Tech News Roundup

02/22/2017

Key Issues

Encryption
New York DA To Trump: Have Our Backs Against Cop-Proof Encryption.
New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance has a message for the Trump administration as it puts its cybersecurity priorities in order: Listen to state and local officials on the front line. (NextGov)

Global Trade
Mexico and Canada Say Nafta Should Be Re-Negotiated Trilaterally. The foreign ministers of Mexico and Canada presented a unified front ahead of potential trade talks with Donald Trump's administration, stressing the North American Free Trade Agreement has benefited all three countries. (Bloomberg)

Environment/Sustainability

The Pentagon Is Still Worried About Climate Change. US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis isn't exactly the type of person environmentalists would typically pin their hopes on. The retired Marine general is best known to most Americans for his quotable musings on killing and the thrill of combat. (Motherboard)

Automakers urge new EPA chief to withdraw Obama car fuel-efficiency rules. A trade association representing General Motors Co (GM.N), Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T), Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) and nine other automakers on Tuesday asked new Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt to withdraw an Obama administration decision to lock in vehicle emission rules through 2025. (Reuters)

Chinese firms dominate top 200 clean energy moneymakers. German tech giant Siemens has topped the latest Clean 200 list of publicly traded corporations which make significant revenue from green energy, while Chinese companies continue to dominate the rankings. (GreenBiz)
Cybersecurity

Group claims security flaw in federal courts' online filing system. The federal courts' system for electronic filing and access to case dockets contains a serious security flaw that could be exploited by hackers, according to a group devoted to making judicial records available for free on the internet. (Politico Pro)

IG: Interior risks exposing sensitive data. Deficient IT security controls at a core data center put the Department of Interior at risk of exposing sensitive and personally identifiable information, according to an inspector general report released Feb. 17. (FCW)

Immigration

Trump administration widens net for immigrantdeportation. Undocumented immigrants arrested for traffic violations or shop-lifting will be targeted along with those convicted of more serious crimes. (BBC News)

Trump plans to greatly expand number of immigrants targeted for deportation. Donald Trump has laid the groundwork for potentially deporting millions of undocumented immigrants by issuing new guidance that drastically broadens the ways in which federal immigration laws should be enforced. (The Guardian)

Mr. Trump's 'Deportation Force' Prepares an Assault on American Values. The homeland security secretary, John Kelly, issued a remarkable pair of memos on Tuesday. They are the battle plan for the "deportation force" President Trump promised in the campaign. (New York Times)
Bloomberg-backed group launches new immigration push under Trump. The issue of immigration is as contentious as ever, with President Donald Trump's travel ban causing international chaos before it was halted by the courts and a new wave of immigration raids descending in communities nationwide. (Politico Pro)
Seattle mayor wants to sue Trump. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is daring the Trump administration to let him take it to court. (Politico Pro)

Antitrust

AT&T says its merger with Time Warner is exactly what customers want. With AT&T planning to avoid a Federal Communications Commission review of its merger with Time Warner, Senate Democrats led by Al Franken (D-Minn.) recently asked the company to prove that the acquisition will benefit Americans. (Ars Technica)
AT&T talks up its merger on Capitol Hill, but these lawmakers are skeptical. Before AT&T can buy the media giant Time Warner for $85.4 billion, it has to convince Washington that the deal won't harm competition. (Washington Post)

Broadband/Communications

Ajit Pai is making the FCC more transparent - but only when it suits him. FCC chairman Ajit Pai has had a whirlwind first month, taking immediate action to scale back net neutrality, slow broadband subsidies for low-income households, and block efforts to reform the exorbitant calling rates to prisons.
Privacy

Wyden objects to DHS password collection plan. A Democratic senator wants to prevent Customs and Border Patrol from collecting social media and mobile device passwords as a condition for travelers to enter the United States. (FCW)

Tech, advocacy groups slam DHS call to demand foreign travelers' passwords. Technology advocacy groups and trade associations representing companies such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft criticized a suggestion from the head of the Department of Homeland Security that foreign nationals should provide social media passwords to enter the U.S. (The Hill)
Tax
CEOs of 16 U.S. companies urge Congress to pass border tax. Chief executive officers of 16 companies, including Boeing Co (BA.N), Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N) and General Electric Co (GE.N), have urged the U.S. Congress to pass a comprehensive tax code rewrite, including a controversial border tax. (Reuters)

Apple accuses EU of a litany of "breaches" in defense of Irish tax deal. Apple has attempted to school the European Commission on how it interprets Irish law, by lodging no less than 14 pleas in its challenge against competition officials in Brussels who have ordered the iPhone maker to pay Ireland €13 billion (£11.1 billion) in back taxes. (Ars Technica)

Apple digs in against $14.5B tax bill in Europe. Apple is filing a new legal challenge against its $14.5 billion tax fine in Europe, arguing the European Commission "made fundamental errors" in assessing the company's activities outside of Ireland. (The Hill)
Internet of Things

Self-driving Ubers are now ready for passengers in Arizona. After some popcorn-worthy drama between Uber and California, it appears the ridesharing giant has finally set up its autonomous pilot program in Arizona. (CNET)
Public Sector

GSA watchdog barks at 18F on shadow IT. The innovation shop 18F has a serious shadow IT problem, according to the inspector general at the General Services Administration. (FCW)

How Twitter became an outlet of resistance, information for federal employees. When a former employee of Badlands National Park took over the park's official Twitter account to tweet climate change facts in direct defiance of the Trump administration, they couldn't have known that they were starting a movement. Almost one month later, more than 80 accounts claiming to represent various federal organizations and employees, many of them national parks, exist in opposition to the Trump administration and its policies. (Federal News Radio)

Agencies with top engagement sit high, but agencies at the bottom sit very low. Agencies and subcomponents with the highest employee engagement vastly outscored their counterparts who sit at the very bottom of the 2016 Best Places to Work rankings. (Federal News Radio)

Watchdog: 18F ignored IT regulations, cybersecurity rules. The Obama administration's elite IT swat team 18F ran roughshod last year over cybersecurity rules set by the General Services Administration CIO and other officials, according to an audit report Tuesday from the agency's internal watchdog. (FedScoop)

Software vulnerability disclosures by NSA will continue under Trump, officials say. The disclosure process that governs how and when federal agencies should tell tech firms about flawed computer code is in no immediate danger of termination under the Trump administration, current and former U.S. officials said. (FedScoop)

24,000 square feet of IoT research: new facility planned in Indiana. The city of Fishers, Indiana, announced plans Tuesday to create a 24,000-square-foot Internet of Things (IoT) research lab. (StateScoop)

Workforce/Diversity

How Tech Campuses Hinder Diversity and Help Gentrification. Silicon Valley tech companies love to build super awesome campuses that their employees will never want to leave. (Wired)

An equitable future can be built in Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley is the place where the future is being built. It has a responsibility, then, to ensure that the future does not look like a more convenient and connected version of the 1950s. (Financial Times)

Uber sexism charges sound wake-up call for Silicon Valley. Explosive charges at Uber are shining a bright light on what has for years been an unsettling reality in Silicon Valley: Women here say they routinely confront sexism and harassment on the job. (USA Today)

Tech Business

Wal-Mart's Bid to Challenge Amazon Helped by Online Surge. After years of Amazon.com Inc. drubbing Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in e-commerce, the brick-and-mortar chain is beginning to push back. (Bloomberg)
Verizon Will Pay $350 Million Less for Yahoo. Faced with unknown costs related to two huge data breaches, Yahoo and Verizon Communications announced Tuesday that they had agreed to shave $350 million from the price that Verizon would pay to buy Yahoo's core internet businesses. (New York Times)
Brazil's Creditas gets $19 million amid boom in local fintech financing.
Creditas Soluções Financeiras Ltda, a Brazilian financial technology firm focused on secured consumer loans, has obtained $19 million from investors in a financing round that will allow it to provide borrowers with funds for one-fourth of what they pay to domestic lenders. (Reuters)

BMW, Mobileye in deal to collect map data for self-driving cars.
Israel's Mobileye and German automaker BMW said on Tuesday they signed an agreement to install Mobileye's data generation technology in BMW cars starting with 2018 models. (Reuters)

Why Verizon is still buying Yahoo on sale, despite that epic security breach. When reports surfaced last week that Verizon was renegotiating its deal to acquire Yahoo, some analysts were stunned to learn how little of a price cut the telecom giant was seeking - about $250 million - despite the Web company's well-known missteps with customer security. But on Tuesday, the two companies ultimately agreed to a discount of $350 million, or about 7 percent. (Washington Post)

ITI Member News

What Facebook Owes to Journalism. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg's manifesto about community, released last week on Facebook, wisely analyzed the state of journalism: He decried sensationalism, and declared that "a strong news industry is also critical to building an informed community." (New York Times)
TransferWise launches international money transfers via Facebook. Money transfer company TransferWise has launched a new service that allows users to send money internationally through Facebook Inc's chat application, as competition in the digital payments landscape intensifies. (Reuters)
Facebook Wants Great Power, But What About Responsibility?. The chief of Facebook made an ambitious announcement last week, though it would have been easy to miss. It came Thursday afternoon - about the same time that President Trump held his news conference. (NPR)

Facebook in talks to live stream one MLB game per week. Facebook Inc (FB.O) is in talks with Major League Baseball to live stream one game per week during the upcoming season, which could be a key win as the social media platform works to offer more live sports, according to two people familiar with the situation. (Reuters)
Toshiba wants to pick preferred bidder for chip unit sale by May: source. Toshiba Corp (6502.T) wants to pick the preferred bidder or bidders for a majority stake in its chip unit by the end of May and will hold the first round of bids next month, a source with knowledge of the plan said. (Reuters)
How to Get Venture Capital to Places Left Behind. Silicon Valley continues to attract more venture capital and more startups than anywhere in the U.S., but Steve Case says that has to change. The AOL co-founder and chief executive of investment firm Revolution LLC says "everybody, everywhere" should get a shot at the American dream. (Wall Street Journal)
Toyota and Shell could build 7 hydrogen refueling stations in California. Toyota and Shell will likely build seven hydrogen refueling stations around California if the state's Energy Commission approves a proposed $16.4 million in grants. (Ars Technica)

1600 Penn.

In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will receive his daily intelligence briefing. The President will then meet with Secretary Tillerson. In the afternoon, the President will discuss the Federal budget over lunch. The President will then hold a discussion regarding the Federal budget with senior staff. Later in the afternoon, the President will lead a legislative affairs strategy session.

Today on the Hill

Both the House and the Senate are out of session today.

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