Skip to main content

Tech News Roundup - 08/21/2017

Tech News Roundup

Go Back

Key Issues

Tech Politics

Wave of resignations hits Commerce Department's board of 'digital economy' advisers.More business executives are departing en masse from Trump administration advisory positions, with a new set of resignations from a Commerce Department advisory board following an exodus from two business groups advising the White House, which then disbanded both of them. (Politico Pro)

The walls are closing in on tech giants. Tech behemoths Google, Facebook and Amazon are feeling the heat from the far-left and the far-right, and even the center is starting to fold. (Axios)

Tech's role as online gatekeeper raises questions following racially charged rally. Internet companies gave a very high-profile boot this week to websites and individuals they deemed to encourage violence and promote hateful views, while at the same time fighting legislation that would hold them responsible for sex trafficking they know is facilitated by their networks. (Politico Pro)

Silicon Valley's concerns about the Trump administration continue to grow. US president Donald Trump claims that he has disbanded two corporate advisory councils, following a mass exodus by major CEOs who took issue with his much-denounced statement on the horrific events in Charlottesville. (ITI's Dean Garfield Mentioned, Silicon Republic)

The Moral Voice of Corporate America. The nation has split into political tribes. The culture wars are back, waged over transgender rights and immigration. White nationalists are on the march. (New York Times)

The coming earthquake. One feature of our time is the disruption du jour - the whiplash of yet another big surprise that promises to upset everything and everyone for years and perhaps decades to come. (Axios)

Op-Ed: Jeff Flake: We Need Immigrants With Skills. But Working Hard Is a Skill.. Someone recently said, "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best." (New York Times)

The U.S. is risking an academic brain drain. Linsen Li is a Chinese-born, 30-year-old specialist in advanced batteries - a postdoc in MIT's material science and engineering program. He received his Ph.D in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin, in all spending the last seven years in the U.S. His infant son, William, is an American citizen. (Axios)

Global Trade

The Trump administration's international trade negotiators are focused on issues ranging from cars to avocados in two sets of talks getting underway, and the tech sector is continuing its push to get specific cybersecurity issues into the mix, both in NAFTA and the reopened U.S.-Korea free trade agreement. (ITI Mentioned, Washington Examiner)

NAFTA negotiators hone in on origin rules, dispute settlement. U.S., Canadian and Mexican negotiators on Friday began digging into some of the thorniest issues in modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement, including rules of origin for goods produced in the region, services trade and a controversial dispute settlement system. (Reuters)

Why Bannon lost and the globalists won. The day after Christmas last year, New York Times sportswriter Marc Tracy by chance spotted Steve Bannon in the Atlanta airport and struck up a chat. (Politico)

New Zealand Aims to Stick Close to Existing Terms at TPP Talks . New Zealand said it will push for an Asia-Pacific trade pact abandoned by the U.S. to be activated with only limited changes during talks taking place in Sydney Aug. 28-30. (BNA)
NAFTA Digital Trade Provisions Sought by Tech Groups. Tech groups are pushing for digital trade provisions in a North American Free Trade Agreement rewrite, seeing them as crucial to the growth of artificial intelligence and predictive data analytics. (BNA)

Trump's NAFTA talks have major implications for countries on the other side of the world. The North American Free Trade Agreement may not include any Asian nations, but the trade-dependent region will be closely watching how the Trump administration handles talks, analysts said. (CNBC)

'Hard' Brexit offers '£135bn annual boost' to economy. A "hard" Brexit is "economically much superior to soft" argues Prof Patrick Minford, lead author of a report from Economists for Free Trade. (BBC News)

The Trump Unit: Inside Canada's PMO squad to save NAFTA. If Donald Trump deploys the big bomb during upcoming NAFTA negotiations, and threatens to blow up the continental trade agreement, a unit within the office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be assigned to try disarming it. (National Post)

NAFTA partners vow to press accelerated timetable to reach deal. The United States, Canada and Mexico are determined to reach an agreement as soon as possible in talks on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, the three countries said in a joint statement as the first round of talks ended today. (Politico Pro)

Red lines and little bargaining in Round 1 of NAFTA talks. Negotiators from the U.S., Canada and Mexico retreated to their respective home bases on Sundayafter an initial round of talks on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement exposed deep differences over national goals and cast doubt on the likelihood a deal will be struck before early next year. (Politico Pro)

U.S., Canada and Mexico Wrap Up Nafta First Round. Opening-round talks to remake the North American Free Trade Agreement revealed early fissures dividing the U.S. from Mexico and Canada, including a Trump administration proposal to require a "substantial" portion of autos and auto parts produced under the pact be made in the U.S. (Wall Street Journal)


One idea for regulating Google and Facebook's control over content. We reported this morning on the mounting pressure on major web platforms over their role in moderating content. (Axios)

Artificial Intelligence

'Marjorie Prime' explores the limits of AI built from memories. Marjorie, 86, is dying. In her final months, she finds solace in an artificially intelligent holographic re-creation of her late husband, Walter, called "Walter Prime." (Engadget)


Should You Trust Climate Science? Maybe the Eclipse Is a Clue. Eclipse mania will peak on Monday, when millions of Americans will upend their lives in response to a scientific prediction. (New York Times)
Trump Administration Disbands Climate-Change Advisory Panel. In yet another move that indicates the White House does not take the threat of climate change seriously, the Trump administration has disbanded a federal advisory panel that worked to translate the government's climate data into actionable insight for policymakers and the private sector, according to a report in the Washington Post. (New York Magazine)
Intellectual Property
U.S. formally launches probe of China's intellectual property practices. The United States on Friday formally launched an investigation into China's alleged theft of U.S. intellectual property, a widely expected move following a call from President Donald Trump earlier this week to determine whether a probe was needed. (Reuters)

Internet of Things

NuTonomy hopes for second-quarter 2018 launch of paid Singapore self-driving car rides. U.S. self-driving car startup NuTonomy and southeast Asian ride services partner Grab hope to turn a test pilot in Singapore into a paid, commercial service as soon as the second quarter of next year, NuTonomy Chief Executive Karl Iagnemma said on Friday. (Reuters)

Trump elevates U.S. Cyber Command, vows 'increased resolve' against threats. President Donald Trump on Friday announced that U.S. Cyber Command will be elevated to a "Unified Combatant Command," putting it on equal footing with existing organizations that oversee military operations in the Middle East, Europe and the Pacific. (Politico Pro)

Secret chips in replacement parts can completely hijack your phone's security. People with cracked touch screens or similar smartphone maladies have a new headache to consider: the possibility the replacement parts installed by repair shops contain secret hardware that completely hijacks the security of the device. (Ars Technica)

Chinese 'cyber-court' launched for online cases. The Hangzhou Internet Court opened on Friday and heard its first case - a copyright infringement dispute between an online writer and a web company. (BBC News)

Many UK company directors unprepared for cyber attacks. The UK's largest quoted companies are failing to provide enough information about cyber security risks to their boards of directors, according to a poll that reports more than two-thirds of boards have not been trained in how to respond to an attack. (Financial Times)
Nevada becomes 3rd state to shield against Trump's online privacy rollback. In October, Nevada will become the third state to require website owners to notify visitors about how they're collecting and using consumer data. (StateScoop)

Turning To VPNs For Online Privacy? You Might Be Putting Your Data At Risk. Worried about Internet companies snooping on your online browsing? You might turn to something called a virtual private network to protect your privacy. But researchers say these networks can themselves be insecure. (NPR)

Public Sector

States Need to Modernize the Polling Place, but Funding Is Scarce. Federal money set aside to help states upgrade their voting equipment is running out, at a time when many states are seeking to replace aging machines and further fortify against cyberattacks. (Wall Street Journal)

Gartner explains the hype. Gartner's latest update to its emerging technologies "hype cycle" report points to an acceleration in the speed with which emerging technologies are moving from the drawing board to mass implementation. (FCW)

Trump names top IC CIO. President Donald Trump named John Sherman to the post of CIO of the intelligence community. The job is based in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. (FCW)

Why Your Face Will Soon Be the Key to All Your Devices. Amid a flurry of new interest in the agency and its mission, the Office of Government Ethics has released a new draft strategic plan that outlines how it intends to execute its mission over the next four years. While it doubles down on past efforts like workforce development, modernization and enhancing efficiency, it also introduces some new goals, like increasing public engagement. (Federal News Letter)
Prospective federal cloud providers will gain visibility with 'FedRAMP in Process'. Cloud service providers vying for authorization through the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program will now be able to demonstrate their capabilities to agencies sooner. (FedScoop)


Left warns Democrats in tax reform fight. Liberal activists who hounded the GOP throughout its failed Obamacare repeal bid are gearing up to hit any Democrat who strays from the fold on tax cuts for the wealthy - including some of the party's most politically vulnerable incumbents. (Politico Pro)

Trump targets tax reform to reconnect with Republicans. The Trump administration has decided to push hard for tax reform and dial down a controversial national security investigation into steel imports in a bid to swing Republican support behind the president after the turmoil of recent weeks, according to senior officials. (Financial Times)


Evidence of a Toxic Environment for Women in Economics. A pathbreaking new study of online conversations among economists describes and quantifies a workplace culture that appears to amount to outright hostility toward women in parts of the economics profession. (New York Times)
Tech Business

The World's Biggest Tech Companies Are No Longer Just American. The technology world's $400 billion-and-up club - long a group of exclusively American names like Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon - needs to make room for two Chinese members. (New York Times)
Where Is the Line? Charlottesville Forces Media and Tech Companies to Decide. It took the death of a young woman at the hands of one of the neo-Nazis she was protesting to force the ever-expanding media universe to face a question it has been evading for years: Where's the line? (New York Times)

Infosys Chief Quits After Battle With Founders. India Inc. suffered a new blow on Friday when the chief executive of one of the country's leading technology outsourcing companies suddenly resigned, a surprise move he attributed to "a continuous drumbeat of distractions and negativity." (New York Times)

Judge Says Waymo Can Tell Jurors That Uber Withheld Evidence. In a strongly worded ruling on Thursday, a federal judge presiding over an intellectual property fight between Uber and Waymo, the self-driving car unit spun out of Google, said jurors in a coming trial may be told that Uber has been withholding key evidence. (New York Times)

AT&T considers sale of home security business: sources. AT&T Inc (T.N) is exploring options for its Digital Life home security business, including selling it, as it seeks to pay down debt following its planned $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc (TWX.N), people familiar with the matter said. (Reuters)

Tech Censorship of White Supremacists Draws Criticism From Within Industry. The debate intensified over whether the growing number of tech companies that blocked white supremacists and a neo-Nazi website on the internet have gone too far, as a prominent privacy group questioned the power a few corporations have to censor. (Wall Street Journal)

Trapped in Tech's Unicorn Land. The land of unicorns looks considerably less magical these days. Not that private investors have noticed. The IPO market remains anemic for technology companies, and the M&A market isn't faring that much better. (Wall Street Journal)

Judge in Uber suit orders Waymo to disclose its own acquisition practices. A magistrate judge has ruled that Waymo (and its parent company, Alphabet) must disclose certain information about how it conducts acquisitions in order to give the jury context about Uber's own process, according to a new court document. (Axios)

The Complex Relationship Between Innovation and Economic Segregation. Not too long ago, cities were bending over backward to attract high-tech companies, which they saw as offering good, high paying jobs. City after city developed programs designed to turn them into the "next Silicon Valley." (Atlantic)

Travis Kalanick lasted in his role for 6.5 years - five times longer than the average Uber employee. Despite the high pay and jaw-dropping perks found across the tech industry, giants like Amazon and Apple can't avoid the job-hopping nature of today's workforce. (Business Insider)

Macron thinks big in his vision for French unicorns. A boom in start-ups leads France and its president to turn to the challenge of expanding successful homegrown companies in a US-dominated industry. (Financial Times)

ITI Member News

Google Searches for Ways to Boost News Subscriptions. Google is working on new tools to help news organizations sell subscriptions, a move that could help ease its strained relationship with publishers. (Wall Street Journal

Today on the Hill

Both chambers are not in session today.

Share this News Roundup on: