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Tech News Roundup

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Key Issues

Global Trade

India Proposes Curbs on Tech Imports.  India has proposed sweeping curbs on the import of technology products ranging from laptops to Wi-Fi devices to computer-network equipment.  The proposed regulations, which were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, would create an expansive "Buy India" mandate requiring a large percentage of the high-tech goods sold in the country to be manufactured locally.  (WSJ)

Business Leader Expects Substantive SOE Negotiations At March TPP Round.  The chairman of a U.S. trade association advocating for strong disciplines on state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) last month said he expects countries participating in the talks to begin real negotiations on a U.S. SOE proposal at the next formal round in Singapore this March, and downplayed the impact of an alternative approach on SOEs floated by Australia.  (Inside US Trade)

Chinese Tech Titans Eye Brazil.  Chinese consumer-technology firms are dominant at home but have struggled overseas. Now, in a bid to change that, they're charging into Brazil and other emerging markets.  (WSJ)


New tech vs. government regulations.  What happens here at the annual Consumer Electronics Show certainly doesn’t stay here, at least not as far as Washington is concerned.  Stuffed into the seemingly endless Las Vegas Convention Center isn’t just a raft of new hi-def televisions, cutting-edge tablets and more — but a sea of federal lawmakers and regulators, many of whom return home leery to learn there’s a gap between the new tech on display and the laws that are supposed to govern their use.   (Politico)


Mobile Apps Drive Rapid Change in Searches.  Devices like tablets and smartphones have transformed the way people use the Internet, making the dominance of a company like Google potentially more precarious than it seems.  (NYT)

Democrats urge FCC to mandate interoperable cellphone networks.  Four House Democrats sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission on Monday, urging the agency to enact interoperability requirements for cellphone networks.  Democratic Reps. Anna Eshoo (Calif.), Edward Markey (Mass.), Mike Doyle (Pa.) and Doris Matsui (Calif.), all members of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said that interoperability requirements in the lower 700 MHz band of radio spectrum is fundamental for ensuring "continued growth, innovation, rural deployment and robust competition."  (The Hill)

Building a better smartphone for blind users.  A team of developers in Israel are set to debut a smartphone at the Consumer Electronics Show with an interface designed for blind users.  (Marketplace)

Smartphones wrest control from PCs, other gadgets.  The smartphone is evolving from a communications and computing device to a command center and control panel for a wide range of other devices.  (San Jose Mercury News)

Cybersecurity & Privacy

5 key security threats in 2013.  Hacking-as-a-service and the exploitation of HTML5 security pitfalls are among the threats set to gain prominence in the security scene this year.  (ZDNet)

Identity Thieves Just Love Apple.  The number of identity theft cases involving Apple products has increased significantly since August, according to Identity Theft 911.  (Huffington Post/Reuters)

Tech Business

Ad Blocking Raises Alarm Among Firms Like Google.  The French Internet provider Free is supplying its customers with software that will automatically block Internet advertising, the life blood of companies like Google.  (NYT)


Huge Amounts Spent on Immigration, a New Study Finds.  The Obama administration spent significantly more on immigration enforcement last year than on all the other big law enforcement agencies combined.  (NYT)

Energy & Sustainability

Brazil's hot, dry summer may lead to energy rationing.  Brazil faces the possibility of widespread energy rationing for the first time since 2001, as a hot, dry summer has deprived hydroelectric dams of needed water while boosting power use to run air conditioners in sweltering cities.  (Reuters)

Tech Business

Sharp ponders options to survive, isn't in Intel talks.  Sharp Corp is considering new ways to shore up its crumbling finances but is not talking with Intel Corp at the moment about any investment from the U.S. chipmaker, a senior executive from the Japanese company said on Monday.  (Reuters)


Battle Lines Harden in the Game of Debt Limit Chicken.  In the coming debt-ceiling debate, President Barack Obama and Speaker John A. Boehner will face another test of wills over fiscal policy — and the “Boehner rule” could be a linchpin that will either set the tone for the remainder of Obama’s term, if Boehner has his way, or be a thing of the past, as the president hopes.  (CQ/Roll Call)

Obama Said Close to Choosing Lew for Treasury Secretary.  President Barack Obama may choose White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew to replace Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner as soon as this week, according to two people familiar with the matter.  (Bloomberg)

ITI Member News

Apple flexes apps to put rivals in shade.  Apple has asserted its leadership in the mobile applications market, revealing 20bn apps were downloaded on its iPhone, iPad and iPods in 2012.  Apple said it set a record with 2bn app downloads during December, taking its total to 40bn since the launch of the App Store in 2008.  (FT)

Apple CEO Cook Makes Second China Visit as Stores Almost Double.  Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook made his second visit to China in less than 10 months, after almost doubling retail outlets in the nation.  (Bloomberg)

Qualcomm CEO details a 'born mobile' world.  Paul Jacobs gives a pre-show CES keynote that featured everyone from Microsoft's Steve Ballmer to Desmond Tutu. He detailed a world where everything is connected and showed how Qualcomm fits in.  (CNET)

Intel bets big on thin PCs and phones at Las Vegas show.  Top chipmaker Intel Corp on Monday announced shipments of a new low-power chip and showed off next-generation ultra thin laptops and convertible tablets in its latest bid to prove that the struggling PC industry still has a bright future.  (Reuters)

Intel confirms hurry up and wait scenario.  The fourth-generation Intel Core processor was developed specifically for ultrabooks and promises big advances in the second half of 2013. Apologies to anyone who has already bought a Windows 8 ultrabook.  (ZDNet)

Intel confirms TV partnership with Comcast.  Intel has confirmed that it will work with Comcast so future chips will be able to stream live television without the need for a set-top box.  (ZDNet)

The World According to Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai.  Kazuo Hirai, the CEO of Sony Corp., took the stage at the Consumer Electronics Show to highlight the progress that the company has made and - despite a hiccup or two - he said Sony is on the comeback trail.  (WSJ)

Panasonic sticks with plasma-heavy TV lineup.  Despite the dwindling popularity of plasma, Panasonic is fighting the good fight by announcing a slew of new models aimed to appeal to video quality aficionados.  (CNET)

Google Halts Warnings to China Users.  Google Inc.’s search engine in China recently stopped warning users of certain keywords that might trigger Beijing’s Internet censors. The warning function, added in late May, notified users in mainland China whenever they typed potentially sensitive search terms that could cause service interruptions by Chinese authorities.  (WSJ)

Why Is Google Exec Interested In North Korea?  Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, has landed in North Korea. His trip there is a bit of a mystery. North Korea's young leader, Kim Jong Un, recently set out a series of policy goals that included expanding science and technology as a way to improve the North Korean economy in 2013.  (NPR)

Sony Mobile Says Ties to Parent Help Win Share.  Sony Mobile Communications, the phone arm of Japan’s largest electronics company, said closer ties with its parent following a buy-out last year are helping it create new products and win market share.  (Bloomberg)

Microsoft CEO Says Windows RT Apps Surging.  Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer, in a surprise appearance at a technology trade show in Las Vegas, said the number of applications for new Windows tablets has increased fivefold since late October.  There are four times more applications for Windows RT computers now than there were when the device was introduced in late October.  (Bloomberg)

Microsoft's Xbox Faces Tougher Competition.  Microsoft transformed its Xbox from a game console into a multipurpose entertainment hub. Now, the 11-year-old hardware line faces its stiffest competition yet.  (WSJ)

Cisco Wants Your Video to Find You.  In the future, the TV shows and movies you want to watch should find you - you shouldn't have to find them. And you should be able to watch them on any device. That's the video service Cisco Systems wants to put in your living room.  (NYT)

AT&T partners with Cisco for home-monitoring service.  AT&T plans to kick off its Digital Life home monitoring service in eight U.S. markets in March, part of its efforts to expand wireless services beyond phones. (San Jose Mercury News)

1600 Penn.

The President has no public events on his schedule today.

Today on the Hill

House:  The House has adjourned until 2:00 p.m. ET on January 14.

Senate:  The Senate has adjourned until 11:30 a.m. ET on January 21.