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05/31/2016

Key Issues

Encryption

Push for encryption law falters despite Apple case spotlight. After a rampage that left 14 people dead in San Bernardino, key U.S. lawmakers pledged to seek a law requiring technology companies to give law enforcement agencies a "back door" to encrypted communications and electronic devices, such as the iPhone used by one of the shooters. (Reuters)

Global Trade

Trans-Pacific Partnership’s vital role in U.S.-Japan relations. President Obama’s visit to Japan reminds us all of the strategic importance of U.S.-Japan relations. (Seattle Times)

U.S. panel launches trade secret theft probe into China steel. U.S. regulators launched an investigation on Thursday into complaints by United States Steel Corp that Chinese competitors stole its secrets and fixed prices, in the latest trade spat between the two countries. (Reuters)

USTR emails shed light on financial services lobbying on TPP. Emails obtained by an activist group under the Freedom of Information Act show Goldman Sachs was worried about the financial services industry being carved out of key investment protections in the Trans-Pacific Partnership pact, and lobbied U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman to make sure it was not. (Politico Pro)

Broadband/Communications

Don’t Hand Our TVs Over to Google. The cable set-top box — a clunky technology from a bygone era that costs many consumers around $10 a month — is headed for an overhaul as the Internet increasingly makes its way into Americans’ living rooms. (New York Times)

Should broadband data hogs pay more? ISP economics say “no”. Just over a year ago, Time Warner Cable rolled out an experiment in several cities: monthly data limits for Internet usage that ranged from 5GB to 40GB. Data costs money, and consumers would need to start paying their fair share; the experiment seemed to promise an end to the all-you-can-eat Internet buffet at which contented consumers had stuffed themselves for a decade. (Ars Technica)

Federal cellphone guidelines could undergo 'tweaks' after cancer study. Federal cellphone guidelines for consumers could undergo "tweaks" after a major government study found a link between tumors and exposure to cellphone-type radiation in rats, according to a head of the agency that oversaw the study. (The Hill)

Cybersecurity

Widespread collection of SSNs poses data security risk. Despite a reminder from the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, federal agencies haven’t reviewed their data on Social Security numbers in nearly a decade. (Federal News Radio)

Hackers Stole 65 Million Passwords From Tumblr. On May 12, Tumblr revealed that it had just found out about a 2013 data breach affecting “a set” of users’ email addresses and passwords, but the company refused to reveal how many users were affected. (Motherboard)

Why a power grid attack is a nightmare scenario. Stores are closed. Cell service is failing. Broadband Internet is gone. Hospitals are operating on generators, but rapidly running out of fuel. (The Hill)

Privacy

Privacy shield dead on arrival. The latest attempt at an EU-U.S. deal to protect data transfers of everything from family photos to payroll information appears to be on the same path as the last collapsed effort. (Politico Pro)

Why Microsoft Is Suing the Feds Over Issues of Privacy and Security. Companies often try to steer clear of conflicts with the government. But Microsoft Corp. is picking fights with the government. (Wall Street Journal)

Governments Turn to Commercial Spyware to Intimidate Dissidents. In the last five years, Ahmed Mansoor, a human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates, has been jailed and fired from his job, along with having his passport confiscated, his car stolen, his email hacked, his location tracked and his bank account robbed of $140,000. He has also been beaten, twice, in the same week. (New York Times)

What One District's Data Mining Did For Chronic Absence. Mel Atkins has spent most of his life with Grand Rapids Public Schools in Michigan. He graduated from Ottawa Hills High, where he played baseball. But his real love was bowling. He says he's bowled 22 perfect games. (NPR)

California mayors demand surveillance cams on crime-ridden highways. The 28 shootings along a 10-mile stretch of San Francisco-area highway over the past six months have led mayors of the adjacent cities to declare that these "murderous activities" have reached "crisis proportions." (Ars Technica)

Email privacy legislation stalls in Senate. The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding off on further action on the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, as members are divided on warrant standards for email intercepts. (FCW)

Tax

Data analysis from Paris raid on Google will take months, possibly years: prosecutor. Analysis of data seized by investigators in last week's raid of Google's (GOOGL.O) Paris headquarters could possibly take years, French financial prosecutor Eliane Houlette said on Sunday. (Reuters)

Internet of Things

Michigan Puts Forward Bills to Allow for Public Sales of Driverless Cars. The U.S. auto industry’s home state of Michigan is preparing for the advent of self-driving cars by pushing legislation to allow for public sales and operation—a significant expansion beyond an existing state law that sanctions such vehicles for testing only. (Wall Street Journal)

The best tech to prevent distracted driving. While everyone knows they shouldn’t use a smartphone behind the wheel, one in every four crashes still involves someone texting, snapping, sharing, or chatting on a mobile device. (USA Today)

3 threats to incumbent car companies are converging into a tidal wave of disruption. Big changes are coming for the automobile industry, and everyone in the industry knows it. (Vox)

The Internet Gains A Sixth Sense. At a conference called the Internet of Things World, held in Santa Clara, Calif. this month, many of the world’s leading tech firms will explain how sensors, analytics and cloud computing will change everything. (Forbes)

An Autonomous Racing Series Kicks Off In California. If Roborace will be the Formula 1 of autonomous electric car racing, then “Self Racing Cars” is the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). At least, that’s the plan for the new driverless car series holding its first “ track days” this weekend. (Forbes)

The White House Is Finally Prepping for an AI-Powered Future. Researcher disagree on when artificial intelligence that displays something like human understanding might arrive. (Wired)

Public Sector

LaVerne Council drills in on her to-do list. When Robert McDonald was named secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, all eyes were on his choice for a top technology leader. (FCW)

13 Illinois Agencies Sign Joint Data-Sharing Agreement. Thirteen state agencies associated with the Illinois Department of Health and Human Services have signed an agreement to better position themselves to share information and improve services to their constituents. (Government Technology)

Environment/Sustainability

If climate scientists are in it for the money, they’re doing it wrong. One of the more unfortunate memes that makes an appearance whenever climate science is discussed is the accusation that, by hyping their results, climate scientists are ensuring themselves steady paychecks, and may even be enriching themselves. (Ars Technica)

Sen. Kaine considering McCain’s bump in defense spending. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va), who represents one of the largest numbers of federal workers, said he’s not ruling out the possibility of voting for a $17 billion increase in Defense Department funding for 2017. (Federal News Radio)

Workforce/Diversity

A Mission to Bring STEM Skills, and Robots, to Children in West Africa. One robot slammed into some blocks and nearly fell to the floor. Another sideswiped a wall. Yet another spun in dizzying circles. (New York Times)

Women Speak More Assertively on Facebook Than Men, Study Finds. On Facebook, women lean in. (Wall Street Journal)

Tech Business

China's President Xi pledges more support for technology firms. China's President Xi Jinping has vowed to increase government support for technology companies, state media reported, in an attempt to raise the country's competitiveness that could also further fuel concerns over protectionism. (Reuters)

Rise of Ad-Blocking Software Threatens Online Revenue. Many of the world’s largest Internet companies, like Google and Facebook, rely heavily on advertising to finance their online empires. (New York Times)

Fidelity Marked Up Private Tech Shares in April. The Nasdaq was down slightly in April, but private tech shares outperformed, at least according to Fidelity Investments. (Wall Street Journal)

Who's got the most cash in corporate America? For the first time, 5 tech firms. Climbing profits at tech companies in 2015 -- as revenue and earnings largely fell at other U.S. businesses -- gave the industry the five most-stuffed corporate wallets for the first time since tracking began in 2007. (LA Times)

Australia to sell £8m of seized bitcoins. A collection of bitcoins worth about £8m, which had been confiscated by police in Australia, will be auctioned off in June. (BBC News)

A.I. May Book Your Next Trip (With a Human Assist). Jay Baer, a digital marketing consultant in Bloomington, Ind., spends half his time traveling on business. That means he also has to spend hours each week coordinating that travel. (New York Times)

What Silicon Valley's billionaires don't understand about the first amendment. No major American cultural force is more opposed to examination and more active in suppressing it today than Silicon Valley. (The Guardian)

Autonomous-Car Startup Zoox Seeks Up to $252 Million in Funding. Zoox Inc., a secretive autonomous-driving startup in Silicon Valley, is seeking to raise as much as $252 million in funding, according to a securities filing. (Bloomberg)

Alibaba, Baidu Outperform as Full MSCI Inclusion Nears: Chart. Shares of some of the largest U.S.-listed Chinese companies have been outperforming in the run-up to having their full value included in MSCI Inc.’s indexes. (Bloomberg)

Venture Capital and Its Discontents. Marc Hedlund and his co-founders are launching a company called Skyliner that looks like a typical tech startup, except in one important way. (Wall Street Journal)

ITI Member News

Samsung Adds More Ads to Its TVs. Samsung Electronics Co. is quietly adding more advertisements to its Internet-connected televisions as it seeks new revenue sources for its struggling TV business. (Wall Street Journal)

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Microsoft back EU hate speech rules. Facebook (FB.O), Twitter (TWTR.N), Google's (GOOGL.O) YouTube and Microsoft (MSFT.O) on Tuesday agreed to an EU code of conduct to tackle online hate speech within 24 hours in Europe. (Reuters)

Microsoft CEO visiting China as anti-trust probe nears third year. Microsoft Corp chief executive Satya Nadella is in Beijing this week, a company spokesman said on Tuesday, as China's anti-trust investigation of the U.S. software titan nears its third year. (Reuters)

Indian Ministries Divide on Apple’s Retail Vision. India’s minister for commerce and industry said she supports waiving rules that threaten to block Apple Inc.’s retail stores, offering new hope for the tech company’s bid in the country. (Wall Street Journal)

Indian minister: discussing Apple's request for FDI rules waiver. The Indian government on Monday said it was discussing Apple Inc's foreign direct investment application that seeks a waiver from a local sourcing rule. (Reuters)

Apple sets sights on bigger target in India. As the Gujarat Lions cruised to an easy win over the Kolkata Knight Riders, Tim Cook stood on the edge of the pitch expressing his newfound love for Indian cricket. (Financial Times)

Apple fights call to block Facetime and iMessage. A patent-licensing firm is seeking to force Apple to suspend its Facetime and iMessage services claiming it has suffered "irreparable harm" as a result of the tech giant's actions. (BBC News)

Trial Set to Open in Legal Battle Between H-P and Oracle. Jurors are set to convene on Tuesday to hear opening arguments in a five-year legal battle that centers on Oracle Corp.’s alleged role in the decline of one of the former Hewlett-Packard Co.’s most lucrative products. (Wall Street Journal)

CSC and HP Enterprise ink deal for technology services goliath. For months now, there’s been a huge shakeout among companies that provide technology services to corporations, government agencies and large organizations, and the biggest may have come last week, with broad ramifications for businesses in the Washington area. (Washington Post)

Google’s Payday Lending Ban. Progressives have long argued that the federal government must protect the Internet from discrimination by treating service providers like Comcast as public utilities. (Wall Street Journal)

1600 Penn.

Today, in the morning, the President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. Later in the morning, the President will travel to FEMA Headquarters to receive the Hurricane Preparedness Briefing. In the afternoon, the President will welcome the NCAA Champion Villanova Wildcats men’s basketball team to honor the team and their 2016 NCAA Championship.

Today on the Hill

Today, the House is not in session.

Today, the Senate is not in session.