Tech News Roundup

02/27/2017

Key Issues

Tech Politics

To Keep U.S. Jobs, Chip Makers Share a Factory and Pin Hopes on Trump. Nestled at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains here, the IM Flash plant is a paragon of American high-tech manufacturing. (New York Times)
Trump to Ask for Sharp Increases in Military Spending, Officials Say. President Trump will instruct federal agencies on Monday to assemble a budget for the coming fiscal year that would include sharp increases in Defense Department spending; major cuts to other agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency; and no reductions to the largest entitlement programs, Social Security and Medicare, according to four senior administration officials. (New York Times)
Denmark is appointing an ambassador to big tech. Question: Is Facebook a country? (TNW)

Environment/Sustainability

Wind and solar power are disrupting electricity systems. Almost 150 years after photovoltaic cells and wind turbines were invented, they still generate only 7% of the world's electricity. (The Economist)
Coal Industry Casts Itself as a Clean Energy Player. President Trump has questioned the science behind climate change as "a hoax" in positioning himself as a champion of coal. The three largest American coal producers are taking a different tack. (New York Times)
You can't have lasting sustainability without social inclusion. Solar panels that only the rich can afford. Urban bike-share programs that limit participation to those using credit cards. Pricey organic grocery stores for communities where many people rely on SNAP benefits. (GreenBiz)
Amazon Deforestation, Once Tamed, Comes Roaring Back. A few months ago, a representative from Cargill traveled to this remote colony in Bolivia's eastern lowlands in the southernmost reaches of the vast Amazon River basin with an enticing offer. (New York Times)
The U.S. Geological Survey hails an early spring - and ties it to climate change. As the nation basks in some of the warmest February weather it has seen in decades, the U.S. Geological Survey has been quick to point out that the early spring conditions are another symptom of climate change. (Washington Post)
Privacy

FCC's Pai could sidestep commissioners on privacy rollback. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is planning to stop part of the FCC's landmark broadband privacy rules from taking effect in a move that threatens to open him to criticism over short-cutting the agency's process. (Politico Pro)

FCC to halt rule that protects your private data from security breaches. The Federal Communications Commission plans to halt implementation of a privacy rule that requires ISPs to protect the security of its customers' personal information. (Ars Technica)
ISPs who don't want competition get good news from FCC chair. The Federal Communications Commission is preparing to eliminate a requirement that Charter Communications compete against other ISPs with new broadband deployments spurred by its purchase of Time Warner Cable. (Ars Technica)
Cybersecurity

Tech industry raises third-party concerns over draft cyber rules for financial sector. The technology industry is arguing that proposed cybersecurity regulations for financial institutions are overly broad and would undermine the crucial data-protection services provided by third-parties. Rather, regulators should pare back the proposed requirements, emphasize a risk-based approach to cybersecurity, and allow for tailored and targeted approaches to addressing supply-chain risks. (ITI Mentioned, Inside Cybersecurity)

Yahoo reveals new details about security. Yahoo revealed extensive details about its cybersecurity measures for the first time Thursday in a letter sent to senators after the company suffered two massive breaches of user data in recent years. (The Hill)

Immigration

For Millionaire Immigrants, a Global Welcome Mat. With all the debate over immigration in the United States and Europe, one group of immigrants is getting a red-carpet welcome around the world: millionaires. (New York Times)
Global Trade
Senate to Vote on Ross for Commerce; Trump Gives State of Union. The Senate Feb. 27 will vote on the nomination of financier Wilbur Ross to take the helm of the Commerce Department. Ross will play a key role in developing and implementing the Trump administration's trade policy. (BNA)
Trump Is Off to a Slow Start on Trade Promises. President Trump keeps firing verbal broadsides at Mexico and China, but so far his new administration has not acted to keep specific campaign promises about trade policy. (New York Times)
Brussels sets out tough new line on equivalence. The City of London's hopes of maximising access to the EU are set to be dealt a blow by European Commission plans to take a tough stance on rules that could provide a post-Brexit lifeline for the UK financial sector. (Financial Times)
Upcoming Trade Summit Chance to Start Dialogue, Peru Says . Peru sees an upcoming meeting of countries in the Asia-Pacific region as an opportunity to begin talking about the new international context for trade relations. (BNA)
Peace in Ireland depends upon an open border. Named as bandit country at the height of the Troubles, the mountains and fields of south Armagh, marking the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, echo Yeats: "a terrible beauty". (The Guardian)
4 smart ways to improve NAFTA. Leaders of all three North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) member countries have now acknowledged the benefits that might be gained by renegotiating the 1994 regional free trade agreement. (The Hill)
Broadband/Communications

Telecom Rivals Come Together to Urge Faster Move to 5G Standard. Some of the biggest companies in telecommunications -- including fierce competitors -- are getting together to push for a quicker introduction of the next generation of high-speed mobile phone networks. (BNA)
Think the Internet Is Polarized? Just Look at the FCC These Days. Eariler this month, in a classic late Friday afternoon news dump, the Federal Communications Commission announced a rollback of two key decisions made during the Obama administration. (Wired)
Tax

Divided Republicans look to Trump to lead on tax reform. Republicans need President Donald Trump to get tax reform back on track. (Politico Pro)
Internet of Things

Trump administration re-evaluating self-driving car guidance. U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said on Sunday she was reviewing self-driving vehicle guidance issued by the Obama administration and urged companies to explain the benefits of automated vehicles to a skeptical public. (Reuters)

A Lawsuit Against Uber Highlights the Rush to Conquer Driverless Cars. Late last year, Uber, in defiance of California state regulators, went ahead with a self-driving car experiment on the streets of San Francisco under the leadership of Anthony Levandowski, a new company executive. (New York Times)
A series of U.S. state laws could prevent Uber or Google from operating self-driving cars. A series of bills introduced in at least four U.S. states - Georgia, Maryland, Illinois and Tennessee - would restrict the deployment of autonomous car technology on public roads to automakers - that is, companies that make cars. (Recode)

Infrastructure

Trump to Detail Infrastructure Plans Next Week. President Trump next week will give Congress more details about how he plans to upgrade the nation's infrastructure, White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters yesterday. Trump will discuss the plan in an address to House and Senate lawmakers Feb. 28, Spicer said. (BNA)

Public Sector

Exit interview: 18F's Aaron Snow candid about IG report as he departs government. Aaron Snow, a co-founder and former executive director of the General Services Administration's 18F digital team, has left government, he confirmed to FedScoop in an email Thursday. (FedScoop)
Rogers: Why data is critical infrastructure. When it comes to high-tech spying and infiltration, Russia is a peer to the U.S., the head of the National Security Agency told attendees at the WEST conference in San Diego. (FCW)
IG: Commerce lags on Data Act. The Department of Commerce is lagging on its preparations for implementing the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, jeopardizing the department's ability to meet the May submission deadline. (FCW)
Sequestration, shutdowns or increased spending? Anything is possible in 2017. The federal budget process has been broken for some time, but this year agencies and industry alike should prepare for the possibility that none of the rules will apply. (FCW)

HHS outlines lofty cloud plans despite IT budget squeeze. If you want a bellwether for IT spending across federal civilian agencies, a good starting point just might be the Department of Health and Human Services. (FCW)
Trump orders agencies to create task forces to tackle regulations. Vowing that unnecessary and duplicative rules cannot "be an obstacle to government opportunity," President Donald Trump directed federal agencies to establish regulatory reform task forces to start cutting red tape. (Federal News Radio)
Expect the unexpected with upcoming budget, appropriations cycle, experts say. There's one thing budget experts can predict with confidence: This budget cycle - and the next - will be unlike any agencies and contractors have seen in the past. (Federal News Radio)
Controversial R&D rule may get important tweak. The Defense Department may tweak a controversial policy put into place last year for companies using government research money. (Federal News Radio)
Microsoft's Karina Homme gives her predictions for the future of government. Microsoft's Karina Homme joins FedScoop TV to give her predictions on the future of government and more. (FedScoop)
Workforce/Diversity

A New Kind of Jobs Program for Middle America. When Alex Mathis heard there was a coding school in Akron, Ohio, not far from where he lives, he thought its claim-that he could become a gainfully employed computer programmer after a three-month training course-sounded suspicious. (Wall Street Journal)
Who Should Be Responsible for Pushing Gender Diversity at Work?. Even though research has shown that there are concrete benefits to hiring and promoting more women into leadership positions, progress remains stilted in corporate America-especially at the top. (The Atlantic)
Counties grapple with millennials entering the information technology workforce. For county government information technology leaders, millennials entering the workforce present a mixed bag. (FedScoop)
Virginia Expands Cybersecurity Training for Veterans in Bid to Fill Vacant Positions Statewide. Roughly three months after it began, Gov. Terry McAuliffe's Cyber Vets Virginia initiative to retrain veterans to work in the tech sector is expanding with the addition of two academies this spring, said state officials who hope the program will grow even further. (GovTech)
Tech Business

Listen, technology holdouts: Enough is enough. Even as fanatic customers can be counted on to line up outside the Apple store for the latest iPhone, there are still millions of Americans who don't use a smartphone at all. (Washington Post)
In Global Expansion, Netflix Makes Friends With Carriers. As he sat in his office in central Paris, Christian Bombrun, an executive at Orange, the French cellphone and cable operator, got an unexpected call. It was Netflix, the American streaming giant, proposing a deal. (New York Times)
Snap Brings Camera Into Focus as Social Messaging Tool. Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel's premise for reinventing social media in 2011 was simple: create an app to send disappearing pictures. (Wall Street Journal)
Acting SEC Chairman Calls for Expanded Access to Startups, Private Deals. The Securities and Exchange Commission should allow more investors to buy stakes in closely-held startups such as Uber Technologies Inc., Airbnb Inc. and Lyft Inc., the agency's chairman said Friday. (Wall Street Journal)
Making tech work for everyone. We look at a new gadget which helps blind and visually impaired people read text and recognise faces, we talk to a tech giant about its progress in making software more accessible, and we ask what role AI could play in opening up technology for everyone. (BBC News)
Popularity of Sony's PlayStation VR Surprises Even the Company. There are plenty of people who are skeptical about virtual reality, a technology some have heralded as the biggest thing to come along in years in games and entertainment. (New York Times)
Telefonica promises customers more control of own data. Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica announced a new strategy on Sunday promising to give customers back control of their own data with the help of a new digital personal assistant. (Reuters)
Bitcoin value hits record high. Bitcoin is at all-time high, with its value hitting $1,197.96 per coin on Friday and with over $18 billion of the digital currency in circulation. (The Hill)

ITI Member News

Twitter and Facebook are politicizing the military. Social media's angry partisan divides are seeping into the U.S. military, raising fears that the tradition of political neutrality in the armed services is eroding on sites like Twitter and Facebook, according to a first-of-its-kind Pentagon survey shared with POLITICO. (Politico Pro)

North Carolina Law Makes Facebook A Felony For Former Sex Offenders. In 2010, Lester Packingham was convicted of having a Facebook account. That's a crime in North Carolina, which bars registered sex offenders from "accessing" certain social media sites, including Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. (NPR)
An Ethnographer of Cancer Care for IBM Watson. Hannah Graffeo, 26, is a design researcher at IBM in New York. (New York Times)
Nokia sees growth opportunities in networks market. Nokia (NOKIA.HE) sees demand for higher speed 4G network equipment starting to recover this year, led by Japan, the company's chief executive Rajeev Suri said on Sunday as he announced a series of contracts with telecom operators. (Reuters)
Many consider the original handset iconic because of its popularity and sturdiness. More than 126 million were produced before it was phased out in 2005. (BBC News)

1600 Penn.

In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will­­­ stop by the National Governors Association meeting. The President will then lead a listening session with health insurance company CEOs. In the afternoon, the President will have lunch with Vice President Mike Pence and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. The President will then meet with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Later in the afternoon, the President will meet with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. In the evening, the President will have dinner with regional press affiliates.

Today on the Hill

Today, the House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for morning hour and 2:00 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m.
Today, following any Leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and resume consideration of Executive #3, the nomination of Wilbur Ross, to be Secretary of Commerce.
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