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Tech News Roundup - 10/06/2017

Tech News Roundup

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10/06/2017

Key Issues

Tech Politics

Lawmakers weigh pushing Facebook, Twitter to share who buys political ads. Republicans in Congress are weighing joining with Democrats to demand greater transparency for political ads on Facebook and Twitter, as both parties look for ways to prevent a 2018 repeat of Russia's election meddling last year. (Politico)
Social media executives to testify Nov. 1 about Russia and U.S. election. Executives from Facebook Inc, Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google have been asked to testify about Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election before a House of Representatives panel on Nov. 1, a congressional aide said on Thursday. (Reuters)
How Europe's Last Dictatorship Became a Tech Hub. On Friday nights, Zybitskaya street - or simply Zyba, as locals call it - turns into a vast party scene, filled with hipsters in bright shirts, tight dark jeans and black-rimmed glasses, showing how they can be carefree in a country that has been labeled the last dictatorship of Europe. (New York Times)
A Hurricane Maria 'Tech Brigade' Is Helping Connect the Puerto Rican Diaspora. A few days after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island of Puerto Rico, the Acupedi pediatrician's office in Trujillo Alto, a few miles outside of central San Juan, opened its doors for newborns and infants. The office had no power and no water. (Motherboard)
Taxes

European Union crackdown on Amazon and Apple feeds American tax plan urgency, experts say. European Union regulators' tax crackdown on Amazon.com 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)

White House digs in on eliminating state and local tax deduction. The White House is maintaining a hard line on wiping out a deduction for state and local taxes as part of tax reform, despite efforts in Congress to negotiate a compromise on the issue. (Politico)

House Approves GOP Budget Resolution. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved a budget resolution today that gets the GOP one step closer to reconciliation and, they hope, to passing tax reform, per CNBC. (Axios)

Republicans Struggle to Define Whom Their Tax Overhaul Will Help. Senate Republicans are still weighing who specifically will benefit from their pending overhaul of the U.S. tax code. (Roll Call)

Why the Fed Won't Stand in the Way of Trump's Tax Cuts. As President Donald Trump ponders who should head the Federal Reserve, he no doubt wonders how the choice will affect his own agenda. (Wall Street Journal)

Privacy

House Bill Starts Internet Surveillance Debate, Round 2. House lawmakers took a first stab, Thursday, at updating the most controversial U.S. government spying program that's gone un-renewed since leaker Edward Snowden's bombshell revelations about the scope of U.S. digital snooping in 2013. (NextGov)

Is privacy dead in an online world? Last month, 145 million Americans discovered they were victims of one of the biggest data breaches in history, after the credit rating agency Equifax was hacked. (BBC News)

Global Trade

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, Gears of Biz)

Immigration

Brown signs 'sanctuary state' bill in California. California Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed "sanctuary state" legislation limiting local law enforcement officials' ability to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, the latest effort by Democrats here to blunt the effects of President Donald Trump's immigration policies. (Politico Pro)

Trump administration asks Supreme Court to dump travel ban cases. After asking the Supreme Court to step in to rescue President Donald Trump's travel ban executive order, the Justice Department is now asking the justices to drop the issue as moot. (Politico Pro)

Flake tries to strike DACA compromise. One of the Senate's most vulnerable incumbents, Jeff Flake, of Arizona, wants to break the impasse on protecting young undocumented immigrants by deporting gang members in the United States and beefing up border security, according to a summary obtained by POLITICO. (Politico)

White House plans to demand immigration cuts in exchange for DACA fix. The White House is finalizing a plan to demand hard-line immigration reforms in exchange for supporting a fix on the DACA program, according to three people familiar with the talks - an approach that risks alienating Democrats and even many Republicans, potentially tanking any deal. (Politico)

$10B House border bill pushes high-tech solutions. A day after Customs and Border Security tweeted out the first photos of its border wall prototype, the House Homeland Security Committee passed a bill that would limit construction of the physical barrier in favor of targeted technology. (Federal Computer Week)

Border Security Markup Includes Smart Wall Provisions. A House effort to incorporate sensors, radar and other surveillance technology into a border wall with Mexico appears to be gaining traction. (NextGov)

Antitrust

Policy threats intensify for tech giants. While tech giants like Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Apple have already stepped up their lobbying efforts, some say the companies will have to pay even more attention to policy in the coming years as regulators across the globe increase scrutiny. (Axios)

Public Sector

Keep FITARA going. The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee this week passed a bill to extend key provisions of the government's primary technology legislation, the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act. The bill will extend by two years requirements for government agencies to consolidate and optimize data centers, joining a companion bill introduced in the House in June. (Opinion, Federal Computer Week)

The fourth National Action Plan for Open Government is coming. But what will transparency look like under Trump? The latest National Action Plan for Open Government, scheduled to be released later this month, is a "huge opportunity to give open government a refresh," according to a senior White House official working on the transparency initiative. (FedScoop)

Can the federal government's 'amazing' problems make it a leader on blockchain? In a town craving innovation, the promise of blockchain making the federal government work more effectively makes it the elixir du jour. (FedScoop)

Cybersecurity

Russian Hackers Stole NSA Data on U.S. Cyber Defense. Hackers working for the Russian government stole details of how the U.S. penetrates foreign computer networks and defends against cyberattacks after a National Security Agency contractor removed the highly classified material and put it on his home computer, according to multiple people with knowledge of the matter. (Wall Street Journal)

Russian government hackers used antivirus software to steal U.S. cyber capabilities. Russian government hackers lifted details of U.S. cyber capabilities from a National Security Agency employee who was running Russian antivirus software on his computer, according to several individuals familiar with the matter. (Washington Post)

John Kelly's personal cellphone was compromised, White House believes. White House officials believe that chief of staff John Kelly's personal cellphone was compromised, potentially as long ago as December, according to three U.S. government officials. (Politico)

FDIC breached more than 50 times between 2015 and 2016. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. may have suffered more than 50 breaches that compromised the personal information of hundreds of thousands of Americans in recent years. And in most cases, the agency did a poor job of responding to the incidents, a new watchdog report shows. (FedScoop)

Exclusive: SEC's corporate filing system vulnerable to denial of service attacks - memo. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Wall Street's top regulator, has discovered a vulnerability in its corporate filing database that could cause the system to collapse, according to an internal document seen by Reuters. (Reuters)

Artificial Intelligence

Americans Want Big Government Help When Robots And Artificial Intelligence Take Their Jobs. The Pew Research Center wanted to gauge Americans' sentiments on robots and computers getting good enough to assume human tasks. The unequivocal reaction? Thanks, but we'll pass. (NextGov)

Environment/Sustainability

For Electric Car Owners, 'Range Anxiety' Gives Way to 'Charging Time Trauma'. An oft-cited reason people don't buy electric cars is "range anxiety" - if batteries struggle to take you as far as gas and charging stations are limited in number, the thinking goes, who would want one? (New York Times)

How corporate buyers, utilities can embrace the low-carbon future together. Historically speaking, the dialogue between utilities and commercial customers has been pretty much a soliloquy - with grid operators and power companies doing the talking. Now, it's being revised and improvised into a two-way conversation. (GreenBiz)

Tech Business
At the intersection of technology and private equity. It's been said that private equity has a crush on technology. But dismissing the growing relationship as a crush would not only do it a significant disservice, it would miss the undercurrents at play that are making technology such an attractive, long-term private equity target. (TechCrunch)

ITI Member News

YouTube Tweaks Search Results as Las Vegas Conspiracy Theories Rise to Top. YouTube this week surfaced videos peddling misinformation, hateful messages and conspiracy theories to users tracking major news events-prompting the site to change its search results to promote more authoritative sources. (Wall Street Journal)
Google adds filter to block spammy, racist ads. Google is introducing two new categories of ad filters, powered by machine learning, that publishers can use to block automated ads from their sites. "Publishers have indicated that they sometimes want to block particular types of [advertisements] because of the way they could affect their brands," Google's Director of Product Management Scott Spencer told reporters in Chicago Tuesday. (Axios)
Facebook tests News Feed transparency tool. Facebook is testing a new feature designed to give people additional context on articles they see in News Feed, so that they can be better informed about the information they share, read and trust. Beginning Thursday, people will see a button next to articles in the News Feed which they can tap to receive additional context on the article without being directed to a separate page. (Axios)
Silicon Valley's Russian ads problem, explained. Washington is clashing with Silicon Valley once again. (Recode)
Facebook quietly launches Mac and PC Workplace Chat apps with screen share. TechCrunch has discovered that Facebook has stealthily launched official desktop PC and Mac chat apps with screen sharing - two features users have been begging for. Right now, they're only available for Workplace, Facebook's enterprise collaboration software that competes with Slack and other business apps. But users would surely enjoy if the consumer Messenger app got its own desktop app and screen sharing options one day. (TechCrunch)
Amazon wants its own delivery service to rival FedEx and UPS. Amazon is testing a new delivery service that could reduce overcrowding in its factory warehouses and bring two-day Prime shipping to more of its products, according to a report from Bloomberg today. (The Verge)
Google Doubles Down on Hardware With New Phones and Speakers. Google is hoping the second time is the charm. (Wall Street Journal)

Today on the Hill

The House is out of session today.
The Senate will convene at 10:30 AM for a pro forma session.
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