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Tech News Roundup - 05/31/2017

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Tech Politics

Trump’s window for scoring early legislative victories shrinks as August recess looms. Trump is seeking momentum for his health-care and tax initiatives and is increasingly incensed that his agenda is bogging down in the Senate, White House officials say. But critics from both parties say the lack of progress is partly a reflection of Trump’s inability to marshal votes or persuade lawmakers to follow his lead. (Washington Post)

Debt fight blindsides Congress. President Donald Trump’s top economic aides are urging Capitol Hill leaders to raise the debt ceiling by the end of July. Lawmakers in both parties thought they’d have until the fall to act, and they had planned to roll the always-difficult vote into a broader spending package that could be more easily swallowed. That strategy may now have to be tossed aside with the debt limit deadline approaching faster than expected. (Politico)

Environment and Energy

All but two countries are in the Paris climate agreement. The U.S. could be the third. Leaving the agreement would displace the U.S. from a stance of global leadership and place it alongside just two non-participating countries: Syria, which is in the midst of a civil war, and Nicaragua, who refused to join because the Paris Agreement didn’t go far enough. (Washington Post)

The World Could Enter Climate ‘Danger Zone’ If Trump Exits Paris Deal. A decision due from the president this week on whether to pull the U.S. out of the deal involving almost 200 nations could have a domino effect on the participation of other countries in limiting fossil-fuel pollution, making it almost impossible and extremely expensive to stop catastrophic climate change. (Bloomberg)

Trump's climate conundrum nears a verdict. Donald Trump's advisers have sent wildly different messages to U.S. allies about the president's willingness to remain in the Paris climate agreement — adding to the confusion as he appears set to render a verdict this week. This is POLITICO's breakdown of the possibilities. (Politico)

Editorial: Why Trump should sign Paris accord. It’s not just environmentalists who want Trump to sign the agreement. Big business has been lobbying the president for weeks to acknowledge the wisdom of using the fight against climate change to assert leadership on clean technologies and promote expansion of green energy jobs. Tech firms, including Adobe, eBay, Facebook, Google, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Microsoft and Tesla are all on board. (San Jose Mercury News)


Fitting Into Beijing’s New World Order. Eventually, China expects that the sprawling networks of trading infrastructure Mr. Xi proposes to install along ancient maritime and overland trails between Asia and Europe will tie together more than 60% of the world’s population and one-third of its gross domestic product. (Wall Street Journal)

China’s cyber security law rattles multinationals. China’s first cyber security law will increase costs for multinationals, leave them vulnerable to industrial espionage and give Chinese companies an unfair advantage, business representatives and analysts have warned. Analysts have also expressed fears it could help Beijing steal trade secrets or intellectual property from foreign companies. (Financial Times)

China's Cyber Security Law: The Impossibility Of Compliance? China’s much-anticipated Cyber Security Law (CSL) will come into effect on 1 June 2017. However deciphering exactly who is captured and what is covered is leaving companies unsure as to how they will comply with this vague and potentially onerous law. (Forbes)

As Germany reaffirms importance of U.S. ties, Trump escalates his feud with Berlin. German leaders feel Trump has prioritized relations with authoritarian nations like Saudi Arabia, and his early-morning tweet blasting Berlin for not spending enough on defense rattled one of Washington’s strongest postwar alliances. (Washington Post)

Merkel, minister stress U.S. ties after critical Trump tweet. U.S. President Donald Trump called Germany's trade and spending policies "very bad" on Tuesday, intensifying a row between the longtime allies and immediately earning himself the moniker "destroyer of Western values" from a leading German politician. (Reuters)

Trump urges world leaders to call his cellphone, raising security concerns. President Donald Trump has been handing out his cellphone number to world leaders and urging them to call him directly, an unusual invitation that breaks diplomatic protocol and is raising concerns about the security and secrecy of the U.S. commander in chief's communications. (Associated Press)

Editorial: Trump's European Misadventure. President Donald Trump's first appearances at the NATO and Group of Seven summits were a disservice to the U.S. and the world. He betrayed no interest in maintaining America's standing as the pre-eminent global leader, much less any aptitude for that task. The president is rattling the Western alliance in a way that can only delight its adversaries -- Russia most of all. (Bloomberg)

White House to Europe: Trump picks on you because he likes you. President Donald Trump may be aggravating Germany, France and other U.S. allies in Europe with his tirades and qualms about trade imbalances, NATO spending and the Paris climate change deal. But the White House is casting Trump's approach as one designed to strengthen the U.S.-European relationship — not kill it. After all, Trump aides insist, real friends tell each other hard truths. (Politico)

Wilbur Ross says he's 'open to resuming' talks on mega-trade deal with Europe. After a series of angry tweets from President Donald Trump directed toward Germany over trade, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC on Tuesday he is open to continuing talks on a proposed trade pact with the European Union. (CNBC)

Officials: Trump may roll back Obama opening with Cuba. President Donald Trump is expected to roll back portions of the Obama opening with Cuba as early as June, according to a US government official involved in the review of current US policy toward the communist-run island. (CNN)

USTR: U.S., Vietnam to explore closer trade ties, but not via a trade agreement. The United States and Vietnam do not appear to be launching talks on a bilateral free trade agreement to replace the Trans-Pacific Partnership that President Donald Trump abandoned shortly after taking office, according to a readout of a meeting today between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. (PoliticoPro)

Germany’s economy minister had ‘lively exchange’ with Lighthizer on U.S. trade deficit. German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries told reporters after a meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer late last week that the two officials had a “lively exchange” about their differing views of what causes the U.S. trade deficit with Germany, adding that she is confident they will make progress on key issues after agreeing to establish “continuous lines of communication.” (Inside Trade)


How Trump and the GOP-led Congress swiftly dismantled Internet privacy rules. The rules were adopted in October during the last weeks of the Obama administration after an intense battle that pitted large Internet service providers, the advertising industry and tech giants against consumer advocates and civil rights groups. The campaign to kill the FCC rules began just a few weeks after Trump’s November victory. And congressional Republicans knew their plan was potentially explosive. (Washington Post)


Group linked to NSA leaks says will release more data in July. A group that published hacking tools that security experts believe were stolen from the U.S. National Security Agency said on Tuesday it plans to sell a new batch of stolen code in July to customers willing to pay more than $22,000 for it. (Reuters)

Suspected North Korean Hackers Try Tricky New Tactic. Between February and May, South Korean cybersecurity experts noticed intrusions at government-affiliated websites following a new pattern: They used a technique that doesn’t require tainted email links or forceful server assaults. The culprit, the experts concluded: North Korea. (Wall Street Journal)

Trump budget offers a buyer's approach to securing federal and critical networks. Money talks, and President Trump's budget unveiled last week presents a strategy for the government to buy its way toward cybersecurity, while downplaying the role of standards-setting organizations for securing data and networks. (Inside Cybersecurity)

Czech Court Rules Russian Man Accused of Hacking Can Be Extradited to U.S. or Russia. A Czech court has ruled that a Russian man who faces charges of hacking computers at American companies can be extradited either to the U.S. or Russia. (Wall Street Journal)


The fatal flaws in Trump’s economic math. The president is counting on tax cuts to help deliver a sustained boost in economic growth, but even conservative economists doubt the approach can counter long-term trends. (Politico)

Trump tweets 'general' complaint about Senate, not tax reform doubts, says Spicer. White House press secretary Sean Spicer said President Donald Trump's tweet today regarding the timetable for tax reform did not reflect lost confidence in the prospects for reform. (Politico Pro)

Why corporate tax reform is so messy. The importance of cutting the 35 percent corporate tax rate has become a mantra in Washington, but here’s the thing: Most companies don’t pay it. (Politico Pro)

Juncker: No tax haven blacklist for EU countries. The European Commission will not introduce a blacklist for tax havens in the EU, unless “very serious circumstances” come forward to warrant an official reaction. That’s the view of Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who today faced grueling questions from Parliamentarians in the committee for money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion in Brussels. (Politico Pro)

Anti-BAT coalition takes to the airwaves. A coalition seeking to kill the controversial border adjustment provision in the House GOP tax reform blueprint is about to run an advertisement urging lawmakers to do just that, to make room for what it calls "real tax reform." (POliticoPro)

Intellectual Property

Supreme Court Rules Patent Laws Can't Be Used to Prevent Reselling. Lexmark printer products for sale at an Office Max in San Diego. The Supreme Court ruled that Lexmark International could not use patent law to stop companies from refilling and selling its toner cartridges. (New York Times)

Supreme Court restricts some rights of patent owners. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that companies give up their patent rights when they sell an item, putting new limits on businesses’ ability to prevent their products from being resold at a discount. (Washington Post)

Laptop Ban

U.S., EU Hold Talks on Possible Laptop Ban Extension. The U.S. administration on Tuesday held another round of high-level talks with European Union counterparts on possibly banning laptops from cabins on all international flights. (New York Times)

DHS: No European laptop ban for now. The U.S. opted Tuesday not to ban laptops from the cabins of planes flying to the United States from Europe — although the Trump administration later said such a move remains "on the table" as it examines intelligence about terrorist threats. (Politico)

Artificial Intelligence

Editorial: Tech leaders must look beyond universal basic income. Every week brings new story lines about Silicon Valley leaders championing a universal basic income as the silver bullet solution to impending automation. To be sure, a basic income is an important strategy for ensuring economic security in low-income communities and communities color. But we should be careful not to paint the policy as the sole answer to technology’s impact. (San Jose Mercury News)

Who Will Pay for the Future if Not the Robots? Robots are taking over the world’s workforce—and why shouldn’t they? For so many jobs, machines are faster, more consistent, smarter, and cheaper than you or I will ever be. As advances in artificial intelligence accelerate, robots will spread into all corners of the labor marketAlong with their jobs, people will lose their incomes. When that happens, governments will also lose theirs. Where does the money come from without incomes to tax? Enter the robot tax. (Wired)

Robots May Help Defuse Demographic Time Bomb in Japan, Germany. Japan and Germany may be sitting on a ticking demographic time bomb where aging populations begin to drag down economic growth. Good thing they’re also prime candidates for robot revolutions. Increased automation and more use of robotic technology in these manufacturing powerhouses could help cushion the impact, according to Moody’s Investors Service. (Bloomberg)

AlphaGo’s victory isn’t a defeat for humans — it’s an opportunity. AlphaGo represents a major human achievement and the takeaway shouldn’t be that AI is surpassing our abilities, but instead that AI will enhance our abilities. (The Verge)

Net Neutrality

Commission Impossible: How and why the FCC created net neutrality. The conflict over net neutrality we see playing out today is just the latest part of a complex dance of dispute that has been going on for quite a long time — longer than you might think. In order to understand what’s happening to the internet today and how we can keep it free and open in the future, we have to consult its past. (Tech Crunch)


Here's what you need to land America's best jobs. The market for tech talent is so hot that technology jobs now rate as the best type of employment opportunities in the nation. USA TODAY conducted a series of interviews with people in the nation's top jobs, as well as with those recruiting and training candidates for these roles. (USA Today)

Public Sector

US successfully destroys an incoming missile in test of defense system. A ground-based interceptor missile fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base in southern California smashed into and destroyed a target launched from the Marshall Islands, the Missile Defense Agency announced today. (The Verge

White House focus on industry wisdom could irk IT officials. In just a few short weeks, Jared Kushner’s Office of American Innovation has laid claim to vital cybersecurity renovation projects, vowing to use private-sector wisdom to upgrade aging government networks that have been battered by hackers. (Politico Pro)

Bill would require Pentagon to tell Congress about active ‘special cyber operations’. Proposed House legislation would require the Defense Department to notify Congress when the military is engaged in sensitive cyber operations. (FedScoop)

The 2007 policy that is making the move to the cloud more difficult. Federal chief information officers and industry cloud service providers have a common problem: the Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) requirement. Both CIOs and vendors agree the TIC requirement was important, necessary and smart in 2007, but today it just doesn’t make sense anymore. (Federal News Radio)

Legislation calls for DHS bug bounty. A bipartisan group of senators wants to create a bug bounty program inside the Department of Homeland Security. (FedScoop)

GSA, DHS decide to send future CDM work through the Alliant contract. Since GSA awarded Alliant to 59 vendors in 2009, it has been a popular contract for buying complex technology services. Since 2009, agencies have awarded $15.5 billion worth of contracts across 756 task orders, including $3.4 billion in fiscal 2016. GSA and DHS expect to add another $2.75 billon to $3.4 billion through the new CDM task orders called “DEFEND.” (Federal News Radio)

Will Hurd says DOD-VA health record interoperability could set global standard. Electronic health records managed by the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs are ripe for innovation, the Republican congressman says. (FedScoop)


Op-Ed: Was Obama administration illegal spying worse than Watergate? When the FBI wants to wiretap a domestic suspect, it goes to court for a warrant. But when listening in on foreigners, the National Security Agency hoovers up a vast amount of stuff in bulk: Conversations between foreigners, conversations between Americans and foreigners, conversations between Americans who mention foreigners, and sometimes just plain old conversations between Americans. (USA Today)

Tech Business

Companies face industrywide capacity shortage for components. There is an industrywide capacity shortage for components used in smartphones, computer servers and other digital devices. These include the NAND flash-memory chips that store data, as well as liquid-crystal displays and the tiny motors that enable the Switch’s hand-held controllers to imitate the feel of an ice cube shaking in a glass. (Wall Street Journal)

Uber Winds Up Harassment Probe, Leaving Employees on Edge. Uber Technologies Inc. expects to conclude a report soon on claims of sexual harassment and sexism that it hopes will close a damaging chapter in its history. But it also could bring even greater scrutiny for the troubled ride-hailing company. (Wall Street Journal)

Uber Fires Engineer at Center of Legal Battle With Google. Uber said it fired Anthony Levandowski, the driverless-car executive at the center of its legal battle with Google parent Alphabet, making good on its threat to dismiss him if he didn’t cooperate with court orders. (New York Times)

Metrics Stack Up To Prove China's Tech Innovation Progress. If current trends continue, China is on track to become the world's latest filer for patent applications, surpassing the U.S., which still leads by a good but diminishing margin. So concludes a recent report from the World Intellectual Property Organization, which tracks patent statistics globally each year. (Forbes)

Andy Rubin Unveils Titanium Smartphone to Crack Apple’s Grip. Andy Rubin, the father of the Android operating software, is jumping into the cutthroat smartphone market with the Essential Phone, an attempt to claw away customers from Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. (Wall Street Journal)

Five Big Reasons Why People Are Still Skeptical About Bitcoin. Bitcoin’s astronomical rally has cryptocurrency bulls feeling vindicated. Not so fast, skeptics say. (Bloomberg)

ITI Member News

Amazon Shares Hit $1,000. Inc.’s stock price breached $1,000 for the first time ever on Tuesday, the latest sign of how technology stocks have dominated trading this year. (Wall Street Journal)

Apple’s WeChat Problem in China. Apple has a challenge in China, the world’s biggest smartphone market, that it rarely faces elsewhere—Chinese people are less afraid than most to ditch their iPhones. (Wall Street Journal)

Revealed: Sergey Brin's secret plans to build the world's biggest aircraft. Google co-founder is building airship designed to be able to deliver supplies and food on humanitarian missions to remote locations, sources said. (Guardian)

Intel’s Compute Card, a credit card-sized PC, will ship in August. Intel unveiled its Compute Card, a credit card-sized device that’s basically an entire PC, at CES this year. At Computex this week, the company officially launched the card with a full list of partners and what we can expect to see from them product-wise. (The Verge)

Yahoo to spend $100 million on $4.48 billion Verizon sale. During a sale process thrown sideways multiple times by scandalous revelations, costs to Yahoo of conducting and closing the sale have skyrocketed. (Silicon Beat)

1600 Penn.

In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will receive his daily intelligence briefing. In the afternoon, the President will meet with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The President will then welcome Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc of Vietnam. Later in the afternoon, the President will meet with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Today on the Hill

The House stands adjourned and is not expected to convene again for votes until 6:30 pm on Tuesday June 6.

The Senate stands adjourned to convene for a pro forma session only with no business conducted on Friday, June 2nd at 9:00am. It will next convene for legislative business at 3:00pm on Monday, June 5, 2017.

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