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Tech News Roundup - 07/31/2017

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Key Issues


Is Amazon getting too big?. Amazon's general counsel, David Zapolsky, had a lot on his mind last month when he and four members of his legal team visited the offices of New America, a liberal-leaning think tank in Washington. (Washington Post)
Sprint is reportedly seeking a merger with Charter, the nation's second-biggest cable company. Sprint, the nation's fourth-largest wireless network, is pursuing a merger with the cable company Charter Communications, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. (Washington Post)

For Maine Islands, Internet Means Opportunity. Residents of some Maine islands say lack of decent internet is keeping them from participating in the economy. Jobs are in short supply and telecommuting isn't practicalv. (NPR)


This massive new wind project is proof clean energy is doing fine under Trump. One of the nation's largest power companies, American Electric Power, announced plans on Wednesday to purchase what it said would be the biggest U.S. wind farm in the state of Oklahoma, a strong signal of continued growth for renewables even under the Trump administration. (Washington Post)


Hacker Cracks Voting Machine in Less Than 2 Hours. A touch-screen voting machine used in a 2014 election in Virginia was hacked in about 100 minutes by exploiting a Windows XP flaw that was more than a decade old as part of a demonstration on security vulnerabilities in election technology. (Wall Street Journal)

Hackers scour voting machines for election bugs. Hackers attending this weekend's Def Con hacking convention in Las Vegas were invited to break into voting machines and voter databases in a bid to uncover vulnerabilities that could be exploited to sway election results. (Reuters)
Lawmakers have yet to see NSA, Cyber Command divorce plans. Lawmakers are brushing off reports about an imminent Trump administration plan to split the nation's rapidly expanding top military cyber unit from the powerful intelligence agency where it was launched, saying they haven't even seen the proposal yet. (Politico Pro)


Clouds linger over troubled transatlantic data-transfer deal. A year after European and American officials hammered out a data-sharing deal to allow companies to move people's digital information across the Atlantic, the agreement's future looks likely be settled by lawyers, not lawmakers. (Politico Pro)
We tested apps for children. Half failed to protect their data.. When parents download a learning or gaming app from the "Designed for Families" section of the Google Play store, they likely assume that those apps keep their kids' data safe. (Washington Post)

Canada Aims for Tech Talent, Emboldened by Immigration Worries in U.S.. Canada's technology sector, which has long struggled to compete with sunny Silicon Valley, is seizing on the U.S.'s hardening stance on immigration in a bid to lure top talent. (Wall Street Journal)
Global Trade

EU Seeks Trade Deals With Mexico, Mercosur in 2017. The European Union, on the heels of recent trade deals with Japan and Canada, is now eyeing two more far-reaching agreements this year: one with Mexico and the other with Mercosur countries Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. (BNA)

Facing a trade war, Europe rediscovers its swagger. If President Donald Trump really wants a trade war, Brussels is more than happy to give him one. (Politico Pro)


Apple is removing VPN services from China App Store: providers. Apple Inc (AAPL.O) is removing virtual private network (VPN) services from its app store in China, VPN service providers said on Saturday, accusing the U.S. tech giant of bowing to pressure from Beijing to comply with stringent cyberspace regulations. (Reuters)

Apple Removes Apps From China Store That Help Internet Users Evade Censorship. China appears to have received help on Saturday from an unlikely source in its fight against tools that help users evade its Great Firewall of internet censorship: Apple. (New York Times)


Despite solidarity declaration, still a tough road ahead for tax reform. Tax reform has reached a seminal moment for Republicans in Congress and the White House, but that doesn't mean they have a clear path ahead. (Politico Pro)

Republicans looking for quick bang from tax reform for 2018 election. House Speaker Paul Ryan told conservative activists Friday that the Republicans' plan on tax reform is to create as many permanent changes as possible, while making others temporary to comply with budgetary rules. (Politico Pro)

Business Roundtable launching multi-million dollar push backing tax reform. The Business Roundtable is embarking on a multi-million-dollar national TV and radio campaign, beginning in early August, to give tax reform extra momentum over the congressional recess. (Politico)

How tax breaks could break tax reform. The government will give you a tax break if you hunt whales. (Politico Pro)
Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence Is Stuck. Here's How to Move It Forward. Artificial Intelligence is colossally hyped these days, but the dirty little secret is that it still has a long, long way to go. (New York Times)
The data that transformed AI research-and possibly the world. In 2006, Fei-Fei Li started ruminating on an idea. (Quartz)
Public Sector

Former OGE chief keeps up campaign for strong ethics. Walter Shaub might have resignedfrom his post as director of the Office of Government Ethics, but that doesn't mean he has stopped trying to bolster the federal ethics program. (FCW)

NDAA could expand funding for student startup program. The 2018 defense budget could fund a new tech training program aimed at students. (FCW)

10 House Republicans and 18 senators speak out against federal retirement cuts. More members of Congress are voicing their concerns for recent fiscal 2018 budget proposals that could make significant changes to the federal retirement system for current and future employees and retirees. (Federal News Radio)

18F working to overhaul the ATO process. The General Services Administration's innovation arm has its sights set on changing the way the federal government decides what software it buys. (FedScoop)

Bug bounty industry, helped by federal business, is growing up fast. The bug bounty industry - which basically hires and sells the services of freelance hackers who are paid to find weaknesses in systems or products - is seeing a period of rapid growth, in part because of early successes in the federal market. (FedScoop)


Hot Spot for Tech Outsourcing: The United States. For years, American companies have been saving money by "offshoring" jobs - hiring people in India and other distant cubicle farms. (New York Times)

Google hopes to train 10 million people in Africa in online skills: CEO. Alphabet Inc's Google aims to train 10 million people in Africa in online skills over the next five years in an effort to make them more employable, its chief executive said on Thursday. (Reuters)

Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg: 'Pay women well'. But the firm's chief operating officer, in an interview for BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, said the first step is to "start paying women well". (BBC News)

The Great Stagnation: Americans stopped moving to find work. From the first, Americans have been on the move in "Great Migrations" for a better life, like those of the last century that saw poor blacks and whites go from the south for higher-paying work in northern cities. (Axios)

Tech Business

Uber's CEO Search Reaches New Degree of Difficulty. Five weeks after Travis Kalanick's surprise resignation as chief executive of Uber Technologies Inc., the board of the now-leaderless company is wrestling with a thorny question. (Washington Post)

Should we fear Big Tech?. Not long ago, Americans were afraid of Big Oil. Then it was Big Banks. Now Big Tech is coming under attack. (San Francisco Chronicle)

In China, Designer Goods Delivered to Your Doorstep. In China, legions of delivery personnel power the world's largest e-commerce boom. (New York Times)

Uber's Search for New C.E.O. Hampered by Deep Split on Board. Some members of Uber's eight-person board were excited about the idea of Meg Whitman becoming the ride-hailing company's next chief executive. (New York Times)

These Booming Chip Companies Have a Long Memory. Those holding their breath for an inevitable plunge in memory chip prices can breathe a little easier for now. (Wall Street Journal)

ITI Member News

Amazon everywhere: E-commerce titan is topic companies can't avoid. What looms over businesses as far flung as car repair, lab equipment and swimming pool gear? In a word, Amazon. (Reuters)
5 Reasons a $1,400 iPhone Isn't Crazy. How much would you pay for an iPhone? This September, Apple will unveil not just the usual two new iPhones, but also an ultra-deluxe 10th-anniversary model, according to reports from multiple analysts. (Wall Street Journal)

Samsung Topples Intel as World's Biggest Chip Maker. Samsung Electronics Co., the South Korean technology company best known for its smartphones and televisions, has taken the title of world's largest chip maker by revenue, knocking Intel Corp. from a perch it held for nearly a quarter-century. (Wall Street Journal)

Today on the Hill

The House is not in session today.
The Senate will convene at 4:00 p.m. and proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the nomination of Kevin Newsom, of Alabama, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit.
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