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Tech News Roundup - 06/20/2017

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Public Sector

President Trump wants a 'sweeping transformation' of government, he says at a White House meeting with tech execs. President Donald Trump on Monday stressed the need for a "sweeping transformation of the federal government's technology," a call to update the dated inner workings of Washington that drew some praise - and then some public recommendations - from the top tech executives at Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft. (Recode)

Tech Titans Make Pilgrimage to White House to Discuss Government Systems. Silicon Valley is fuming about President Trump's stance on climate and immigration, but top technology executives still made a pilgrimage to the White House on Monday to discuss a potential upgrade of government technology. (New York Times)

Trump seeks tech's help for government IT overhaul. President Donald Trump met with the CEOs of major technology companies on Monday, including Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Apple's Tim Cook, asking them to help carry out a "sweeping transformation" of the federal government's information technology and cybersecurity. (The Hill)

Trump tells tech CEOs that Washington needs to 'catch up with the revolution'. Donald Trump called for "sweeping transformation of the federal government's technology" during the first meeting of the American Technology Council, established by executive order last month. (The Guardian)

Trump to meet with tech CEOs on government overhaul. President Donald Trump will meet with the chief executives of technology companies including Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Inc (AMZN.O) on Monday as the White House looks to the private sector for help in cutting government waste and improving services. (Reuters)

Kushner talks up 'ambitious goals' of IT overhaul effort. Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, made rare public comments at the start of the White House tech summit today, touting the administration's efforts to modernize the IT used by the federal bureaucracy. (Politico Pro)

Dozens of think tankers join DoD in push for BRAC. As the Defense Department makes its plea to Congress to shut down unneeded bases in 2021, dozens of defense experts are lobbying for the cause. (Federal News Radio)

Energy Department shopping for deputy CIO focused on enterprise IT, shared services. The Energy Department wants to hire a new deputy CIO to focus on enterprisewide IT operations and shared services. (FedScoop)


Trump talks immigration with tech execs. Trump met with top tech executives including Apple's Tim Cook, Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Alphabet's Eric Schmidt at the White House on Monday, and he offered assurances that his immigration policies wouldn't hurt Silicon Valley. (Axios)


It may be just a matter of time before jobs crater. There is a fundamental question embedded in the debate over the future of work: will expanding automation pass without damage to job creation -- or are we headed into a catastrophic job crisis? (Axios)

How to make company culture more welcoming for women. In the past few weeks attempts have been made to clean up the working environment at the ride-hailing company Uber. (Financial Times)

How long will it take for your job to be automated?. The world is widely considered to be on the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution - one where machines will be able to do many of the jobs currently performed by humans, and perhaps even do them better. It is a future that promises greater efficiency and cheaper services, but one that also could herald widespread job losses. (BBC News)


Pelosi asks FCC chairman to hold San Francisco hearing on net neutrality. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is urging Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai not to repeal the agency's net neutrality regulations, and urging him to hold a public hearing on the regulations in her tech-heavy district. (The Hill)

FTC to Sue to Block Merger of Fantasy Sports Sites DraftKings and FanDuel. The Federal Trade Commission on Monday said it would file an antitrust lawsuit that seeks to block the proposed merger of fantasy sports companies DraftKings Inc. and FanDuel Inc., alleging the deal would harm consumers who play daily fantasy contests. (Wall Street Journal)
Tech Politics

Silicon Valley giants outrank many nations, says first 'techplomat'. The top firms in California's Silicon Valley carry more weight on the global stage than many countries, which makes building diplomatic relations with them increasingly important, the world's first national technology ambassador said. (Reuters)


The US is relocating an entire town because of climate change. And this is just the beginning. The water has been inching closer to Rita Falgout's house, lapping at the edges of her front yard. Her home is one of 29 in Isle de Jean Charles, a narrow island in the bayous of southeastern Louisiana that is slowly sinking into the Gulf of Mexico. (Quartz)

Coal's Decline Spreads Far Beyond Appalachia. Far from the mines of Appalachia, the decline of coal is hitting communities that relied on coal-fired power plants for jobs and income. (Wall Street Journal)
Merkel: Green Energy Must Gradually Become Market-Compatible. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says in speech at consumer protection group in Berlin that renewable energy must gradually be compatible with markets. (BNA)

States Bet on Green Economy as Trump Dumps Climate Programs . States and cities are doubling down on the green economy despite President Donald Trump's dismissal of the Paris climate accord as a bad deal for the U.S. (BNA)


European Politicians Are Fighting to Ban Backdoors Into Encrypted Messaging Apps. Despite swelling surveillance powers creeping across Europe, a European Parliament proposal is actually calling for a ban on "backdoors" that allow law enforcement agencies and governments into encrypted communications such as WhatsApp messages. (Motherboard)


U.S.-China summit to cover international cyber norms. The Trump administration will discuss cyber norms with China at Wednesday's diplomatic summit, a State Department official said today. (Politico Pro)

Rex Tillerson wants to work directly with Russia on cybersecurity. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly has a three-point plan to both improve relations and work with Russia, one of which includes facing global threats posed by the Syrian civil war, the proliferation of North Korea's missile and defense program and a third that could seem strange to some: Cybersecurity and cyber-espionage. (Newsweek)

Computer-Security Firm Says Voter Data Set Left Unprotected Online. A computer-security company said that a proprietary data set containing personal information on nearly 200 million American voters and their predicted voting behavior was left unprotected online, in a large cache of spreadsheets and other electronic files. (Wall Street Journal)

State Officials to Testify on Possible Russian Involvement in 2016 Election. The Senate and House intelligence committees are set on Wednesday to hold two open hearings examining Russian hacking efforts during the 2016 election, featuring testimony from current and former Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials as well as state election directors. (Wall Street Journal)

Breakthroughs in risk-based cyberattack detection. President Donald Trump's Cybersecurity Executive Order supports increased security of critical infrastructure, with a renewed focus on a risk-based approach to mitigating security threats. It provides the opportunity to reexamine what a risk-based approach to cyber security means and how current security technologies are being applied across government and private sectors.
DHS: Health care sector is most prone to ransomware. Health care, financial services and IT infrastructure are among the most frequent targets of ransomware in the nation's critical infrastructure sectors, according to the Department of Homeland Security. (FCW)

For DHS cybersecurity funding, Congress asks why states are bypassing millions. A House bill now under evaluation would examine why states that identify cyberattacks as a "top-tier risk" are using only a small portion of Department of Homeland Security funds to fight back. (StateScoop)

Internet of Things

Rhode Island wants companies to test self-driving cars on its roads. Rhode Island wants to be the next proving ground for self-driving cars, joining a growing list of other states that are willing to give pilot programs a green light. (Fox News)

France believes it can transport people on driverless trains by 2023. Who says cars are the only form of transportation that could benefit from being driverless? (Fox News)


Senators begin looking at Plan B for tax reform. As the tax reform plan championed by House Speaker Paul Ryan continues to take fire from opponents, Senate Republicans have quietly begun working on an alternative that could borrow heavily from a familiar source. (Politico Pro)

Ryan looking to rekindle tax reform flame. House Speaker Paul Ryan hopes Tuesday to jump-start a tax reform effort that has become mired in intraparty feuding, mixed signals from the White House and the drawn-out debate over Obamacare. (Politico Pro)


Trade War Risks From 'National Security' Tariffs. Donald Trump's trade policy has so far been more bark than bite: dramatic rhetoric about shaking up the old order, backed mainly by new studies and completion of routine Obama-era cases touted with extra fanfare. (Wall Street Journal)
Wilbur Ross's Cool Explanation of Trump's Heated Trade Talk. In most administrations, lower-ranking officials make the incendiary comments, while the president rises above to offer the calmer, more soothing explanations of his policies. (Wall Street Journal)
Taiwan: Cross-border opportunities amid global change: A tale of two trade agreements, Trump and Taiwan. Compared to its neighbors, Taiwan is party to very few trade agreements. This puts Taiwan at risk of an increasing competitive disadvantage in global trade and investment. (JudaSupra)
EU gains upper hand as uphill Brexit talks begin. Score one for the EU: It will be divorce first, future relationship next. (Politico Pro)
Cuba's foreign minister calls Trump's policy speech a 'grotesque spectacle'. Cuba's foreign minister today called President Donald Trump's Cuba policy speech a "grotesque spectacle" and argued that the administration's decision to roll back former President Barack Obama's historic opening to its island neighbor would deprive U.S. businesses of investment opportunities. (Politico Pro)

First meeting on U.S.-U.K. trade talks set for next month. The U.K. has created trade working groups focused on landing a bilateral free trade agreement with the United States, and the two sides will hold an initial meeting next month, U.K. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said today. (Politico Pro)

U.S., U.K. discuss laying groundwork for bilateral trade deal. Top U.S. and U.K. trade officials said today they discussed laying the groundwork for a future U.S.-U.K. trade agreement, even though no deal can be struck until the United Kingdom completes its exit from the European Union, which is expected to take until at least 2019. (Politico Pro)

White House advances Garrett, Bachus nominations for Ex-Im Bank. The White House today took a long-awaited, formal step to nominate former Rep. Scott Garrett as the next president of the Export-Import Bank, kicking off what will likely be a contentious Senate confirmation over his personal and policy views. (Politico Pro)


After Terror Attacks, Britain Moves to Police the Web. After deadly terrorist attacks and a nationwide election, Britain is once again focusing on a controversial plan: to regulate the internet. (New York Times)

Intellectual Property

Supreme Court rules the government can't refuse to register trademarks considered offensive. The Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional the federal government's practice of refusing to register trademarks that officials deem to be offensive on racial, religious or similar grounds. (Politico)

Tech Business

High-profile UK tech failures highlight danger of overhype. In the tech start-up world, failure can be a badge of honour, proof of an entrepreneur's determination to try again and again. (Financial Times)

Supreme Court Rules Government Cannot Restrict Your Access to Social Media. The Supreme Court struck down a North Carolina law Monday that prevented convicted sex offenders from using social media. The nine justices voted unanimously in favor of Lester Packingham Jr., a sex offender who violated the law by posting on Facebook in 2008. (Motherboard)

Tesla Said Close to Agreeing on Plan for China Production Plant. Tesla Inc. is close to an agreement to produce vehicles in China for the first time, giving the electric-car maker better access to the world's largest auto market, according to people familiar with the matter. (Bloomberg)

Jack Ma Woos Mom and Pop Shops in U.S. Jobs Push. Sam Wolf moved his family's health and wellness business online more than a decade ago. The Conshohocken, Pennsylvania-based company runs its own warehouse and sells thousands of nutrition products in dozens of countries through its own website as well as on Inc. and EBay Inc. (Bloomberg)

ITI Member News

Accenture, Microsoft team up on blockchain-based digital ID network. Accenture Plc and Microsoft Corp are teaming up to build a digital ID network using blockchain technology, as part of a United Nations-supported project to provide legal identification to 1.1 billion people worldwide with no official documents. (Reuters)

The Race Is On to Challenge Google-Facebook 'Duopoly' in Digital Advertising. Facebook Inc. FB +0.98% and Alphabet Inc.'s GOOGL +1.27% Google tower so far above the rest of the digital advertising world that no company can claim the mantle of No. 3. But many are trying. (Wall Street Journal)

Facebook gets initial approval to set up local unit in Indonesia. Facebook Inc has received an in-principle approval to set up a domestic unit in Indonesia, said a senior government source from the Southeast Asian nation, home to the social networking giant's fourth-largest user base. (Reuters)

Supreme Court strikes down state law barring sex offenders from Facebook. The Supreme Court struck down a North Carolina law Monday that bans registered sex offenders from accessing Facebook and other social media. (The Hill)

Four ways Google will help to tackle extremism. Terrorismis an attack on open societies, and addressing the threat posed by violence and hate is a critical challenge for us all. Google and YouTube are committed to being part of the solution. (Financial Times)

Amazon Met Whole Foods on a 'Blind Date'-But It's No 'Tinder Relationship'. Whole Foods Inc. WFM 1.27% Chief Executive John Mackey said Inc.'s AMZN 0.76% pursuit of the health food chain began with "a blind date" more than six weeks ago, a whirlwind courtship that culminated in Amazon's largest acquisition by far. (Wall Street Journal)

Today on the Hill

Today, the House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for morning hour and 2:00 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m.

Today the Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m. and proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the nomination of Sigal Mandelker, of New York, to be Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes.

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