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Key Issues

State of the Union

Obama's Address to Focus on Economy.  Obama is expected to prod Congress to take steps to spur the economy, in a State of the Union address that is also set to include immigration, gun control, climate change and education.  (WSJ)

Watching Obama for Signs of Change.  As the president readies his State of the Union address, many associates say he is exhibiting an assertiveness in contrast to the caution he showed in his first term.  (NY Times)

Tim Cook to sit with Michelle Obama during State of the Union.  Apple CEO Tim Cook will sit in the First Lady Michelle Obama's box during President Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday, a White House official said.  (San Jose Mercury News)

Tech world anticipates State of the Union.  The tech world will be keeping a close eye on shout-outs for cybersecurity legislation and high-skilled immigration reform during President Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday.  (The Hill)

SOTU tech talk may fall on deaf ears.  It's not an easy thing translating statements into policy and law.  (Politico)

Executive action expected on climate.  President Obama is expected to launch a serious second-term push on climate change with his State of the Union address.  (The Hill)

Cybersecurity & Privacy

Obama may issue order Wednesday on defense against cyber attacks.  President Obama plans to release a long-awaited executive order aimed at improving the nation's defenses against cyber attacks as early as Wednesday, according to sources familiar with the matter. (Reuters)

In Cyberwar, Software Flaws Are A Hot Commodity.  In the past, security researchers who stumbled on a software flaw would typically report the flaw to the software's manufacturer. But that changed when cyberweapon designers started looking at these flaws as vulnerabilities that could serve as a back door into a computer network.  (NPR)

Pentagon Goes On The Offensive Against Cyberattacks.  Plans for offensive operations are obscured by the government's reluctance to acknowledge them.  (NPR)

Cyber-police 'skills gap' warning.  A lack of skilled workers is hampering the UK's fight against cyber crime, the National Audit Office (NAO) warns.  (BBC)

Microsoft’s anti-Google advertisements.  Tech group’s campaign touches a nerve on privacy.  (FT)


Reaching across borders — and aisles.  Carlos Gutierrez came to U.S. as a child, became a top CEO and is now pushing GOP to help immigrants.  (Washington Post)

Matloff: #Glut of Foreign Students Hurts U.S. Innovation.  In the old days, the U.S. program for foreign-student visas helped developing nations and brought diversity to then white-bread American campuses. Today, the F-1 program, as it is known, has become a profit center for universities and a wage-suppression tool for the technology industry.  (Bloomberg column)

Bipartisan quartet to enter immigration fray.  Rice, Cisneros, Barbour and Rendell to form commission and seek consensus.  (Politico Pro)


Nokia protests against Indian tax probe.  Finnish phone maker Nokia said on Tuesday it was protesting against a tax investigation in India, a crucial market, in the latest dispute involving a foreign company's tax.  (Reuters)


Jon Potter: Software patent trolls can be stopped by U.S. Patent Office and Congress.  Our patent system can be revised to allow only real inventions that can be described in plain language to be patented, instead of creating a litigation nightmare.  (Op-ed/San Jose Mercury News)

Software industry debating patents, procedure.  The patent office plans to host roundtables at Stanford and N.Y. to discuss what can be done amid litigious backdrop.  (Politico Pro)

Economy & Global Trade

The Competitiveness Gap: The True Cause of the Global Recession.  Britain is recognizing the broader systemic causes of the global recession and moving past old ideas that do not match reality. (ITIF)

G-7 Won’t Target Exchange Rates Amid Currency War Concern.  The world’s major industrial nations sought to soothe mounting fears of a currency war with a pledge to avoid devaluing their exchange rates in the pursuit of stronger economic growth.  (Bloomberg)

New USTR Will Face Many Challenges, Including Staff Dissatisfaction.  The next person to serve as U.S. Trade Representative will not only face policy challenges like bringing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks to conclusion and operating the agency amid budgetary pressures, but will also have to deal with a level of staff dissatisfaction that led to USTR to be ranked last in work quality among 29 small federal agencies late last year.  (Inside US Trade)

Treasury Nominee's Citigroup Experience Raises Questions For Some.  Jack Lew is known as a smart, unassuming budget wonk who has spent most of his career in government policy-making jobs. Lew, President Obama's nominee to be Treasury secretary, is expected to face questions about his management years at Citigroup before the government bailed out the banking giant.  (NPR)


FCC Wi-Fi Push Could Jam Talking-Car Airwaves.  Automakers and suppliers say a U.S. push to broaden Wi-Fi use could jam accident-prevention technology that may cost as little as $100 per vehicle and save thousands of lives annually.  The Federal Communications Commission next week may propose rules to let new users into airwaves near those allocated since 1999 to developing car-to-car wireless communications. That technology, now being road-tested in Michigan, may be the precusor to self-driving vehicles.  (Bloomberg)

Waste Is Seen in Program to Give Internet Access to Rural U.S.  A $4 billion federal program is extending high-speed Internet access to rural areas. But it is not always going where it is most needed.  (NY Times)

Environment & Sustainability

Execs not helping Obama on climate.  The cast of potential supporters from the executive suites for the president is shrinking.  (Politico)


Brooks: Carpe Diem Nation.  Government is not the only place you can see signs of present-ism. Business has slipped into this pattern, too.  As Robert D. Atkinson and Stephen J. Ezell note in their book “Innovation Economics,” American firms are also lagging in their commitment to research and development. Between 1999 and 2006, for example, German firms increased research-and-development spending by 11 percent, Finnish firms by 28 percent and South Korean firms by 58 percent. During that same period, U.S. spending increased by a paltry 3 percent.  (NY Times/Brooks column)

15 moon shots for energy, food and water, courtesy of Google.  Google is celebrating the risk-taking entrepreneurs that are looking to create moon shots and solve the world’s most pressing problems. Turns out the list is dominated by technologies looking to fight climate change, and solve resource constraint problems.  (

Tech Business

Global startup success doesn't require Silicon Valley: oDesk, Etsy.  Although oDesk and Etsy may be successful startups that have come from Silicon Valley, both say that they would have been just as successful if they had started in Australia, because they took a global approach.  (ZDNet)

Tesla's Elon Musk lambasts New York Times article.  After the newspaper publishes a story critical of the all-electric sedan's battery life, Tesla's CEO alleges that the article is inaccurate and that he has the car logs to prove it.  (CNET)

Samsung Girds for Life After Apple in Disruption Devotion.  With Samsung now preparing to shed Apple Inc. as a customer as their rivalry intensifies, the Korean company’s smartphones are already outselling the iPhone and its share of the market for tablet computers has doubled in a year.  (Bloomberg)

ITI Member News

Bill Gates defends Bing and Windows 8.  Not surprisingly, the Microsoft chairman says Bing and Windows 8 are great products. He also talks about Steve Jobs, Spinal Tap, and polio during a Reddit "ask me anything" session. (CNET)

Microsoft's Xbox Entertainment Studio working on interactive TV.  Studio chief Nancy Tellem wants to deliver "hit" programming, including live events, reality shows and scripted programs with an interactive twist. (CNET)

Einhorn Squeezes Cash-Rich Apple.  Hedge-fund manager David Einhorn has proposed that Apple issue a special class of stock that would carry a high dividend yield. It is a novel solution to an old problem, that of cash-heavy companies.  (WSJ)

Apple vs. Einhorn: Judge speeds up schedule for lawsuit.  A federal judge approved Apple's request to speed up the schedule in a lawsuit filed by star hedge fund manager David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital, part of an effort to get the company to share its huge cash reserves with investors.  (San Jose Mercury News)

British authorities to investigate Hewlett-Packard's Autonomy claims.  Britain's accounting watchdog announced Monday that it is investigating the books of British business software maker Autonomy in the period before it was bought by Hewlett-Packard in 2011.  (San Jose Mercury News)

Dell looks to calm shareholder concern about acquisition.  Dell is telling shareholders that it considered a number of strategic options before agreeing to the deal.  (AP)

VMware buys Virsto for software-defined datacentre future.  The company is to acquire Virsto, a storage hypervisor and optimisation vendor, in an effort to further its software-defined datacentre strategy.  (ZDNet)

Adobe cuts Aussie pricing ahead of parliamentary hearing.  After being summonsed to appear before the IT pricing inquiry, the software vendor has now made its Creative Cloud individual membership fee AU$13 cheaper.  (ZDNet)

1600 Penn.

At 9 p.m. ET, President Obama will deliver his State of the Union Address to a Joint Session of the Congress.

Today on the Hill

Senate:  The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. ET and resumes consideration of legislation to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act for five years.  Voting is expected to begin at 11 a.m. 

House:  The House convenes at 2 p.m. for legislative business with no votes expected.  The House will consider several measures under suspension of the rules including bills on hydropower improvements and hydroelectric licenses and projects.

Joint Session:  The House and Senate will hold a joint session of Congress at 9 p.m. for President Obama’s State of the Union address.