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Tech News Roundup - 07/18/2017

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FTC staff backs net neutrality rollback. The staff of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed an official comment to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in favor of Chairman Ajit Pai's plan to scrap net neutrality regulations. (The Hill)

Wyden accuses FCC chair of being 'willfully ignorant' on net neutrality. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on Monday accused Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai of mischaracterizing his position from nearly two decades ago to justify the agency's repeal of net neutrality rules. (The Hill)

Broadband companies make closing arguments against net neutrality. As the period for filing public comments on the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) plans to roll back net neutrality regulations comes to a close, telecommunications companies are submitting their final arguments. (The Hill)

AT&T, Comcast and others sketch their support for lenient - or voluntary - net neutrality rules. The Trump administration's attempt to scrap and replace the U.S. government's net neutrality rules could open the door for internet providers like AT&T, Comcast* and Verizon to charge some companies for faster delivery of their web content or services. (Recode)

Energy and Environment

California Legislature passes cap-and-trade deal. California lawmakers have voted to extend the state's landmark law to combat climate change after hours of fraught debate and days of direct appeals from Gov. Jerry Brown. (AP)

Artificial Intelligence

Robotic Hogwash! Artificial Intelligence Will Not Take Over Wall Street. Ten years ago, computer-driven traders pulled the plug after their algorithms ran amok, leading to billions in losses and the eventual closure of Goldman Sachs 's flagship quantitative fund. (Wall Street Journal)


IBM's Latest Line of Mainframe Computers Focuses on Encryption. International Business Machines Corp. on Monday unveiled its next generation of mainframes, the industrial-strength computers that underpin industries such as banking and insurance, highlighting an old product category that still drives much of its profit. (Wall Street Journal)

To battle hackers, IBM wants to encrypt the world. There are only two types of companies, it is commonly said: those that have been hacked, and those that just don't know it yet. (Washington Post)


GOP Splits Over Health-Law Taxes, Signaling a Shift. Republican efforts to pass a health-care bill have revealed a party fissure on health-related taxes with potentially far-reaching repercussions. (Wall Street Journal)

ICS-CERT assessments on the rise. Compared with last year, the overall number of visits federal cybersecurity experts have made to critical infrastructure providers is up significantly, according to DHS' cybersecurity response team records. (FCW)

38 governors sign cybersecurity compact. With cyberthreats growing in number and sophistication, 38 governors have signed a compact pledging commitment to cybersecurity efforts that protect state systems and data. (StateScoop)

Public Sector

FedRAMP tweaks programs to speed authorizations. The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program is making it easier for cloud service providers to be considered for the FedRAMP Forward program that prioritizes provisional authorizations. (FCW)

DoD chief innovation officer position put on hold. The Defense Department is slowing its pace on recommendations from the Defense Innovation Advisory Board, at least for now. (Federal News Radio)

3 things to know about GSA's proposed CDM SIN. The General Services Administration gave agencies more detail about its highly anticipated new special item number for the governmentwide Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program Monday. (FedScoop)
How CSRA sees the status of federal cloud adoption. The government is still in the "early innings" of cloud adoption, CSRA CTO Yogesh Khanna said Monday, but the ecosystem is thriving. (FedScoop)

U.S. outlines priorities for NAFTA negotiations. The United States on Mondayoutlined its priorities for renegotiating the NAFTA trade agreement and said it would focus on ensuring better access for U.S. goods exported to Canada and Mexico in order to reduce the U.S. trade deficit. (Reuters)

Trump dangles possibility of tilting playing field for U.S. companies. President Donald Trump pledged Monday to even the playing field for American companies, and to possibly even tilt it their way.

Lawmakers, labor warn NAFTA could go the way of TPP. As the world waits for the Trump administration to release its list of demands for NAFTA renegotiation, a coalition of progressive Democratic lawmakers, labor leaders and environmental groups says the White House has done little to engage with them, even though they contributed to the downfall of the executive branch's last major trade initiative - the Trans-Pacific Partnership. (Politico Pro)
Trump's trade warrior prowls the West Wing. Peter Navarro, one of the White House's top trade advisers, is widely viewed throughout the West Wing and Capitol Hill as a prickly personality with extreme policy ideas. (Politico Pro)

Trump's NAFTA goals draw from TPP, campaign pledges. The Trump administration today released long-awaited goals for renegotiating NAFTA, borrowing heavily from the discarded Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and putting a strong emphasis on reducing the bilateral trade deficits with Canada and Mexico. (Politico Pro)

Global Trade's Evolution May Check Trump's Protectionism
. President Donald Trump has looked to make protectionism respectable again, citing Abraham Lincoln's embrace of tariffs, pulling the U.S. out of a Pacific trade pact and preparing tariffs on steel imports. But changes in the international economy and the institutions governing trade are acting as constraints on what Mr. Trump can achieve. (Wall Street Journal)

'Herculean' U.S.-China Trade Deal Gets Less-Than-Heroic Reviews. When Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced in May the "herculean accomplishment" of extracting Chinese promises to open swiftly long-restricted markets in finance and agriculture, he pronounced the actions "more than has been done in the whole history of U.S.-China relations on trade." (Wall Street Journal)

White House under pressure to drop Export-Import Bank nominee. President Donald Trump is standing behind former Rep. Scott Garrett, his choice to head the Export-Import Bank, amid escalating pressure from business groups to pull the plug on the nomination. (Politico)


Federal court rejects challenge to national security data requests. The Federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that gag orders issued with warrant-like national security letters do not violate the First Amendment. (The Hill)

Why it took more than a week to resolve the Verizon data leak. A communication breakdown and a vacationing employee were the reasons it took more than a week to close a leak that contained data belonging to 6 million Verizon customers, according to Chris Vickery, the cybersecurity researcher who discovered the breach. (Washington Post)

Trump administration to allow for 15,000 more foreign workers. DHS will issue up to 15,000 visas allowing U.S. companies to hire temporary, non-agricultural workers, an announcement that comes as President Donald Trump has pushed a "Hire American" theme and at the start of the administration's "Made in America" week. (Politico Pro)

DHS announces boost in seasonal worker visas during W.H. 'Made in America' week. Businesses will soon be able to apply to bring in up to 15,000 more foreigners for seasonal work, the Department of Homeland Security announced Monday -- prompting questions about whether the move fit in with the White House's "America First" posture. (CNN)

Labor union says Amazon-Whole Foods merger could lead to job automation. One of the largest labor unions in the U.S. is calling on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to more closely scrutinize Amazon's pending merger with the high-end grocer Whole Foods. (The Hill)

Tech Business

Liu Xiaobo's Death Pushes China's Censors Into Overdrive. It came as little surprise when, after the death of the dissident Liu Xiaobo last week, China's vast army of censors kicked into overdrive as they scrubbed away the outpouring of grief on social media that followed. (New York Times)
Netflix's subscriber growth beats on new shows. Netflix Inc added more U.S. and international subscribers than expected in the second quarter as new original shows such as "13 Reasons Why" as well as the latest season of hit political drama "House of Cards" helped attract more viewers. (Reuters)
FedEx says cyber attack to hurt full-year results. Package delivery company FedEx Corp (FDX.N) said a disruption in services in its TNT Express unit following a cyber attack last month would hurt its full-year results. (Reuters)
Somalia restores internet connection after weeks of outage. Somalia has restored its internet connection after repairing a severed undersea cable, a telecoms official said on Monday, after an outage that the government said had cost the economy millions of dollars a day. (Reuters)
Netflix added more than five million new subscribers last quarter, and Wall Street is happy. Netflix added 5.2 million new subscribers last quarter, well above its own estimates and those of Wall Street analysts. (Recode)

ITI Member News

Behind the Velvet Ropes of Facebook's Private Groups. In recent days, I've gotten to know beekeepers in Rhode Island, dental hygienists in New Jersey and Wiccans in Tennessee. (New York Times)
Qualcomm loses appeal against EU threat of daily fine. U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM.O) faces the threat of a daily fine of 580,000 euros ($665,000) for failing to provide EU antitrust regulators with information after losing an appeal against the penalty in a European Union court on Monday. (Reuters)
Chipmakers Nvidia, AMD Ride Cryptocurrency Wave - for Now. During California's Gold Rush, it was often the sellers of pickaxes and shovels who made the most money. In the frenzy to get rich quick from cryptocurrencies, some investors are calling computer chipmakers the modern-day equivalent. (Bloomberg)

Google Fiber is losing its second CEO in less than a year. Google Fiber, the high-speed internet service operated by Alphabet, has lost its second CEO in less than a year. (Business Insider)

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: 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Last votes expected 4:45 p.m. - 5:45 p.m.
Today the Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m. and proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the nomination of Patrick M. Shanahan, of Washington, to be Deputy Secretary of Defense.
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