Tech News Roundup


Key Issues

Tech Politics

Chief digital officer for Trump steps down amid uncertain circumstances. Only one month after his appointment as the White House's chief digital officer, Gerrit Lansing quietly left his role with the Trump administration. (Federal News Radio)

Trump to seek jobs advice from firms that offshore U.S. work. President Donald Trump, who has vowed to stop U.S. manufacturing from disappearing overseas, will seek job-creation advice on Thursday from at least five companies that are laying off thousands of workers as they shift production abroad. (Reuters)
GOP to bury House resolution on Trump conflicts. House Republicans next week plan to derail a Democratic resolution that would have forced disclosure of President Donald Trump's potential ties with Russia and any possible business conflicts of interest, according to multiple House sources. (Politico Pro)
Instagram taps former Michelle Obama, Clinton aide to lead communications. Instagram has tapped former Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton communications aide Kristina Schake to head its communications team. (The Hill)


Tech firms, privacy groups slam DHS password collection plan. A coalition of tech companies and civil liberties organizations issued a letter slamming a proposal that Customs and Border Protection officials could begin collecting social media and mobile device passwords as a condition for travelers to enter the United States. (FCW)
Wyden objects to DHS password collection plan. A Democratic senator wants to prevent Customs and Border Patrol from collecting social media and mobile device passwords as a condition for travelers to enter the United States. (FCW)
House panel to examine digital spying reform. The House Judiciary Committee next Wednesday will hold the first in what could be a series of hearings aimed at renewing, and possibly revamping, key U.S. surveillance programs used to gather digital communications data on foreigners. (Politico Pro)


More ways colleges are sowing seeds for a sustainable future. In 2014, author and TEDx speaker Giselle Weybrecht posted one short idea a day for 100 days exploring how we could rethink business education to produce the leaders that our business and the planet need. The ideas were compiled in a book, "The Future MBA: 100 Ideas for Making Sustainability the Business of Business Educations." (GreenBiz)

The Pruitt Emails: E.P.A. Chief Was Arm in Arm With Industry. During his tenure as attorney general of Oklahoma, Scott Pruitt, now the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, closely coordinated with major oil and gas producers, electric utilities and political groups with ties to the libertarian billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch to roll back environmental regulations, according to over 6,000 pages of emails made public on Wednesday. (New York Times)
Heating homes with energy from data centers? Stockholm will try it. Unless they're built on an ice desert, data centers can take enormous amounts of energy to cool. But over in Stockholm, the Swedish capital is trying to turn this energy burden into an asset. (Curbed)

Global Trade

Donald Trump could bring back the debate over the Export-Import Bank. For decades, the Export-Import Bank limped along at the margins of American politics, a rightfully obscure program regarded as neither particularly interesting nor important but sustained by and subject to the banal to-and-fro of interest group politics. (Vox)


How regulators can make smart devices more secure against hackers. Smart-television maker Vizio agreed to pay a penalty this month for spying on 11 million customers. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the company captured second-by-second information on what customers viewed, combined it with their gender, age and income, and sold it to third parties. (Washington Post)
Trump's Russia problem dogs Republicans at town halls. There's another topic besides Obamacare animating town halls across the country this week: President Donald Trump's relationship with Russia. (Politico Pro)


White House punts new travel order to next week. The White House is pushing back the release of a revised executive order on travel and refugees until next week, an official said Wednesday. (The Hill)

Local immigrant wants what's best for America.When I left Guatemala in 2011, like many other immigrants, it was to give my children a better life. The corruption and violence became too great. (Wyoming Tribune)

What's New In Those DHS Memos On Immigration Enforcement?. Ever since Donald Trump entered the presidential race, his comments on illegal immigration have been pored over in the press - from vows to deport millions of people to promises that any enforcement plan would have "a lot of heart." (NPR)

How today's visa restrictions might impact tomorrow's America. Many tech companies and scholars have raised their voices against President Trump's Jan. 27 executive order on immigration. (Washington Post)

FCC approves devices using next wave of wireless technology. The Federal Communications Commission is approving the first devices that use a technology intended to ease data congestion on broadband networks. (The Hill)

FCC Opens Airwaves to New LTE-U Devices. Federal regulators said Wednesday that they will allow certain new wireless devices to use a portion of unlicensed airwaves now used largely for Wi-Fi, a move aimed at ending a long-running dispute between industries. (Wall Street Journal)

Artificial Intelligence
Tinder wants AI to set you up on a date. Back then he told me Tinder was "good for humanity", a line I instantly latched onto as being faintly ridiculous, and wonderful for a headline. (BBC News)
AI learns to write its own code by stealing from other programs. Out of the way, human, I've got this covered. A machine learning system has gained the ability to write its own code. (NPR)
Internet of Things
Today's infrastructure plans must account for tomorrow's technology. Finally, after chunks of concrete came loose and left gaping holes in the Rouge River Bridge, southbound I-75 closed for desperately needed repairs. (The Hill)
Self-driving cars must be covered by insurance, says UK bill. Insurance cover for self-driving cars must offer protection for both times when the driver is in control and when the vehicle is in charge, according to new proposals from the UK government. (BBC News)

DHS funding new round of IoT cyber startups with $1M award. The Department of Homeland Security is dishing out nearly $1 million in competitive awards to five startups developing cybersecurity technologies for the Internet of Things. (FedScoop)

Tomorrow's cities - nightmare vision of the future?. Sensor provider Enevo offers internet connection for bins in cities in Finland, the Netherlands, UK, Belgium, Canada and the US, and runs a Twitter feed - Trashcan Life. (BBC News)
Public Sector

Mattis looks to explore IT, cyber consolidation. President Donald Trump's new Defense secretary is looking for ways to consolidate across the department certain business activities, including information technology and cybersecurity. (FedScoop)

Verizon's Mike Maiorana, Cisco's Larry Payne on industry collaboration. Verizon's Mike Maiorana and Cisco's Larry Payne join FedScoop TV to discuss the impact of industry collaboration on government's missions and more. (FedScoop)

Vets lose privacy lawsuit against VA after unencrypted data is stolen from hospital. After multiple thefts and data breaches related to the unencrypted personal information of 7,400 U.S. veterans out of a Veterans Affairs hospital, an appeals court dismissed a lawsuit this month in which patients alleged violations of the Privacy Act and Administrative Procedure Act. (FedScoop)

DOE tries to spur development of defenses against Ukraine-style electrical grid cyberattack. The Department of Energy doled out $4 million in grant funding earlier this month to four different cybersecurity firms in an effort to spur the development of new technology that can help protect U.S. electricity delivery systems from hackers. (FedScoop)


Trump Administration Rescinds Rules on Bathrooms for Transgender Students. President Trump on Wednesday rescinded protections for transgender students that had allowed them to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity, overruling his own education secretary and placing his administration firmly in the middle of the culture wars that many Republicans have tried to leave behind. (New York Times)

Trump administration scraps Obama transgender-rights directive. The Trump administration has scrapped an Obama directive aimed at protecting the rights of transgender students, telling schools in a guidance letter on Wednesdaynight that the policy has caused a rash of litigation nationwide and needs to be reconsidered. (Politico Pro)

Making science bipartisan again. "This committee has already addressed one of the greatest long-term threats to American innovation: You've made science bipartisan again, countering rhetoric that has at times made the research community feel under siege." (Daily Camera)

Uber CEO Apologizes for Company Culture After Harassment Claims. At a meeting open to all Uber Technologies Inc. employees on Tuesday, Travis Kalanick apologized for cultural failings at his company after a former employee alleged she was harassed and discriminated against while working there. (Bloomberg)

Meet Bernard Coleman III, the man who has to make Uber more diverse and less sexist. When Bernard Coleman III took the job as Uber's diversity officer in January - after doing the same job in Hillary Clinton's failed presidential campaign - it's likely he didn't expect to be immediately embroiled in what is morphing into one of the car-hailing company's biggest crises. (Recode)

Tech Business

I Ignored Trump News for a Week. Here's What I Learned.. I spent last week ignoring President Trump. Although I am ordinarily a politics junkie, I didn't read, watch or listen to a single story about anything having to do with our 45th president. (New York Times)

Inside Uber's Aggressive, Unrestrained Workplace Culture. When new employees join Uber, they are asked to subscribe to 14 core company values, including making bold bets, being "obsessed" with the customer, and "always be hustlin'. (New York Times)
Silicon Valley Tried to Upend Banks. Now It Works With Them. In 2011, Brett King was promoting his book, "Breaking Banks," and creating a start-up that he hoped would do to the banks what Amazon did to the retail industry and Facebook did to media. (New York Times)

Fitbit's Sales Plummet as Device's Popularity Fades. Fitbit Inc.'s fourth-quarter revenue fell 19 percent, hurt by fading consumer demand for its once-popular wearable fitness trackers. (Bloomberg)
SolarCity's Ties to Foreclosure Cases Raise Questions on Vetting Policies. SolarCity, the nation's leading installer of rooftop solar panels and a renewable energy darling, has pitched its value to investors on a simple premise: Once customers sign up to lease a system, they will make payments to the company month after month for at least 20 years. (New York Times)

Tesla may be building three more Gigafactories. As Tesla's orders increase, the electric car company may be building up to three more of its "Gigafactories," CEO Elon Musk wrote today in a letter to shareholders (pdf), published in conjunction with the company's fourth-quarter results. (Recode)

Silicon Valley should be making products for Middle America, investor Jeremy Liew says. Before he was a venture capitalist, Lightspeed Venture Partners' Jeremy Liew spent nearly two years managing Netscape - the post-Time-Warner-merger version, that is. And it taught him a powerful lesson about what separates the people who use technology from those who create it. (Recode)

ITI Member News

Google Waze takes on Uber, Lyft with more carpooling.Would you use carpooling over a paid car service? (CNET)

Apple to Open Steve Jobs-Inspired Ring-Shaped Campus in April. Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs' last public event in 2011 was a city council meeting in Cupertino, California, where he presented plans for a sprawling new campus with a spaceship-shaped building and tree-filled park. (Bloomberg)

AMD takes fight to Intel with next-generation chips. Chipmaker AMD is launching its first serious challenge to Intel in the powering of desktop PCs for almost a decade, with a new generation of processors it claims offers better performance at a much lower price. (Financial Times)

GE, Intel, AT&T team up to put cameras, mics in San Diego. General Electric will put cameras, microphones and sensors on 3,200 street lights in San Diego this year, marking the first large-scale use of "smart city" tools GE says can help monitor traffic and pinpoint crime, but raising potential privacy concerns.

1600 Penn.

In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will receive his daily intelligence briefing. The President will then lead a listening session with manufacturing CEOs. In the afternoon, the President will speak with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada by telephone. The President will then lead a listening session on domestic and international human trafficking. In the evening, the President will attend a dinner with The Business Council.

Today on the Hill

Both the House and the Senate are not in session today.
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