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Tech News Roundup - 09/27/2017

Tech News Roundup

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09/27/2017

Key Issues

Workforce/Diversity

Tech Firms Add $300 Million to Trump Administration's Computer Science Push. Many of the country's largest tech companies, including Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce, on Tuesday pledged a total of $300 million for computer science education, part of a partnership with the Trump administration meant to prepare students for careers in technology. (New York Times)

Ivanka Trump: Computer science education a new "priority". The event centered around a pledge from companies and the federal government to spend $500 million on coding and computer science education at the K-12 levels. (ArsTechnica)

Economy

The United States is now the world's second most competitive economy. The United States is now the second most competitive economy in the world, climbing to an eight-year high in global rankings, according to an analysis published Tuesday by the World Economic Forum. (Washington Post)
Taxes

Trump to Propose Sweeping Tax Cut for Corporations and Individuals.
President Trump will propose a sweeping rewrite of the federal tax code on Wednesday, outlining a plan to reduce rates for corporations and individuals and eliminate some popular deductions, in a move that will set off a scramble among powerful groups eager to protect their tax breaks. (New York Times)
Trump, GOP to unveil massive tax-cut plan. President Trump and top Republicans on Wednesday will unveil a proposal to cut personal and corporate taxes by at least $5 trillion over 10 years, people familiar with the matter said, promising to recoup more than half of the lost revenue by eliminating numerous unspecified tax breaks and deductions. (Washington Post)

GOP Tax Plan to Allow for Top Individual Rate Above 35%. Republicans are reconsidering their plans to cut individual income-tax rates for the highest-earning households to 35%, as they gear up to release a blueprint Wednesday that includes wide-ranging rate cuts for businesses and individuals, according to people familiar with the discussions. (Wall Street Journal)
GOP tax plan likely to keep losers guessing. Don't expect many answers Wednesday to one of the most closely guarded secrets in the Capitol: who gets screwed under Republicans' tax plans. (Politico Pro)

Global Trade

Top NAFTA negotiators join talks as U.S. The United States on Tuesdayunveiled draft text on labor standards during the negotiations on modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement as top officials from Canada, the United States and Mexico joined talks in Ottawa.
(Reuters)
Immigration

Poll: Nearly 9 in 10 Americans Support a Program for Dreamers to Stay. Nearly nine in 10 Americans support a program that allows undocumented childhood immigrants to remain in the United States, a Washington Post/ABC News poll found. (Roll Call)
Homeland Security plans to collect immigrants' social media info. Every US immigrant's social media history is up for grabs starting Oct. 18. (CNET)

Antitrust

Are Facebook, Google and Amazon too big? Why that question keeps coming up. For more than a decade now, our love affair with three high-profile tech companies has been torrid. (USA Today)
FCC declares that USA's wireless competition problem has been solved.The Federal Communications Commission today declared that there is "effective competition" in the United States' mobile wireless market, a finding that could influence how the FCC regulates wireless carriers and whether it approves mergers such as a possible combination of T-Mobile USA and Sprint. (ArsTechnica)

The wireless industry is competitive, the FCC finds. But some wonder for how long. A new federal report affirms what many consumers have experienced for themselves: There's a functioning and competitive marketplace for cellular service. (Washington Post)

Google makes changes amid EU antitrust fire. The day Google spent the last 10 years fearing has finally arrived. (Politico Pro)
Public Sector

GSA looks to help startups navigate big contracts. The General Services Administration has posted a guide to help new technology startups navigate the agency's sprawling multiple awards schedule contracts. (Federal Computer News)

Interagency group soliciting feedback on new cloud buying guides Government champions of cloud computing believe the momentum has finally started to pick up and shift in their favor within the past year. (Federal News Radio)
TBM 'years away' from full implementation. Acting federal CIO Margie Graves said the government is pushing forward to implement a standard approach for tracking IT spending decisions across federal agencies, but a top General Services Administration official said full-scale implementation is still "years away." (Federal Computer Week)
IT, cyber figure in State Dept. 'redesign.' As the Trump administration looks to dramatically reshape the State Department's scope and size, an IT refresh and increased role in cyber policy are on the table. (Federal Computer Week)
Cybersecurity

Trying to Stem Fallout From Breach, Equifax Replaces C.E.O. When the board of Equifax convened last week to discuss the company's response to an enormous data breach, the 10 outside directors concluded that it was time for their hard-driving chief executive to step down. (New York Times)
SEC is hiring more cybersecurity help after breach that may have let hackers profit from stock trades. Jay Clayton, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, told a Senate panel Tuesday that he found out about a serious security breach at the agency belatedly and that determining the extent of the intrusion could take a significant amount of time. (Washington Post)

S.E.C. Hacking Response Provides Road Map for Compromised Companies. Guess whose database was hacked, exposing sensitive information that could be used for illegal profit, but who failed to disclose that information to the public in a timely manner? (New York Times)

Censorship

China disrupts WhatsApp ahead of Communist Party meeting. The messaging service WhatsApp has been disrupted in China as the government steps up security ahead of a Communist Party meeting next month. (BBC News)

Environment/Sustainability

Dyson to make electric cars from 2020. Dyson, the engineering company best known for its vacuum cleaners and fans, plans to spend £2bn developing a "radical" electric car. (BBC News)

Grid resilience depends on distribution-scale solar. When Hurricanes Harvey and Irma blew through the southern United States, they left millions without power. During such natural disasters, access to electricity is more critical than ever, allowing hospitals to run medical equipment, letting people charge phones and computers to communicate with the outside world, and powering lifesaving air conditioning for the elderly and infirm. (GreenBiz)

From corporate giants, models to scale sustainability. When Walmart jumped into the Hurricane Katrina relief effort in September 2005, the giant retailer gained not only a shiny corporate image, but its leadership also learned how to quickly scale up a new initiative, which they immediately used to jumpstart an ambitious sustainability program. (GreenBiz)

Tech Business

Louisiana's Software Industry Among Country's Fastest Growing, Report Says. Louisiana's rapidly growing software industry employed 11,694 people in 2016 and had a $1.5 billion impact on the state's economy, according to a new report by Software.org. (GovTech)
Coming Soon to AMC Theaters: Virtual Reality Experiences.
It is easily Hollywood's hottest start-up. Steven Spielberg was an early investor. So were 21st Century Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Warner Bros. The venture's leadership team includes the former chief of Disney's theme park design division; the producer of the "Men in Black" movie series; and a live event kingpin. (New York Times)

ITI Member News

Google pledges $1 million to Puerto Rico hurricane relief. Google is the latest tech company to commit dollars to help rebuild shorelines and communities in the US and Caribbean in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. (CNET News)

Twitter to test 280-character tweets, busting old limit. The days of Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) limiting messages to 140 characters, a signature of the social network since its launch in 2006, may be numbered. (Reuters)

Twitter explains why Trump can use site as venue for violence, hate. Apparently, it's totally OK to take to Twitter and declare that you're going to attack an entire country or assassinate its leader. According to Twitter, that's true if you're US President Donald Trump, even if the tweets are a violation of the micro-blogging platform's terms of service. (ArsTechnica)
Bill Gates switches to Android phone. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has revealed he uses an Android-powered smartphone, rather than a Windows one.
"Recently, I actually did switch to an Android phone," he said, speaking on Fox News Sunday. (BBC News)

Apple, Fitbit and Samsung part of FDA trial aimed at speeding tech development. Some of the biggest names in tech and health care are taking part in a pilot program from the FDA that looks to make it easier for companies looking to offer technology approaches to issues that fall under the agency's purview. (Axios)
Google separates shopping service to comply with EU regulations. Google is creating a separate unit for buying ads within its shopping service, Bloomberg reports. Google Shopping will remain a part of Google, but it will operate independently and sell ads based off of its own revenues. It will be treated in Europe the same way Google treats its "Other Bets" businesses all housed under Alphabet Inc., like Verily, Nest and Waymo. (Axios)
Walmart - Americas largest employer - is using Facebook's enterprise office product, Workplace. America's largest employer is now working with America's largest social network. Walmart has signed on as a new customer for Workplace, the enterprise version of Facebook's social network specifically for interoffice communication. (Recode)

Facebook Faces Increasing Scrutiny Over Election-Related Russian Ads. Facebook is under increasing pressure to scrutinize its advertising content after it discovered that at least 3,000 ads on the site had been placed by a Russian agency to influence the 2016 presidential election. The revelations about the ads came after months of denial by CEO Mark Zuckerberg that Facebook played any role in influencing voters. (NPR)

A new deal will let Facebook users watch NFL highlights immediately after the game.Donald Trump may have a problem with football, but Mark Zuckerberg likes the NFL just fine: Facebook has signed a two-year deal to bring highlights and other clips to its two billion users around the world. (Recode)
Following AWS, Google Compute Engine also moves to per-second billing. A week ago, AWS announced that it would soon move to per-second billing for users of its EC2 service. It doesn't come as a huge surprise, then, that Google today announced a very similar move.(TechCrunch)
As Google Fights Fake News, Voices on the Margins Raise Alarm. When David North, the editorial chairman of the World Socialist Web Site, noticed a drop in the site's traffic in April, he initially chalked it up to news fatigue over President Trump or a shift in political consciousness. (New York Times)

Today on the Hill

On Wednesday, the House will meet at 3:00 p.m. for legislative business. First and last votes expected: 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m. and resume consideration of the motion to proceed to S.1519, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018.
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