RSS LinkedIn google plus youtube twitter facebook MEMBER LOGIN

Tech News Roundup

Subscribe to a free daily email with the day's most relevant stories on tech policy and tech industry.

Your E-mail


Key Issues


One Last Growl for F.C.C.’s Sharp-Toothed Watchdog. When President Obama picked Tom Wheeler, a former cable and wireless lobbyist, to head the Federal Communications Commission in 2013, AT&T celebrated the pick as “inspired” and the cable industry said it was “exceptional.” (New York Times)

AT&T Cheerleading Squad for Merger: Nearly 100 Lobbyists. From the political right and the left, AT&T’s $85 billion bid for Time Warner has provoked pushback. But AT&T, in addition to its billions of dollars of capital, has another arsenal at its disposal: one of the most formidable lobbying operations in Washington. (New York Times)

Time Warner assets may open door to FCC review. More details are emerging about the extent of Time Warner's assets regulated by the FCC, creating more of an opening for the agency to review AT&T's $85.4 billion bid for the company. (Politico Pro)

Google Curbs Expansion of Fiber Optic Network, Cutting Jobs. Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is signaling a strategy shift for one of its most ambitious and costly efforts: bringing blazing-fast web connections to homes across America. (New York Times)

Google Fiber laying off 9% of staff, will “pause” plans for 10 cities. Google Fiber is laying off about 9 percent of its staff, and will "pause" operations in 10 cities where it hadn't fully committed to building yet. (Ars Technica)


Obama says the U.S. government still doesn’t know who shut down the internet last week. It’s still unclear who is responsible for Friday’s massive internet outages, according to President Obama. (Recode)

U.S. debates how to protect cars from hackers. The U.S. government’s latest efforts to protect internet-connected cars and their passengers from hackers is being criticized by two senators who say the new voluntary guidelines don’t go nearly far enough. (FedScoop)

Can we secure the internet of things in time to prevent another cyber-attack?. Can the world wide web survive the internet of things? It’s a question many are asking after a vast attack on US and European internet structure last week, likely led by “smart” DVR players and webcams, that has left the tech industry reeling. (The Guardian)

National Intelligence Director Says Data Suggests ‘Nonstate Actor’ Was Behind Cyberattack. U.S. officials and security researchers said it doesn’t appear that national governments were behind Friday’s massive internet attack, which briefly blocked access to dozens of popular websites such as PayPal, Twitter and Netflix. (Wall Street Journal)

Can anyone keep us safe from a weaponized ‘Internet of Things?’. It will be hard -- if not impossible -- to stop hackers from weaponizing the “Internet of Things” anytime soon. That’s what some experts are warning in the wake of a massive cyberattack Friday that used compromised Internet-connected devices like security cameras to disrupt many popular web sites. (Washington Post)

Dem asks FCC to review internet security rules after massive cyberattack. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) is seeking answers from the Federal Communications Commission on last Friday's cyberattack on the U.S. that took down a number of major websites. (The Hill)

DDOS attacks raise questions from lawmakers. In the wake of last week's distributed denial-of-service attack that crippled high-profile websites by attacking underlying infrastructure, several lawmakers have called on the government to improve cybersecurity protections and consider new rules for potentially risky web traffic. (BBC News)

Beijing threatens legal action over webcam claims. The Chinese Ministry of Justice has threatened legal action against "organisations and individuals" making "false claims" about the security of Chinese-made devices. (BBC News)

Senator: Industry needs to educate Congress on cyber. One of the most tech-savvy members of Congress said industry needs to educate him and his colleagues so they can make better cyber policy decisions. (FCW)

Stolen innocence in a world of corporate passwords. Innocence can be lost in a multitude of ways. In your mid-thirties, some of it disappears when you realise how much it will cost to escape from Ikea furnishings. Still more bites the dust with the realisation that you’re willing to pay more for kitchen drawers that close softly instead of with a bang. (Financial Times)

Power Plants Are Hackable Because Employees Are Still Using Pagers. After hackers attacked several Ukrainian power companies in December of last year, the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure has faced increased scrutiny. (Motherboard)

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence as a Bridge for Art and Reality. How to get people interested in art? How to engage millennials? How to expose permanent-collection works that sit in storage? These are questions art museums constantly ponder. (New York Times)

AI-powered body scanners could soon speed up your airport check-in. A startup bankrolled by Bill Gates is about to conduct the first public trials of high-speed body scanners powered by artificial intelligence (AI), the Guardian can reveal. (The Guardian)

AI creates gallery of nightmare images for Halloween. If AI did not already have a bad enough reputation, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are now teaching a machine how to be terrifying. (BBC News)

How MIT Is Teaching AI to Scare Us. Halloween's approaching, and MIT wants to use AI to scare the daylights out of you. (Motherboard)

Image recognition start-up prepares to battle tech giants. A New York-based start-up has raised $30m to take on Google and other technology giants in a key part of the artificial intelligence market, bucking a recent trend that has seen the leading tech companies buying up much of the talent in the field. (Financial Times)

A.I. Inspiration: The Science Fiction That Frames Discussion. Science fiction comes up often in serious discussions about artificial intelligence and weapons. That is partly a reflection of current technological limits and the deep concerns that surround the development of thinking machines that can kill. Here is a selection of some of the works that are most often mentioned: (New York Times)

'Siri, catch market cheats': Wall Street watchdogs turn to A.I.. Artificial intelligence programs have beaten chess masters and TV quiz show champions. Next up: stock market cheats. (Reuters)


Jeff Sessions considers eliminating H-1B program. While campaigning for presidential candidate Donald Trump, Republican Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions told voters in Iowa Tuesday he might be willing to eliminate the H-1B program. (The Des Moines Register)


WhatsApp fights back over criticism of new privacy policy. WhatsApp on Tuesday defended itself against criticism of its new privacy policy, saying the Facebook-owned company still wanted to know as little about users as possible even as it moves towards generating revenue. (Financial Times)

Liberties groups push for information on Yahoo email surveillance. A coalition of more than 30 civil liberties groups is encouraging the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to release information on reported surveillance of Yahoo's email system. (The Hill)

Internet of Things

In the Self-Driving Future, Cars Are the New Arcades. Autonomous cars are coming. By early next decade (sooner, if you believe Elon Musk), you’ll climb in, enter your destination, and get back to thumbing your phone as the robot does the tedious work of driving. (Wired)

Driverless cars, ethics and public safety. On Sept. 20, the Department of Transportation, by law our primary national traffic safety enforcement agency, issued its long awaited “guidelines” for the development and sale of driverless cars. The Department attempted, Solomon-like, to balance its guidance between ensuring public safety and promoting the speedy development of driverless cars (called “Highly Automated Vehicles”) for use on our roadways. (The Hill)

Public Sector

The new cloud paradigm: Managed services as a service. One of the primary attractions of moving to a cloud environment is cost. Before taking the plunge, it's common for agencies to calculate cost savings as high as 90 percent for moving from an in-house data center to a hosted cloud environment. (FCW)

DOD service chiefs survey the threat landscape. As the clock counts down on the Obama administration, the secretaries of the military services are reflecting on the challenges that keep them awake at night. The federal budget, acquisition reform, cybersecurity and workforce challenges are at the top of the list. (FCW)

IT modernization isn't all about tech. Modernizing big federal IT systems isn't really about technology -- it's about solving users' problems effectively, key federal managers said. (FCW)

Defense Business Board takes aim at test and evaluation tactics. Forces from inside and outside the Pentagon are rehashing an old issue with the defense acquisition cycle. (Federal News Radio)

How IT modernization helped the Fiscal Service uncover $20M in improper payments. In the laborious marathon toward IT modernization, the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Fiscal Service says it found an unexpected win early on in the race. (Federal News Radio)

FOIA committee mulls Section 508 responsibilities. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act is meant to act as a curb ramp for federal information technology, but for some Freedom of Information Act stakeholders, 508 is more like a pothole. (Federal News Radio)

Tony Scott welcomes unsolicited IT proposals from industry. Tony Scott is fed up with the overly prescriptive federal IT procurement process. (FedScoop)

What a new administration can do to make open data flourish. Opening government data and making it more useful has been a focus of the Obama administration, and a new report released Monday seeks to show the next administration how to build on those gains. (FedScoop)

Agencies eye more mature uses of cloud. When it comes to cloud migration, agencies are starting to look at ways to use cloud beyond increasing productivity, one expert told FedScoop. (FedScoop)

National GIS inventory takes evolutionary leap. Almost a decade after it was created, the GIS inventory — a national data repository created and maintained by the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) — is moving into its next phase. New features and a fresh design prepare the database for its next role in the future of NSGIC and users of GIS around the nation. (StateScoop)


New Climate-Friendlier Coolant Has a Catch: It’s Flammable. Rajiv Singh started thinking about how to do his part to fight global warming 15 years ago. (New York Times)

Alibaba leading China's push for cleaner data centers. China’s 1.37 billion people, many of whom are fully connected to the internet, use an enormous amount of energy as they email, search the Web or stream video. Indeed, the Chinese government estimates that the country’s data centers alone consume more electricity than all of Hungary and Greece combined. (GreenBiz)

The last mile on clean energy in the Northeast. The Northeast region is leading the country in the way that energy is produced and consumed, providing consistent, reliable power to a highly populated region while transitioning to cleaner energy. (GreenBiz)

22 insurers seriously assess climate risk — does yours?. In the past two years, as one record-breaking hot year followed another and property damages from Western wild fires and eastern hurricanes mount, there's been a doubling in the number of insurance companies that seriously evaluate climate risk in their underwriting, investment and governance decisions, according to an analysis by Ceres. (GreenBiz)

Tech Business

We need to talk about Europe’s tech problem. Some well-worn truths still have the power to shock when you think carefully about them. (Financial Times)

Smartwatch sales show sharp decline, report finds. The Apple Watch remained the market leader but it shipped just over one million units in the third quarter of 2016 (July - September). (BBC News)

Will the AT&T-Time Warner Merger Benefit the Public Interest? Not Likely. Apparently we’re supposed to sympathize with the giant conglomerates AT&T and Time Warner. They’re so beleaguered by changes in their core businesses that their only path to survival, so they say, is a merger valued at $85.4 billion that will keep their fleeing customers corralled. (GovTech)

AT&T aims to break from streaming crowd with Time Warner. AT&T is betting its purchase of Time Warner Inc will give the company an edge in winning subscribers for its live internet television package, a new front in media that is about to become crowded by technology players. (Reuters)

Applying A Silicon Valley Approach To Jumpstart Medical Research. Cori Bargmann's new job description includes "to help cure, prevent or manage all diseases by the end of the century." That's quite a lofty goal. (NPR)

Gig economy companies like Uber are helping the Feds spread the word about Obamacare. Once again, the government is looking for Silicon Valley’s help with Obamacare. (Recode)

Lighten up: tech firms take on economy-class flight. Some start-ups are taking on one of air travel's last undisrupted bastions - the economy-class cabin. While first and business class travelers have long enjoyed comfort upgrades, there's been less attention to innovation at the rear of the plane. (Reuters)

Activate’s Michael Wolf Predicts What’s Next for Tech and Media in 2017. Internet giants, armed with a new breed of chatbots, are stepping up a war over messaging services that increasingly hold the key to controlling customer relationships. (Wall Street Journal)

Chinese Startups Saddle Up for Bike-Sharing Battle. On Beijing’s streets, it is the battle of the orange and yellow bicycles. (Wall Street Journal)

ITI Member News

Apple sees return to revenue growth in December quarter. Apple is forecasting a return to revenue growth in the run-up to Christmas, after reporting a 9 per cent decline in sales during its fiscal fourth quarter. (Financial Times)

China went from Apple’s fastest growing region to its biggest loser. Can it bounce back?. Apple posted a steep 30 percent dip in China sales last quarter, but said it expects to return to year-over-year growth this quarter amid strong demand for its latest iPhone. (Recode)

Apple iPhone sales fall, but beat estimates. The tech giant sold 45.51 million iPhones in the three months to 24 September, beating an average estimate of 44.8 million. (BBC News)

Facebook Leaders Call It a Tech Company, Not Media Company. Facebook Inc. continued to resist the label of media company, but is getting even more heavily involved in content. (Wall Street Journal)

1600 Penn.

The President will attend meetings at the White House.