Tech News Roundup


Key Issues

Tech Politics
Silicon Valley sends its ambassador to Appalachia PT. President Donald Trump won this state by a landslide after promising to reopen Appalachia's coal mines and put its miners back to work. But here, along the banks of Paint Creek in eastern Kentucky's legendary coal fields,displaced workers are pinning their hopes instead on Silicon Valley. (Politico Pro)

Apple Inc. and U.S. President Donald Trump are going head-to-head for influence over one of Asia's key export economies. And so far, Apple is winning. (Wall Street Journal)

Devices Banned on Flights From 10 Countries Over ISIS Fears. Intelligence showing that the Islamic State is developing a bomb hidden in portable electronics spurred the United States and Britain on Tuesday to bar passengers from airports in a total of 10 Muslim-majority countries from carrying laptop computers, iPads and other devices larger than a cellphone aboard direct inbound flights, two senior American counterterrorism officials said. (New York Times)


Cyber threat sharing improved, but 'not the end of the road'. Nearly two years after Congress passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, the intelligence community says it's laid the groundwork for a public-private cyber threat hub, but it's still far from the "cyber 911" that lawmakers and agencies envisioned. (Federal News Radio)


Time is running short to reform the U.S. work visa programs. (Bloomberg)


Top House Dem attacks Republicans' early rural broadband efforts. The top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.), offered sharp criticism Tuesday of President Donald Trump's and House Republicans' initial approaches to expanding broadband in rural areas. (The Hill)
Muni broadband customers could lose service unless a new bill becomes law. Last year, the state of North Carolina won a court case against the Federal Communications Commission, a victory that allowed it to restore a state law that restricts the growth of municipal broadband networks. (Motherboard)

Global Trade
Tech industry bosses concerned over challenges in maintaining free flows of data post-Brexit. Tech industry bosses are expressing growing concerns over the "significant challenges" that Britain faces in order to maintain free flows of data between the UK and EU after Brexit. (ITI Dean Garfield Quoted, The Telegraph)

EU, Japan determined to deliver trade deal by end of 2017. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he was "very confident" of a "swift agreement this year". (Euractiv)

U.K. Tops Europe for Venture Investment, Allaying Brexit Worries. The U.K. drew more venture-capital investment last year than the next four European countries combined, mitigating concerns that Brexit is hurting British startups' fundraising. (Bloomberg)
Artificial Intelligence

Baidu's Chief Scientist Ng to Depart in Setback for AI Efforts. The chief scientist helping drive Baidu Inc.'s push into artificial intelligence is quitting the Chinese search giant, putting at risk its efforts to put AI at the center of a business revival. (Bloomberg)

Artificial intelligence expert Andrew Ng to leave Baidu. Andrew Ng is to leave Baidu after three years as its chief scientist, dealing a blow to the Chinese tech group's artificial intelligence ambitions. (Financial Times)

Democrats see GOP hypocrisy on FTC's privacy role. Democrats and consumer groups say Republicans are engaging in doublespeak when it comes to protecting online privacy. (Politico Pro)

Apple sold $4.2 billion of product in New Zealand, paid $0 local taxes. The big technology story in New Zealand this weekend is about Apple's tax bill. Or rather, the lack thereof. (Ars Technica)

Internet of Things

Most Americans Feel Unsafe Sharing The Road With Self-Driving Cars.
Approach-avoidance may be the best way to characterize Americans' attitudes towards a driverless future. (Forbes)

Cyclist advocacy and education group Bike PGH released "surprising" survey results Tuesday revealing that the general public is relatively comfortable and permissive of self-driving vehicles, often even accepting the technology to be researched on their city's public streets. (StateScoop)
Dozens of companies and organizations are pleading with Congress to save the popular Energy Star program for appliances and other products, rejecting President Trump's proposal to eliminate it. (The Hill)

Trump Lays Plans to Reverse Obama's Climate Change Legacy. President Trump is poised in the coming days to announce his plans to dismantle the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's climate change legacy, while also gutting several smaller but significant policies aimed at curbing global warming. (New York Times)
Carbon tax debate exposing rift among Trump aides. When former secretary of State James Baker and his allies came to the White House last month to pitch a carbon tax, they received a warm reception from Gary Cohn, one of the president's top economic advisers. (Politico Pro)

The White House calls climate research a 'waste.' Actually, this report is required by law. The day that President Trump's climate science-slashing budget landed last week, his government held a public meeting here to prepare the nation's Southeast region for rising seas, wildfires, extreme downpours and other impacts of climate change. (Washington Post)


US man loses appeal over encrypted drives. The man, who has not been named in court documents, has been held in custody for nearly 18 months. (BBC News)
Public Sector
POLITICO Pro Q&A: CSRA CEO Larry Prior. Larry Prior describes CSRA, the government IT provider, as a "$5 billion startup." (Politico Pro)
NGA wants 24-hour cloud ATOs. Right now it takes about six months for a cloud provider to get its service cleared for federal government use - and that is on the fastest of fast tracks. (FCW)

DIUx head wants to drive culture change at DOD. The Defense Innovation Unit Experimental was launched with the goal of rapidly getting commercial technologies into the hands of warfighters, but the head of DIUx said he also hopes to help drive cultural change across the Defense Department. (FCW)

How DoD can make the most of proposed $52B budget boost. President Donald Trump's budget proposal may have called for a 10 percent, $52 billion boost to defense spending in 2018, but that's not the same thing as carte blanche. The Defense Department is going to have to prove that it's spending that money wisely, not frittering it away on superficialities. (Federal News Radio)

Citizenship office's IT shortcomings pose 'significant risks,' watchdogs say. If U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services does not step up its transition from paper to electronic immigration processing, it risks further unnecessary spending and harm to national security, the Government Accountability Office said in a recent report. (FedScoop)

Legacy IT makes federal agencies less secure, study says. Federal agencies that shift money from maintaining outdated legacy IT systems to modernizing them can expect to see fewer cybersecurity incidents - as can the agencies that migrate legacy systems to the cloud or implement strict data governance policies, according to a new academic study. (FedScoop)

California to clean up messy open data with metadata. California's open data portal has grown from a concept, to a pilot, and into an official site last September. Now the state is taking on what may be one of its most ambitious updates so far: the use of metadata to interpret its highly diverse data sets. (StateScoop)

IT Spending in State and Local Government: What Does 2017 Hold?. Key tech industry players gathered in Virginia on Monday, March 20, to hear about the IT spending forecast in state and local government in 2017 at the annual Beyond the Beltway conference, hosted by the Center for Digital Government (CDG)* and Government Technology. (GovTech)

Tech Business

Apple Inc.'s Tim Cook and Jon McNeill of Tesla Motors were among dozens of western executives who spent a long and unseasonably warm weekend here strolling the grounds where Mao Zedong once lived, surrounded by blooming magnolia trees and gliding swans. (Wall Street Journal)

Uber Pledges to Fix the Company's 'Cult of the Individual'. Uber Technologies Inc. plans to outline diversity goals and publish the results of a sexual harassment investigation over the coming weeks, part of a commitment to fix its corporate culture. (Bloomberg)

Uber Board Stands by Travis Kalanick as It Reveals Plans to Repair Its Image. The board of Uber is confident in its chief executive, Travis Kalanick, board member Arianna Huffington said on Tuesday, providing a show of support as the embattled ride-hailing company seeks to repair its reputation. (New York Times)

Uber pledges to make drivers happier. The ride-sharing firm told the media some of its policies were "unintentionally stacked against drivers". (BBC News)

Platform Companies Are Becoming More Powerful - but What Exactly Do They Want?. During a February ride in San Francisco, Travis Kalanick, the chief executive of Uber, was recorded arguing with and eventually berating an Uber driver from the back seat of his car. (New York Times)

ITI Member News

Google announced initial steps to strengthen its ad policies and enforcement in response to an advertiser backlash over the tech giant frequently displaying ads next to inappropriate content such as fabricated news stories or terrorist videos. (Wall Street Journal)

Microsoft Modifies Windows 10 for China's Government. Microsoft Corp. has finished development of a Windows 10 version customized for Chinese government use, which could boost its China prospects after sales were hit by Beijing's cybersecurity crackdown. (Wall Street Journal)
Apple Faces Tough Competition in China's $5.5 Trillion Mobile Payments Market. Dong Ximiao was buying a meal at KFC in Hangzhou on a recent Sundayand pulled out his phone to pay, like everyone does in China, when the cashier asked: "Alipay or WeChat Pay?" (Bloomberg)
Apple drives further into Facebook, Snap territory with video app. With the release of a new video app called Clips, Apple Inc is inching one step closer to fully engaging in the messaging world, where its huge base of iPhone users could help it compete with Snap Inc's Snapchat and Facebook Inc's Messenger. (Reuters)

Wanda Partnership Underscores IBM's China Cloud Push, CEO Says. Big Blue is pushing to build up its cloud business in China by striking partnerships with local companies, starting with billionaire Wang Jianlin's Wanda Internet Technology Group, IBM Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty said. (Bloomberg)

Twitter's Transparency Report Isn't Transparent If It Doesn't Address Harassment. Twitter released its biannual transparency report today, and as usual, it encompasses a monumental amount of data on things like information requests, copyright notices, and email privacy. (Motherboard)
Twitter took down 376,000 terrorism-related accounts in the final six months of 2016. In the final six months of 2016, Twitter suspended more than 376,000 accounts for promoting terrorism, the company announced on Tuesday, as the social platform supercharges its effort to crack down on groups like the Islamic State. (Recode)

Twitter sees bump in global gov't information requests. Twitter saw a 7 percent global increase in government information requests during the last half of 2016, a new company transparency reportrevealed on Tuesday. (The Hill)

1600 Penn.

Today, in the morning, President Donald J. Trump will receive his daily intelligence briefing. The President will then drop by the Women in Healthcare panel hosted by Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Later in the morning, the President will host a Legislative Affairs group meeting. In the afternoon, the President will meet with the Congressional Black Caucus Executive Committee. In the evening, the President will have dinner with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Today on the Hill

Today, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. First votes expected: 1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. Last votes expected: 3:45 p.m. - 4:45 p.m
Today at 10:30 a.m the Senate will convene and recognize the Majority Leader.
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