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05/06/2016

Key Issues

Tech Politics

Facebook, Apple and Amazon to lobby next president over tech worker visas. In an open letter expected to be published on Wednesday, a host of trade bodies representing technology firms will lay out 12 policy recommendations including pledging support for the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, urging more “narrowly targeted government access to user data” and recognition of encryption as a “critical security tool”. ITI is mentioned. (The Guardian)

Tech groups push candidates on trade, immigration policy. Trade groups that represent some of America’s most powerful tech companies are pushing the presidential candidates to pay attention to a slate of issues that matter to them, including limiting government access, user data and adopting trade deals. ITI is mentioned. (The Hill)

Apple, Google and Facebook Want More From Next POTUS. In an open letter to presidential candidates, 13 tech trade groups representing thousands of companies, including Silicon Valley giants Apple, Facebook and Google, outlined for the first time a technology policy agenda they’d like to see parties adopt, including backing the trans-Pacific trade deal. ITI's Dean Garfield is quoted. (Roll Call)

Tech sector appeals to presidential candidates on innovation agenda. A baker's dozen of the biggest technology industry associations are urging both presidential candidates to embrace public sector IT innovation, sign on en masse to the first ever Technology Sector Presidential Platform. ITI's Dean Garfield is quoted. (FedScoop)

Tech groups call on presidential candidates to support encryption, embrace other IT issues. The letter suggests presidential candidates haven't spent enough time talking about tech-related issues. "The technology sector is eager to see robust engagement on, and ultimately support for, the issues that matter most to our nation," the letter says. ITI's Dean Garfield is quoted. (CIO/IDG News Service)

Tech groups present 'Technology Sector Presidential Platform' to candidates. The leaders of a group of tech industry associations penned a letter to the remaining presidential candidates to, among other things, strengthen the U.S.'s cybersecurity posture, and attached a “Technology Sector Presidential Platform” that lays out recommendations, including "narrowly targeted government access to user data" and recognizing “the importance of encryption as a critical security tool.” ITI is mentioned. (SC Magazine)

Encryption

Former Officer Is Jailed Months Without Charges, Over Encrypted Drives. A former police sergeant has been held without charges in a federal detention cell in Philadelphia, part of an effort by the authorities to pressure him to decrypt two computer hard drives believed to contain child pornography. (New York Times)

Expert helped Los Angeles police hack Apple iPhone: court records. A cellphone expert overrode the lock function on an Apple iPhone to help Los Angeles police in a homicide investigation around the time U.S. authorities were battling the company to open other phones in criminal cases, court records showed on Thursday. (Reuters)

Cops Are Now Paying to Hack into Crime Victims' iPhones Too. The high-profile case in San Bernardino saw the FBI demanding that Apple create a backdoor to access a dead terrorist's encrypted iPhone, eventually breaking into the phone with the help of a mysterious “outside party.” But before the case's anti-climatic conclusion, cops in Los Angeles successfully cracked another iPhone without Apple's help—only this one belonged to a murder victim, not a criminal. (Motherboard)

Broadband/Communications

Tech group calls for collaboration on sharing auto industry airwaves. A tech policy group this morning stressed the industry’s interest in collaborating with automakers on sharing valuable airwaves. ITI's Vince Jesaitis is quoted. (Politico Pro)

FCC Republican votes against Charter-Time Warner cable merger. The senior Republican on the Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday against approving Charter Communication’s purchase of Time Warner Cable, citing conditions placed on the merger by agency Chairman Tom Wheeler. (The Hill)

Sixty lawmakers hit FCC chair over TV box proposal. Sixty members of Congress sent a letter Thursday to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler that criticizes his proposal to open up the market for set-top boxes used to watch television on the grounds it could hurt rural communities. (The Hill)

Netflix Adds Feature to Let Users Control Mobile-Data Usage. Netflix Inc. on Thursday added a feature to its mobile app that enables its subscribers to control how much data is consumed by the company’s videos when they stream over cellular networks. (Wall Street Journal)

After criticism, Netflix allows users to pick streaming quality on mobile. Netflix is now allowing users to increase the picture quality of its streaming video on smartphones and tablets — a reaction to recent criticism that the company has been throttling video streaming speeds over mobile networks. (The Hill)

New 'cable' trading: tech could boost landlocked FX cities. The dominance of financial centers such as London, New York and Tokyo in the $5 trillion-a-day global currency market may face challenges from landlocked cities as new technology erodes the advantage offered by high-speed undersea cables. (Reuters)

Cybersecurity

After ISIS, Americans Fear Cyberattacks Most. The Pew Research Center asked 2,000 Americans last month to react to various potential international threats to the U.S., and coming in second right after the terrorist group was the prospect of country-on-country cyberwar: a digital raid to steal another government’s information, for example, or a large-scale attack on a nation’s electrical grid. Cyberattacks are a major threat in the minds of 72 percent of Americans. (The Atlantic)

NIST unveils ‘flexible’ second draft for agency cybersecurity. No two agencies are exactly alike, nor are cyber threats all the same — that’s why the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s latest version of system security guidance can be adjusted for fit. (Federal News Radio)

Microsoft: Hackers getting faster, more targeted. Hackers are getting faster and better at targeting their attacks, according to a threat intelligence report from Microsoft released Thursday. (The Hill)

Critical Qualcomm security bug leaves many phones open to attack. For the past five years, a vulnerability in many Android phones has left users' text messages, call histories, and possibly other sensitive data open to snooping, security researchers said Thursday. (Ars Technica)

Trade

Companies gun-shy on privacy shield. Negotiators on both sides of the Atlantic are rushing to get the so-called privacy shield up and running next month. Businesses, on the other hand, are in no hurry. As regulators polish a new pact, companies are gun-shy about signing on because privacy advocates will almost certainly ask for another judicial ruling. (PoliticoPro)

Japan PM: Brexit would make UK ‘less attractive’ for investment. Britain would be “less attractive” for Japanese investment if it voted for Brexit in June’s referendum, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday. (Politico)

London’s Hong Kong dreams. Pro-Brexit campaigners in the City of London fancy a future unshackled by Brussels rules, meddlesome bureaucracies and stifling regulations. (Politico)

Tax

Obama Administration Adopts Rule to Fight Money Laundering, Tax Evasion. The Obama administration adopted a rule on Thursday that would require financial institutions to identify the true owners of companies they do business with, after leaks from a Panama law firm threw a spotlight on money hidden offshore. The Treasury and Justice departments also suggest legislation is needed. (Wall Street Journal)

State lawmakers open second front against tax havens. The Obama administration isn’t alone in trying to crack down on offshore tax avoidance. State legislatures from Oregon to Alabama have been eyeing the foreign profits of corporations for years, well before the recent Panama Papers disclosure and the newest influx of tax-influenced corporate mergers shined a new light on the worldwide culture of both legal and illegal tax dodging. (PoliticoPro)

Internet of Things

GM, Lyft to Test Self-Driving Electric Taxis. General Motors Co. and Lyft Inc. within a year will begin testing a fleet of self-driving Chevrolet Bolt electric taxis on public roads, a move central to the companies’ joint efforts to challenge Silicon Valley giants in the battle to reshape the auto industry. (Wall Street Journal)

Public Sector

GAO: FEMA needs framework to improve IT systems. The Federal Emergency Management Agency needs to develop a governing framework for the oversight and modernization of IT investments, and needs to address holes in its tech workforce, according to a Government Accountability Office report released May 5. (FCW)

Attention CIOs, stay on top of FITARA even during presidential transition. The Office of Management and Budget is telling agencies to stay on top of reporting deadlines under the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act as part of their planning for the transition to the next administration.(NextGov)

White House envisions an artificially intelligent government. Next week, the White House plans to convene a new technology council to discuss ways computer-powered decision-making could help the federal government, especially in areas related to smart cities, mental health, social welfare, criminal justice and the environment, according to a blog post from Deputy Chief Technology Officer Ed Felten. (NextGov)

Exclusive: GSA's Turner Roth shares her vision for the agency's new tech service — and 18F's legacy. The days of the 18F digital services team may be numbered, but only in name — its mission to disrupt government IT, on the other hand, appears set to extend well beyond the current administration with the creation of a new technology service line at General Services Administration, the agency where it's based. (FedScoop)

Digital services guru Greg Godbout’s parting words: It’s about culture change. Real government transformation only happens through culture change, said the former executive director of 18F. (FedScoop)

Delivering citizen services with one weird trick. Brainstorming ideas might be fun, but data is a better guide to what people want. At IBM's Government Analytics Forum, some experts in online government services explained why data gathered through testing and user metrics should drive design. (FCW)

When big data gets too big, agencies seek creative approaches. As access to data gets easier, agencies are looking for ways to sift through the noise and find the most valuable pieces that can help them make more targeted, impactful decisions. (Federal News Radio)

State IT Accessibility Is Improving, But Here’s How It Can Get Even Better. Procurement reforms, innovation teams and testing policies are a few recommendations from experts at NASCIO’s midyear conference in Baltimore. (Route Fifty)

Environment/Sustainability

Exxon Mobil Backs FuelCell Effort to Advance Carbon Capture Technology. For years, FuelCell Energy has been considered a company to watch. Its technology promised to help economically reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, which could help combat climate change. (New York Times)

NRG Steps Back From Alternative Energy Ventures in Cost-Cutting Effort. NRG Energy, moving to complete its reorganization after the ouster of its chief executive last year, is paring back involvement in two of its alternative energy ventures as it seeks to cut costs and streamline operations, the company announced on Thursday. (New York Times)

Fish and Wildlife to allow more wind-related eagle deaths. Wind energy projects would be allowed to result in more bald eagle deaths under a new regulation proposed Thursday by the Obama administration. (The Hill)

Poll: Most haven’t heard of Obama climate rule. Most Americans have heard little or nothing about the Obama administration’s landmark climate change rule for power plants, according to a new poll. (The Hill)

US climate chief's goal: ‘Set in motion’ climate work over next five years. President Obama’s top climate negotiator on Thursday said the U.S.’s goal is to put in place the climate action strategies included in last year’s international climate change accord within the next five years. (The Hill)

Tech Business

Spotify-backed 'Soundtrack Your Brand' launches in U.S., signs McDonald's. Soundtrack Your Brand, a music streaming service for businesses backed by Spotify, launched in the United States on Thursday and announced a global deal with fast food chain McDonald's. (Reuters)

Airbnb looks at expanding into leisure activities. Accommodation-listing service Airbnb is looking at moving into other businesses, its co-founder has said. (BBC News)

Ford Invests in Pivotal to Soup Up Its Software. Ford Motor Co. on Thursday said it would invest $182.2 million in Pivotal Software Inc., a closely held software-development tools and services company, another sign of the automotive industry’s drive to beef up its software skills. (Wall Street Journal)

Ford invests $182 million in Silicon Valley tech firm. Ford said Thursday it is investing $182 million in Pivotal, a Silicon Valley-based software development company, to gain access to cutting-edge software-development expertise that the automaker admits it would struggle to develop on its own. (USA Today)

FireEye names Mandia CEO, cuts full-year revenue forecast. Cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc said on Thursday that Chief Executive David DeWalt would step down from that role on June 15 and be succeeded by President Kevin Mandia. (Reuters)

White House techies explore the intersection of big data and ethics. Big-data applications might seem remote and impersonal, but the software and algorithms they use are coded by humans and therefore can reflect human error and bias. A new White House report warns that the emerging technology poses risks and opportunities. (FCW)

New Apple app launches in Britain that pays people to get fit. A free smartphone app that will pay people to be physically active launches on Wednesday in Britain, with users given digital "sweatcoins" depending on how many steps they take that can be exchanged for rewards or traded like money. (Reuters)

GoPro sales, shares drop. GoPro shares turned lower late Thursday, one of a handful of tech stocks moving late Thursday, after the action-cam maker's sales weren't as bad as Wall Street has feared. (USA Today)

Dorsey's Square hit by 15% stock drop after results. Shares of Square plunged as much as 15% after it announced a larger-than-expected quarterly loss on Thursday. (USA Today)

After Moore's Law: Predicting The Future Beyond Silicon Chips. For several decades now, Georgia Tech professor Tom Conte has been studying how to improve computers: "How do we make them faster and more efficient next time around versus what we just made?" (NPR)

Ford and Microsoft lead $253 million investment in EMC-owned Pivotal. Automaker Ford and software giant Microsoft have led a $253 million investment round in the EMC-controlled software development company Pivotal that values the company at about $2.8 billion. (Recode)

ITI Member News

Facebook Has 50 Minutes of Your Time Each Day. It Wants More.. Facebook reported dazzling first quarter results last week: Net income nearly tripled to $1.5 billion, and monthly active users hit a record 1.65 billion. But it’s a much smaller number that leapt out at me. (New York Times)

Little risk for Google in retrial vs Oracle over Android. Even if a jury orders Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O) Google to pay the full $8.8 billion sought by Oracle Corp (ORCL.N) in an upcoming San Francisco copyright trial over the Android operating system, shareholders and analysts say it will likely have little impact on the search giant's bottom line. (Reuters)

SAP teams up with Apple to bring SAP's HANA to iOS. Apple Inc is taking another step into the corporate computing world by partnering with SAP to develop apps that run the German company's widely used business software on smartphones and tablets, the two companies said on Thursday. (Reuters)

Apple Petitions to Sell Refurbished iPhones in India. India’s government is weighing a proposal by Apple Inc. to refurbish and sell secondhand iPhones in the country, officials said, as the tech giant tries to gain traction in a fast-growing and populous, but not very affluent, market. (Wall Street Journal)

Apple, SAP to Cooperate on Workplace Apps. Apple Inc. and SAP SE said they would cooperate to help developers create iPad and iPhone apps tapping the German software firm’s database services and analytics, the latest move in Apple’s push into the corporate world. (Wall Street Journal)

Cupertino's mayor urges Apple to pay more tax: 'where's the fairness?'. The last time the mayor of Cupertino walked into Apple – the largest company in his small Californian town and, it so happens, the most valuable company in the world – he hoped to have a meeting to talk about traffic congestion. (The Guardian)

Google, Honeywell agree to resolve Nest Labs patent dispute. Alphabet Inc's Google and climate control systems maker Honeywell International Inc have reached an agreement to resolve patents disputes related to Alphabet's Nest Labs, a maker of Internet-connected thermostats. (Reuters)

Amazon Partners with Atlas Air Worldwide for Cargo Services. Amazon.com Inc. announced plans Thursday to double its fleet of jets for domestic package deliveries through a deal with Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc. that marks its second investment this year in an air cargo airline. (Wall Street Journal)

1600 Penn.

Today, in the morning, the President and Vice President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. In the afternoon, the President will meet with Secretary of Defense Carter.

Today on the Hill

Today, the House is not in session.

Today, the Senate is not in session.