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Tech News Roundup - 08/18/2017

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Tech Politics

Tech has yet to totally bail on Trump. An effort by President Donald Trump to harness the likes of Apple, Amazon and Google toward modernizing the U.S. government will continue its work, even as top business leaders - including some prominent tech executives - have resigned from posts advising the White House on a wide range of economic issues. (ITI's Dean Garfield Quoted, Recode)

Why the American Technology Council Stands As Others Disband. One day after President Donald Trump disbanded two of his major business advisory councils, the American Technology Council will not disband and will move forward, a White House official told Nextgov. (Nextgov)

Corporations are replacing churches as America's conscience. In the aftermath of the white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia - and Donald Trump's controversially tepid response - a surprising group has emerged as the self-proclaimed voice of public morality: corporations. (Vox)

CEOs to move their White House talks underground. Chief executives no longer want to appear in photo-ops with President Donald Trump following his race comments about Charlottesville, but that doesn't mean they're giving up on trying to shape his agenda. (Politico Pro)

Trump's Confederacy fight threatens GOP agenda in Congress. Senior Republicans on Capitol Hill fear President Donald Trump's eagerness to fight a Confederate-tinged culture war and his attacks on fellow Republicans are squandering precious political capital and imperiling their agenda in Congress. (Politico Pro)

President Trump has killed his plans to convene business leaders on infrastructure. President Donald Trump has scrapped plans to commission a council of corporate executives focused on improving U.S. infrastructure, a White House official confirmed Thursday, a move that could dent the administration's efforts to improve broadband access nationwide. (Recode)

Global Trade

US splits from Canada, Mexico on impact of NAFTA after 23 years. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Wednesday declared at the opening talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement that "this agreement has failed" for many Americans, and that the U.S. was seeking fundamental reforms. (Washington Examiner)

Quick NAFTA deal in question because Congress has not gotten required heads-up. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has not notified Congress of any expected changes to U.S. trade remedy laws that could result from renegotiating NAFTA, raising questions about the Trump administration's expectation of reaching a quick deal, POLITICO has learned. (Politico Pro)

The U.S. should be "maniacally focused" on fighting and winning an economic war with China, and it should take advantage of rarely used elements of trade policy to do so, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said in an interview published late Wednesday. (Politico Pro)

Why Trump needs a NAFTA win Mexico can tweet about, too. When it comes to NAFTA, President Donald Trump's "America First" strategy will never be successful if it is seen as "Mexico Second." (Politico Pro)


Would repealing Net Neutrality hurt small businesses?. An analysis of internet rules by the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas concludes that rolling back Net Neutrality rules would not just hurt consumers, but small businesses as well. (Consumer Affairs)

Net neutrality comments top 20 million. The public has filed over 20 million comments to the Federal Communications Commission over its plan to scrap the net neutrality rules. (The Hill)


Digital platforms force a rethink in competition theory. Anxiety about the health of competition in the US economy - and elsewhere - is growing. (Financial Times)

AT&T-Time Warner Deal, an Early Trump Target, Reaches Advanced Stage. The government review of AT&T Inc.'s T -1.65% $85 billion takeover of Time Warner Inc. has reached an advanced stage, people close to the situation said, a significant milestone in a deal that was closely watched for signs of how the Trump administration would view large mergers. (Wall Street Journal)


Most Companies Cautious When Talking About Conflict Mineral. Companies such as Intel Corp., Kemet Corp., and Texas Instruments Inc. remain among a very small group that can say minerals in their supply chains don't fund conflict in Africa, an analysis of this year's regulatory filings found. (BNA)

NIST drops 'federal' from cyber controls guidance. The National Institute of Standards and Technology has removed federal-specific verbiage from its prominent cybersecurity and privacy controls publication. (FedScoop)

State and local government gain increased focus in new NIST security controls. The National Institute of Standards and Technology removed the word "federal" from the title of its security and privacy controls catalog as part of a rewrite this week. (StateScoop)

Public Sector
How data mining can help chase sex traffickers. New automated data linkage and mining techniques could help law enforcement more quickly and efficiently find online sex traffickers by linking data from online advertisements to public information from Bitcoin. (FCW)

Accelerating IT modernization. The Modernizing Government Technology Act passed in the House and is currently under consideration by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, but the eventual passage of this important, bipartisan piece of legislation is uncertain. (FCW)

Mobile traffic to federal websites continues to grow, GSA data shows. While the ubiquity of smartphones in 2017 is a foregone conclusion, their role in how citizens interact with the federal government has only become more apparent. (FedScoop)


Trump's Bruising Tweet Highlights Amazon's Lingering Tax Fight. President Donald Trump waded into a longstanding scrap between online retailers and their brick-and-mortar rivals with a Twitter posting Wednesdayabout Inc. and taxes. (Bloomberg)

A 'Netflix tax'? Yes, and it's already a thing in some states. Your monthly bill for Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and other streaming entertainment services could go up soon as states such as Illinois try to find ways to offset declining sales taxes and other revenue shortfalls. Chicago, Pennsylvania and Florida have already passed a so-called Netflix tax, and cities such as Pasadena, Calif. have broached the issue. (USA Today)

China Tech Workers Wanted: Women Need Not Apply. China's tech industry has long taken Silicon Valley's lead, from products to business models to office design. But it has paid scant attention to the scandals that have rocked Silicon Valley this year, based on allegations of gender discrimination and sexual harassment. (Wall Street Journal)

Very few girls took computing A-level. It comes amid a storm in Silicon Valley over the number of women employed in the tech industry. (BBC News)
Sheryl Sandberg donated $100 million of Facebook stock to her nonprofits and other charities. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has transferred 590,000 shares of Facebook stock, worth just under $100 million, to a special fund she uses for charitable donations, according to a document filed Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. (Recode)

Tech Business

A 2:15 Alarm, 2 Trains and a Bus Get Her to Work by 7 A.M.. Sheila James starts her Monday, and the workweek, at 2:15 a.m. This might be normal for a baker or a morning radio host, but Ms. James is a standard American office worker. (New York Times)
Facebook, Airbnb Go on Offense Against Nazis After Violence. When white supremacists plan rallies like the one a few days ago in Charlottesville, Virginia, they often organize their events on Facebook, pay for supplies with PayPal, book their lodging with Airbnb and ride with Uber. (Bloomberg)
Jack Ma Is Ahead of Jeff Bezos in Grocery Store Ambitions. Jack Ma is ahead of Jeff Bezos in one area: grocery stores. (Bloomberg)

For Uber, a Quiet Investor Becomes a Sudden Thorn. For the past week, Uber's board members have been embroiled in conversations over a thorny question: what to do about Benchmark, the venture capital firm that is one of the ride-hailing company's largest shareholders. (New York Times)
Not everyone is a Facebook. Small companies are thriving even while surrounded by tech giants. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the increasingly self-reinforcing dominance of a group of very large companies in the tech industry. Those companies - Apple, Alphabet, Facebook, Microsoft, etc. - have made it all but impossible for smaller companies to break into the industry, to grow and to build sustainable businesses without being either wiped out or acquired in the process by the industry's giants. (Recode)
Wisconsin bill giving $3 billion incentives to Foxconn advances. Wisconsin's Republican-controlled state Assembly voted 59-30 on Thursday to approve a bill that paves the way for a $3 billion incentives package for a proposed liquid-crystal display plant by Taiwan's Foxconn. (Reuters)

ITI Member News

Nielsen to Track Growing Clout of Esports. Nielsen HoldingsNLSN -1.14% PLC said it began measuring the financial value of sponsoring videogame competitions and teams, the latest sign of the rising interest in so-called esports. (Wall Street Journal)
Facebook shut down anonymous employee group after Trump was elected, report says. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg shut down an anonymous employee group following the election of Donald Trump, after it devolved into a forum for divisive political commentary that alarmed management, according to a report by Business Insider. (Washington Post)

With code name, how Toyota-Mazda set off secret race for 4,000-job plant. One of biggest potential job-creating bonanzas in the country, a giant new auto plant proposed by Toyota and Mazda, began in secret with a mysterious code name. (USA Today)

Today on the Hill

Both chambers are not in session today.

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