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Tech News Roundup

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Key Issues

Tech Politics

Challenge for the next administration: Evolving tech policy for the digital and data revolution.

The world is undergoing an unstoppable digital transformation, affecting every aspect of people’s day-to-day lives. (The Hill)

TIA, ITIC, other groups urge President-elect Trump to make technology infrastructure investments a priority. Leaders from 17 technology and telecom trade groups have reached out to President-elect Donald Trump asking him to make technology infrastructure upgrades a priority as part of his proposed infrastructure spending plan. (ITI Mentioned, Fierce Telecom)

What a Trump presidency means for the future of drone delivery in the U.S.. Trump wants to privatize air traffic management, according to Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., who says the president-elect is in favor of replacing the current Federal Aviation Administration-run system with a private, nonprofit corporation. (Recode)

Global Trade

TPP demise hurts U.S. interests. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), negotiated under President Obama but scorned by both major candidates to succeed him, was pronounced dead after Election Day. (The Hill)

Boustany making bid for top trade spot. Rep. Charles Boustany voted for every single trade deal President-elect Donald Trump considers terrible, but that isn't stopping him from seeking the next administration's top trade spot. (Politico Pro)


Walden's Energy and Commerce win puts telecom wonk on top. Rep. Greg Walden's ascension to chairman of the House Energy and Commerce panel gives the chamber's pre-eminent telecom wonk a chance to shape one of its most powerful committees — and take an ax to what he sees as burdensome regulations. (Politico Pro)

A political temper tantrum at the FCC. The United States just went through a brutal election season. Politics is a nasty game. But now that the election is over, we must — in the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln — come together and embrace the better angels of our nature. (The Hill)


Microsoft, Intel, IBM Push Back on China Cybersecurity Rules. Tough new Chinese cybersecurity rules are providing a rare, behind-the-scenes look at a regulatory skirmish between U.S. technology companies and Beijing. (Wall Street Journal)

Artificial Intelligence

AI academic warns on brain drain to tech groups. A brain drain of artificial intelligence talent to the biggest tech companies threatens to set back academic research in the field, according to one of the three experts credited with breakthroughs a decade ago that lie behind today’s biggest advances in AI. (Financial Times)

Facebook touts AI benefits as job risks loom. Silicon Valley is training computers to see, hear and speak and cars and trucks to drive themselves. (USA Today)

Facebook Looks to Harness Artificial Intelligence to Weed Out Fake News. Facebook Inc.’s artificial intelligence know-how could be applied to some of its most pressing problems, company executives said, if the social network creates policies to put them into place. (Wall Street Journal)


US Judges Can Now Sign Global Hacking Warrants. On Thursday, changes to the rules around US search warrants came into effect, meaning that magistrate judges can now authorize the hacking of computers outside of their own district. (Motherboard)

Uber Now Tracks Passengers' Locations Even After They're Dropped Off. Uber's latest update allows the ride-hailing app to track user location data even when the application is running in the background. The change in location data gathering is quite apparent — after the update is completed, Uber prompts users to accept the new policy by enabling their phones to make the change. (NPR)

Intellectual Property

EFF’s Stupid Patent of the Month: Streaming cloud-based content. Every month the Electronic Frontier Foundation issues its "Stupid Patent of the Month." While there may not be enough months left before the apocalypse for EFF to expose every dumb patent, the digital civil rights group's latest find is a doozy. (Ars Technica)


Goldman Sachs: Economic benefits of business tax reform could be smaller than advertised. Republicans have high hopes for what tax reform may do for the economy, but Goldman Sachs appears to be less sanguine. (Politico Pro)

Brady says tax reform will come with 'significant trade-offs'. The House's top tax writer today acknowledged that tax reform would come with "significant trade-offs" but urged those concerned about losing their favorite provisions to focus on the broader benefits of a revamped code. (Politico Pro)

Bernie Sanders: Carrier just showed corporations how to beat Donald Trump. Today, about 1,000 Carrier workers and their families should be rejoicing. But the rest of our nation’s workers should be very nervous. (Washington Post)

Internet of Things

IoT in 2016 is a toy only rich cities can afford. The Internet of Things needs to get cheaper before it can permeate local government, a panel of smart-city experts said Thursday. (StateScoop)

Public Sector

Trump picks General 'Mad Dog' Mattis as Defense secretary. President-elect Donald Trump has picked retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to be his secretary of Defense, tapping yet another outspoken ex-military leader who butted heads with the Obama administration to shape and carry out his national security strategy. (Politico Pro)

DIUx moving forward in Austin as Congress tightens leash. The Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, which has faced opposition from a number of members of Congress, will have to sing for its supper under terms included in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act conference report. (FCW)

IG: Challenges remain in GSA's DATA Act implementation. With roughly six months remaining before the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act implementation deadline, the General Services Administration still lacks the ability to reliably track spending and certify the accuracy of data submissions, according to an inspector general audit released Nov. 30. (FCW)

Senate passes bill to close GAO oversight loophole. A bill to reinstate and make permanent the Government Accountability Office's authority to arbitrate contractors' protests of civilian agency awards issued will advance to the desk of the president. (FCW)

Trump adds congressional cybersecurity leadership to transition team. Though President-elect Donald Trump has yet to nominate new leaders for the government’s two largest cybersecurity-focused agencies — the departments of Defense and Homeland Security — the recent arrival of three congressional cybersecurity leaders to the transition team may give some indication for how the future commander-in-chief will approach the challenges associated with a hostile cyberspace. (FedScoop)

Obama's TechHire initiative adds 20 new cities. As President-elect Donald Trump fights to keep jobs at large employers like Carrier Corp. based in the U.S., President Barack Obama is pushing one of his key jobs initiatives — TechHire. (StateScoop)

Florida tech leader says success requires unity and collaboration. Communication, collaboration, and commoditization are three favorite words of one of Florida's leading C-level executives. (StateScoop)

Washington Launches Beta Privacy Portal, Seeks to Thwart Data-Use Conflicts. Access to nearly endless supplies of constituent data puts a great deal of power in the hands of state government at all levels. But with that power comes the caveat of great responsibility for the management and protection of that data. (GovTech)

Ohio Governor Announces Smart Infrastructure Plan. Gov. John Kasich bristles — becomes a tad defensive, in fact — when the term “Rust Belt” is applied to Ohio. (GovTech)

MetroLab Network Advisory Council to Direct Smart City-University Partnerships. Today, the city-university collaborative MetroLab Network announced the members of its Advisory Council. (GovTech)


Can coal miners become solar technicians?. Nothing on Earth moves without energy, and most of the energy that people use is of the fossil variety: coal; oil; and natural gas. (GreenBiz)

House Science Committee Tweets Story Skeptical of Climate Change. This afternoon, the US Committee on Science, Space and Technology—aka the House Science Committee, the body of Congress that oversees NASA, the Energy Department, and many of the other leading US scientific agencies—tweeted a brutally unscientific message of climate change denialism out to the world. (Motherboard)


How Google Channels Diversity Into Creativity. The tech industry's diversity movement has been struggling to come to terms with the election of Donald Trump as president, but one tech giant is making an effort to let it be known that its desire for a more inclusive work force has not been diminished. (Inc.)

More than 80 percent of tech founders still have no formal plans to promote diversity. The technology industry has a diversity problem — period. And if a survey of 700 tech founders tells us anything, it’s that fixing it is still not a top priority for many startups. (Recode)

Diversity at startups? Not so much. If the tech industry is concerned about diversity, the startup world hasn't gotten the memo. (CNET)

Tech Business

What a 21st-century safety net should look like. Modern American capitalism is not working for many Americans. That’s why, no matter what your political leanings, fixing an economy that can no longer be counted on to create steady, well-paying jobs for all has to be our top priority. (Washington Post)

Airbnb to Enforce Limits on Rentals in London, Amsterdam. Airbnb Inc. agreed for the first time to restrict—in two big markets—the number of nights a year a host can rent out a home, in a major concession to regulators in the U.S. and Europe. (Wall Street Journal)

Schoolhouse tech: Even bigger for Gen Z than for millennials. Pens and notebooks, you may be on the way out as the main tools of classroom learning. At least according to one study, technology is catching on in a big way. (CNET)

Chinese celebrities caught up in tech group’s woes. More than a dozen Chinese celebrities, including director Zhang Yimou, have invested in the movie production unit of LeEco, the once-high-flying Chinese technology group now suffering from a cash shortage. (Financial Times)

Europe building up pipeline of big-league tech IPOs: investors. Europe, which has long trailed Silicon Valley and China when it comes to creating independent global tech giants, is building up a pipeline of more meaty stock market candidates looking to list in 2017, Slush tech start-up conference attendees said. (Reuters)

Blockchain tech is our financial future — America can get ahead of it. It may not have the sexiest of titles, but the new Congressional Blockchain Caucus could not have come at a better time. (The Hill)

ITI Member News

Fake Apple chargers fail safety tests. Investigators have warned consumers they face potentially fatal risks after 99% of fake Apple chargers failed a basic safety test. (BBC News)

Apple Is the Latest Tech Giant Reportedly Developing Its Own Drone Fleet. Amazon has drones preparing to deliver our groceries. Google's Project Wing is preparing to deliver our groceries, too. Facebook has drones working to give us internet, and Microsoft drones are fighting Zika virus. (Motherboard)

Apple will need the FAA’s blessing if it wants to use drones to improve its Maps. Apple wants to fly drones to improve Maps by collecting more up-to-date information about road changes and street signs, according to a Bloomberg report. (Recode)

Twitter changes product head for third time in a year. Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) appointed Keith Coleman, founder of startup Yes Inc, as head of its product team, the third executive to lead the division in less than a year. (Reuters)

CA buys Austrian peer Automic in $635 million deal. U.S. software management group CA Inc (CA.O) said on Thursday it has agreed to buy Austrian business automation firm Automic from private equity group EQT in a 600 million euro ($635 million) deal as it seeks to expand in Europe. (Reuters)

Nokia smartphones to return in 2017. Do you pine for the days of your Nokia 3210? When phones were simple and the Finish company was cutting edge? (The Guardian)

Fallen smartphone brand Nokia challenges Apple, Samsung again. Nokia smartphones are poised for a comeback after former managers at the Finnish company licensed the handset brand from Microsoft and struck up partnerships with Google and phone manufacturer Foxconn. (Reuters)

Today on the Hill

Today, in the morning, the President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. Later in the morning, the President will meet with United Nations Secretary-General-designate Antonio Guterres.