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Tech News Roundup - 07/28/2017

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Difference is startling in telecom and tech industry reaction to Trump's transgender troop ban. While nearly all the major tech companies (or their top executives) spoke out against President Trump's move to ban transgender people from serving in the military, one group of companies was noticeably silent. (Axios)

Internet of Things

House panel approves legislation to speed deployment of self-driving cars. An influential U.S. House committee on Thursday approved a revised bipartisan bill on a 54-0 vote that would speed the deployment of self-driving cars without human controls and bar states from blocking autonomous vehicles. (Reuters)
Driverless car bill moves quickly to House floor. A driverless car bill is quickly moving through the House, as Congress races to pass the first federal legislation to address the emerging technology. (The Hill)
With automakers urging speed, House panel moves driverless car bill forward. A House panel Thursday approved Congress' first driverless car bill, a sweeping package that would obliterate some key barriers to deploying vehicles nationwide - in the process handing automakers and their technology partners a win they've been clamoring for. (Politico Pro)

Wheels: Cars Suck Up Data About You. Where Does It All Go?. Cars have become rolling listening posts. They can track phone calls and texts, log queries to websites, record what radio stations you listen to - even tell you when you are breaking the law by exceeding the speed limit. (New York Times)


Steve Bannon Wants Facebook and Google Regulated Like Utilities. Tech companies like Facebook and Google that have become essential elements of 21st-century life should be regulated as utilities, top White House adviser Steve Bannon has argued, according to three people who've spoken to him about the issue. (The Intercept)

Senate panel to vote on FCC nominees in August. The Senate Commerce Committee will hold confirmation votes for three nominees to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) next week. (The Hill)


Toyota claims a leap that would vastly increase electric-car range. In an unusual statement, Toyota says it is nearing a breakthrough in a type of lithium-ion battery system that has vexed researchers for decades, and that it will unveil a family of electric cars with a jump in currently available range in the early 2020s.(Axios)


Ransomware 'here to stay', warns Google study. The search giant created thousands of virtual victims of ransomware to expose the payment ecosystem surrounding the malware type. (BBC)

Facebook calls for a more people-centric security industry. Alex Stamos scolded the security industry in the opening keynote of the 2017 Black Hat conference. (BBC)

How to report cybersecurity strategies to senior leaders. Although it might not be surprising that Americans are deeply concerned about cybersecurity, that anxiety has grown dramatically in the past few years. (FCW)

Flush times for hackers in booming cyber security job market. The surge in far-flung and destructive cyber attacks is not good for national security, but for an increasing number of hackers and researchers, it is great for job security. (Reuters)


Digital rights groups pressure Blackstone on reported NSO Group deal. Digital rights group Access Now on Thursday began circulating a petition urging Blackstone Group to abandon any plan to invest in Israeli firm NSO Group, a maker of spyware for mobile devices, following a report that such a deal may be imminent. (Reuters)
Global Trade

Not Made in America - Wal-Mart looks overseas for online vendors., trailing Inc in the number of goods for sale on its website, is recruiting vendors in China and other countries to boost its online offerings in a pivot away from Wal-Mart's Made-in-America campaign. (Wall Street Journal)
Trump may talk, not tariff, his way out of steel import question. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is considering the option of launching new negotiations as he explores ways the administration can address the effect global steel overcapacity has had on domestic manufacturing, House lawmakers said after a closed-door briefing on Thursday. (Politico Pro)

CHINA'S NEXT TARGET: U.S. MICROCHIP HEGEMONY. -At a muddy construction site the size of 12 baseball stadiums, globalization is turning into nationalism. (Wall Street Journal)


Tax reform: Is that all there is?. The White House, Treasury and congressional leaders issued a six-paragraph statement Thursday that tried to show off their commitment to pursuing tax reform without delving into any policy specifics. (Politico Pro)
Import tax officially abandoned in Big 6 tax reform talks. White House and congressional leaders officially acknowledged Thursday that a controversial tax on imports would be dropped from tax reform, but otherwise provided no new details on a broader plan they expect to start moving through Congress in the fall. (Politico)

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence helps determine which puppies can serve the blind. If there are two things that seem to be polar opposites, it's the warm exuberance of puppies and the cold intelligence of a supercomputer like IBM's Watson. (CBS)
Public Sector

Bill calls for a smart wall. New legislation set to be introduced by Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) would compel the Department of Homeland Security to create a "smart wall" by requiring DHS to assess technological solutions before building a physical barrier on the country's southern border. (FCW)

18F seeks to streamline ATO process. Innovation group 18F has launched an interagency project to make it easier for federal agencies to adopt commercial software and products. (FCW)

New bill would loosen restrictions on TSP withdrawals. Federal employees and retirees may soon see more flexibility in the way their Thrift Savings Plan accounts function. The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee passed the TSP Modernization Act of 2017, along with a handful of other bills that could soon affect the lives and careers of the federal workforce. (Federal News Radio)

OMB orders agencies to consolidate shipping services under new DoD contract. The Trump Administration on Thursday ordered federal agencies to abandon dozens of one-by-one business agreements with large shipping companies, saying they must begin using a governmentwide contract administered by the Defense Department for the overwhelming majority of their small package deliveries. (Federal News Radio)

OMB orders agencies to consolidate shipping services under new DoD contract. The Trump Administration on Thursday ordered federal agencies to abandon dozens of one-by-one business agreements with large shipping companies, saying they must begin using a governmentwide contract administered by the Defense Department for the overwhelming majority of their small package deliveries. (Federal News Radio)

New House bill taps Silicon Valley for 'smart' border wall. It seems Rep. Will Hurd understands the importance of building a little buzz around an idea. (FedScoop)

Hybrid IT gives agencies 'the best of both world,' HPE exec says. Hybrid IT gives federal agencies "the best of both worlds," allowing for the efficiencies of public cloud and the security of traditional on-premise IT. (FedScoop)

Unique tech talent matchmaker role comes to San Antonio. San Antonio, Texas, and its surrounding county of Bexar, have approved $300,000 in funding to hire a "chief talent and recruitment officer (CTRO)," a first-of-its-kind position in government, responsible for retaining and attracting talent for local technology companies. (StateScoop)


Silicon Valley's Sexual Harassment Issues Have a Long History. Allegations of sexism and harassment toward female entrepreneurs have caused an uproar in Silicon Valley in recent weeks, after explosive accusations emerged about several startup investors and mentors. (Bloomberg)

Tech Business

Op-Ed: Innovation leaders to Congress: Don't kill our future with cuts to research programs. Leaders of American innovation came to Washington recently with a clear message to Congress: Don't abandon our companies, our investors, and our country's competitiveness in the global race for energy technology. (The Hill)

UK government's drone collision report criticised. Manufacturers have criticised a UK government report on the danger of drones colliding with aircraft. (BBC)
Pakistani Ride Sharing App Puts A Matchmaker In The Car. What would happen if you married an old custom - matchmaking - with something modern, like the ride-sharing app on your smartphone? (NPR)

ITI Member News

As downloaded music fades away, Apple discontinues older iPods. Apple Inc (AAPL.O) said Thursday that it will discontinue the iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano, the last two music players in the company's lineup that cannot play songs from Apple Music, its streaming service that competes with Spotify and Pandora Media Inc (P.N). (Reuters)
Summer of Samsung: A Corruption Scandal, a Political Firestorm-and a Record Profit.On a Friday in June, Jay Y. Lee, the de facto head of the Samsung conglomerate, is enduring another afternoon at the Central District Court in Seoul, listening to the prosecution quiz a witness about the finer points of equine health. (Bloomberg)

Amazon Enlists Researchers to Build Box-Packing Robots. Sixteen teams of robotics researchers are traveling to Japan this week to help Inc. solve its warehouse problem. (Bloomberg)
Samsung's push to be more like Silicon Valley. "Summer of Samsung" ... Bloomberg Businessweek's Brad Stone, Sam Kim and Ian King go inside Samsung to examine how South Korea's most important company - and the family behind it - is succeeding amid all the turmoil (Axios)

Amazon's Expansion Costs Take a Toll as Profit Falls 77%. Inc. AMZN -0.65% said quarterly profit fell 77% even as sales jumped, a sign of the high cost of its increasing dominance of retail. (Wall Street Journal)

Trump Comments on U.S. Factories Make It Awkward for Apple. Pressed by President Donald Trump, Apple Inc. AAPL -1.89%suddenly faces new pressure to build factories in the U.S., something it hasn't done for years and has shown no signs of wanting to do. (Wall Street Journal)

Today on the Hill

Today, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. First votes expected: 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
The Senate will convent at 10:00 a.m. and resume consideration of H.R.1628, To provide for reconciliation pursuant to title II of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2017.
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