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Tech News Roundup - 10/02/2017

Tech News Roundup

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10/02/2017

Key Issues

Tech Politics

Google Prepares to Brief Congress on Its Role in Election. Google has become the latest Silicon Valley giant to become entangled in a widening investigation into how online social networks and technology products may have played a role in Russian interference in the 2016 election. (New York Times)

Justice Dept asks Facebook for private info from anti-Trump groups in warrants. The Justice Department is demanding the private Facebook account information of political activists as part of its investigation into violent Inauguration Day protests. (The Hill)

ACLU fights federal warrants seeking political communications of Facebook users. Civil liberties lawyers are trying to block federal investigators from searching the Facebook accounts of local activists connected to protests of President Trump's inauguration and for information the attorneys say would reveal the names of thousands of people who "liked" a political organizing page. (Washington Post)

Facebook to Deliver 3,000 Russia-Linked Ads to Congress on Monday. Under intensifying scrutiny from federal investigators and the public, Facebook said on Sunday that it planned to turn over more than 3,000 Russian-linked advertisements to congressional investigators on Monday. (New York Times)

Google, Facebook may have to reveal deepest secrets. The investigations into Russia's role in the 2016 election are threatening to pry the lid off tech companies' most prized possessions: the secret inner workings of their online platforms. (Politico)
Taxes

Silicon Valley all in on tax reform. Silicon Valley is racing to support and shape President Donald Trump's multitrillion-dollar tax proposal, despite months of distancing itself from his policies on everything from immigration to climate change. (Politico Pro)

Wealthy, not middle class, would be big winners in GOP tax plan, study says. The top 1 percent of income earners would be the biggest winners under Republicans' plans to rewrite the tax code, according to a new analysis, while some moderate-income people would face tax increases. (Politico Pro)

Senate Republicans unveil budget blueprint to tee up tax reform. Senate Republicans released their long-awaited budget blueprint Friday for the upcoming fiscal year, paving the way for a tax overhaul without the need for Democratic buy-in. (Politico Pro)

Trump pitches 'giant, beautiful, massive' tax cut to manufacturers. President Trump on Friday took his campaign for an overhaul of the tax code to manufacturers, arguing that Republicans' plan will encourage companies to create more jobs in the U.S. (The Hill)

Global Trade

China's Harsh Words Mask a Trade Boom With South Korea. Beijing is angry at Seoul for embracing an American missile defense system intended to stop potential launches by North Korea. (New York Times)

Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence is about the people, not the machines. It takes money to make money and right now a lot of that money is going into the development of artificial intelligence. (TechCrunch)
Immigration
Trump Is Making Canada Great Again. While America closes its borders, its northern neighbor is poaching some of the best tech talent in the world. (Politico Magazine)

Republicans ignore Trump's bipartisan DREAMers deal. President Donald Trump may want to partner with "Chuck and Nancy" on a solution for DREAMers, but House Republicans say forget it - at least for now. (Politico Pro)

Immigration debate could stall Moran's revived Startup Act, again. Federal legislation geared toward boosting entrepreneurship would make it easier for foreign-born innovators to obtain permanent resident status in the United States. (ITI Mentioned, Startland)

Broadband/Communications

FCC head, a critic of net neutrality rules, likely to be reconfirmed. Despite Democrats' protests over plans to dismantle net neutrality, Ajit Pai will likely keep his position as chairman thanks to the Republican-led Senate. (CNET News)

FCC asks Apple to activate FM chips after hurricanes. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is calling on Apple to activate FM chips in its iPhones to aid those without cell service in areas hardest hit by the recent hurricanes, but the request has the company scratching its head. (The Hill)

Public Sector
Education Department wants support managing its IT investments. The Department of Education's Office of the CIO plans next month to contract for support managing its IT investments. (FedScoop)

House FITARA Enhancement Act receives a clean CBO score. The Congressional Budget Office released a cost estimate for the House version of the FITARA Enhancement Act on Friday, concluding that "there would be no significant additional cost or savings to continue those efforts under H.R. 3243." (FedScoop)

Cybersecurity
Senate Passes MAIN STREET Cybersecurity Act for Small Business. The U.S. Senate has passed the MAIN STREET Cybersecurity Act on Sept. 28, which will require NIST to "disseminate clear and concise resources to help small business concerns identify, assess, manage, and reduce their cybersecurity risks." (ITI Mentioned, Security Week)

Chaos and hackers stalk investors on cryptocurrency exchanges. Online exchanges for trading bitcoins and other virtual currencies can make fortunes for their owners. But they are largely unregulated, besieged by hackers and thieves, and fraught with risk for consumers. (Reuters)
The Deloitte Breach was Worse than We Thought. News about the massive Equifax credit bureau hack was finally winding down this week, offering space for reflection on all the ways the company utterly botched its response to the incident. (Wired)
Workforce/Diversity

Silicon Valley's top firms are embracing diversity. Through #YesWeCode, I've gotten a chance to work with Silicon Valley's top firms. None are perfect. But all are responding to the need for change, and I applaud their growing commitment to inclusion and diversity. (Greenbiz)

The state of women in computer science: An investigative report. In the classrooms at Georgia Tech, among the laptops and notebooks and lines of code, senior computer science major Marguerite Murrell likes to play a game she's dubbed "Count the Girls." (TechRepublic)

Environment/Sustainability

What's Up in Coal Country: Alternative-Energy Jobs. Miners may have just the skills for scaling wind towers and putting solar panels on roofs. And that's no small thing in Wyoming and West Virginia. (New York Times)

Rick Perry just proposed sweeping new steps to help struggling coal and nuclear plants. Energy Secretary Rick Perry took sweeping steps on Friday to buttress a pair of financially-strapped nuclear plants under construction and redefine how coal and nuclear plants are compensated for the electricity they provide - a move that, if agreed to by independent federal energy regulators, could tilt some of the nation's complex power markets away from renewables and natural gas. (Washington Post)

Tech Business
Amazon Sells $1.6 Million in Whole Foods' Store-Brand Products in First Month. Amazon.com Inc. has sold about $1.6 million in Whole Foods beans, breakfast cereal and other store-brand products in the first month since taking over the organic chain, one of the first infusions of cash the e-commerce giant has delivered to the natural grocer through its site. (Wall Street Journal)

Self-Driving Dilemma: How to Pass the Wheel Between Human and Robot. This summer, Audi held an elaborate media event in Spain to celebrate a new sedan that would allow drivers to let go of the wheel and pedal while in traffic jams and pay attention to something else. (Wall Street Journal)

ITI Member News

Mark Zuckerberg apologizes 'for the ways my work was used to divide people'. On Saturday night, the end of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jewish people, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg went on his social-media platform and apologized. (Washington Post)

Facebook Blocks Chinese Billionaire Who Tells Tales of Corruption. A Chinese billionaire living in virtual exile in New York, Guo Wengui has riled China's leaders with his sometimes outlandish tales of deep corruption among family members of top Communist Party officials. On Saturday, his tales proved too much for one of his favorite platforms for broadcasting those accusations: Facebook. (New York Times)

YouTube clarifies 'hate speech' rules. YouTube has clarified its rules on hate speech to enable video-makers to know which content it considers to be "advertiser-friendly". (BBC News)
Thousands of Macs and PCs may be vulnerable to a sophisticated kind of attack. An analysis of more than 70,000 Mac computers being used in businesses and organizations has revealed a firmware vulnerability that could be exploited by a determined, well-resourced attacker such as a foreign government, according to security researchers. Thousands of computers, if not more, are potentially in danger. (Los Angeles Times)

Google relaxes rules on free news stories, plans subscription tools. Google announced on Sunday that subscription news websites would no longer have to provide users three free articles per day or face less prominence in search results, relaxing its rules following complaints from media giants like News Corp that their sales were suffering. (Reuters)

Amazon's HQ2 Hunt is a Transit Reckoning. If anything good comes out of the current arms race between North American cities to land Amazon's second headquarters, it might be a disruption of one of the more intractable subjects of public discourse: mass transportation. (NextGov)

Today on the Hill

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.
The Senate will convene at 3:00 PM and proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the nomination of Ajit Varadaraj Pai, of Kansas, to be a Member of the Federal Communications Commission.
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