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Tech News Roundup - 10/10/2017

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How Russia Harvested American Rage to Reshape U.S. Politics. YouTube videos of police beatings on American streets. A widely circulated internet hoax about Muslim men in Michigan collecting welfare for multiple wives. A local news story about two veterans brutally mugged on a freezing winter night. (New York Times)

Russians in Silicon Valley Can't Shake Hacking's Shadow. Pavel Cherkashin, a Russian investor based in this city, thought he had the perfect name for a Catholic church that he is spending $11.5 million converting into a tech palace. It would be called Hack Temple. (New York Times)

Google Finds Accounts Connected to Russia Bought Election Ads. Google has found evidence that Russian agents bought ads on its wide-ranging networks in an effort to interfere with the 2016 presidential campaign. (New York Times)

Beyond Kaspersky: How a digital Cold War with Russia threatens the IT industry. What would an escalation of tensions mean for the future of our relationships with Russian software companies, developers, and strategically outsourced tech talent? (ZDNet)

Facebook confirms Russia ads on Instagram. Facebook has confirmed that around 5% of the adverts it has identified as having been bought by Russia around the time of the US presidential election also appeared on Instagram. (BBC News)

Facebook security chief responds to news algorithm critics. Facebook's security chief is warning critics that the fake news problem is more complicated than many are aware. (CNET)

Microsoft is reviewing its records for signs of potential Russian meddling during the 2016 election. Microsoft is currently reviewing its sales records to determine whether trolls aligned with the Russian government purchased ads on Bing or other company products during the 2016 U.S. presidential race. (Recode)

Facebook, Twitter, Google invited to testify on Russian election meddling. Executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google have been formally invited to testify Nov. 1 at a House Intelligence Committee hearing on how Russians may have interfered in the 2016 presidential election, says a source with familiar with the committee's actions. (The Hill)

Russian operatives used Twitter and Facebook to target veterans and military personnel, study says. Russian trolls and others aligned with the Kremlin are injecting disinformation into streams of online content flowing to American military personnel and veterans on Twitter and Facebook, according to an Oxford University study released Monday. (Washington Post)

IBM pushing for DACA legislation by the end of the year. IBM is making an aggressive push for legislation that would help recipients of the Deferred Action For Childhood (DACA) program, an Obama-era program that let almost 700,000 undocumented individuals who were brought to the country as minors stay and work in the U.S. (The Hill)

President Trump is willing to support DACA - if Congress funds a border wall and other immigration proposals that tech hates. President Donald Trump has told Congress that he would support a new law that spares young adults brought illegally to the United States from being deported - but only if lawmakers also fund his controversial plan to erect a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border. (Recode)

A landscaper's 'hire American' plan ended with bringing in Mexican workers to finish the job. The first day on the job for the 39 new hires at Jesus "Chuy" Medrano's landscaping firm started as soon as they stumbled off the bus in the early morning, groggy and stiff from the 13-hour trip from the Mexican border. (Washington Post)

Ivanka Trump: 'Dreamers' deserve 'long-term fix'. Ivanka Trump on Mondaynight publicly waded into the immigration debate for the first time, calling the plight of Dreamers a "very complicated issue that needs a long-term congressional fix." (Politico)
Trump's Immigration Demands Threaten DACA Deal. President Donald Trump's long list of immigration demands has landed with a thud among lawmakers hopeful for a deal to protect hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation. (Associated Press, published in New York Times)
If Trump doesn't deal on DACA, some Democrats threaten a government shutdown. Some House Democrats are raising the specter of withholding support for must-pass spending legislation later this year in response to President Trump's hard-line immigration proposals - meaning the fate of roughly 690,000 younger undocumented immigrants could become a major factor in negotiations to keep the government open after December. (Washington Post)

White House pressures Rand Paul to back tax plan. At a large gathering last week of conservatives and business groups pushing tax reform, one lawmaker in particular was on the mind of President Donald Trump's top lobbyist: Rand Paul. (Politico)

Ivanka Trump takes on taxes. More than six months since she formally joined President Donald Trump's administration in March, the first daughter has yet to make her mark on any of the administration's major policy decisions. (Politico Pro)

Why Corporate Tax Cuts Won't Create Jobs. The tax cut framework recently put forward by President Trump relies on a central claim: that reducing taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals will open the wellsprings of entrepreneurship and investment, turbocharging job growth and the American economy. Were this premise true, reasonable people might countenance giving a vast majority of benefits to the very rich, as Mr. Trump's plan does, in exchange for greater prosperity for all. But it's not. (New York Times)


Trump's rhetoric hampers his aides' surveillance push. President Donald Trump's claims that the Obama administration illegally spied on him are complicating his national security team's efforts to win permanent congressional renewal of crucial online surveillance powers. (Politico Pro)

Global Trade

Trump Twitter bombs and a negotiating standoff: How NAFTA talks could fail. As nearly 700 officials gather next week to discuss overhauling the free-trade agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada, participants and analysts say the negotiations are at an increasing risk of failure. (Washington Post)

Trump eyeing NAFTA proposal to roll back protections for foreign investors. The Trump administration is expected to make its assault on NAFTA's investor-state dispute settlement process during this week's talks, coming out with a proposal that would effectively hobble the controversial arrangement. (Politico Pro)

Artificial Intelligence

This is how much Google is spending on cutting edge AI research. Google acquired the British artificial-intelligence startup DeepMind in 2014 for a reported £400 million (roughly $525 million), a company its cofounder Demis Hassabis once described as aiming at "solving intelligence, and then using that to solve everything else." (NextGov)

How To Make AI The Best Thing To Happen To Us. Many leading AI researchers think that in a matter of decades, artificial intelligence will be able to do not merely some of our jobs, but all of our jobs, forever transforming life on Earth. (NPR)

AI on the menu as Nokia chairman goes back to school. He runs a company that is a byword for technological innovation -- but Nokia's chairman had no qualms about going back to school to learn more about artificial intelligence (AI). (Reuters)

VR Mark Zuckerberg discusses how Facebook is using AI to aid the Red Cross in Puerto Rico. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today that his company is working with the American Red Cross to target aid efforts in Puerto Rico using artificial intelligence and satellite imagery to identify areas to deliver aid. (Tech Crunch)

How computers could start making hiring decisions. Americans are generally opposed to the idea of computers evaluating and hiring job candidates, a new Pew survey has found, and 76% said they wouldn't apply to a job that used a computer program to select applicants. Computers are already playing a role in hiring processes, however, and that role is expected to grow. (Axios)

Public Sector

Balancing federal data protection and productivity. Federal agency CIOs and CISOs need to shift how they invest in cybersecurity - focusing on protecting information, rather than systems - without sacrificing attention to the weakest part of their networks: end users operating on the endpoint. (FedScoop)

Trump nominates new Army secretary for technology and logistics. President Trump selected Bruce D. Jette to serve as assistant secretary of the Army's acquisition and technology procurement operations. (FedScoop)

HHS is investing in growing its in-house data science talent. Data, which holds the promise of increased efficiency and better mission outcomes for federal agencies, can't deliver much without the help of capable data science practitioners. So the Department of Health and Human Services is looking to build out its own data science talent. (FedScoop)


U.S. governors, hackers, academics team up to secure elections. Hackers are joining forces with U.S. governors and academics in a new group aimed at preventing the manipulation of voter machines and computer systems to sway the outcome of future U.S. elections, a source familiar with the project said on Monday. (Reuters)

The World's Biggest Military Contractors Don't Encrypt Their Websites. The websites of four of the five largest American defense and military contractors, which received a combined $95,278,712,971 last year from the US government, don't use web encryption. (Motherboard)

Hacker study: Russia could get into U.S. voting machines. American voting machines are full of foreign-made hardware and software, including from China, and a top group of hackers and national security officials says that means they could have been infiltrated last year and into the future. (Politico)


No, That Robot Will Not Steal Your Job. The recovery from the crisis of 2008 has been one of the weakest on record, but never in postwar history has so little growth created so many jobs. The unemployment rate in the developed world is down to 5.5 percent and approaching a 40-year low. This flies in the face of all the dire warnings about a "jobless future." (New York Times)

The Hidden Battle of the Sexes at Work. For all the effort employers are pouring into advancing women in the workplace, why are they making so little headway? (Wall Street Journal)

Robots are coming to work. Are they safe? The Robotic Industries Association (RIA), which is North America's leading robotics trade group, just announced the signing of an alliance partnership with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Department of Labor agency tasked with ensuring safe and healthy working conditions in the US. (ZDNet)


E.P.A. Announces Repeal of Major Obama-Era Carbon Emissions Rule. The Trump administration announced on Monday that it would take formal steps to repeal President Barack Obama's signature policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, setting up a bitter fight over the future of America's efforts to tackle global warming. (New York Times)

EPA chief Scott Pruitt tells coal miners he will repeal power plant rule Tuesday: 'The war against coal is over'. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt told coal miners in Kentucky on Monday that he will move to repeal a rule limiting greenhouse-gas emissions from existing power plants, assuring them, "The war against coal is over." (Washington Post)

EPA to Withdraw Power Plant Rules. The Trump administration is formally withdrawing federal limits on carbon emissions at power plants, triggering the next stage of what is likely to be a yearslong fight over the government's centerpiece regulation for slowing climate change. (Wall Street Journal)

China Hastens the World Toward an Electric-Car Future. There is a powerful reason that automakers worldwide are speeding up their efforts to develop electric vehicles - and that reason is China. (New York Times)

There's enough wind energy over the oceans to power human civilization, scientists say. New research published on Monday finds there is so much wind energy potential over oceans that it could theoretically be used to generate "civilization scale power" - assuming, that is, that we are willing to cover enormous stretches of the sea with turbines, and can come up with ways to install and maintain them in often extreme ocean environments. (Washington Post)

Tech Business

Samsung Electronics shares jump on expected record third-quarter memory chip profit. Shares in Samsung Electronics Co Ltd rose 4.5 percent after the market opened in Seoul on Tuesday, as analysts expected the tech giant to announce record profits in memory chips for the July-September quarter. (Reuters)

Amazon prepares to break into ad industry. Amazon is making a serious effort to break into the digital advertising business, an arena dominated by its fellow behemoth competitors, Google and Facebook. (The Hill)

ITI Member News

Alphabet's Internet balloons will try to restore cell service in Puerto Rico. The Alphabet division that's building a balloon-powered Internet service has obtained an experimental license "to help provide emergency cellular service in Puerto Rico," the Federal Communications Commission announced Saturday. (ArsTechnica)
Apple's Cook Meets Macron in Paris Amid Calls for Tech Taxes. Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook met Emmanuel Macron in Paris Monday, and according to French officials he didn't push back against calls by the French president and European allies to change rules in the region to get technology giants to pay more taxes. (Bloomberg)
Google drops 'first click free' policy that helped search users skip paywalls. Google is ending "first click free," a policy loathed by publishers and media because it required them to provide a limited amount of free content before users of the world's biggest search engine could be asked to pay for it. (Los Angeles Times)
As bids for Amazon's headquarters come due, tech has a chance to spread the wealth. As Amazon established its dominance in online retail, logistics and cloud computing, the company's headquarters in Seattle grew appropriately massive. Today it represents a $5 billion investment in 33 buildings, 8 million square feet and more than 40,000 employees. (Los Angeles Times)
Alphabet launches U.S. ad campaign to promote driverless car safety. Alphabet Inc's self-driving car unit Waymo and several groups are launching a campaign aimed at convincing skeptical Americans of what they say is the value and safety of driverless cars, as Congress considers how it will regulate the technology. (Reuters)
Tech execs say these are the questions CEOs must answer. Company founders can suffer from tunnel vision, so here's a collection of questions executives at companies like Facebook, Apple, and Y Combinator (and Kevin Durant's investment firm) posed during their interviews on the main stage of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017. (Axios)
Steve Ballmer says social platforms can't curb fake news. Major Twitter investor and ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said social networks aren't currently able to prevent fake news. (CNET News)

Twitter Suspends Blackburn Ad for 'Inflammatory or Provocative Content'. Advertising on Twitter has its advantages for campaigns - it's much cheaper and can be more highly targeted than TV ads. But it also has unique limitations, as one campaign discovered over the weekend. (Roll Call)

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 9:15 AM for a pro forma session.
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