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Key Issues


White House pledges to work with Brazil on surveillance concerns.  The White House tried on Wednesday to smooth over a diplomatic row with Brazil, pledging to address concerns caused by reports that the United States had spied on President Dilma Rousseff and hacked into the computer networks of state-run oil company Petrobras.  (Reuters)

NSA's perspective on release of previously classified documents.  David Gewirtz talks to senior intelligence officials about a privacy compliance error and new document release.  (ZDNet)

Zuckerberg says U.S. 'blew it' on NSA spying.   Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg lashed out at the U.S. government Wednesday, saying that authorities have hurt Silicon Valley companies by doing a poor job of explaining the online spying efforts of U.S. intelligence agencies.  (San Jose Mercury News)

Ruppersberger eyeing telecom data-retention bill.  The Maryland Democrat says he’s considering a bill to have telecom companies, rather than the government, retain phone call records at the center of the NSA surveillance debate.  (Politico Pro)

NSA 'subverted random-number code'.  The NSA unduly influenced the US government's standards-creation process to introduce a cryptographic flaw into an algorithm, according to leaked documents.  (BBC)

Facebook Privacy Change Is Subject of F.T.C. Inquiry.  After a storm of negative comments from users, the Federal Trade Commission has begun an inquiry into Facebook’s latest privacy policies.  (NYT)

Senator: Facebook change 'troubling'.  Sen. Ed Markey expressed concern on Wednesday about proposed changes to the social network's privacy policy.  (The Hill)


Former US ambassadors urge Congress to remove India-specific provisions in immigration bill.  Five former US Ambassadors to India have requested the Congress to remove India-specific discriminatory provisions in immigration reform, underscoring that continuation of such steps would have an adverse impact on the bilateral relationship between the two countries.  (Press Trust of India)


Senate Democrats Seek Openings for New Corporate Tax Measures.  Senate Democratic leaders are facing pressure from the party’s left wing to move manufacturing incentives and other corporate tax measures such as those endorsed by President Barack Obama as part of a move toward job-promoting fiscal measures.  (CQ Roll Call)

EU examining member states' corporate tax arrangements.  The European Union's competition authority is looking into corporate tax arrangements in several member states and has requested information from at least the Netherlands, Ireland and Luxembourg, officials said on Thursday.  (Reuters)

Conservative poll: Internet tax bill unpopular.  Surveys show that 57 percent of 'likely' voters oppose changing the system for how states collect sales taxes from Internet purchases.  (Politico Pro)

Patrick now opposes tech tax.  Governor Patrick has abruptly changed course and said he no longer supports a new tax on computer software services that has generated fierce backlash from the technology community.  (Boston Globe)


No Child Left Untableted.  Rupert Murdoch’s new idea could reshape the nature of schooling in the United States.  (NYT)


Security officials: threat info key to cybersecurity framework's development, implementation.  The development of a framework for cybersecurity must be informed by actionable threat information companies can use to manage risk and conform to emerging standards, a panel of private-sector security officials said here today.  (Inside Cybersecurity)

Drafting of cyber standards enters final phase; adoption, compliance on agenda.  The Obama administration's effort to draft cybersecurity standards enters the final phase this week as industry and government officials meet in Dallas to flesh out the details, with industry adoption and compliance high on the agenda.  (Inside Cybersecurity)

DHS addresses industry's cybersecurity critique in revised infrastructure plan.  An upcoming rewrite of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan will focus on evolving risks to cyber systems and address industry concerns about measurable outcomes, improved information-sharing and the need to establish common national priorities, according to a senior Department of Homeland Security official.  (Inside Cybersecurity)

Global Trade

S. Korea undecided on joining TPP: senior trade official.  South Korea is undecided on joining the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership, a senior South Korean trade official said Thursday.  (Kyodo)


Intel’s new chief faces mobile conundrum.  Chipmaker must protect PC business while pushing into new areas.  (FT)

European Chief Backs Plan to End Roaming Fees.  José Manuel Barroso’s support for a single telecommunications market seizes on a popular idea at a time of doubt over enhancing the European Union’s powers.  (NYT)

New iPhones could change commerce.  Apple's iPhone event Tuesday was largely devoid of surprises, but the company's new phones have several features that could significantly alter the way people shop online and in the physical world.  (San Francisco Chronicle)


Long Before Most, Intel Chased The Smart Watch.  Long before smart watches became the latest pursuit for tech companies, Gordon Moore of Intel was experimenting with wristwatch computers. Intel's co-founder and his colleagues built a line of chip-powered watches in the late '70s. The concept was visionary, but the business was a failure. Moore now keeps a memento that he calls his "$15 million watch."  (NPR)

Trigger Finger - Apple fires biometrics into the mainstream.  By adding a fingerprint scanner to its newest mobile phone, Apple Inc is offering a tantalizing glimpse of a future where your favorite gadget might become a biometric pass to the workplace, mobile commerce or real-world shopping and events.  (Reuters)

Apple Fingerprint Sensor: Good Idea in Desperate Need of Standardization.  Apple's new fingerprint sensor raises the need for industry standards in the quickly evolving market for biometric sensors that identify individuals by their unique attributes such as retina patterns, voice or touch.  (WSJ)

Government To Fight Disease With Big Data.  The government will in fiscal 2014 begin creating a system that uses big data to help people avoid developing diseases, The Nikkei has learned.  (Nikkei)

To Enjoy Driverless Cars, First Kill All the Lawyers.  Driverless cars will be safer and quieter. They will fetch you to your destination, and then trundle off to park themselves. They will all but eliminate the auto accidents that kill tens of thousands every year. I believe all this. But I’m still worried about the future of driverless cars, not because they’re technically impossible, but because the liability possibilities are enormous.  (Bloomberg)

Cutting Science Funding Starves Future Generations.  In the name of fiscal responsibility and national security needs, the House spending plan, which carries the imprimatur of Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., has provided appropriators with little wiggle room for nondefense funding. As a result, on a raft of research accounts they have been forced to hold expenditures at current sequester levels or, in the case of applied research, significantly lower.  About the only people who are cheering are our competitors in Europe and Asia, where regional public spending on research and development is growing. That China has been pumping vast sums of money into science and technology for almost a decade should come as no surprise. It’s been more than a blip on the wonk radar screen for some time.  (CQ Roll Call column/Michael Lubell)

Environment & Sustainability

EPA Withdraws Two Draft Chemical Rules.  The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently withdrew two draft regulations intended to enhance chemical oversight.  One rule would have implemented Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 5(b)(4) and created a list of “chemicals of concern.”  (Environmental Leader)

Solar inverter to get test at NREL's new facility.  Fort Collins-based Advanced Energy is ready to plug its 1-megawatt solar-energy inverter into a new $135 million facility at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and see what happens.  (Denver Post)

IP Enforcement

Apple-Google Suit Show Signs of Life.  A U.S. appeals court suggested it might give Apple a second crack at making a case that Google's Motorola Mobility copied iPhone patents.  (WSJ)


Senate to hold hearing on FCC, FTC picks.  The Senate is beginning to move on two of President Obama's nominees to regulatory commissions that oversee the technology industry.  (The Hill)

Tech Business

Tablet Shipments to Exceed PCs for First Time.  Tablet-computer shipments will top personal computers for the first time in the fourth quarter, according to a new report by researcher IDC, as consumers continue to favor mobile devices over laptops and desktops.  Tablet shipments will hit 84.1 million units in the fourth quarter, compared with 83.1 million for PCs, according to data published by IDC today. The total market for Internet-connected devices of desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets will rise 28 percent to $622.4 billion in 2013 and hit $735.1 billion by the end of 2015, the research group said.  (Bloomberg)

Samsung, Apple to fuel ARM licensing pop.  A 64-bit processor for the iPhone 5S and Samsung support of a multi-core processing architecture translates into licensing revenue for ARM Holdings.  (ZDNet)

Ex-Ad Chief Is Named Next Leader at Pandora.  Brian P. McAndrews, a technology and digital advertising executive, succeeds Joseph J. Kennedy, who announced his resignation in March.  (NYT)

Yahoo CEO says monthly traffic surpasses 800 million users.  Yahoo Inc Chief Executive Marissa Mayer said the Internet company now has more than 800 million monthly active users, which she said represented 20 percent growth.  (Reuters)

Sharp to raise up to $1.7 billion equity to repay debt.  Japan's Sharp Corp plans to raise up to $1.7 billion as the struggling TV and display maker seeks to pay down debt after a rescue last year and shore up its tattered finances.  (Reuters)

More ITI Member News

Qualcomm Plans $5 Billion Share Buyback.  Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM), the most cash-rich semiconductor company, said its board authorized a new $5 billion share repurchase program to return more money to investors.  The plan replaces an earlier $5 billion buyback program that was announced on March 5, the San Diego, California-based company said yesterday. Qualcomm had about $800 million of that earlier authorization remaining. (Bloomberg)

Intel Places its Chips in New Google Chromebooks.  Intel is going all-out to push its silicon into more devices. Now it can boast about new Chromebooks, the portable computer category created by Google.  (WSJ)
Rivals Target BlackBerry Service Business.  BlackBerry competitors are quickly raising capital to help firms manage their employees' devices.  (WSJ)

Microsoft's Concept Videos From 2000 Were Spot-On. Why Didn't Ballmer Build Any of It?  Microsoft filmed a bunch of concept videos to illustrate its product ideas. You can watch an edited version of the videos at the top of this post. Cheesiness aside, it's pretty spot-on, no? There's personalized content for each family member synchronized across PCs, televisions, tablets, mobile phones and cars; location-aware devices that tell you when friends are nearby; photo-sharing; voice controls -- all years before Facebook, Foursquare, or Apple's iCloud and Siri.  More incredible than the foresight of these videos is how Microsoft failed to execute on nearly all of it. What went wrong? (Bloomberg)

SAP aims for bigger presence in 'big data' with Hadoop partnerships, new apps.  SAP plans to roll out a series of specialized applications that focus on specific big data use cases.  (IDG News)

1600 Penn.

At 11 a.m. ET, President Obama will meet with his Cabinet.  There are no public events on the schedule.

Today on the Hill

House:  The House convenes at 9 a.m. ET and is expected to pass a measure that would bar the federal government from providing subsidies to help individuals buy insurance under the health care overhaul until it confirms that a system is in place to verify applicants’ household income and health insurance status.

Senate:  The Senate convenes at 9:30 a.m. ET and resumes consideration of an energy-efficiency bill, S. 1392.