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05/26/2017

Key Issues

Tech Politics

Zuckerberg: We need more purpose. Mark Zuckerberg told Harvard's graduating Class of 2017 Thursday that strong projects create a sense of purpose for everyone involved. His call to action: Let's "do big things not just to create progress, but to create purpose...You are graduating into a world that needs purpose. It's up to you."(Axios)

Zuckerberg to Harvard grads: Fight 'forces of authoritarianism'. Zuckerberg used his commencement speech to lay out a vision for America, covering political topics such as climate change, the prison system, automation and healthcare and come amid speculation that the 33-year-old billionaire is considering a White House bid. (The Hill)

Mark Zuckerberg’s Great American Road Trip. The Facebook chief plans to visit every state in the union and learn more about a sliver of the nearly two billion people who use the social network regularly. (New York Times)

How Silicon Valley is trying to topple Trump — beginning with a special election in Montana. A new group, Tech for Campaigns, is pairing tech-savvy volunteers with Democratic candidates across the country. (Recode)

Trade

Britain's May asks G7 to back moves to tackle internet extremism. British Prime Minister Theresa May will urge the world's major industrialized nations on Friday to unite to force technology companies to tackle "extremist material" and stop militants who are moving their fight "from the battlefield to the internet". (Reuters)

Trump Rolls Into Awkward First G-7 Summit With Echoes of Reagan. Donald Trump looks to have saved the worst for last in his lengthy first trip abroad as U.S. president: a G-7 summit that will involve debates on climate change and free trade with leaders who would probably rather be dealing with his predecessor. (Bloomberg)

Trump readies for 'robust' G7 summit in Sicily. There will be agreement on the need to do more to tackle violent extremism, and there will be serious discussion with Japan's prime minister about the threat from North Korea, our correspondent says. Disagreements are most likely to come over climate change and trade, our correspondent there says. Mr Trump will be urged not to abandon the 2015 Paris agreement to tackle global warming; and he will resist moves to limit protectionism in global trade. (BBC)

U.S. Denies Trump Expressed Worry Brexit Will Cost American Jobs. The White House denied President Donald Trump told European leaders he’s worried Brexit will cost American jobs, a position that would run counter to his previous praise of the breakup. (Bloomberg)

One Thing Modi Hasn't Brought: Jobs. Modi’s tenure cannot yet be judged a success for one central reason: He’s signally failed to create jobs for the desperate young people who gave him his massive mandate. The reforms needed to spur real job growth are simple to lay out. The government needs to reform itself -- starting with creating a less-intrusive regulatory state and a more accountable tax bureaucracy. (Bloomberg

Encryption

UK reportedly set to enforce anti-encryption proposals in wake of Manchester attack. British politicians will reportedly seek to rush through anti-encryption powers in the wake of the Manchester terror attack, forcing technology firms in the UK to break their own security in order to comply with compel notices issued by police and intelligence services. (International Business Times)

Cybersecurity

Flurry of leaks alarms US allies. The fear for some officials is that important intelligence partners — like America's fellow members of the so-called Five Eyes, the U.K., New Zealand, Australia and Canada — might think twice about handing over sensitive intelligence to the U.S. (The Hill)

Newly discovered vulnerability raises fears of another WannaCry. A newly found flaw in widely used networking software leaves tens of thousands of computers potentially vulnerable to an attack similar to that caused by WannaCry, which infected more than 300,000 computers worldwide, cybersecurity researchers said on Thursday. (Reuters)

DHS secretary touts response to ransomware attack. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is touting as a success his department’s response to the ransomware attack that targeted systems around the world earlier this month, saying the minimal effect of the “Wanna Cry” ransomware on systems in the United States was a result of DHS’s work with the private sector. (The Hill)

Bill to reform NSA hacking policy has skeptics in White House. The Trump administration has concerns about a proposed reform of the policy process the U.S. government uses when deciding how to handle newly discovered software vulnerabilities known as zero days, White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Rob Joyce told a meeting of tech leaders in Boston this week. (CyberScoop)

Hackers are hiding computer viruses in film subtitles, security experts warn. The attacks are embedded within the subtitle files that accompany many illegally downloaded films, and easily bypass security software and antivirus programs designed to keep computers safe. (The Telegraph)

Rep releases draft 'hacking back' legislation. Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) released updated legislation Thursday to allow victims of cyber crimes to hack their attackers back. The Active Cyber Defense Certainty Act (ACDC) would exempt victims from hacking laws when the aim is to identify the assailant, cut off attacks or retrieve stolen files. (The Hill)

Key lawmakers offer bipartisan cyber agenda in wake of Trump executive order. Two leading congressional voices on cybersecurity, on opposite sides of the political aisle, have laid out a bipartisan agenda for addressing such emerging threats as botnets, the Internet of Things and boosting the nation's deterrence posture, in the wake of President Trump's executive order that calls on the federal government to assess and mitigate its data-security risks. (Inside Cybersecurity)

DHS' 2018 budget supports cyber executive order efforts, info-sharing programs. President Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget request for the Department of Homeland Security would increase funding for initiatives aimed at improving federal agency and critical infrastructure cybersecurity, in support of a recently signed cybersecurity executive order, while making a cut to an Obama-era information-sharing grant. (Inside Cybersecurity)

Taxes

Trump Officials Offer Differing Views on Tax Plan. The open contradiction between two top economic advisers to President Donald Trump showed just how unsettled their tax agenda is, even as Republicans say they’ll be able to complete a historic revamp of the U.S. tax system by the end of 2017. (Wall Street Journal)

Trump officials under fire over vague tax proposals. Missing from President Donald Trump's budget proposal this week was an annual report, known as the Green Book, that presidents have issued for many years to spell out their tax goals in detail, an omission that tax experts called telling. (Reuters)

Border-adjustment tax proposal at death’s door. Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) border-adjustment tax proposal is increasingly looking like it’s on death’s door. The proposal to tax imports and exempt exports has been facing long odds for several months, with retailers, conservative groups and senators warning that it would lead to consumers paying more for items such as clothes and groceries. (The Hill)

Critics say border adjustment tax could face its own budget rule challenges. Critics say the border adjustment tax intended to pay for permanent tax cuts under the House GOP tax reform plan could be covered by budget rules requiring that it expire after 10 years, a point rejected by supporters of the so-called BAT. (Inside Trade)

Net Neutrality

Democrats want to turn net neutrality into the next GOP health-care debacle. Democrats are vowing, Churchill-style, to fight that measure in the courts, at the FCC and in the realm of public opinion. Sensing they've hit on a white-hot campaign issue, liberals are seeking to stir up a grass-roots firestorm around net neutrality that can thwart the GOP plan — or at least make it incredibly costly for Republicans to support. (Washington Post

FCC asked to remove fake comments on net neutrality. In a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai signed by 14 people, the group offers support for the principle of net neutrality, after the fake comments under their names called for the end of those rules. They also called for the comments to be removed. (The Hill)

Infrastructure

Senate takes lead on Trump’s infrastructure proposal. Top GOP lawmakers in the upper chamber are pushing ahead with plans that could serve as the building blocks for negotiations on the president’s initiative following the first real glimpse of Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure proposal this week. (The Hill)

Laptop Ban

An expansion of the U.S. government’s in-flight ‘laptop ban’ is still possible, official says. DHS Secretary John Kelly told lawmakers the government is reviewing potential threats. (Recode)

Privacy

Senate looks to tackle overseas data access. The FBI obtains a warrant against an American criminal suspect and asks Microsoft to provide the criminal's emails. But those emails reside on a server outside the United States. Does Microsoft have to turn over the data? (FCW)

Environment and Energy

Senators air grievances on Trump energy budget, delays. Senators of both parties used a Thursday hearing on a trio of energy-related nominees to the Trump administration to criticize the president’s policies two days after President Trump unveiled his first budget proposal, which included deep cuts to many programs in the DOE, especially those related to renewable energy and energy efficiency. (The Hill)

Rising Seas May Wipe Out These Jersey Towns, but They're Still Rated AAA. The same rating companies that were caught flat-footed by the downturn in the mortgage market during the global financial crisis that ended in 2009 may be underestimating the threat of climate change to coastal communities. If repeated storms and floods are likely to send property values -- and tax revenue -- sinking while spending on sea walls, storm drains or flood-resistant buildings goes up, investors say bond buyers should be warned. (Bloomberg)

Why Coal Can’t Compete on a True Level Playing Field. While the Trump administration promises an end to preferential federal policy in the energy industry, WSJ Energy Expert Richard Revesz says coal is still being propped up. (Wall Street Journal)

'Plant Factories' Churn Out Clean Food in China’s Dirty Cities. Researchers build urban farms, crop labs to combat contamination. (Bloomberg)

Billionaire Slim eyeing electric taxi to reduce pollution in Mexico City. Giant Motors, an automaker partially owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, is working on a prototype electric taxi to replace the gas-guzzling cabs polluting Mexico City's air, a company executive said. (Reuters)

Artificial Intelligence

The Search Ace Standing Between Baidu and Irrelevance. For much of the past two decades, Qi Lu, a search-technology whiz, waged losing battles against Google, first at Yahoo then at Microsoft’s Bing. Now, he says he can shape China’s Baidu into a worthy competitor in artificial intelligence. (Wall Street Journal)

Mark Zuckerberg tells Harvard grads that automation will take jobs, and it’s up to millennials to create more. The chief executive of Facebook and college dropout returned to his alma mater and encouraged the exploration of ideas such as universal basic income and ways to provide health care and child care that aren't tied to an employer. (Washington Post)

Broadband

No Matter What Washington Does, One Nonprofit Is Closing the Digital Divide. Broadband access advocates have so far had an uneasy relationship with the Trump administration. And while the president’s new budget calls for a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure, the word “broadband” appears in the 62-page document precisely once which is why digital divide researchers say it’s crucial for programs to get out from under the government’s umbrella.(Wired)

Many city-run broadband networks hit financial trouble, study says. A study by the University of Pennsylvania Law School found that fiber networks built by cities to provide high-speed broadband to citizens and businesses are riddled with financial pitfalls and many times end up as debt-ridden burdens for municipal governments. (Axios)

Immigration

Court Won’t Restore Trump’s Travel Ban. A federal appeals court rejected President Trump’s request to reinstate a revised immigration order, saying the president likely acted with improper motives when seeking to temporarily bar travelers from six Muslim-majority countries. (Wall Street Journal)

What’s next after a federal appeals court blocked Trump’s immigration ban. All eyes now are on Trump, a related case in California and perhaps eventually the Supreme Court. (Recode)

U.S. visas issued to citizens of Trump travel ban nations continue to decline. The United States issued about 50 percent fewer visitor visas in April to citizens of seven countries covered by President Donald Trump's temporary travel bans than it did in an average month last year, according to a Reuters analysis of preliminary government data released on Thursday. (Reuters)

Public Sector

News flash: Obama and Trump agree on this. President Donald Trump has made much of his repealing or cancelling executive orders and other gambits from his predecessor, Barack Obama. But when it comes to policy toward federal information technology, the Trump plan for 2018 could have been written by the Obama crew. (Federal News Radio)

Think of the Tech Modernization Fund as seed money, GSA head says. The $228 million Technology Modernization Fund proposed in the presidential budget request this week isn’t enough to dramatically overhaul federal investment in modernized technology, the interim head of the General Services Administration testified, but he said it’s a start. (FedScoop)

Senators rip $6 billion Army 'debacle'. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) called the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical a “debacle” during his opening remarks while pointing to other Army “modernization woes” and “disastrous acquisition record over the last two decades.” (The Hill)

Palantir goes from Pentagon outsider to Mattis' inner circle. The President Donald Trump era has turned Silicon Valley upstart Palantir Technologies from a Pentagon outcast to a player with three allies in Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' inner circle. (PoliticoPro)

U.S. is getting better fighting ISIS online. The commanding general of Army Cyber Command said this week the U.S. military has gotten better at countering ISIS’s digital operations over the last six months. (FedScoop)

CSRA snags $266 million EPA IT support contract. CSRA has landed a $266 million contract with the Environmental Protection Agency to provide next-generation IT support (FedScoop)

Innovation

Trump’s Budget Forgets That Science Is Insurance for America. President Trump's 2018 budget will never actually determine how the government spends your money: Potus proposes and Congress disposes. But that’s no reason for reliefbecause it does put the Trump administration’s underlying philosophy of governance on display. And it’s a harsh one. The science cuts make this most visible. (Wired)

Tiny, swallowable robots are the future of surgery. The Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT has been working on a tiny, swallowable robot made with magnets and dried pig intestines, which could be controlled magnetically from outside the body to perform medical operations inside the body. (Axios)

Intellectual Property

What Self-Driving Cars See. Giant tech companies are fighting over the technology in court. Start-ups around the world are racing to develop new versions of it. And engineers say it is essential to making autonomous cars safe. The obscure object of desire: lidar. (New York Times)

Tech Business

The gig economy workforce will double in four years. The number of on-demand workers in the U.S. is expected to nearly double in the next four years. That means 9.2 million Americans are expected to work in the gig economy by 2021, up from 3.8 million last year, according to combined research by Intuit and Emergent Research. (Recode)

Pact to Speed Up Bitcoin Drives Digital Currency to Record High. Bitcoin’s seemingly unstoppable rally has just been given new impetus. The cryptocurrency extended its surge by 10 percent to a record-high $2,690 on Thursday, bringing gains this year to 182 percent, after an agreement to upgrade the speed of processing transactions. (Bloomberg)

Startup’s Rocket Reaches Space, but Falls Short of Orbit. RocketLab, a startup widely seen as a trailblazer for frequent, ultralow-cost access to space, failed to reach orbit on its first flight. (Wall Street Journal)

Poll finds some Uber, Lyft riders giving up their cars. A new survey finds that some drivers are giving up their cars and using ride-hailing services like Lyft and Uber as their primary means of transportation. (The Hill)

Mossberg's Final Column: The Disappearing Computer. In his final recode column, Walt Mossberg says tech was once always in your way. Soon, it will be almost invisible. (Recode)

Ford veteran returns after brief stint at Uber. Sherif Marakby, an automotive executive who left Uber in April after one year, has re-joined Ford, where he previously spent 25 years, according to the Wall Street Journal. Marakby will be a vice president overseeing the company's self-driving and electric-car businesses. (Axios)

ITI Member News

New York Magazine editor to helm Apple News. New York Magazine executive editor Lauren Kern will become Apple News's first editor in chief. (The Hill)

Google’s Strategic Long Game in China. A friendly game of Go in the picturesque city of Wuzhen has given Google an opening to return to China’s good graces, seven years after it left the country over government censorship of its namesake search engine and hacks of its Gmail service. (Wall Street Journal)

Lenovo Reboots After Losing PC Crown to HP. Lenovo is shaking up its operations as it seeks to reclaim the title of global leader in personal computers and shore up its smartphone business. (Wall Street Journal)

Microsoft Tries to Take On Twitch at Videogame Live-Streaming. Microsoft on Thursday is launching its own videogame live-streaming service called Mixer, setting up yet another battle among some of the biggest names in the technology industry. (Wall Street Journal)

Samsung Electronics to set up fund to help suppliers amid Moon's reform push. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said it would set up a 500 billion won ($445 million) fund to help small suppliers, the highest-profile South Korean firm to unveil steps in the wake of new President Moon Jae-in's call to protect small businesses. (Reuters)

Inside Twitter, angst over the Trump effect. Some Twitter executives have praised Trump’s prolific Twitter habit, saying it brings welcome transparency to government. Others lament the way Trump has used the social media platform in his rise to power. (The Hill)

1600 Penn.

In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan. The President will then participate in the welcome ceremony for G7 leaders. The President will then participate in the reception for G7 leaders. In the afternoon, the President will participate in the G7 luncheon and working sessions. In the evening, the President and First Lady Melania Trump will attend the La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra concert. The President and the First Lady will then participate in a dinner hosted by President Sergio Mattarella of Italy.

Today on the Hill

The House stands adjourned and is not expected to convene again for votes until 6:30 pm on Tuesday June 6.

The Senate stands adjourned to convene for pro forma sessions only with no business conducted on the following dates and times: Friday, May 26th at 8:45am; Tuesday, May 30th at 7:00am; and Friday, June 2nd at 9:00am. When the Senate adjourns on Friday, it will next convene at 3:00pm on Monday, June 5, 2017.

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