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05/02/2016

Key Issues

Encryption

NIST aiming for quantum-proof crypto. Quantum computing represents the next generation of processors — computer chips that are orders of magnitude more powerful than current products. (FedScoop)

Snowden: Without encryption, everything stops. Edward Snowden defended the importance of encryption, calling it the "backbone of computer security." (The Hill)

Global Trade

U.S. puts China, Japan, Germany on new currency monitoring list. The U.S. Treasury Department on Friday put China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Germany on notice that it would closely watch their foreign exchange practices over the next six months, but once again stopped short of formally labeling any country as a currency manipulator. (Politico Pro)

Broadband/Communications

TV Stations Agree to Sell Enough Spectrum to Meet F.C.C.’s Goal. The federal government is ready to set off a huge land grab for valuable spectrum, the last of its kind for the foreseeable future. (New York Times)

FCC sets high target for airwaves sale. The Federal Communications Commission announced on Friday that it would try to move the maximum amount of wireless spectrum in an upcoming auction, indicating strong interest from television stations that are selling their wireless licenses. (The Hill)

Comcast hits back at FCC chair on box comments. Cable giant Comcast criticized Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler’s argument that the company’s initiative to let certain customers access its Xfinity platform through Samsung smart televisions bolstered Wheeler's case for reforms to the set-top box market. (The Hill)

In the New Wireless Universe, You’re Finally at the Center. Project Fi just celebrated its first birthday, but it was conceived more three years ago, on Boxing Day 2012. (Wired)

Gunning for Google, Comcast Preps Gigabit Internet That Works With Regular Cable. Comcast, the Internet provider everyone loves to hate, is gearing up to offer one-gigabit-per-second Internet service in five U.S. cities this year. (Wired)

Charter to drop data caps, but other companies still use them. With approval by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice for its $55.1 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable and its $10.4 billion purchase of Bright House Networks, Charter Communications is clear to become the USA’s second-biggest Internet provider. (USA Today)

Cybersecurity

Hackers steal millions of Minecraft passwords. Hackers have stolen login data for more than seven million members of the Minecraft site Lifeboat. (BBC News)

Ransomware attacks quadrupled in Q1 2016. Ransomware has taken off in 2016, with attacks in the first quarter coming at quadruple the rate seen last year, according to figures from a leading security vendor. (FedScoop)

New Jersey Takes Consolidated, Fusion Center-Style Approach to Cybersecurity. In post-9/11 America, states have accepted more responsibility in protecting their citizens. (Government Technology)

It’s the Year 2020… How’s Your Cybersecurity?. What if, in 2020, wearable devices did not care about how many steps you took, and instead were concerned with your real-time emotional state? (Government Technology)

Qatar National Bank says customer accounts safe despite data breach. Qatar National Bank, the Middle East's largest lender by assets, said it had taken immediate steps to ensure customers would not suffer any financial loss after a security breach last week exposed personal data of thousands of clients. (Reuters)

Privacy

In Europe’s Terror Fight, Police Push to Access American Tech Firms’ Data. European counterterrorism officials say American laws and corporate policies are hampering their efforts to prevent the next attack, because legal procedures for getting international evidence from U.S.-based social-media firms are dangerously outdated. (Wall Street Journal)

U.S. spy court rejected zero surveillance orders in 2015: memo. The secretive U.S. Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Court did not deny a single government request in 2015 for electronic surveillance orders granted for foreign intelligence purposes, continuing a longstanding trend, a Justice Department document showed. (Reuters)

US Supreme Court approves expanded hacking powers. The US Supreme Court has approved a rule change that could allow law enforcement to remotely search computers around the world. (BBC News)

Supreme Court OKs expanded hacking power for FBI. The Supreme Court approved a controversial rule on April 28 that would allow U.S. judges to issue search warrants for computers outside their jurisdictions, a move critics say would significantly expand the FBI's hacking powers. (FCW)

Snowden's Surveillance Leaks Made People Less Likely to Read About Surveillance. A new Oxford University study has published empirical evidence showing that government mass surveillance programs like those exposed by Edward Snowden make us significantly less likely to read about surveillance and other national security-related topics online. (Motherboard)

It May Soon Be a Lot Harder for the Law to Get Into Your Email. The House of Representatives unanimously passed The Email Privacy Act on Wednesday, a bill that would require law enforcement to obtain a search warrant before asking technology companies turn over your emails. (Wired)

Schumer wants FTC to probe ‘spying billboards’. That billboard you’re looking at could be looking you up. (NY Post)

Patent

Patent defendants won’t receive a “Get out of East Texas free” card. Patent reform advocates who were hoping to "shut down the Eastern District of Texas" face disappointment today, as the top US patent appeals court ruled (PDF) against a venue transfer in a dispute between two food companies. (Ars Technica)

Tax

Panama Papers become all-purpose excuse for tax transparency. Corporate executives could be forgiven for waving off the Panama Papers as the stuff of tabloids — a scandal involving Chinese princelings and Russian oligarchs, not major businesses. (Politico Pro)

South Dakota, online retailers go to war over sales tax. South Dakota has quickly become the epicenter in the battle over online sales tax. (Politico Pro)

Internet of Things

Google, Fiat Chrysler working on self-driving car deal: sources. Google and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV are close to agreeing on a partnership that could break boundaries between Silicon Valley and the auto industry in the race to develop self-driving cars, people familiar with the discussions said on Friday. (Reuters)

Brooklyn’s Wearable Revolution. Monday is what for many in the fashion-Hollywood-business-celebrity nexus is considered the highlight of the social season: the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute gala. (New York Times)

Public Sector

Amazon Web Services Launches 2016 City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge. Amazon Web Services is luring potential government customers again this year with its AWS City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge. (Government Technology)

New York's Contract Placing IBM Innovation Center in Buffalo to Bolster Region's Tech Sector. Buffalo’s undersized tech sector has gotten a boost with word that IBM Corp. has been selected to receive a key state contract that could bring about 100 jobs to the new technology center in the Key Center. (Government Technology)

Three wishes for FedRAMP Accelerated. When I led the design and initial implementation of the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, we knew it would be evolutionary and that changes were inevitable in order for it to scale. (FCW)

Senate VA bill looks to change agency culture, accelerate termination for cause. Under a new bill, employee termination at the Department of Veterans Affairs would be subject to fewer procedural checks, while agency whistleblowers would gain new protections. (FCW)

GAO: SEC needs to follow its own security plan. The Securities and Exchange Commission could do a better job of protecting its data. (FCW)

Former war pilot picked as next Air Force chief of staff. The Obama administration is tapping former war pilot Gen. David Goldfein as the next Air Force chief of staff. (Federal News Radio)

Air Force Office of Special Investigations to make jump to enterprisewide network. Only about 20 percent of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations’ network has migrated to the main Air Force network, called AFNET. (Federal News Radio)

DHS seeks better private-public sharing of cyber threat information. The Department of Homeland Security wants private-sector companies to get under the agency’s information-sharing umbrella in order to better manage and mitigate cyber risks to critical infrastructure. (Federal News Radio)

New enrollment fees could be ahead for TRICARE. Starting in 2018, new members of the military may have to dig deeper into their pockets to pay for medical treatment. (Federal News Radio)

Audit: security holes pose financial data risks for SEC. The Securities and Exchange Commission made improvements to its information security but remaining weaknesses could still put its financial data at risk, according to a congressional audit. (FedScoop)

USAID launches $30M Zika challenge. The U.S. Agency for International Development wants to crowdsource innovation to fight the current Zika outbreak and diseases of the future — using the model it employed to respond to the Ebola crisis in 2014. (FedScoop)

Drones, planes and the fear factor. Predictions are rarely a safe bet. But you can be sure that stories about drone and aircraft near misses will proliferate this year. (Financial Times)

Environment/Sustainability

States ask EPA for help on climate rule plans. More than a dozen states have asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to give them more information on how to form implementation plans for the Obama administration’s climate rule for power plants. (The Hill)

Knowledge of climate change basics doesn’t make people care. Improving the public's understanding of anthropogenic climate change is vital to cultivating the political will to do something about it. (Ars Technica)

As Asia's rice crop shrivels, food security fears resurface. Nearly a decade after a spike in global food prices sent shockwaves around the world, Asia's top rice producers are suffering from a blistering drought that threatens to cut output and boost prices of a staple for half the world's population.World rice production is expected to decline for the first time this year since 2010, as failing rains linked to an El Nino weather pattern cut crop yields in Asia's rice bowl. (Reuters)

Behind Beyond Sport's play as an environmental change-agent. Beyond Sport is an innovative, global organization, located in London and founded in 2009, based on a simple principle: Sports should play an active, positive role in sustainable social change around the world. (GreenBiz)

What missing a Supreme Court justice means for climate change. As the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan gets set to wind its way through the federal court system, the passing of former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in February has made the future of this rule murky. (GreenBiz)

A Crusader in the Coal Mine, Taking On President Obama. The rolling hills of eastern Ohio show few signs of the frenzied activity unfolding hundreds of feet underground. (New York Times)

Selling Bottled Water That’s Better for the Planet. On a recent morning over avocado toast and world-renowned New York City tap water, Grace Jeon expounded on the virtues of public drinking water. (New York Times)

EPA ozone rule looms large in swing state. The Denver area is playing a starring role in the national fight over President Obama’s new ozone pollution rule, with potential implications for a crucial Senate race. (The Hill)

Tech Business

Fairphone: one smartphone company's search for conflict-free gold. Gold is an essential material in many of today’s gadgets, with the electronics industry being the third largest consumer of gold globally, after jewellery and the financial sector. (The Guardian)

Microsoft stops Google being used for Cortana searches. Microsoft is forcing people to use its Bing search engine with the Cortana digital assistant in Windows 10. (BBC News)

Investors wary despite US earnings beating forecasts. US investors remain cautious about the corporate earnings outlook for the full year despite companies beating Wall Street forecasts for the first quarter. (Financial Times)

Berlin's government legislates against Airbnb. Berlin began restricting private property rentals through Airbnb and similar online platforms on Sunday, threatening hefty fines in an attempt to keep housing affordable for local people. (The Guardian)

Snapchat in deal with NBC to show Rio Olympics video clips. Snapchat will show video clips from the Olympics after it struck a deal with NBC to bring the sporting event to its millennial — and younger — audience. (Financial Times)

As venture capital dries up, tech start-ups discover frugality. Tech start-up Appthority's office has plush conference rooms, soundproof phone booths, an enormous kitchen and a view of San Francisco Bay. It has ping-pong and foosball tables, beer on tap and 11 types of tea. (LA Times)

How You’re Making Facebook a Money Machine. What you do when waiting for the bus or avoiding work goes a long way to explaining a tectonic shift in business and media. (New York Times)

With New Deals, Apple And SoundCloud Remix The Dance Music Marketplace. Last month, two seemingly unrelated tech music business announcements were made that have the potential to reshape the creative dance-music marketplace online. (NPR)

Obama backs smart gun technology in new policy blueprint. On Friday, the Obama Administration unfurled its progress report on the gun control policy the President first presented in January. A key pillar of that report is “smart gun” tech. (Recode)

Hulu Is Developing a Cable-Style Online TV Service. Hulu is developing a subscription service that would stream feeds of popular broadcast and cable TV channels, people familiar with the plans said, a move that would make the company a competitor to traditional pay-TV providers and other new digital entrants. (Wall Street Journal)

Making Art on the Run? There’s an App for That. Steps from finishing a 20-mile run, Gene Lu raised his arms in triumph. After a three-hour trek through Portland, Ore., Mr. Lu had achieved a goal that was both athletic and artistic. He had drawn Yoda. (Wall Street Journal)

A high-tech spring is in full bloom: column. I love watching people experience virtual reality for the first time. (USA Today)

New York City Casts a Net to Catch the Next Big Start-Up. For years, New York — a city not accustomed to being second banana — has looked on as Silicon Valley has solidified its influence over the technology industry. (New York Times)

This Tech Bubble Is Bursting. When the dot-com bubble burst in early 2000, the fallout for publicly traded stocks was quick and severe. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 37% in the 10 weeks following its peak on March 10, 2000. (Wall Street Journal)

How to Raise the Next Mark Zuckerberg. Everybody wants to give their children the tools to be a success in life. But let’s think really big for a minute: How could you prepare a child to start the next billion-dollar tech company? (Wall Street Journal)

Australian tells BBC he created bitcoin, but some skeptical. Australian tech entrepreneur Craig Wright has told the BBC that he was the creator of controversial digital currency bitcoin, after years of speculation about a person who until now has gone by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto. (Reuters)

ITI Member News

Nokia to use Withings deal to jump-start digital healthcare push. Nokia will build a range of consumer devices focused on healthcare and fitness tracking but will not make a return to the mobile phone market following its €170m acquisition of Withings, the French technology company. (Financial Times)

Amazon shines in turbulent week for tech giants. It has been a turbulent week for some of the biggest brands in the tech industry. (Financial Times)

Amazon becomes S&P 500's 7th biggest. Amazon jumped into place as the S&P 500's seventh-largest company, leapfrogging GE and Johnson & Johnson, as its stock surged on better-than-forecast earnings. (USA Today)

LinkedIn shares rise as profits top estimates. LinkedIn beat expectations on earnings and revenue, pushing shares in the social network for professionals up more than 8 per cent in after-hours trading. (Financial Times)

Facebook hit with lawsuit over plan to issue new stock. A Facebook Inc (FB.O) shareholder filed a proposed class action lawsuit on Friday in a bid to stop the company's plan to issue new Class C stock, calling the move an unfair deal to entrench Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg as controlling shareholder. (Reuters)

CIA Uses Twitter to Reenact 2011 Bin Laden Raid. The Central Intelligence Agency marked the anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s 2011 death with an unprecedented social media blitz on Sunday, employing an unusual public display to commemorate the secret raid in Pakistan that killed the terror leader. (Wall Street Journal)

Twitter Looks to Video to Increase Advertising Sales. For years, Twitter Inc. has struggled with its Main Street appeal. Now the social-media service also may be losing its Madison Avenue allure. (Wall Street Journal)

More than infotainment: Panasonic on self-driving cars and Tesla’s battery factory. Everyone wants a slice of the self-driving car market, and we can now add electronics giant Panasonic to that list. (Ars Technica)

Samsung thinks the 'future of children's bedtime' is virtual reality stories. Disrupting children’s bedtimes? Most children are more than capable of doing that themselves, whether it’s noisy pillow fights, demands for a fourth snack / poo of the night, or 467 more questions about death. (The Guardian)

IBM launches new cloud services for blockchain. IBM on Friday announced new services to help companies design and develop blockchain technology in a secure environment in the cloud, a network of computers where users are increasingly storing their data and computing work. (Reuters)

New Microsoft beta lets workers build their own apps without coding. Employees that need access to certain business data on the go can now build their own app for it using a tool from Microsoft that went into public beta on Friday. (PC World)

Intel cuts Atom chips, basically giving up on the smartphone and tablet markets. Intel could be on the verge of exiting the market for smartphones and standalone tablets, wasting billions of dollars it spent trying to expand in those markets. (PC World)

Google faces first EU fine in 2016 with no deal on cards: sources. Google is likely to face its first European Union antitrust sanction this year, with little prospect of it settling a test case with the bloc's regulator over its shopping service, people familiar with the matter said. (Reuters)

Apple finally encounters the laws of tech gravity. If you have created the most profitable product in history, what do you do for an encore? (Financial Times)

Apple's stock suffers worst week since 2013. Apple Inc on Friday ended its worst week on the stock market since 2013 as worries festered about a slowdown in iPhone sales and after influential shareholder Carl Icahn revealed he sold his entire stake. (Reuters)

Exclusive: Yahoo's bidder shortlist points to cash deal -sources. Yahoo Inc has shortlisted close to 10 bidders in the auction for its core Internet assets, including Verizon Communications Inc, with most offers involving cash rather than a combination with another company, according to people familiar with the matter. (Reuters)

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 participate in the latest installment of “Live from the White House” by conducting a round of interviews with television anchors from Des Moines, Manchester, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Kansas City and Phoenix to discuss his nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, and the importance of the Chief Judge receiving a fair hearing and up-or-down vote.

Today on the Hill

Today, the House is not in session.

Today, the Senate is not in session.