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05/05/2016

Key Issues

Tech Politics

U.S. tech firms urge presidential candidates to embrace trade, high-tech visas. Thirteen U.S. industry groups representing technology companies Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), Uber Technologies Inc, Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Facebook Inc (FB.O) and others are pushing for the next U.S. president to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal and to make it easier to hire high-tech workers from abroad, according to a joint letter seen by Reuters. (ITI Mentioned, Reuters)

Tech Firms Urge Presidential Hopefuls To Embrace Trade, Worker Visas. Thirteen U.S. industry groups representing technology companies Amazon AMZN -0.05% , Uber, Apple AAPL -0.92% , Facebook FB 0.55% and others are pushing for the next U.S. president to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal and to make it easier to hire high-tech workers from abroad, according to a joint letter seen by Reuters. (ITI Mentioned, Fortune)

U.S. tech firms urge presidential candidates to embrace trade, high-tech visas. Thirteen U.S. industry groups representing technology companies Amazon.com Inc , Uber Technologies Inc, Apple Inc , Facebook Inc and others are pushing for the next U.S. president to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal and to make it easier to hire high-tech workers from abroad, according to a joint letter seen by Reuters. (ITI Mentioned, KFGO)

Encryption

Brazil lawmakers propose bill to shield WhatsApp. A Brazilian congressional commission on Wednesday recommended a bill that forbids authorities from blocking popular messaging applications, just two days after a judicial order left 100 million Brazilians without Facebook Inc's WhatsApp. (Reuters)

Broadband/Communications

FCC approves $17 billion cable deal. The Federal Communications Commission has signed off on European firm Altice’s roughly $17 billion purchase of Cablevision. (The Hill)

Muni broadband limits tucked into totally unrelated traffic bill in Mo.. The Missouri House of Representatives has passed a bill prohibiting traffic ticket quotas—which ordinarily wouldn't be much of a tech news story, but this particular bill includes an entirely unrelated provision that would make it a lot harder for cities and towns to offer Internet service to their residents. (Ars Technica)

How Cord Cutting Will Influence the Future of TV Commercials. Most people would agree that commercials suck. It’s why the internet almost blew up last June when people thought Netflix was going to start interrupting streams with ads (relax, it isn’t). (Motherboard)

Global Trade

New U.S. Rules Make Foreign Goods Better Deal for Online Shoppers. A change in trade rules is making it cheaper and easier for American consumers to buy overseas goods online, heartening merchants abroad but threatening stiffer competition for U.S. retailers. (Wall Street Journal)

Cybersecurity

Exclusive: Big data breaches found at major email services - expert. Hundreds of millions of hacked user names and passwords for email accounts and other websites are being traded in Russia's criminal underworld, a security expert told Reuters. (Reuters)

Turf battle erupts over hot cyber issue. A turf battle involving three House panels has erupted over who will determine the future of technology that protects privacy but makes it tougher for law enforcement to pry open phones. (The Hill)

Anonymous attacks Greek central bank in global anti-bank operation. The activist hacking group Anonymous on Tuesday attacked Greece’s central bank in what the group vowed is the first salvo in a 30-day strike against banks worldwide. (The Hill)

Ransomware Attack on Michigan Utility Provider Highlights Organizational Vulnerabilities. If you’ve been anywhere near a social media newsfeed in the last couple of years, then you’ve likely seen the horror stories about ransomware attacks. (Government Technology)

Immigration

Immigration: Down in Farm Country, Up in Some Cities. In the fruit and vegetable country around Seattle, farmworkers talk about smuggling fees as high as $8,500 per person and arduous, circuitous routes across the Mexican border. (Government Technology)

Privacy

No Safe Harbour? Confusion still reigns over EU-US privacy deal. Since 2000, US cloud providers have relied on the Safe Harbour agreement with the EU. (Financial Times)

Wyden to introduce bill fighting new fed hacking powers. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is expected within days to unveil legislation blocking a Justice Department request to expand its remote hacking powers. (The Hill)

Cops to public: Stop calling alleged drug dealer’s phone, we need to search it. A small town in Ohio is pleading with its residents to halt calls to an alleged drug dealer’s seized phone—the volume of calls are disrupting investigators’ ability to search the phone. (Ars Technica)

Legal quirk enabling surveillance state expansion absent Congressional vote. The old adage, "it's best not to ask how laws and sausages are made," doesn't apply here. Consider that the US surveillance state was greatly expanded, and yet not a single member of Congress voted for the Justice Department's proposal last week. (Ars Technica)

Tax

Congress says no Puerto Rico bailout, but tax deal beat it to the punch. Lawmakers say they absolutely, positively will not bail out Puerto Rico, but here's the thing: The federal government already is bailing out Puerto Rico. (Politico Pro)

Internet of Things

Driverless cars: when robots rule the road. Last year, California set out to draw up new rules of the road for the driverless car era. As the state’s motoring regulator released its proposals, one immediately attracted controversy: the requirement that a human sit in the driver’s seat. (Financial Times)

Public Sector

U.S., European Regulators to Study Drone Risk to Commercial Aircraft. U.S. and European air-safety regulators announced on Tuesday their latest initiatives to ramp up assessment of hazards posed by the proliferation of unmanned aircraft, highlighting different approaches on the two sides of the Atlantic. (Wall Street Journal)

Feds make it easier for students to use drones. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Wednesday announced new guidelines meant to make it easier for students to use drones for academic purposes. (The Hill)

IG: ICE IT system deficiencies threaten data integrity. Deficiencies in Immigration and Customs Enforcement's general IT controls could jeopardize the integrity and security of sensitive financial and operational data, according to a recent annual audit by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General. (FCW)

Why bimodal IT is terrible. "The False Promise of Bimodal IT," a report from Forrester Research. (FCW)

USAID's beta site is meant to look nongovernmental. The U.S. Agency for International Development believes that surrendering visible ownership can be good for the mission. (FCW)

OMB to give agencies a bigger voice in move to shared services. Over the last decade, the effort to move agencies to shared services has been missing a few important ingredients: the voice of the customer and an efficient approach to matching supply and demand. (Federal News Radio)

Lawsuit calls on SBA to stop ‘deceptive’ practices for reaching compliance goals. A small business advocacy group is suing the the Small Business Administration for what it calls “creative accounting” and misrepresentation of federal contracting goals. (Federal News Radio)

New SES performance management options hiding in Senate VA omnibus. At nearly 400 pages, the omnibus legislation the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee introduced Thursday covers everything from veterans homelessness to more flexible work hours for VA doctors and nurses. (Federal News Radio)

USPS touts supply chain diversity as secret to customer service. The U.S. Postal Service procurement officials say supply chain diversity not only brings small, minority-owned and women-owned companies into the business of government, but keeps the agency flexible enough to meet new challenges. (Federal News Radio)

Army launches $5B IT-refresh contract vehicle. The Army opened a new contract vehicle to bidders Tuesday to replace its desktop and mobile computers — and it could be worth up to $5 billion over 10 years. (FedScoop)

FIDO Alliance pushes two-factor login for governments, citizens. The British government recently became the first nation-state customer for a new form of two-factor identity authentication standard, and now the group behind the standard is pushing it in the U.S., too. (FedScoop)

Cyber's new frontier: Small and medium-sized businesses and agencies. Large enterprises may be under cyberattack, but at least they have the resources, in theory at any rate, to defend themselves. (FedScoop)

White House issues shared services guidance. The White House's Office of Management and Budget issued guidance Wednesday to improve federal shared services and the management of the nearly $3 billion spent annually on agencies' administrative functions. (FedScoop)

Environment/Sustainability

Agriculture Start-Ups Get Boost From Big Firms and Investors. Compared with medicine, where small companies often lead in turning cutting-edge science into new drugs, agriculture has never had much start-up activity. Agricultural biotechnology, for instance, has been dominated by six giant seed and chemical companies, including Monsanto and DuPont. (New York Times)

Greens sue EPA over fracking waste. Environmental groups are suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to try to compel better regulation of waste fluids from hydraulic fracturing. (The Hill)

Etsy gets crafty with solar commitments. Despite its long-time status as a B Corporation, craft marketplace Etsy has been relatively quiet about specific commitments to sourcing renewable energy. In late April, it broke that silence. (GreenBiz)

Workforce/Diversity

Why Silicon Valley Recruiters Are Flocking to Ontario. To find Silicon Valley’s latest hunting ground for engineering talent, start at Stanford University—then drive northeast for about 40 hours. (Wall Street Journal)

Wharton M.B.A.s Get More Training in Data and Decision-Making. The Wharton School has long been a destination for Wall Street-bound M.B.A.s. Now, the University of Pennsylvania’s elite business school is betting on big data. (Wall Street Journal)

Curriculum experts say coding is essential in a digital economy. Many of us happily drive a car without understanding what goes on under the bonnet. So is it necessary for children to learn how to program computers? After all, some experts say coding is one of the human skills that will become obsolete as artificial intelligence grows. (Financial Times)

Groups to raise $200k for LGBTQ women coding scholarships. Coding school Dev Bootcamp is joining forces with the Lesbians Who Tech organization to provide scholarships for LGBTQ women to learn to code. (The Guardian)

Tech Business

Uber, already in 400 cities, just formed a global policy board. Earlier this week, Uber convened the first meeting of an eight-person public policy advisory board that it formed in order to discuss regulatory issues plaguing the company around the world. (Recode)

Not Just Bitcoin: Why The Blockchain Is A Seductive Technology To Many Industries. If you've ever run a business, whether it's an ice cream shop or a Fortune 500 company, then you've probably kept a ledger. It's nothing fancy, just a list of transactions. (NPR)

Engie in deal with Accenture to boost customer experience. French gas and power group Engie signed a deal with consultants Accenture on Wednesday to develop digital applications for boosting its customer service. (Reuters)

This startup is racing to build the Amazon for alcohol before Amazon does. If there’s a retail sector that has barely gone digital, you can bet Amazon is trying to crack it. In the case of beer and alcohol, a startup called Drizly is moving fast to try to beat Amazon there. (Recode)

In the Race to Pay, Mobile Wallets Win. Every weekend, when Pierre Houle works the brunch shift at Olea, a neighborhood restaurant in San Francisco, many customers want to split the tab on multiple credit cards, a process that takes much longer than it used to. (New York Times)

Many Crowdfunding Consultants Come Up Short. The first time Sami Gros tried to raise money through a Kickstarter campaign, she failed. (Wall Street Journal)

Tesla brings its output targets forward by two years. Tesla Motors announced a big roll of the dice on Wednesday as it brought its production targets forward by two years, adding to financial stresses and putting further strain on its glitch-ridden production system as it races other carmakers to bring electric vehicles to the mass market. (Financial Times)

AT&T Unwinds 15-Year Web Alliance With Yahoo. AT&T Inc. is unwinding a 15-year partnership with Yahoo Inc. that has spanned the evolution of the Internet, from competing against AOL dial-up service to jockeying against cable companies to selling high-speed broadband. (Wall Street Journal)

Is the Tech Bubble Popping? Ping Pong Offers an Answer. Twitter’s gloomy quarterly report last week unsettled investors. They might have anticipated trouble more than a year ago had they noticed one key indicator. (Wall Street Journal)

Mobile game Sea Hero Quest 'helps dementia research'. Dementia researchers have developed a video game that could lead to the development of early diagnostic tests for the disease. (BBC News)

Via Attracts Financing, Despite Silicon Valley’s Nervousness About Ride Sharing. The start-up Via, a ride-sharing service that pools commuters, faced some headwinds as it sought new financing recently. (New York Times)

Alibaba's revenue rises 39 percent as more shoppers buy online. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, China's biggest e-commerce company, said fourth-quarter revenue rose 39 percent, helped by growth in gross merchandise volume. (Reuters)

China regulator to launch campaign to clean up e-commerce, online ads. Chinese authorities will launch a campaign to clean up e-commerce - targeting trademark violations, counterfeit and poor quality products and the faking of transactions to boost a merchant's online rankings, the official People's Daily said. (Reuters)

ITI Member News

Facebook pays $10,000 to 10-year-old Instagram hacker. Social media giant Facebook (FB.O) has paid a $10,000 reward to a 10-year-old Finnish boy for finding a glitch in its picture sharing app Instagram. (Reuters)

Amazon's business marketplace hits $1 billion in sales. Amazon.com Inc's business marketplace, which connects businesses with suppliers, has generated $1 billion in sales in its first year, making it a significant player in a fragmented industry worth more than $8.2 trillion in the United States. (Reuters)

Apple, Set to Move to Its Spaceship, Should Try More Moonshots. Apple is running out of parking spaces. If you drop by its Infinite Loop headquarters, you will find the place stretched beyond capacity. Even the valets, who double and triple-park the Teslas and Porsches that now flock to the world’s most valuable company, have given up finding free spots. (New York Times)

Apple loses China trademark case for 'iPhone' on leather goods. Apple Inc has lost a battle for the use of the "iPhone" trademark on leather goods in China after a Beijing court ruled against the world's biggest technology company in favor of a local firm, state media reported. (Reuters)

Apple Loses an iPhone Trademark Battle in China. Are you the proud owner of an IPHONE brand pocketbook? Fear not – a Beijing court has ruled that your bag is safely within the bounds of Chinese copyright law. (Wall Street Journal)

Microsoft Aims to Wrangle Data for Office Teams With SharePoint Revamp. Startups such as Slack Technologies Inc. and Box Inc. get much of the buzz in the business of simplifying workplace collaboration. (Wall Street Journal)

Microsoft unveils new effort to make its developer, IT documentation great again. Microsoft's developer documentation used to be the model that all others should follow. (Ars Technica)

IBM Wants Everyone to Try a Quantum Computer. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada grabbed international headlines recently with a simple explanation of a cutting-edge technology called quantum computing. (New York Times)

How IBM’s new five-qubit universal quantum computer works. In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, IBM gave an unwary world its first publicly accessible quantum computer. (Ars Technica)

1600 Penn.

Today, in the morning, the President and the Vice President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. In the afternoon, the President will have lunch with the Vice President in the Private Dining Room. Later in the afternoon, the President will host a Cinco de Mayo reception; the Vice President will also attend. In the evening, the President will be joined by the Vice President, the First Lady and Dr. Biden to kick off the 5th anniversary of Joining Forces and the 75th anniversary of the USO.

Today on the Hill

Today, the House is not in session.

Today, the Senate is not in session.