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Tech News Roundup - 06/14/2017

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Key Issues

Artificial Intelligence

Amazon shows why robots won't cause mass unemployment. If you want evidence that AI technology won't lead to mass unemployment, look no further than AI pioneer, Amazon. That's according to Silicon Valley intellectual Tim O'Reilly, who writes in a recent Medium post. (Axios)

U.S. weighs restricting Chinese investment in artificial intelligence. The United States appears poised to heighten scrutiny of Chinese investment in Silicon Valley to better shield sensitive technologies seen as vital to U.S. national security, current and former U.S. officials tell Reuters. (Reuters)


Free market meets net neutrality. In a Capitol Hilton ballroom last week, Chip Pickering, CEO of the telecommunications trade group Incompas and a former GOP congressman from Mississippi, argued on an economic conference panel that Republicans deserve credit for the competitive nature of the tech world. (The Hill)

Public Sector

DHS execs own FLASH fail. The Department of Homeland Security's failure to launch its high-profile agile services contract can serve as a teachable moment, according to the agency's procurement managers. (FCW)
New DHS CIO leads with a hands-on style. The Department of Homeland Security isn't looking for one-size-fits-all IT, said its new CIO, but rather technology that can address common and specific needs across its sprawling family of component agencies, according to the DHS' new CIO. (FCW)

DoD asks Congress for bigger pay raise, FOIA exemptions. The Defense Department is sending its ideas to Congress for the next legislative cycle and they include a larger than normal bump in pay for service members as well as some changes to government transparency. (Federal News Radio)

DISA putting big focus on mobility, continues prioritizing identity assurance. The Defense Information Systems Agency is putting a heavy emphasis on mobility and identity protection as it moves forward in the coming years. (Federal News Radio)

IT reform efforts at 20 agencies stuck in neutral or heading in reverse. Agency progress in reforming the management and oversight of information technology has stalled. (Federal Radio News)

Every modernization project is an opportunity to find allies, DDS officials say. There are two kinds of people in the government, according to Hunter Price, the Air Force Digital Service's lead at Defense Digital Service: those who are resistant to change, and those who are ready for it. (FedScoop)

AWS GovCloud announces eastern expansion. Amazon Web Services is expanding its cloud services infrastructure that supports sensitive and highly regulated government data to a second, East Coast region, the company announced today. (FedScoop)

DHS officials: Failed FLASH procurement a chance to learn from mistakes. The Department of Homeland Security officials in charge of a recently cancelled innovative acquisition vehicle accepted their fault in the failed program Tuesday, positioning it as an opportunity to learn from their missteps. (FedScoop)

First federal agency gets 'A' grade in IT report card. Federal agencies averaged a "B" grade in information technology procurement in their latest report cards, with one agency being the first to score an "A." (The Hill)


Scientists Praise Energy Innovation Office Trump Wants to Shut Down. The debate over the future of energy innovation in the United States was renewed on Tuesday when a panel convened by the National Academy of Sciences released an in-depth report praising a key research office that President Trump wants to eliminate. (New York Times)

Internet of Things

Senators outline driverless car legislation. A bipartisan group of senators outlined a broad sketch of their highly anticipated driverless car legislation on Tuesday as Congress looks to speed up the deployment of autonomous vehicles. (The Hill)

Waymo retires Firefly driverless car. The two-seater vehicles, which have no pedals or steering wheels, travelled millions of miles in road tests. (BBC News)

Google Parent Retires 'Firefly' Self-Driving Prototype. Google parent Alphabet Inc. GOOGL 0.90% retired its self-driving prototype dubbed the "Firefly," a tiny test car with no steering wheel or pedals, to focus on building its self-driving technology into mass-produced vehicles. (Wall Street Journal)

Cloud essential for smart city data sharing and analytics, panel says. To seize the opportunity presented by data analytics and data-driven governing, cities need to be in the cloud, a group of experts said at a public sector cloud computing conference on Tuesday. (StateScoop)

Apple is working on self-driving car technology, Tim Cook confirms. It's official: Apple Inc. plans to develop technology that powers self-driving cars - and although it's a relative latecomer to the increasingly competitive field, analysts say it's not too late for the tech giant to make its mark there. (LA Times)

GM says it's ready to mass produce self-driving cars. General Motors said Tuesday it has finished making 130 self-driving Chevrolet Bolt test vehicles, an achievement that the automaker says will help put it at the forefront of the race to develop and deploy autonomous cars. (USA Today)


GOP Lawmaker Floats 5-Year Phase-In of Border Adjustment Tax. The top House Republican tax legislator floated a five-year phase-in to his controversial "border adjustment" idea on Tuesday in a bid to blunt mounting opposition to the concept. (Wall Street Journal)
Opponents of a controversial tax on imports weren't swayed by a five-year transition period proposed Tuesday by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady. (Politico Pro)
Freedom Caucus still divided on tax reform. The House Freedom Caucus remains divided over its approach to tax reform, but could decide its position Tuesday night. (Politico Pro)

Sensenbrenner bill would codify Surpeme Court's online sales tax ruling. A senior House Republican has introduced a bill that would codify the current Supreme Court precedent barring states from forcing out-of-state retailers to collect sales tax. (Politico)

Internal House GOP budget feud threatens agenda. House GOP efforts to write a fiscal 2018 budget are deadlocked amid Republican infighting, a divide that threatens to undermine President Donald Trump's agenda by stalling tax reform and delaying progress on appropriations. (Politico)

Ross Confident Administration Can Negotiate Better Trade Terms. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross expressed confidence that the Trump administration can achieve better trade terms through negotiations with trading partners, rather than immediately turning to tariffs or other punitive measures that could generate retaliation or other economic repercussions. (Wall Street Journal)

Administration Planning Rollback of U.S.-Cuba Normalization Efforts. The Trump administration likely will scale back policy changes it believes have benefited the Cuban government while preserving some of the increased commercial activity that has begun after former President Barack Obama moved to normalize U.S.-Cuban ties, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday. (Wall Street Journal)

EU, Japan launch big push to seal trade deal by July. Japanese and European negotiators are redoubling efforts to seal a political agreement early next month on what would be the EU's biggest free trade deal. (Politico Pro)

Manufacturers to Trump: Don't hurt NAFTA ties that support 2 million U.S. jobs. U.S. manufacturers that President Donald Trump says will benefit from his NAFTA renegotiation are urging his administration not to destroy business ties among the three countries that support 2 million American manufacturing jobs. (Politico Pro)

NAFTA Notes: The Latest in Trade . Country-by-country developments tracking the latest news regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement and efforts to renegotiate and restructure it. (BNA)

The fate of global corporations in an anti-globalist world. Is the post-war ascendance of multinational corporations irreversible? (GreenBiz)

Intellectual Property

Supreme Court will weigh in on troll-killing patent-review process. The US Supreme Court will soon weigh the constitutionality of "inter partes reviews," a procedure that has been hailed by many in the tech sector as one of the most effective ways of weeding out bad patents. (Ars Technica)


Trump expected to change certification for apprenticeships, propose more funding. President Donald Trump will sign an executive order Wednesday that would virtually eliminate oversight of government-subsidized apprenticeship programs, according to a source familiar with a draft of the plan. (Politico)

What is the 'Rooney Rule' that Uber just adopted?. As part of sweeping reforms that Uber is adopting, the troubled ride-hailing company said it will change its hiring practices to draw more women and minorities. (Washington Post)

Uber employment agreement shut down by NLRB judge. Uber Technologies' employment agreement might discourage employees from filing labor violation claims "out of fear" and must be rewritten, a National Labor Relations Board judge ruled today. (Politico)

Tech Business
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick says he'll take a leave of absence. Uber's embattled CEO, Travis Kalanick, told employees today that he will take an indefinite leave of absence. (Ars Technica)

Uber hopes Holder report will let it move on from scandals. Uber's chief executive Travis Kalanick will present employees with the findings of a scathing report about Uber's culture on Tuesday, as he confronts the biggest crisis of leadership that the San Francisco company has faced. (Financial Times)

Arianna Huffington's speech to Uber staff: A 'new Uber' will emerge from crisis. Uber board member Arianna Huffington addressed employees at the company today in an all-hands meeting in which it was also announced that CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick would take a leave of absence. (That came after a last minute scramble.) (Recode)

For G.E.'s John Flannery, It Was a 30-Year Trip to the Top. He is the quintessential company man. (New York Times)

US Stocks Bounce Back to Records as Tech Companies Rise. U.S. stocks bounced back to record highs Tuesday as investors put an end to a two-day drop for technology companies. Energy and consumer-focused companies also made outsize gains. (New York Times)

ITI Member News

Microsoft releases new update citing concern over state-sponsored attacks. Microsoft is releasing a new patch for Windows XP, a product it no longer formally supports, out of concern for state-sponsored cyberattacks. (The Hill)

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: 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Last votes expected: 4:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

The Senate will convene 10:45 a.m. and resume consideration of S.722, the Iran Sanctions bill.

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