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Key Issues


With Finality, F.B.I. Opts Not to Share iPhone-Unlocking Method. The F.B.I. on Wednesday closed the door to the possibility of sharing with Apple the solution it bought to break into the iPhone used by one of the attackers in the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. (New York Times)

FBI will not share iPhone unlocking mechanism, cites lack of ownership. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Wednesday it did not own the rights to the technical method a contractor used to open an Apple iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters and therefore could not submit details of the mechanism for an interagency government review. (Reuters)

FBI Explains Why It Won't Disclose How It Unlocked iPhone. The FBI has officially decided it can't tell Apple how the agency hacked into the locked iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers. (NPR)

Encryption Without Tears. In an increasingly digital world, strong encryption of devices is needed to prevent criminal misuse of data. But technological innovation must not mean placing individuals or companies above the law. (Wall Street Journal)


Automakers, Wi-Fi advocates clash over coveted airwaves. A long-simmering fight between the auto industry and Wi-Fi advocates over a band of wireless airwaves is heating up as both sides intensify efforts to secure access to the highly coveted spectrum. (Politico Pro)

Making a Cable Merger Safe for Consumers. Telecommunications companies often use mergers to limit consumer choice and raise prices. That’s why federal regulators are right to seek tough conditions before approving a deal that would combine three cable companies. (New York Times)

Virgin speeds up fast broadband rollout. Virgin Media has promised to provide fibre broadband directly to the doors of more than 1m homes and businesses in the UK, in an effort to steal a march on rival plans from BT to offer faster internet services. (Financial Times)

The State of Cord Cutting Today, By the Numbers. People have all sorts of reasons why they’re looking to cut the cord, whether it’s because they’re tired of paying upwards of $100 per month to the likes of Time Warner Cable or Comcast for cable, or that they feel they’re simply better served with a smattering of services like Netflix and Sling TV. (Motherboard)

How a cable mega-deal could finally (and indirectly) make it easier to get good Internet. As Charter prepares to take over Time Warner Cable and create a huge new company covering 24 million customers, regulators want the combined firm to make some commitments of its own to ensure the merger doesn't create problems for competition. (Washington Post)

Comcast raises trial data caps to a terabyte but won't commit to nationwide rollout. If you’ve begun limiting your Netflix viewing because your home is one of the minority of users laboring under a Comcast data cap, good news: Comcast said late Tuesday that it has raised the cap to a terabyte’s worth of data per month. (PC World)

In Internet Age, Pirate Radio Arises As Surprising Challenge. In the age of podcasts and streaming services, you might think pirate radio is low on the list of concerns of federal lawmakers and broadcasters. You'd be wrong. (AP)


FBI would gain new hacking power if search warrant rules change. U.S. judges will be able to issue search warrants giving law enforcement agents power to access computers in any jurisdiction, potentially even overseas, under a controversial rule change likely to be approved by the Supreme Court by May 1. (Reuters)

Email privacy bill unanimously passes U.S. House. The U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously on Wednesday to require law enforcement authorities to get a search warrant before asking technology companies to hand over old emails. (Reuters)

US House unanimously passed bill requiring warrants for e-mail. The US House unanimously approved legislation Wednesday requiring the authorities to obtain a court warrant to acquire e-mails and data stored in the cloud. (Ars Technica)

Everything You Need to Know About Congress' New Email Privacy Bill. A privacy bill five years in the making just passed overwhelmingly through the House of Representatives, where privacy advocates and tech companies like Google and Dropbox are challenging a decades-old law that allows the government to get emails without a warrant. (Motherboard)

NHTSA aims to develop metrics for security, privacy of self-driving cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s push to develop guidance for self-driving automobiles will help establish metrics to measure “roadworthiness” of new technology, taking into account new vulnerabilities like cybersecurity and privacy concerns, according to NHTSA’s administrator. (Inside Cybersecurity)

Intellectual Property

U.S. Congress passes legislation to protect firms' trade secrets. The U.S. Congress on Wednesday passed and sent to President Barack Obama legislation strengthening legal protection for companies' trade secrets, including manufacturing processes and computer methods. (Reuters)

House clears trade secrets bill for Obama's signature. The House on Wednesday easily passed a measure that would provide a federal remedy for U.S. companies seeking relief from the theft of trade secrets. (The Hill)

Froman: Action plans coming for worst IP rights offenders. The Obama administration will develop a set of 11 different action plans to improve the protection of U.S. intellectual property rights in China, Russia and other countries where piracy and counterfeiting robs Americans of good-paying jobs, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said Wednesday. (Politico Pro)

Internet Of Things

AT&T exec says Internet of Things is a top priority. U.S. telecoms provider AT&T is betting it can carve out a significant business in connecting objects with one another, the head of that unit told Reuters in an interview, as it seeks new revenue sources in an oversaturated wireless market. (Reuters)

Volvo to test self-drive cars in UK. Swedish carmaker Volvo plans to run driverless car trials on public roads around London from next year. (BBC News)

Ford and Google Team Up to Support Driverless Cars. In an unusual alliance between a traditional automaker and a technology company, Ford Motor and Google on Wednesday joined to lead a coalition of companies that advocate federal approval of driverless cars in the near future. (New York Times)

Disability advocates to regulators: Consider us when making self-driving laws. Without fail, auto and tech companies start every conversation about self-driving cars with statistics. (Recode)

Senate panel clears 'Internet of Things' bill. A Senate panel on Wednesday approved a bill that would establish a working group to examine different issues related to the development of the so-called Internet of Things. (The Hill)

Senate Commerce panel OKs bill to establish Internet of Things commission. A bipartisan bill establishing a national commission to develop policy recommendations on Internet of Things security and privacy has passed the Senate Commerce Committee and supporters are eyeing a quick path to the Senate floor. (Inside Cybersecurity)

China's Xiaomi aims to double smart home device sales this year to $1.54 billion. Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc [XTC.UL] aims to double sales of smart home technology devices like rice cookers and air purifiers this year, the company's vice president said on Thursday, as it accelerates diversification of business lines to cope with the saturation of smartphones at home and abroad. (Reuters)

Public Sector

House Republicans tout innovation agenda. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) plans to send the Senate a number of technology innovation bills that have passed the House. The bills are all part of the Innovation Initiative that seeks to change lawmakers' attitude toward how they function in the digital era. (FCW)

Protecting physical infrastructure with cyber. The National Protections and Program Directorate's reorganization is still awaiting congressional approval, but the under secretary for the Department of Homeland Security's cyber division has a clear sense of mission, and a clear message to agencies and companies preparing for cyber threats: the way to minimize physical consequences to critical infrastructure is by prioritizing a "holistic" view of cybersecurity. (FCW)

Senators press OMB for A-130 update. The chairman and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee have pressed the Office of Management and Budget on when it will release an update to a key IT management policy for the executive branch. (FCW)

Senator’s reform package takes aim at wasteful spending, program duplications. Oil paintings, presidential allowances and administrative leave — the legislative package Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) plans to introduce covers a variety of federal programs and payments, with the singular goal of government reform. (FCW)

What’s the main culprit behind poor employee engagement? It’s complicated. For the fourth consecutive year, NASA topped the list of large agencies with the highest employee engagement on the 2015 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. It’s again considered the best agency to work for by the Partnership for Public Service. (FCW)

Dell's government cloud cleared by FedRAMP. Dell has become the latest technology giant to have their cloud computing service earn an Authority to Operate from the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program. (FedScoop)

House bill would elevate HHS CISO from CIO's purview. A House bill introduced Tuesday would establish a presidentially appointed Chief Information Security Officer for the Department of Health and Human Services, independent of the department's CIO. (FedScoop)

Study Reveals Biggest Barrier to Cloud Adoption. Cloud adoption in government is increasing, and the reasons are many: Adopting cloud services can lend an organization greater flexibility and agility, and save it dollars. (Government Technology)

How Open Data Is Creating New Opportunities in the Public Sector (Industry Perspective). President Obama recently announced the launch of The Opportunity Project, an initiative to utilize digital tools and open data sets to help promote economic opportunity worldwide. (Government Technology)

Federal CIO: Don't turn information tech fund into a Christmas tree. Congress and the executive branch should avoid loading down a newly proposed Information Technology Modernization Fund with other ideas that could slow it down or make it confusing, federal Chief Information Officer Tony Scott said today. (Politico Pro)

NASA makes it rain with $243M in contracts to institutions and small businesses. NASA is spreading the dough around like a pastry chef. Today the agency announced $50 million in grants to nearly 300 different recipients, from small engineering firms to big-time research institutions. (Techcrunch)

Environment and Sustainability

US Navy Asks Largest Suppliers to Disclose GHG Emissions via CDP. The US Navy will ask its 100 largest suppliers to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, as well as strategies for cutting them, via CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project). (Environment Leader)

Oil-producing U.S. states continue to face fiscal pressure: S&P. Persistent low oil prices continue to strain budgets in states like Alaska, Louisiana, Oklahoma and North Dakota, which rely on oil production taxes to fill government coffers, Standard and Poor's said in a report on state budgets on Wednesday. (Reuters)

Why your online memories are massive energy guzzlers. If Memory Lane were a real place, it might be a long aisle in a dimly-lit data center. At least for those of us who keep photos online. (Marketplace)

The 5 toughest challenges tomorrow's cities face. From New York to Shanghai, cities across the globe are swelling, compounding social and environmental sustainability challenges. (GreenBiz)

The race is on to cut concrete's hefty carbon footprint. A roomful of materials scientists, gathered at UCLA for a recent conference on "grand challenges in construction materials," slowly passed a brick-size white block around the room. They held in their hands, briefly, part of the solution to one of those grand challenges. (GreenBiz)

Land Rover & BT sponsor sustainable sailing. The winner of the 2017 America’s Cup, to be contested in June in Bermuda, immediately will attain sailing immortality. The squad that ends up hoisting the oldest international sporting trophy will be the one that most effectively melds top individual sailors to work together to become the best team. (GreenBiz)


Senators urge White House to speed cyber policy updates. Leaders of the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday pressed the Obama administration to speed the update of a 15-year-old guidance they say is hampering agencies from catching hackers. (The Hill)

Wells Fargo to Verify Customers through Eye Prints. Wells Fargo & Co., predicting that the traditional password will be gone in five years, plans to roll out biometric security technology for its corporate customers by July. (Wall Street Journal)

Blame the victim: Report shows fifth of breaches caused by “miscellaneous errors”. The number of reported breaches of organizations' data has been growing hyperbolically over the past few years, based on data in Verizon's 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR). (Ars Technica)

Qatar National Bank hit by cyber attack. Qatar National Bank, the gas-rich Gulf state’s leading lender, has been rocked by a data leak that has exposed the personal details of many of its clients in a file posted on social media that singles out some Al Jazeera staff and purports to identify security officials. (Financial Times)

Penalties versus incentives discussed as part of international norms for cybersecurity. The international community appears to be moving toward a system of “penalties” and regulations rather than market-based incentives for adopting cybersecurity practices, according to a former White House official. (Inside Cybersecurity)

Encryption legislation lags as congressional calendar dwindles. As Congress heads into a week-long recess, legislation on strong encryption has apparently stalled in both chambers and it's unclear if or when either of two rival bills will move. (Inside Cybersecurity)

Google’s Waze says, ‘Nope, hackers can’t stalk you on our app’. Yesterday, research surfaced showing how Waze, the Google-owned driving assistance app, has a vulnerability that would let hackers track users whereabouts unbeknownst to them. (Recode)

Tech Business

Texting and Driving? Watch Out for the Textalyzer. Over the last seven years, most states have banned texting by drivers, and public service campaigns have tried an array of tactics — “It can wait,” among them — to persuade people to put down their phones when they are behind the wheel. (New York Times)

PayPal revenue jumps as it adds users, processes more payments. PayPal Holdings Inc's (PYPL.O) quarterly revenue rose 19 percent as the company added customers and processed more digital payments on its network. (Reuters)

With Dubsmash, Lip Syncing Like the Stars. JENNIFER LOPEZ has done it. So have Rihanna, Khloé Kardashian, Reese Witherspoon, Cara Delevingne, Hugh Jackman and Josh Groban — some of them to hilarious effect. (New York Times)

Our Tagged Ingredients Data is Now on GitHub. Since publishing our post about “Extracting Structured Data From Recipes Using Conditional Random Fields,” we’ve received a tremendous number of requests to release the data and our code. (New York Times)

Venmo is growing ridiculously fast. Millennials still love their Venmo. (Recode)

Elon Musk Supports His Business Empire With Unusual Financial Moves. Since October 2014, SolarCity Corp. has tried to lure individual investors to the solar-power business by pitching $214 million of what it calls “solar bonds” through the company’s website. (Wall Street Journal)

Smaller tech stocks thrive even as large names get hammered. The technology sector has taken it on the chin in recent days, after lukewarm-to-disappointing results from a range of bellwethers such as Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft, but stocks of smaller tech companies have managed to buck the downtrend. (Reuters)

Global smartphone market shrank annually for first time in first quarter: Strategy Analytics. Global shipments of smartphones shrank 3 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier in the market's first year-on-year contraction on record, researcher Strategy Analytics said on Thursday, reflecting growing strains on the industry. (Reuters)

A Robot Monk Captivates China, Mixing Spirituality With Artificial Intelligence. Po, the wisdom-seeking hero of the “Kung Fu Panda” films, might recognize this temple in China where the world’s first robot monk dwells. For Po’s Jade Palace, there is Longquan (Dragon Spring) Temple, a place of Buddhist worship in the mountains northwest of Beijing, where gnarled gingko and cypress trees tower over red-walled buildings underneath rocky Phoenix Ridge. (New York Times)

Users average 50 minutes per day on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. Facebook’s “family of apps” strategy is a wild success. While some might have expected it to roll Instagram into Facebook and leave chat in its main app, keeping Instagram independent and splitting off Messenger into a companion app has helped it solidify itself as more than just a ubiquitous utility, but as a downright addiction. (Techcrunch)

ITI Member News

Facebook revenue smashes expectations as mobile ad sales surge. Facebook Inc's (FB.O) quarterly revenue rose more than 50 percent, handily beating Wall Street expectations as its wildly popular mobile app and a push into live video lured new advertisers and encouraged existing ones to boost spending. (Reuters)

Facebook Plans New Stock Class to Solidify Mark Zuckerberg’s Control. Mark Zuckerberg nurtured Facebook from a dorm room idea into the world’s biggest social network. Now the company is taking steps to ensure its founder remains in charge. (New York Times)

Microsoft buys 10 million strands of DNA to test molecular storage. Microsoft is buying ten million strands of DNA from biology startup Twist Bioscience to investigate the use of genetic material to store data. (Ars Technica)

Services Business Emerges as Key to Apple’s Core. At its heart, Apple Inc.’s business is fairly simple: the company builds attractive and useful devices, charges a healthy premium and cashes in. But as growth in device sales slows, and the population of Apple users expands, the company’s services business is shifting from overlooked to essential. (Wall Street Journal)

Apple iPhone, Once a Status Symbol in China, Loses Its Luster. Since 2010, Yu Kai has followed the ritual every year: When a new Apple iPhone comes out, he gets rid of his old one and heads to a store in Beijing to buy the latest model. (New York Times)

Amid talk of 'peak iPhone', Apple's prospects hinge on next model. Ask Siri if iPhone 7 will be the answer to Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) problems, and you're told that a visit to Apple's website should answer that question "and more". (Reuters)

Samsung Electronics first-quarter profit underpinned by better-than-expected Galaxy S7 sales. Tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) said on Thursday that its first-quarter operating profit rose 12 percent from a year earlier, propelled by strong initial sales for its flagship Galaxy S7 smartphones. (Reuters)

Google Shuts Out Competitors on Android? Hardly. One of the persistent tragedies of Android, Google’s globe-conquering mobile operating system, is that it continues to be better in theory than in reality. (New York Times)

Yahoo Agrees to Give 4 Board Seats to Starboard Value. Yahoo, the embattled Internet giant, has reached a deal with the activist hedge fund Starboard Value to give it four seats on the Yahoo board, including one for Starboard’s chief executive, Jeffrey C. Smith, the company announced early Wednesday. (New York Times)

Social media users upbeat on Facebook; gloomy on Apple, Twitter. Social media sentiment for Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Twitter Inc (TWTR.K) dropped sharply on Wednesday, a day after the companies reported disappointing quarterly earnings, while online circles remained confident about Facebook Inc (FB.O), which is scheduled to post results after the market closes. (Reuters)

Report: HTC to build the next Nexus devices, codenamed Marlin and Sailfish. The Nexus line has a long history of fish-inspired device code names, and these code names have an equally long history of leaking via rumors and AOSP commit comments. Today both Android Police and Evleaks are chiming in with details on the next Nexus phones. (Ars Technica)

S&P warns of possible IBM downgrade. A warning from Standard & Poor’s that it could downgrade one of the technology industry’s largest companies capped a stinging trading session on Wednesday that saw the sector sink into last place. (Financial Times)

1600 Penn.

Today, in the morning, the President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. In the evening, the President and the First Lady will mark Passover with a Seder Dinner at the White House with friends and staff.

Today on the Hill

Today, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. First votes expected: 1:15-2:15 p.m. Last votes expected: 3:15-4:15 p.m.

The Senate stands adjourned until 10:00am on today. Following any Leader remarks, the Senate will be in a period of morning business for 1 hour, with senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each. Following morning business, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R.2028, Energy and Water Appropriations. We expect Senator McConnell to reconsider the vote upon which cloture was not invoked on the Alexander-Feinstein substitute amendment #3801 to H.R.2028, Energy and Water Appropriations, at or around 1:45pm tomorrow.