a Shot at Competitive Videogaming. The National Basketball Association’s Philadelphia 76ers on Monday became the first organization among the four major U.S. sports leagues to invest in teams that compete at videogames, a hot area attracting major advertisers and talent with ties to traditional sports. (Wall Street Journal)

Aetna to offer Apple Watch at a discount to certain customers. U.S. health insurer Aetna Inc said it would offer some customers discounts on Apple Inc's smartwatch, marking the first deal made by the tech giant with an insurer for its devices. (Reuters)

Uber launches global assault on food delivery market. Uber is making an aggressive drive into meal delivery, backed by a wave of staff recruitment, with the U.S. tech heavyweight gearing up to enter at least 22 new countries and take on local rivals. (Reuters)

DJI's Mavic Pro fold-up drone detects obstacles. DJI - the world's bestselling drone manufacturer - has announced its first foldable aircraft to be targeted at consumers. (BBC News)

Stop whining — the age of tech is an age of wonder. I had a light skirmish with a reader this month at the FT Weekend Live festival in London. (Financial Times)

When Phones Went Mobile: Revisiting NPR's 1983 Story On 'Cellular'. A decade after Martin Cooper made the world's first public call from a portable phone in 1973, telephones were becoming truly mobile. (NPR)

Too Many Tiny IPOs Leave Tokyo 25 Years Behind Silicon Valley. Trace the roots of most modern Japanese tech companies back far enough and there’s a good chance you’ll stumble across a little-known venture capital firm called Jafco Co. (Bloomberg)

Can Washington control high-tech lending?. LendUp, an online startup based in San Francisco, launched in late 2012 with a whole new model for a financial business. (Politico)

ITI Member News

Amazon’s Newest Ambition: Competing Directly With UPS and FedEx. Just before the morning rush hour on a recent Thursday, a brigade of vans rolled up to a low-slung warehouse near Los Angeles International Airport. (Wall Street Journal)

Amazon has scared Target into a management shake-up, just like it did to Walmart. In May, Target Chief Digital Officer Jason Goldberger was seated on a stage at Recode’s inaugural Code Commerce event talking about his promotion that had been announced that day. But just four months later, Target has eliminated Goldberger’s job and split his duties between two other executives. (Recode)

Facebook tells U.S. judge it takes terroristic threats seriously. Lawyers for Facebook Inc (FB.O) on Tuesday sought to assure a U.S. judge overseeing lawsuits by victims of militant attacks in the Middle East that it took a "zero tolerance" approach to any communications that may promote terrorist threats or activity. (Reuters)

Facebook At Work is launching next month. Facebook is ready to make work as addictive as socializing. The company plans to launch its enterprise communication and collaboration network Facebook At Work in the next few weeks on a per seat pricing model, The Information (paywall) first reported and a source close to Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch. (TechCrunch)

Twitter’s Steep Premium: The Cost of Employee Stock Grants. Buying Twitter would be a challenge for a number of reasons. Among the lesser-explored ones: The struggling social network pays out so much stock to its employees. (New York Times)

Twitter could take many forms, depending on new owner. With speculation mounting that Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) will soon have a new corporate owner, the 10-year-old social networking service - which has long struggled to define its core purpose -may end up heading in one of several distinctly different directions depending on who ends up paying for it. (Reuters)

Google Searches for New Users in India. Alphabet Inc.’s Google is expanding its efforts to connect with millions of Indians, using free Wi-Fi and tailor-made products, as it seeks to harness the country’s growing online population. (Wall Street Journal)

When is Google's birthday? Surely Google knows. You do know, right, Google?. What’s that Google? It’s your 18th birthday today? Happy birthday Google! You’re now old enough to drink in Britain. Though the existence of Google Plus suggests you’ve been quietly breaking that law for a while now. (The Guardian)

1600 Penn.

Today, in the morning, the President and Vice President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. This meeting is closed press. Later in the morning, the President will welcome Kyle Busch and his team members to the White House to honor his 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. In the afternoon, the President will travel to Fort Lee, Virginia. Later in the afternoon, the President will participate in a CNN Town Hall meeting with Jake Tapper, where he will have the opportunity to take questions from members of the military community. Afterward, the President will deliver remarks to servicemembers and the post community to thank them for their outstanding service to the nation. In the evening, the President will depart Fort Lee en route Washington, DC.

Today on the Hill

Today, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. First votes expected: 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Last votes expected: TBD