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Key Issues

State of the Union

Obama targets jobs and growth.  President Barack Obama will put job creation at the centre of his second term agenda, laying out a broad vision for robust economic growth and easing the strains on the US’s middle class when he delivers his fifth state of the union address on Tuesday. (FT)

State of the Union could be ‘call to action’ on jobs, energy and immigration.  A confident President Barack Obama is expected Tuesday to unveil an aggressive agenda in the first State of the Union address of his second term, calling for a rewrite of the nation’s outdated immigration laws, steps to prevent gun violence and ways to bolster a still fragile economy.  (McClatchy-Tribune)

President to Push His Economic Vision in State of Union.  Obama is expected to keep a focus on job creation in his State of the Union address as he pushes his economic vision for the country.  (WSJ)

Signs of bipartisanship offer Obama window to move agenda.  Both sides are showing a new desire to get things done, but there are no guarantees the spirit will last.  (The Hill)

Obama's State of the Union: Aggressive.  President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech will be less a presidential olive branch than a congressional cattle prod.  Emboldened by electoral victory and convinced the GOP is unwilling to cut deals, Obama plans to use his big prime-time address Tuesday night to issue another broad challenge at a Republican Party he regards as vulnerable and divided, Democrats close to Obama say.  (Politico)

Obama weighing executive orders on housing, energy to counter Congress.  Possible actions underscore the president’s increasingly aggressive use of executive authority.  (Washington Post)

Cybersecurity & Privacy

Cyber-spying threatens U.S. economy.  U.S. economic competitiveness is at risk due to a massive, sustained cyber-espionage campaign largely conducted by China, a new intelligence report says.  (Washington Post)

Almost all US networks can be hacked: Intelligence Committee.  The House Intelligence Committee has said that hackers from China and Iran are stealing not only military documents via online attacks, but also civilian intellectual property, and that the US government is just watching it happen.  (ZDNet)

U.S. getting cyber-robbed "every single day," Rogers says.  Alleging attacks on the United States "every single day," Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., is set to introduce a cybersecurity bill "as early as this week," the House Intelligence Committee chairman said today on "Face the Nation." (CBS)

Congress to renew cybersecurity scrap with Obama administration.  A cybersecurity bill that received pushback from privacy advocates and the White House last year will be re-introduced on Wednesday.  (The Hill)

Microsoft urges international alliances to battle malware.  Countries that have signed on to international cybersecurity agreements tend to have fewer malware infections among their citizens, according to new research released by Microsoft and George Washington University.  (PC World)

Brussels fights US data privacy push.  Europe’s most senior justice official is adamant she will fight US attempts to water down a proposed EU data protection and privacy law that would force global technology companies to obey European standards across the world.  (FT)

Internet, tech firms not too worried about privacy legislation.  Congress has been unable to unite around any bill that would set baseline requirements for how companies handle personal information.  (The Hill)

Big data collection collides with privacy concerns, analysts say.  A recent push in the information technology industry to collect and monetize big data is headed for a clash with privacy concerns from Internet users and potential regulation from some governments, according to tech analyst firm Ovum.  (PC World)

Global Trade

Back to the future as G20 comes to RussiaBack to the future as G20 comes to Russia.  Group of 20 policymakers have an ideal chance in Moscow this week to ponder whether monetary policy largesse will blunt their will to carry out the economic reforms needed to put global growth on a sustainable footing.  (Reuters)

China Eclipses U.S. as Biggest Trading Nation Measured in Goods.  China surpassed the U.S. to become the world’s biggest trading nation last year as measured by the sum of exports and imports of goods, official figures from both countries show.  (Bloomberg)

Accounting risk clouds big U.S. business bets in China.  Tales of shady business practices abound in China - fake revenues, phony invoices, sham factories - but until recently, the problem seemed confined mostly to Chinese companies.  (Reuters)

Time for EURAFTA?  The United States and the European Union ought to be able to agree on free trade.  (Washington Post editorial)

Almost A Year After FTA, Trade Data Show Expanding Deficit With Korea.  Trade data released by the Commerce Department today (Feb. 8) show that the U.S. trade deficit with South Korea grew more year-on-year during the nine months in which the U.S-Korea free trade agreement was in force than over the year as a whole.  (Inside US Trade)

EU Leaders Continue To Push For Comprehensive Trade Deal With U.S.  European leaders today (Feb. 8) endorsed a “comprehensive trade agreement” with the United States that should particularly focus on finding ways to achieve greater trans-Atlantic regulatory convergence, according to a concluding statement from the Feb. 7-8 meeting of the European Council.  (Inside US Trade)


US must do more than focus on deficit.  A broader, growth-centred agenda is needed to propel the economy, says Larry Summers.  (FT)

G-7 Said to Discuss Statement to Calm Currency War Concern.  The Group of Seven nations are considering releasing a statement on exchange rates this week to calm concern the world is on the brink of a currency war, three officials from G-7 countries said.  (Bloomberg)

White House to GOP: 'Come to the table' for sequester negotiations.  Senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer accused Republicans of adopting a "my way or the highway approach" and urged them to begin negotiations.  (The Hill)

Deficit-reduction disorder.  Austerity and economic recovery are bringing down the deficit, but the long-term problem has not been fixed.  (The Economist)


Silicon Valley wants voice in high-tech immigration reform.  This year may bring a rare opening for visa changes that could again shape the Bay Area's high-tech economy, and Silicon Valley figures big and small are raising their voices.  "It's very clear that when the economy is performing where it should, the (current) 65,000 cap nowhere meets the demand for highly skilled talent," said Robert Hoffman, a lobbyist for the Information Technology Industry Council.  (San Jose Mercury News)

Among U.S. evangelicals, surprising support for immigration reform.  Thou shalt compromise, at least on immigration reform.  (Reuters)

Give workers basic jobs skills.  Opinion: As our economy requires more advanced skills, investments in workers must adapt.  (Politico)

Tech salaries 'see biggest jump in a decade': survey.  Dice's monthly count of IT listings shows New York and Silicon Valley as top markets, big data the top skill.  (ZDNet)

MacArthur Foundation researchers find a new digital divide that's hard to cross.  MacArthur Foundation researcher Mimi Ito says that educators should take advantage of the places where students really learn, including Facebook, Twitter, fan fiction sites and from informal mentors. Connected Learning report offers promise for better preparing students for life and work in the 21st century, but there are no easy answers.  (San Jose Mercury News)

Etsy CTO: Prioritizing Diversity in Our Hiring Fielded Better Women ... and Men.  In a less than two-year period, Etsy quintupled the number of women on its engineering staff, and made other gains in the process.  (The Atlantic)

Environment & Sustainability

Solar industry grapples with hazardous wastes.  While solar is a far less polluting energy source than coal or natural gas, many solar panel makers are nevertheless grappling with a hazardous waste problem and millions of pounds of polluted sludge and contaminated water.  (Austin American Statesman)


So You Want Green Energy, New Medicines and Flying Cars? You Need the Federal Government.  What the "stagnationists" seem to forget or ignore is that over the last 30 years the federal government has been dramatically underinvesting in research and development. The U.S. ranks just eighth among OECD countries in R&D as a share of GDP.  (Huffington Post/ITIF’s Rob Atkinson)

The secret to tackling mobile, cloud and big data? Treat them as one.  It’s no secret that mobile, big data and cloud computing are transforming IT.  Sanjay Poonen, president of SAP’s mobile division, says companies need a single unified strategy to tackle them, not three separate ones.  (

IBM's Watson Gets Its First Piece Of Business In Healthcare.  Thanks to a business partnership among IBM, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and WellPoint, health care providers will now be able to tap Watson’s expertise in deciding how to treat patients.  (Forbes)

How battery improvements will revolutionize the design of the electric car.  Battery innovation isn’t as slow as many people think it is, and the continued pace of battery improvement enables entirely new types of electric car design, according to Tesla co-founder and CTO JB Straubel.  (

Tesla Motors Approaches Crossroad.  Investors will get a critical look at how Tesla is doing with the Model S—the first car the company has designed from the ground up—in the next few weeks when it reports its fourth-quarter results. A key figure will be how many Model S cars the company is now making per week.  (WSJ)

The Land of the Free: How Virtual Fences Will Transform Rural America.  A relatively straightforward technological innovation could profoundly reshape our relationships with domesticated animals, the landscape, and each other.  (The Atlantic)

Tech Business

Browsers want to be more like mobile apps.  Browser makers are pinning their hopes on HTML5, a programming language that preserves the ubiquity of the Web while making sites work more like apps. They are also deepening integration with cloud-based services, which allow users to preserve settings and history across multiple devices.  (San Francisco Chronicle)

Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe forced to face IT pricing inquiry.  The trio of tech giants has been summonsed by the House Committee on Infrastructure and Communications.  (ZDNet)

Square scandal highlights start-up growth pains.  Startups often thrive on a lack of rules and boundaries. But as they grow into sizeable businesses, the hazards of operating without manual - including lawsuits, reputational hits, and waning employee morale - grow exponentially.  (Reuters)

Macmillan Settles E-Book Case.  Macmillan agreed to settle an antitrust lawsuit over e-book pricing, which means book retailers will now be able to discount the digital titles of all major publishers in the U.S. (WSJ)

ITI Member News

Schmidt to Sell Google Stake Worth $2.5 Billion.  Google Chairman Eric Schmidt plans to sell stock valued at $2.5 billion over the next year as part of a trading plan that would cut his stake in the company by more than 40%.  (WSJ)

AOL:  America's Weirdest Successful Tech Company.  The dinosaur is back to squeaking out a profit.  (The Atlantic)

AOL Revenue Rises for First Time in Years.  AOL's profit rose 57% in the fourth quarter, despite lower profits from its core businesses. Total quarterly revenue rose for the first time in eight years.  (WSJ)

The Dice Are Rolling on Dell’s Legacy.  Michael Dell’s buyout offer for his company is an apparent bet that he can get it back on track in the midst of industry upheaval.  (NYT)

Dell Investor Aims High on Price.  Dell's largest outside shareholder faces an uphill battle in its argument that the tech company is worth $24 a share—$10 more per share than the current $24.4 billion LBO. Dell stock hasn't seen $24 since 2008.  (WSJ)

Dell puts special committees in focus.  As soon as Michael Dell proposed to his board that the personal computer company be taken private last August, the directors set up a special committee. In doing so, they in effect shut Dell’s founder, chairman, chief executive and largest shareholder out of discussions about the company’s strategic alternatives.  (FT)

Disruptions: Where Apple and Dick Tracy May Converge.  Though such a device has been lost to science fiction comics and spy movies of a pre-smartphone era, the smart watch might soon become a reality, in the form of a curved glass device made by Apple.  (NYT)

Apple and Samsung, frenemies for life.  It was the late Steve Jobs' worst nightmare. A powerful Asian manufacturer, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, uses Google Inc's Android software to create smartphones and tablets that closely resemble the iPhone and the iPad. Samsung starts gaining market share, hurting Apple Inc's margins and stock price and threatening its reign as the king of cool in consumer electronics.  (Reuters)

Samsung Emerges as a Potent Rival to Apple’s Cool.  After sweeping the market with the iPhone and the iPad, Apple has only one real competitor. And Samsung, unlike Apple, does think people know what they want.  (NYT)

Tim Cook reportedly opposed lawsuits against Samsung.  Apple's chief executive was against the lawsuits because of Samsung's role as a key supplier of components for the iPhone and iPad, Reuters reports.  (CNET)

HP Tightens Work Rules for China Suppliers.  Hewlett-Packard Co., the world’s largest computer maker, tightened hiring rules for China suppliers two weeks after Apple Inc. said a labor agent in the country forged documents on behalf of underage workers. (Bloomberg)

1600 Penn.

Two White House events to note today.  At 11 a.m. ET, Vice President Biden will hold a roundtable discussion with law enforcement officials and Members of Congress on gun safety at Girard College in Philadelphia.  At 1:45 p.m. at the White House, the President will award Clinton Romesha, a former active duty Army Staff Sergeant, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.  

Tomorrow, the State of the Union Address begins at 9 p.m. ET.

Today on the Hill

Senate:  Senators convene at 2 p.m. ET and continue consideration of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.  Votes are expected to begin at 5:30 p.m.

House:  The House is not in session.  Members resume work at 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday, February 12.