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Tech News Roundup - 09/11/2017

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Tech Politics

GOP struggles to control its own agenda. President Donald Trump's flirtations with Democrats and fixation on divisive campaign promises have paved the way for hazardous, rolling deadlines over the next six months on spending, the debt ceiling and immigration. (Politico Pro)

Wilbur Ross says CEOs were wrong to quit Trump's councils after Charlottesville. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross came to President Trump's defense Friday, arguing that CEOs were wrong to quit the White House business advisory councils in the wake of Trump's controversial Charlottesville remarks. (Washington Post)
Using Silicon Valley Tactics, LinkedIn's Founder Is Working to Blunt Trump. Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn and a billionaire Silicon Valley venture capitalist, has made a half-dozen or so investments in recent months with a specific aim: to counteract the influence of President Trump. (New York Times)
A tech critic on the sham populism of Silicon Valley. "The ascendant monopolies of today aspire to encompass all of existence," warns Foer, 14-year editor of the New Republic, referring to the unbridled power of companies like Facebook, Apple, Google, and Amazon. In his new book, World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech, Foer takes a dark look at internet monopolists and oligarchs. (Vox)


Solar sector rattled by trade case, Trump rhetoric. A looming trade commission ruling on the surging imports of solar equipment to the U.S. and President Donald Trump's impatience on creating trade barriers are raising fears among many in the solar industry they could see a tariff that stunts the sector's sharp growth. (Politico Pro)

As hurricanes and wildfires rage, US climate politics enters the realm of farce. On Tuesday afternoon, as Southern Floridians nervously watched Hurricane Irma become a Category 5 monster, they received an odd message from popular right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh: The hurricane forecasts are not to be trusted. (Vox)

McCain: 'We have to understand that the climate may be changing'. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Sunday said it's important to understand the climate may be changing. (The Hill)

Global Trade

Chinese Exports Grow Again. China's economy got another boost from foreign trade last month, with exports posting modest growth, though the recent surge in the yuan's value is starting to weigh on Chinese exporters. (Wall Street Journal)

Democrats threaten December shutdown if DREAMers aren't protected. House Democrats are prepared to threaten a government shutdown in December unless Congress adopts protections for DREAMers, a senior member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus said Friday. (Politico Pro)

Artificial Intelligence

What machines can tell from your face. THE human face is a remarkable piece of work. The astonishing variety of facial features helps people recognise each other and is crucial to the formation of complex societies. (The Economist)

Advances in AI are used to spot signs of sexuality. Modern artificial intelligence is much feted. But its talents boil down to a superhuman ability to spot patterns in large volumes of data. Facebook has used this ability to produce maps of poor regions in unprecedented detail, with an AI system that has learned what human settlements look like from satellite pictures. (The Economist)

Ever better and cheaper, face-recognition technology is spreading. Touring the headquarters of Megvii in Beijing is like visiting Big Brother's engine room. (The Economist)

Researchers produce images of people's faces from their genomes. Craig Venter, a biologist and boss of Human Longevity, a San Diego-based company that is building the world's largest genomic database, is something of a rebel. (The Economist)

Sexism and Shopping: Female Players Get Most of the Odd Questions at the U.S. Open. The tennis finals of the United States Open are Saturday for the women and Sunday for the men. On the court, except for the number of sets, they all face the same rules. When they walk off the court, though, the game changes. (New York Times)

AI big help for business negotiating red tape, survey finds. Artificial intelligence is making its biggest real-world impact on a rather prosaic business challenge: red tape. (Financial Times)
Virginia bars voting machines considered top hacking target. Virginia's election supervisors on Friday directed counties to ditch touchscreen voting machines before November's elections, saying the devices posed unacceptable digital risks. (Politico Pro)
At Google, Employee-Led Effort Finds Men Are Paid More Than Women. Female employees are paid less than male staff members at most job levels within Google, and the pay disparity extends as women climb the corporate ladder, according to data compiled by employees that provide a snapshot of salary information at the internet giant. (New York Times)

Ellen Pao Is Not Done Fighting. Every day, Ellen Pao receives written messages of support from all over: to her office, through her lawyers, over email, on LinkedIn, in postcards she keeps in a small wooden box on her desk. (New York Times)

As Amazon Pushes Forward With Robots, Workers Find New Roles. Nissa Scott started working at the cavernous Amazon warehouse in southern New Jersey late last year, stacking plastic bins the size of small ottomans. It was not, she says, the most stimulating activity. (New York Times)

The New Corporate Recruitment Pool: Workers in Dead-End Jobs. Pressed for workers, a New Jersey-based software company went hunting for a U.S. city with a surplus of talented employees stuck in dead-end jobs. (Wall Street Journal)

IBM's career re-entry program wants you back. For Ruchi Garg, it was time to go back to work. The software programmer had been out of the workforce for nine years after multiple moves and a few kids. (CNET)

What Amazon's HQ2 plan gets right: Move the jobs to the workers. One disconnect in the American economy these days involves the thousands of high-paying jobs in cities such as New York, Boston, Seattle and San Francisco without workers to fill them. (Washington Post)

Public Sector

This interagency group wrote a guide to cloud adoption, and it's just getting started. Chad Sheridan, CIO of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency, gets really excited about instances of cross-government teamwork. (FedScoop)


Amazon may get a multi-billion-dollar tax break. Amazon stands to reap billions of dollars in tax breaks and other incentives in what is shaping up as a feverish, sweepstakes-style contest among North American cities to host its second headquarters and up to 50,000 new jobs, experts say. Judging by other recent such competitions, the bids could reach $10 billion or even higher. (Axios)

France, Germany, Italy, Spain seek tax on digital giants' revenues. France, Germany, Italy and Spain want digital multinationals like Amazon and Google to be taxed in Europe based on their revenues, rather than only profits as now, their finance ministers said in a joint letter. (Reuters)

Cohn doubles down on tax reform as rumors swirl about his West Wing status. Rumors of Gary Cohn's demise in Donald Trump's White House have swirled for weeks. But Cohn is intent on remaining with the administration to finish tax reform - though it's unclear how long he would stay beyond its passage, according to interviews with several administration officials and close advisers to the president. (Politico Pro)
Pence to travel to Indiana to push tax reform, pressure Donnelly. Vice President Mike Pence will travel to his home state of Indiana later this month to make the case for tax reform and put pressure on Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly, who is up for reelection in 2018 in the deeply conservative state. (Politico Pro)

Freedom Caucus might go rogue on tax reform. House Freedom Caucus leaders told White House officials this week that Republicans need to release a tax plan soon - or the conservative group may put out one of its own. (Politico Pro)


Seriously, Equifax? This Is a Breach No One Should Get Away With. Equifax, you had one job. Your only purpose as a corporation, the reason you were created and remain a going concern, is to collect and maintain people's most private financial data. (New York Times)

Equifax pummeled on all sides following historic data breach. Credit reporting giant Equifax is getting pummeled on all sides, one day after disclosing a historic data breach. (Politico Pro)

Equifax's Historic Hack May Have Exposed Almost Half of U.S.. The criminals who targeted Equifax Inc. and pulled off one of the biggest hacks in history probably had a less aggressive goal than accessing consumers' personal data: stealing their credit card numbers. (Bloomberg)

Tech Business

Bentonville to Amazon: No Room for HQ in Wal-Mart's Hometown. There's at least one mayor not jumping up and down to woo Amazon's second headquarters to town: Bob McCaslin, chief executive of Bentonville, Arkansas, home to Amazon's primary retail competitor Wal-Mart. It just isn't a good fit, he said. (Bloomberg)

ITI Member News

Why Amazon's Growth Ambitions Don't Fit in Seattle. Inc. AMZN -1.39% is outgrowing its hometown of Seattle. (Wall Street Journal)

These U.S. cities have the best chance of being Amazon's second headquarters. Amazon plans to open a second North American headquarters in addition to its original headquarters in Seattle. The retailer promised 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in capital expenditures for the city that proves it has the best assets and incentives. (Recode)

Apple's new phone to be called 'iPhone X'. "Apple's Top New Phone to Be Called 'iPhone X,' Code Leaks Show," by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman: "Strings of software code inside of the leaked operating system ... show the expected three new phones will be called the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X." (Axios)

Apple Inc.'s most important new phone for years will be called the iPhone X, according to a leak of the company's latest mobile operating system on Saturday. (Bloomberg)

Today on the Hill

Today, the House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for morning hour and 2:00 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m.
Today the Senate will convene at 3:00 p.m. and resume consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R.2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018.
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