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Tech News Roundup - 10/05/2017

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Internet of Things
U.S. business groups say WTO unable to curb many Chinese trade practices. U.S. business groups expressed frustration on Wednesday with what they said are China's efforts to tilt the economic playing field in favor of domestic companies, adding that World Trade Organization rules are insufficient to police all of Beijing's trade practices. (ITI Josh Kallmer Quoted, Reuters)

India is the most difficult market for IT companies to import, sell: Report. The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), a Washington, D.C.-based trade association, has released a study finding that India tops the list as the most difficult market for information technology (IT) companies to import and sell their products when it comes to product safety regulations. (ITI Mentioned, Times Now)

India is the most difficult market for IT companies to import, sell: U.S.-based trade association. New Delhi [India], October 4 (ANI): The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), a Washington, D.C.-based trade association, has released a study finding that India tops the list as the most difficult market for information technology (IT) companies to import and sell their products when it comes to product safety regulations. (ITI report quoted, ANI News)

Trade's test case: your washing machine. The humble washing machine is becoming a new trade battleground between Washington and its international partners. (Wall Street Journal)

Tech Politics

Facebook and Twitter will testify to the U.S. Congress on Russia and the 2016 presidential election. Google has not said if it will also appear before the House and Senate committees. (Recode)
Russia Facebook ads targeted more than two states: Senate intelligence chair. Republican Senator Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on Wednesday that Facebook ads bought by Russia-linked entities targeted more than just Michigan and Wisconsin, the two states listed in media reports. (Reuters)

Senators slam Equifax for making money off massive data breach and no-bid IRS contract. Senators on Wednesday slammed Equifax Inc. for making money off its massive data breach and said Americans should have more control over the vast amount of sensitive personal information that credit reporting companies have about them. (Los Angeles Times)

Equifax Calls for Free Credit Locks. Experian's Reply? Nope. When Equifax's recently retired chief executive, Richard F. Smith, appeared before members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Tuesday, he held himself out as a changed man. (New York Times)

Senate lawmakers fear future elections are at risk from Russian meddling. The Senate Intelligence Committee also urged Facebook, Google and Twitter to testify at a November 1 hearing. (Recode)

Senators: Tech firms didn't take election meddling 'seriously'. When it came to interference with the 2016 election, tech companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google "did not take this threat seriously enough," Democratic Sen. Mark Warner told reporters at a press conference at the US Capitol on Wednesday. (CNET)

A resistance against Big Tech. Big Tech's main virtue - its very bigness - is getting it in trouble. (Axios)

IRS IT leaders didn't know about $7M Equifax award. The CIO for the Internal Revenue Service told a congressional panel Oct. 4 that she learned of a $7 million contract awarded to Equifax for fraud prevention and e-authentication "this morning" and did not sign off on the award. (Federal Computer Week)
U.S. Senate panel approves self-driving car legislation. A U.S. Senate panelon Wednesday unanimously gave the green light to a bill aimed at speeding the use of self-driving cars without human controls, barring states from imposing regulatory road blocks. (Reuters)

Facebook takes out full-page ads promising to fight election interference. Facebook took out full-page ads in major newspapers Wednesday promising to fight "election interference" as investigators probe whether Russia used the platform to try to influence the 2016 presidential election. (The Hill)

Reddit hires first lobbyists. The message board site Reddit has hired its first federal lobbyists, according to disclosure forms obtained this week. (The Hill)
Sen. Amy Klobuchar On Social Media Political Ad Disclosure. Lawmakers are pushing for new legislation that would require greater disclosure of political ads that run on social media. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is the co-author and talks with NPR's David Greene. (NPR)
U.S. Needs to Join the Race for Multinationals' Tax Revenue, Experts Say. European Union regulators' tax crackdown on Inc. -- like the EU's case against Apple Inc. -- should spur U.S. policy makers to address companies' aggressive offshore tax-avoidance strategies before it's too late, experts said. (ITI Dean Garfield Quoted, Bloomberg)

What Amazon's $294 Million Bill Tells Others in EU's Sights. European Union regulators sent a warning to any company using fees on intellectual property rights to shift profits away from the taxman -- slapping Inc. with a 250 million-euro ($294 million) bill and giving Luxembourg another rap on the knuckles. (Bloomberg)

E.U., Citing Amazon and Apple, Tells Nations to Collect Tax. European competition regulators on Wednesday mounted a push against tax avoidance by Silicon Valley giants, announcing plans to take Ireland to court for failing to collect back taxes from Apple and ordering Luxembourg to claim unpaid taxes from Amazon. (New York Times)

Trump to keep Obama rule curbing corporate tax inversion deals. The Trump administration will keep for now an Obama-era rule that helped halt a wave of U.S. corporations moving abroad via tax-driven corporate inversion deals, it said on Wednesday, but added that it expected tax reform to obviate the rule. (Reuters)

Treasury keeping anti-earnings stripping rule largely as is. The Treasury Department is keeping a rule written last year on earnings stripping, which was crafted to minimize a prime motivation for corporate inversions. (Politico Pro)

Europe Gets Tougher on Tech's Taxes: DealBook Briefing. Today, European Union regulators stepped up their tax campaign against American tech giants in a big way. (New York Times)

Republicans race to negotiate the future of popular tax breaks while shoring up party unity. Republicans plunged into negotiating the future of popular tax breaks for homeowners and large families Wednesday while moving to shore up party unity around a tax plan that critics fear would raise taxes on some in the middle class and add to the deficit. (Washington Post)

U.S. budget deficit could obstruct Trump's tax cut plan. The U.S. budget deficit is proving to be a major obstacle to the tax reform plan being offered by President Donald Trump and top congressional Republicans, with one leading Senate hawk saying a week after the plan was introduced that any enlarging of the fiscal gap could kill his support. (Reuters)

On Tax Overhaul, Public Support Hard to Find. Despite the enthusiasm for overhauling the tax code among Republican congressional leaders and President Donald Trump, the public is hardly sold on the idea that the effort is a priority or on its possible benefits. (Roll Call)


U.S. lawmakers to introduce bill to reform internet surveillance. A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers unveiled legislation on Wednesday that would overhaul aspects of the National Security Agency's warrantless internet surveillance program in an effort to install additional privacy protections. (Reuters)

Artificial Intelligence

Is AI Riding a One-Trick Pony?. Just about every AI advance you've heard of depends on a breakthrough that's three decades old. Keeping up the pace of progress will require confronting AI's serious limitations. (MIT Technology Review)

Google's New Gadgets Come With a Big Helping of A.I. Google's unveiling of new smartphones, smart speakers and other gadgets had all the makings of a typical technology product launch: a fawning crowd of superfans, skeptical journalists, slick product videos, not-so-subtle jabs the competition, and overly romanticized descriptions of design choices, colors and materials. (New York Times)

Sundar Pichai says the future of Google is AI. But can he fix the algorithm? Unbeknownst to me, at the very moment on Monday morning when I was asking Google CEO Sundar Pichai about the biggest ethical concern for AI today, Google's algorithms were promoting misinformation about the Las Vegas shooting. (The Verge)

Mattel has canceled plans for a kid-focused AI device that drew privacy concerns. Mattel said Wednesday that it will not move forward with plans to sell a kid-focused smart hub after new executives decided it did not "fully align with Mattel's new technology strategy," according to a company statement. (Washington Post)

GM more than doubles self-driving car test fleet in California. General Motors Co's (GM.N) self-driving unit, Cruise Automation, has more than doubled the size of its test fleet of robot cars in California during the past three months, a GM spokesman said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

Public Sector

Cyber training becoming a standard for Marines, new jobs for civilians coming soon. Drill instructors will be yelling at Marines in computer labs as well as on the training grounds soon. The Marine Corps is in the process of making cyber hygiene a requirement for Marines who join the service in the future. (Federal News Radio)

National Governors Association Forms Tech Division. Timothy Blute is heading up NGA Future, a new initiative by the National Governors Association to explore how technology can be used throughout state government. (GovTech)

DHS struggling to keep up with cyber mission. The Department of Homeland Security is showing signs that it may not have the resources to keep up with its continually expanding responsibilities. (FedScoop)

Credit giant Equifax says Social Security numbers, birth dates of 143 million consumers may have been exposed. Equifax, one of the nation's three major credit reporting firms, announced Thursday that its computer systems had been breached, leading to the unauthorized accessing of Social Security numbers and birth dates of up to 143 million U.S. consumers. (Los Angeles Times)

Spanish court grants U.S. extradition for Russian hacking suspect. Spain's High Court said on Tuesday it had granted a U.S. request to extradite Russian citizen Peter Levashov, who is accused of U.S. hacking offences including operating a network of infected computers used by cyber criminals. (Reuters)

IRS IT leaders didn't know about $7M Equifax award. The CIO for the Internal Revenue Service told a congressional panel Oct. 4 that she learned of a $7 million contract awarded to Equifax for fraud prevention and e-authentication "this morning" and did not sign off on the award. (Federal Computer Week)


Americans just don't fear robots. Nearly two-thirds of Americans expect humans to struggle finding work in a future of robots - all humans except themselves, that is. According to a study released today by Pew Research, they worry far less about losing their own jobs to automation. (Axios)
Melinda Gates: 'Not every good idea comes in a hoodie'. Gates challenged attendees of the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference to commit to helping women get into tech. (CNET)

Internet of Things

Can the Government's Buying Power Create a More Secure Internet of Things? Lawmakers believe by adopting cybersecurity standards for the internet-connected devices it purchases, the federal government can drive the tech industry into building safer and better-protected products for the internet of things. (NextGov)

Where Driverless Cars Brake for Golf Carts. Molly Jackson, an 82-year-old retired nurse, was sitting in the back seat of a self-driving taxi when the vehicle jerked to a halt at a crossing as its computer vision spotted an approaching golf cart. (New York Times)


Trump administration to announce repeal of the Clean Power Plan. Faced with a judge's deadline, the EPA will try something new, can't say what yet. (ArsTechnica)

Tech Business
Google has sold 55 million Chromecast devices. The company says it's sold tens of millions of the wireless devices,which stream Netflix, YouTube, Spotify and thousands of other apps and games to TVs. (CNET)

ITI Member News

What if Platforms Like Facebook Are Too Big to Regulate? Social-media companies aren't new to defending themselves in ideological terms - they're just not used to doing it on their home turf. (New York Times)
Survey: Facebook is the Big Tech Company that People Trust Least. Nearly 80% of 1,600 Quartz readers surveyed recently said they don't trust Facebook with their personal data, a sobering finding as Facebook comes under increasing scrutiny for its handling of data privacy, ad targeting, and propaganda. (NextGov)

Another Thing Amazon Is Disrupting: Business-School Recruiting. Elite business-school students once set their sights on a Wall Street or management-consulting career, but today's M.B.A.s have a new desired destination: Inc. (Wall Street Journal)

Google launches new phones, speakers in hardware push. Alphabet Inc's Google on Wednesday unveiled the second generation of its Pixel smartphone along with new voice-enabled home speakers, redoubling its commitment to the hardware business as it competes with a surge of devices from Apple Inc and Inc. (Reuters)
Indian government considering exemptions sought by Apple: official. The Indian government is considering exemptions sought by Apple Inc for setting up a unit to assemble iPhones, Ramesh Abhishek, the top bureaucrat in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, said on Thursday. (Reuters)

Today on the Hill

The House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. First votes expected: 9:45 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. Last votes expected: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
The Senate will convene at 9:30 AM and proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the nomination of Randal Quarles, of Colorado, to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
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