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Tech News Roundup - 06/08/2017

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Wireless Spectrum Auctions Could Make Waves in Lobbying Industry. The Trump administration and influential members of Congress are pushing to make additional wireless spectrum available for auction -- an opportunity for companies interested in expanding their spectrum holdings to engage in lobbying activities. (BNA)

How an obscure FCC rule affects a major merger. A $3.9 billion merger between two broadcast heavyweights hinges in part on an FCC regulation under siege in court. (Politico Pro)


Trump's FBI pick a mystery on cyber. President Donald Trump's pick to lead the FBI, Christopher Wray, is largely an unknown quantity on the bureau's premier cyber challenge - encryption. (Politico Pro)

New House bill would boost oversight of digital warfare. A bipartisan contingent of House Armed Services Committee members are backing legislation aimed at enhancing congressional oversight of the Defense Department's offensive cyber operations. (Politico Pro)

HHS plans for cybersecurity center raise legal, policy concerns. HHS is creating its own cybersecurity center to counter the growing threat of hacks on health care, but some legal observers question the center's legal validity and others wonder whether adding to the array of cyber-defense operations will be helpful. (Politico Pro)

Electronic Setups of Driverless Cars Vulnerable to Hackers. Any part of a car that talks to the outside world is a potential opportunity for hackers. (New York Times)

Why Car Companies Are Hiring Computer Security Experts. It started about seven years ago. Iran's top nuclear scientists were being assassinated in a string of similar attacks: Assailants on motorcycles were pulling up to their moving cars, attaching magnetic bombs and detonating them after the motorcyclists had fled the scene. (New York Times)

Intellectual Property

Sources: Lee quit amid tensions over Patent Office funding. Intrigue continues to surround Michelle Lee's abrupt resignation Tuesday as director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, with some sources saying it was triggered by the Trump administration's efforts to tap her agency's funding to pay for services at the Commerce Department. (Politico Pro)

Public Sector

GSA to reorg TTS into acquisition service; new FAS commissioner named. The General Services Administration is planning a major reorganization by moving the Technology Transformation Service into the Federal Acquisition Service. (Federal News Radio)

GSA combines tech and procurement services, names new FAS commissioner. The General Services Administration is backtracking on a 2016 reorg that established the Technology Transformation Service as a separate agency division. (FCW)

GSA reorganizing tech service as part of Federal Acquisition Service. The General Services Administration will reorganize its Technology Transformation Service after only a year, putting the agile-focused TTS under the more traditional Federal Acquisition Service and appointing a new FAS head, FedScoop has learned. (FedScoop)

OMB, Office of American Innovation on a 90-day sprint to develop new hiring, cloud policy ideas. The Office of Management and Budget is working with the White House's Office of American Innovation on a 90-day sprint to develop a series of new work streams that cover everything from hiring new people and talent to developing citizen services. (Federal News Radio)

Renewable Energy Push Is Strongest in the Reddest States. Two years ago, Kansas repealed a law requiring that 20 percent of the state's electric power come from renewable sources by 2020, seemingly a step backward on energy in a deeply conservative state. (New York Times)

The U.S. Can't Leave the Paris Climate Deal Just Yet. Last week, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. (New York Times)

Voters Support Paris Deal, but Are Skeptical of Green Climate Fund. President Donald Trump fulfilled a campaign promise last week by pulling the United States out of the Paris climate agreement - but that doesn't mean the move was popular. (Morning Consult)

Apple, Google, and California are rebuffing Trump and trying to stay in the Paris climate deal. Last Thursday, President Donald Trump made what is surely to be one of the most fatefuldecisions of his presidency: The United States will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. (Vox)

Editorial: The Mayors of Pittsburgh and Paris: We Have Our Own Climate Deal. Last week, President Donald Trump tried to pit our two cities against each other when he announced, in pulling out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, "I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris." As the mayors of Pittsburgh and Paris, we're here to say that we're more united than ever. (New York Times)

Military still fretting climate change despite Trump's global actions. The Defense Department and the military services are doing their best to keep their heads above water. (Federal News Radio)

Paris pact withdrawal could slow clean technology investments, experts say. President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement could exacerbate a decline in the development of clean energy technology in the United States. (The Hill)

Hawaii enacts law committing to goals of Paris climate accord. Hawaii has become the first U.S. state to enact legislation to bring its environmental standards in line with the Paris climate accord, officials said on Wednesday, less than a week after President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the global agreement. (Reuters)

Global warming unabated: Carbon dioxide tallied 2nd-largest rise on record last year. As President Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the landmark Paris climate agreement last week, federal scientists reported 2016 tallied the second-largest rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide ever recorded. (USA Today)


Khanna invites Theresa May to Silicon Valley to talk internet and terrorism. Rep. Ro Khanna has followed through on his pledge to invite British Prime Minister Theresa May to Silicon Valley to discuss what technology companies are doing to combat terrorist and extremist activity online. (Politico Pro)

Something must be done...but what?. But when I talked to representatives of the major firms they were confused. "We're told 'something must be done,'" one executive told me. "But it's not clear what that "something" is." (BBC News)


Republicans unite to defend spying programs around prominent hearing. Senate Intelligence Republicans and the White House used a high-profile hearing on Wednesday to make their pitch for why the government needs to permanently enshrine controversial foreign surveillance programs without any revisions. (Politico Pro)
Intel chief: 'Infeasible' to tally Americans caught in spying programs. The intelligence community will not offer Congress an estimate on how many Americans have been swept up by controversial surveillance programs slated to expire at the end of the year, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Wednesday. (Politico Pro)
Spy powers overshadowed by Russia in Senate hearing. The specter of Russian interference in U.S. elections and questions about President Donald Trump's reported attempts to derail official probes into such activity dominated a June 7 Senate Intelligence Committee hearing ostensibly convened to discuss the reauthorization of a key espionage authority that is set to expire. (FCW)

Would You Trust These Men With a Massive Surveillance Dragnet?. The Senate Intelligence Committee hosted a bizarre hearing Wednesday. Ostensibly, the hearing served to make the case for straight reauthorization of Section 702, the law permitting NSA to spy on foreigners with the help of US companies. (Motherboard)


Trump charts infrastructure course to upgrade inland locks and dams. President Donald Trump's pivot to infrastructure this week brought him to the banks of the Ohio River Wednesday to unveil a broad commitment to upgrade inland waterways technology to ease transport of grains and other heartland products - but his pitch was light on specifics. (Politico Pro)

Private Funding Is Key Challenge of Trump Infrastructure Plan. President Donald Trump's proposed infusion of funding for infrastructure turns on a critical question: how the administration will get private investors to put up most of the money. (Wall Street Journal)

Internet of Things

Autonomous Cars (no Human Backup) May Hit the Road Next Year. Autonomous vehicles with no human backup will be put to the test on publicly traveled roads as early as next year in what may be the first attempt at unassisted autonomous piloting. (AP)

Uber Loses Bid to Keep Acquisition Report Secret From Waymo. Uber Technologies Inc. lost a battle to prevent Waymo from seeing an internal report the Alphabet Inc. unit is betting will show that its former engineer colluded with the ride-hailing giant to steal driverless technology. (BNA)

A Guide to Challenges Facing Self-Driving Car Technologists. In the minds of many in Silicon Valley and in the auto industry, it is inevitable that cars will eventually drive themselves. It is simply a matter of how long it will take for the technology to be reliably safe. (New York Times)


Hatch Optimistic on GOP Tax Agreement But No Answer Yet on Rates, Revenue. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said he has no set target for tax rates or tax revenue as lawmakers struggle with what tax breaks to curtail in their rewrite of the tax code. (Wall Street Journal)
Tax troubles on the prairie reverberate in Washington. Tax cuts: They're not in Kansas anymore. And that should be a lesson to President Donald Trump and federal lawmakers considering massive tax cut plans of their own, said opponents and advocates alike. (Politico Pro)
Exclusive: Loophole allows Uber to avoid UK tax, undercut rivals. Car service Uber is using a gap in EU and UK tax rules to avoid incurring sales tax on the booking fees it charges drivers in Britain, a practice a senior politician said was unfair to competitors and defied the intent of the law. (Reuters)
Massachusetts Online Sales Tax Moving Toward Lawsuit . A trade group that represents e-retailers like eBay Inc. and PayPal Inc. plans to sue Massachusetts to stop a plan to collect sales taxes from out-of-state online retailers. (BNA)
Kansas Republicans end the state's failed tax reform experiment. Republican lawmakers in Kansas put an end to the state's failed tax reform experiment on Tuesday, overriding the governor's veto after three attempts to pass a tax-hiking bill this year. (Vox)

Bavaria to Trump: Tariffs on cars will hurt U.S. as much as Germany. Bavaria, one of the epicenters of Germany's car industry, has a message for President Donald Trump: If you impose tariffs on our vehicles, it will hurt your economy just as much as it will hurt ours. (Politico Pro)

President Trump to Outline Workforce Training Agenda to Address Skills Gap. President Donald Trump will give a policy speech at the Labor Department next week outlining the administration's worker-training initiatives, a senior White House adviser said Wednesday. (Wall Street Journal)

Tech Business

Uber Fires Executive Over Handling of Rape Investigation in India. Uber has fired an executive who obtained medical records of a woman who had been raped by her Uber driver in India, the latest example of misconduct unearthed at the ride-hailing giant. (New York Times)
5 Big Tech Stocks Build Market Euphoria, and Jitters. Facebook. Amazon. Apple. Netflix. Google. Not only do they dominate our daily lives, but as their stocks continue to soar, these technology giants may be dictating our financial futures as well. (New York Times)

The billion dollar war over maps. Each car shifted slightly at the same point in the lane "as if they were avoiding a pothole," says Jim McBride, Ford's senior technical leader for autonomous cars. (CNN)

Musk Says Tesla Plans to Build New Factory for Model Y Crossover. Tesla Inc., which has leveraged a single assembly plant to become one of the world's highest-valued automakers, has another one coming. (Bloomberg)

Alphabet is making a drone-tracking system to one day manage a sky full of flying robots. Before thousands of drones hit the skies to make widespread package delivery a reality, there's going to have to be some kind of air traffic control system to make sure drones can fly autonomously without colliding into each other. (Recode)

ITI Member News

Facebook's Role in European Elections Under Scrutiny. Lawrence Dodd lives in one of Britain's most fiercely fought voting districts, and he has been peppered almost daily with ads from the country's major political parties on Facebook. About a month ago, he tried to find out why. (New York Times)

Facebook to share data with aid groups after natural disasters. Facebook released a new set of tools on Tuesday to aid relief efforts in the wake of natural disasters. (The Hill)
A Bereaved Father and His Team of Microsoft Data Scientists Combat Infant Deaths. John Kahan has a poignant photo in his office at Microsoft Corp., where he oversees customer data and analytics. The image shows Kahan, his wife and three daughters celebrating the birth of a boy, his reddish-blond hair hidden by a hat. (Bloomberg)
Google Uses Elephants and Camels to Map Remote Parts of the Globe. Google is coming across some unusual challenges as it seeks to capture eye-level imagery of the most remote parts of the globe. (Wall Street Journal)
Twitter has a new head of policy communications from the National Security Council. Twitter has hired Emily Horne, most recently the assistant press secretary for the National Security Council, as its new communications director to handle policy and user safety issues. (Recode)

1600 Penn.

In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will receive his daily intelligence briefing. In the afternoon, the President will depart the White House for the Faith and Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority Conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. Later in the afternoon, the President will host the Infrastructure Summit with Governors and Mayors from across the country.

Today on the Hill

On Thursday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m.for legislative business. First and last votes expected: 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
9:30 a.m.: Convene and resume consideration of the motion to proceed to S.722, Countering Iran's Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017.
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