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Tech News Roundup

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Key Issues

Tax Reform

Say no to the tax status quo.  The United States has a piecemeal and burdensome system for taxing companies that are successful internationally. With 95 percent of the world's consumers outside the United States, and 63 million American jobs dependent on a global marketplace, we must develop a market-based, competitive international tax system that eliminates the burden on global growth and enables capital to be put to work in the United States for the benefit of the economy here at home.  (SF Chronicle/ITI’s Garfield op-ed)

Fiscal Cliff

Congress Ends Stalemate, Passes Bill; Debt Ceiling Still Looms.  Congress passed legislation to avert the fiscal cliff. But the bill, which blocked most impending tax increases and postponed spending cuts largely by raising taxes on upper-income Americans, left a host of issues unresolved.  (WSJ)

Good News for Tech: R&D Tax Credit.  The industry scored big in the deal with its extension of the R&D tax credit. Even though the program has big support throughout the Beltway, it seems every year to fall by the wayside until the very last minute, risking its expiration — a renewal process made only more difficult amid all the chatter about its cost. “Extending the U.S. R&D tax incentive through 2013 provides a strong signal to our economic competitors that the United States is serious about maintaining our global leadership in innovation,” writes ITI’s Robert Hoffman in a blog post.  (Politico Pro)

A New Breed of Republicans Resists the Fiscal Deal.  Just a few years ago, the tax deal pushed through the House late on Tuesday would have been a Republican fiscal fantasy. But times have changed.  (NYT)

Cybersecurity & Privacy

Congress set for cybersecurity restart.  New House and Senate committee leaders already are laying the groundwork for an early return to hearings and markups, but there are clear signs that the partisan breakdowns that stalled debate in the 112th Congress could again hamper progress this year.  (Politico Pro)

Anonymous: 'Expect us 2013.'  The hacking group issues a statement boasting of its cyberattacks against the U.S., Syrian, and Israeli governments in 2012, while warning people to continue to expect this type of activity.  (CNET)

Outmaneuvered at Their Own Game, Antivirus Makers Struggle to Adapt.  Consumers and businesses spend billions of dollars a year on antivirus software, but these programs rarely block freshly minted strains, because the malware creators move too fast.  (NYT)

Online Piracy Measure Brings Out Hard Feelings.  Marathon markup sessions in December have revealed deep fissures among Republicans on a bill championed by House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) that is designed to combat Internet piracy.  The issue cuts across party lines; Smith, however, ceded nothing to critics.  (CQ/Roll Call)


Tech Giants Brace for More Scrutiny From Regulators.  Lobbying in the nation’s capital and overseas is likely to increase as governments worldwide revisit legislation on issues like consumer privacy and online security.  (NYT)

Let's All Take Responsibility for a Better Internet in 2013.  Despite efforts to exert control, the Internet, in most parts of the world, remains pretty free and open and a lot of people, -- myself included -- want to keep it that way.  (Huffington Post/Magid column)


Speedier Web Rivals Push Past Cable.  Steady growth in broadband revenue has helped cable operators offset a stagnant pay-TV market. But now, the industry is resisting pressure to offer ultrafast Internet service, opening the door to new competitors.  (WSJ)

Survey finds increase in e-reading, drop in paper.  The percentage of Americans aged 16 and older who read an e-book grew from 16 percent in 2011 to 23 percent this year.  (Boston Globe)

Mobile center of Asia's software milestones in 2012.  From near-field communications for mobile wallets to big data, mobility played the lead role in software's biggest moments in Asia last year.  (ZDNet)

Global Trade

India to finalize partner for chipmaking project.  Partner for its semiconductor manufacturing project partly to boost national security will be announced by end-March, and fabs expected to be operational by 2014.  (ZDNet)


One congressional district, divided on immigration.  Rep. Mike Honda is in a tight spot on immigration reform, representing a California district with high-tech companies and a growing immigrant population.  (Politico Pro)


From 3-D Printers To Wired Glasses, The Tech Year Ahead.  It's unlikely 2013 will be the year that jet packs make it big, but the coming year could bring us a host of other new technology trends and products, like 3-D printers for consumers, even smarter smartphones, and more connected devices like glasses and cars.  (NPR)

Tech Business

Digital sales break £1bn barrier.  More than a billion pounds was spent in 2012 for the first time on downloaded videos, music and games.  (BBC)

How Capitalism Can Repair Its Bruised Image.  With much of the public disaffected, large businesses can take specific steps to show the virtues of the marketplace.  (WSJ op-ed)

Energy & Sustainability

Power-Meter Shift to Cut $10 Billion Brazil Market by 50%.  Brazil’s decision to weaken a proposal for boosting energy efficiency by installing smart meters is wiping out half of a $10 billion market that lured foreign manufacturers from Elster Group SE to Echelon Corp.  (Bloomberg)

ITI Member News

Google's new Asia data centers to up speed of services.  Web users in Asia can experience Google's services at an estimated 30 percent faster speeds once new data centers in Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong, come online this year.  (ZDNet)

Google Glass development charges ahead.  As the tech giant gets ready to ship its wearable platform to developers this year, it continues to tinker with software, hardware, phone call capability, battery life, and voice commands.  (CNET)

Hewlett-Packard considers dumping units that miss targets.  HP is evaluating the performance of its business divisions and may remove any that do not meet the company's "objectives."  (ZDNet)

Intel's Web TV Push Hits Delays.  Intel's effort to develop Internet-based TV service and associated hardware is taking longer than expected, in part due to delays in reaching content agreements with media companies.  (WSJ)

RIM patent aims to make 'spy cam' shots a thing of the past.  BlackBerry handset maker Research In Motion has patented a system that would prevent people from quickly taking covert photographs by requiring a handset to be held still for a predetermined amount of time before a picture can be taken.  (ZDNet)

1600 Penn.

The President has flown to Hawaii to complete his holiday vacation.  He has no public events on the schedule for today.

Today on the Hill

The new Congress begins tomorrow.  As for today:

House:  The House will meet at 10:00 a.m. ET for morning hour remarks and at 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.

Senate:  The Senate convenes at 12 p.m. ET.  Following any Leader remarks, the Senate will be in a period of morning business for debate only until 1:30pm with Senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each.