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09/19/2017

Key Issues

Public Sector
$500M IT modernization plan passes Senate in defense bill. A $500 million IT modernization bill cleared the Senate as part of the must-pass defense bill, setting the stage for the establishment of a governmentwide fund and agency-based funds to support shifting legacy IT systems to the cloud. (ITAPS Trey Hodgkins Quoted, FCW)

IT modernization bill goes from a sure thing to a cold maybe in a matter of days. Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) proudly announced on Sept. 13 at the Billington Cybersecurity Summit in Washington that his baby was on the fast track to graduation. Of course, the chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on IT was talking about the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act and its inclusion in the Senate's version of the National Defense Authorization bill. (ITAPS Trey Hodgkins Quoted, Federal News Radio)
White House's IT policy deadline looms. The White House will be collecting comments for a few more days on its draft presidential report on IT modernization that was released Aug. 31. Once a final version is approved by President Donald Trump, the clock will start ticking on dozens of deadlines associated with the tasks called for in the report. (ITAPS Mentioned, FCW)
GSA elevates Davie, makes changes at 18F. The General Services Administration's Federal Acquisition Service will see several key personnel moves in the coming weeks. (FCW)
GSA fills key management positions in the Federal Acquisition Service. Alan Thomas, the commissioner of the General Services Administration's Federal Acquisition Service, is shuffling the executives' chairs. (Federal News Radio)
MGT Act passes Senate as amendment to NDAA. The Modernizing Government Technology Act passed the Senate Monday as an amendment to the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. (FedScoop)

Antitrust
Google Shuffles Top Policy Team Amid Ongoing EU Antitrust Row. Caroline Atkinson, an experienced diplomat Google hired last year to steer its global policy efforts, is stepping aside from that management role. (Bloomberg)
Global Trade

Trump's Trade Czar Calls China a Major Threat to World Trade. President Donald Trump's trade chief on Monday said China represents an "unprecedented" threat to the world trading system, saying its state-driven economic system poses a "substantially more difficult" challenge than in the past. (Wall Street Journal)

Kelly's West Wing crackdown tests trade adviser Navarro's pull with Trump. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro has been increasingly sidelined during meetings and cut off from his once-regular access to the Oval Office as chief of staff John Kelly has moved to impose greater order on the West Wing. (Politico Pro)

From Mexico to Montana: A look at controversial export-promotion efforts. On the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains, Gibson Reservoir is emptied once a year each August. Water from the Sun River is pumped through canal systems that wind down the fertile Sun River Valley, irrigating tens of thousands of acres of Montana farmland that are planted with barley, wheat and, increasingly, pulse crops like chickpeas and lentils, as grain prices remain low. (Politico Pro)

Immigration
Expedited processing for H-1B visas to resume after suspension. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said Monday that it will reinstate premium processing for some H-1B visa petitions, restoring a service employers rely on for a quick answer on whether they can staff a position with a foreign worker. (San Francisco Chronicle)

DACA recipients file suit over Trump's move to end program. A half dozen DACA recipients are suing President Donald Trump over his decision to end the program giving quasi-legal status and work permits to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. (Politico Pro)

Tech Lobbyists Join Fight Over DACA and Immigration. Tech industry giants are beginning to mobilize their deep K Street networks to pressure lawmakers as Congress tries to address the legal status of undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. (Roll Call)

Justice Department appeals block on Trump's sanctuary city executive order. The Justice Department is appealing a judge's injunction limiting President Donald Trump's executive order that sought to deny federal funding to local governments with so-called sanctuary policies protecting undocumented immigrants. (Politico Pro)

Censorship

Senators at odds with tech over trafficking. Republican Sen. Rob Portman and Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal are on a collision course with Silicon Valley's giants over a bill that would allow victims to sue sites that facilitate sex trafficking. (Axios)

Will Germany's new law kill free speech online?. The law is called Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz - NetzDG for short. It obliges the biggest social networks - those with more than two million German users - to take down "blatantly illegal" hate speech within 24 hours of it being reported. (BBC News)

Privacy

Apple's Facial Recognition Software Has Privacy Advocates Worried. Critics are concerned that the technology in the new iPhone X could be used - and misused - for other purposes. (NPR)

Environment/Sustainability
U.S. Governors at U.N. Assembly: 'You Have Allies' on Climate Change. Jerry Brown, the governor of California, huddled on Sunday night with European, Brazilian and small-island leaders - gathered here for the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, which formally begins on Tuesday - and pledged to work with them on climate change. On Monday he met with António Guterres, the United Nations secretary general, to discuss the future of the Paris agreement. (New York Times)

Trump Adviser Tells Ministers U.S. Will Leave Paris Climate Accord. Gary D. Cohn, the top White House economic adviser, told ministers from several major allies on Monday that the Trump administration was "unambiguous" about its plans to withdraw from the Paris agreement on climate change unless new terms were met. (New York Times)

The Real Unknown of Climate Change: Our Behavior. As Hurricane Harvey bore down on the Texas coast, few people in that state seemed to understand the nature of the looming danger. (New York Times)

General Electric Co. is working on a way to use artificial intelligence in electricity grids, a technology that it expects will save $200 billion globally by improving efficiency. (Bloomberg)

Cybersecurity

Equifax suffered hack months earlier than the date it disclosed. Credit reporting firm Equifax reportedly knew about a major hack of its computer systems in March, nearly five months before it disclosed to the public. (The Hill)

'We've Been Breached': Inside the Equifax Hack. On March 8, researchers at Cisco Systems Inc. reported an online security flaw that allowed hackers to break into servers around the internet. Cisco urged users to upgrade their systems immediately with a newly issued fix. (Wall Street Journal)

Internet of Things
Driverless Uber in Pittsburgh involved in crash. One of Uber's driverless cars in Pittsburgh was involved in a crash Monday morning, forcing the ride-hailing firm to temporarily suspend its autonomous vehicle fleet while it investigates the incident. (The Hill)

Intel collaborates with Waymo on self-driving computer design. Intel Corp (INTC.O) on Monday announced a collaboration with Alphabet's (GOOGL.O) Waymo self-driving unit, saying it had worked with the company during the design of its computer platform to allow autonomous cars to process information in real time. (Reuters)

Intellectual Property

A Shape-Shifting Car? Patent Filings Point to Auto Industry's Future. Car fanatics wanting a glimpse at the auto industry's next big thing used to flock to auto shows. Now, many of them flip through online patent filings. (Wall Street Journal)

Tech Business

Why one venture capitalist is 'cringing' at recent tech IPOs. Maha Ibrahim has been an investor since March of 2000, joining Canaan Partners just before the dot-com crash - and she's worried about the people who weren't around in those days. (Recode)
Agricultural Giants Teach Computers to Farm. On Midwestern fields and in research greenhouses, agricultural giants like Monsanto Co. and BASF SA are teaching machines how to farm. (Wall Street Journal)

Wisconsin Gov. Walker Signs $3 Billion Foxconn Incentive Deal. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill Monday that would give Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group $3 billion in economic incentives to open a mega-plant in the state. (Wall Street Journal)

ITI Member News

Google proposes auctioning off search result placements after EU fine: report.Google is offering to auction off spots in its search results to rival comparison shopping sites following a record $2.9 billion fine from the European Union, according to Reuters. (The Hill)

Google Launches Tez Mobile-Payments App for India. Alphabet Inc.'s Google is aiming for a piece of India's booming-but increasingly crowded-mobile-payments business. (Wall Street Journal)

Google offers to treat rivals equally via auction. Google (GOOGL.O) has offered to display rival comparison shopping sites via an auction, as it aims to stave off further EU antitrust fines, four people familiar with the matter said. (Reuters)

Facebook Knows More About Russia's Election Meddling. Shouldn't We?. Here's what we know, so far, about Facebook's recent disclosure that a shadowy Russian firm with ties to the Kremlin created thousands of ads on the social media platform that ran before, during and after the 2016 presidential election (New York Times)
Facebook Faces a New World as Officials Rein In a Wild Web. On a muggy, late spring evening, Tuan Pham awoke to the police storming his house in Hanoi, Vietnam. (New York Times)
Facebook censoring reports of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar: report. Activists in Myanmar say Facebook has been removing their posts documenting ethnic cleansing of Rohingya people and censoring their accounts, according to The Daily Beast. (The Hill)

Microsoft confirms Outlook issues. Hundreds from around Europe have commented on the website Downdetectorthat they have been affected by the problem - many since Monday morning. (BBC News)

Cities Try Convincing Amazon They're Ready For Its New Headquarters. An official from Toronto has called Amazon's search for the second headquarters "the Olympics of the corporate world." (NPR)

Today on the Hill

House is not in session today.

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