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Tech News Roundup - 10/12/2017

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Tech Politics

Look for the EU to continue its crackdown on U.S. big tech. The European Union, arguing that U.S. tech titans have unfair, and in some cases illegal, advantages over competitors, is cracking down in what it calls evening the playing field and saving local businesses. (ITI Dean Garfield Quoted, Axios)

Lawmakers Say They Plan to Release Facebook Ads Linked to Russia. Leaders of the House Intelligence Committee said on Wednesday that they planned to make public the thousands of Facebook ads linked to Russia that appeared during the 2016 presidential election campaign, the first indication that the ads would be released. (New York Times)

House Intelligence Committee will release Facebook's Russia ads. House Intelligence Committee leaders announced Wednesday that they will release Facebook ads linked to Russian efforts to influence U.S. politics in 2016. (Politico Pro)

We Asked Facebook 12 Questions About the Election, and Got 5 Answers. Nearly a year after Election Day, Facebook's role in our modern political infrastructure is finally coming into focus. (New York Times)

Facebook pushes ad overhaul before 2018 U.S. election: executive. Facebook Inc has begun overhauling how it handles political ads on its platform and may put some changes in place before U.S. elections next year, Facebook's chief technology officer said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg is meeting with U.S. lawmakers who are investigating Russia's election interference. Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is meeting with U.S. lawmakers who are investigating Russian attempts to spread disinformation online during the 2016 presidential election, sources said Wednesday. (Recode)

Should Facebook and Twitter Be Regulated Under the First Amendment?. President Trump is being sued by a handful of Twitter users who have been banned from reading or interacting with his account. (Wired)

The questions Congress wants to ask Facebook. Facebook is expected to face its toughest test on Capitol Hill in years when it testifies before committees investigating Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election in the coming months. (Axios)

I.M.F. Cautions Against Tax Cuts for Wealthy as Republicans Consider Them. The International Monetary Fund delivered a blunt warning to international policy makers ahead of the fund's annual meeting this week: Governments risk undermining global economic growth by cutting taxes on the wealthy. (New York Times)

Trump takes tax plan to the public as GOP senators struggle to find agreement. President Trump on Wednesday took his case for massive tax cuts directly to the public, even as Senate Republicans struggle to unite behind the proposal ahead of a key Senate vote that could derail his entire approach. (Washington Post)

Trump: Middle class will benefit if corporate cash returned from abroad. President Donald Trump added a new sweetener to his sales pitch for tax reform Wednesday, saying average Americans would benefit greatly if U.S. corporations bring money home from abroad under a special low tax rate. (Politico)

Global Trade

House Commerce Panel to Tackle Cross-Border Data Trade Barriers. How the government can help U.S. companies affected by international cross-border digital trade barriers is the subject of a House Commerce subcommittee hearing scheduled for Oct. 12. (ITI Dean Garfield Mentioned, BNA)

Trump's Tough Talk on Nafta Suggests Pact's Demise Is Imminent. The North American Free Trade Agreement, long disparaged by President Trump as bad for the United States, was edging closer toward collapse as negotiators gathered for a fourth round of contentious talks here this week. (New York Times)

Trump Sets Nafta Goals: Dilute Pact's Force, Loosen Regional Bonds. The Trump administration has honed its strategy for remaking the North American Free Trade Agreement in recent weeks as it prepared for a critical round of talks that started Wednesday-by proposing a number of specific ways to water down the pact and reduce its influence on companies. (Wall Street Journal)

Trudeau fights to save NAFTA deal, but Trump offers little hope. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the White House on Wednesday seeking a new "fairer trade" deal among the United States, Canada and Mexico amid growing alarm from business leaders that President Trump is leaning toward jettisoning the North American Free Trade Agreement in favor of bilateral accords. (Washington Post)

Trudeau plays role of NAFTA ambassador in and around Washington. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in full diplomatic mode in Washington as a tense fourth round of NAFTA negotiations got underway among trade officials. (Politico Pro)

GOP Rep. defends Korean trade deal Trump has threatened to end. A Republican House leader on trade gave a full-throated defense of the U.S.-Korean trade deal on Wednesday, as anxiety rises in Washington that President Trump is on course to sink the deal. (Axios)

Deadlocked Brexit Talks Take U.K. Closer to Cliff-Edge. The European Union said talks hit a wall over what the U.K. owes when it leaves, increasing the chances of a messy departure as time is running out to clinch a deal. (Bloomberg)


Trump says he wants to help Dreamers, but needs wall "in return". President Trump sat down with Fox News' Sean Hannity before a live audience in Pennsylvania on Wednesday night prior to a speech on tax reform. (Axios)


Google rivals have gripes - but limited options.When Google was fined a record €2.4 billion for flaunting Europe's antitrust rules, its rivals cheered in anticipation of a flood of online traffic. (Politico EU)

Public Sector

House panel skeptical of DOD clearance plan. The Department of Defense is preparing to roll up security clearance investigations in-house, as the civilian agency charged with background checks faces a large and growing backlog. At an Oct. 11 House hearing, members sought assurances from Director of Defense Intelligence Garry Reid that it wasn't just a case of moving money and people around. (ITI Trey Hodgkins Quoted, FCW)
Lawmakers want more answers from DoD on its plan to move security clearances from NBIB. Lawmakers and intelligence leaders are desperate to find a solution that would make a dent in a backlog of at least 700,000 unprocessed security clearances at the National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB), but they might not like the latest idea the Defense Department is waving in their faces. (ITI Trey Hodgkins Mentioned, Federal News Radio)

House passes FITARA Enhancement Act. A bipartisan group of lawmakers' plan to extend provisions under the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act is one step closer to reality. (NextGov)


Trump to tap Kelly deputy and cybersecurity expert Kirstjen Nielsen for DHS secretary. The White House will nominate Kirstjen Nielsen to head the Department of Homeland Security, a senior U.S. government official confirmed to FedScoop. (FedScoop)

Making the Lives of Cybercriminals and Spies Harder Online. Nicole Perlroth, a cybersecurity reporter for The Times, said she takes her most sensitive communications "completely offline." (New York Times)

Russia Has Turned Kaspersky Software Into Tool for Spying. The Russian government used a popular antivirus software to secretly scan computers around the world for classified U.S. government documents and top-secret information, modifying the program to turn it into an espionage tool, according to current and former U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter. (Wall Street Journal)

Equifax website hacked again, this time to redirect to fake Flash update. In May credit reporting service Equifax's website was breached by attackers who eventually made off with social security numbers, names, and a dizzying amount of other details for some 145.5 million US consumers. (Ars Technica)

'Crypto Anchors' might stop the next Equifax-style megabreach. Firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and even encryption haven't kept hackers out of hoards of data like the ones stolen in the catastrophic breaches of Equifax or Yahoo. But now, some Silicon Valley firms are trying a deeper approach, building security into the basic design of how data moves between a company's servers. (Wired)


Justice official pushes Silicon Valley for 'responsible' encryption. A top Justice Department official reignited the federal encryption debate this week, calling for Silicon Valley to provide an avenue for law enforcement to access encrypted digital evidence that is stored and transferred by private technology companies. (FedScoop)

Internet of Things

House bill looks to secure IoT ecosystem. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), the ranking member of the IT Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is looking to help improve the security and oversight of the emerging internet-of-things ecosystem. (Federal Computer Week)

Completely driverless cars could hit California roads as early as next June, if not sooner. For some time, people have wondered when completely driverless cars - the kind devoid of human operators - would appear on California roads. (Washington Post)

Your forgotten IoT gadgets will leave a disastrous, toxic legacy. Billions of Internet of Things devices exist in offices and homes across the world, including everything from sensors and home assistants to connected children's toys. (Wired)


It's time to act on the Clean Power Plan. It seems that the cleantech community is largely in a state of tunnel vision and self-delusion. The tunnel vision is the belief that you can grow a company while ignoring the public policies that affect your industry. The delusion is that somebody else is watching out for your best interests in the policy debates that affect your company's future. (GreenBiz)

Tech Business

Beijing Pushes for a Direct Hand in China's Big Tech Firms. The Chinese government is pushing some of its biggest tech companies-including Tencent, Weibo and a unit of Alibaba-to offer the state a stake in them and a direct role in corporate decisions. (Wall Street Journal)

As 'Unicorns' Emerge, Utah Makes a Case for Tech Entrepreneurs. When Josh James traveled to the Bay Area in 2000, seeking funding for a web analytics company he had founded, he spoke at length with a venture capitalist about his plans for growth. The conversation was going well, Mr. James recently recalled, until the investor asked where he was based. "As soon as I told him I was from Utah, he literally, without saying a word, turned around and walked away." Utah entrepreneurs no longer get that icy response. (New York Times)

ITI Member News

Facebook, Tesla and other tech giants are giving aid to Puerto Rico in the form of VR, 'internet balloons' and batteries. After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico last month, the island is still struggling to recover. And while President Donald Trump has tweeted that the U.S. government has done an amazing job there, the country has struggled to get basic services like cell coverage, power and internet back up. Silicon Valley tech giants have promised to help the relief effort in some increasingly creative ways. (Recode)

Amazon has replaced Google as the company others are most worried about. Amazon and Google occupy a huge portion of the corporate psyche. Both have long elicited fear, admiration and inspiration as evidenced by the frequency with which both companies are cited on conference calls across industries. But Amazon has replaced Google as the corporate boogeyman. (Recode)

Facebook's new virtual reality strategy: self-reliance. By controlling the end-to-end experience, Facebook gets to tackle VR with a Cupertino-like approach to hardware that lets them avoid the headaches of Windows/Android and the OEMs that build for them. (Tech Crunch)

Facebook Sets Goal of a Billion Virtual-Reality Users, Unveils New Headset. Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg announced an ambitious goal of getting a billion people into virtual reality and said he wants to ensure the technology is "a force for good." (Wall Street Journal)

Today on the Hill

The House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. First and last votes expected: 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
The Senate is not in session today.
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