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Tech News Roundup - 10/19/2017

Tech News Roundup

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Key Issues

Global Trade

Tech companies are suddenly spending much more on lobbying as NAFTA negotiations loom. Tech companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Cisco are spending more on lobbyists to make their case about the North American Free Trade Agreement, as negotiations about the future of that trade deal heat up. (ITI Josh Kallmer Quoted, CNBC)
Key U.S. allies bristle at 'Buy American' policy. Ten members of the World Trade Organization including Israel, Japan, Canada and the EU today warned the United States that its "Buy American, Hire American" policy would harm international supply chains. (Politico Pro)

The Agenda: What Navarro gets right on trade. From the moment it came out late Tuesday night, it was widely chuckled at in Washington policy circles: Two ham-handed slides obtained by The Washington Post, reportedly authored by the White House's main trade adviser, blaming a "weakened manufacturing base" for problems ranging from factory closures and job losses to drug use and dropping marriage rates. (Politico Pro)
Tech Politics

House, Senate intel committees receive briefing from Google. Google has briefed the House and Senate intelligence committees ahead of two Nov. 1hearings that will examine Russian efforts to influence U.S. elections through social media. (Associated Press)
McCain's latest surprise: regulate Facebook. Sen. John McCain knows his time in the public eye is short, so his big statements in recent weeks are especially resonant. (Axios)
New bill on election meddling aims to increase ad transparency from social media. Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Mark Warner (Va.) will unveil legislation on Thursday aimed at preventing foreign election interference by increasing digital ad transparency. (The Hill)
Facebook executive on election interference: 'Sometimes bad things happen'. The head of Facebook's Messenger application, David Marcus, on Wednesday said that nefarious activity on social media sites is just a reality for such platforms. (The Hill)
Michael Flynn, Nicki Minaj shared content from this Tennessee GOP account. But it wasn't real. It was Russian. Russian operatives used a fake Twitter account that claimed to speak for Tennessee Republicans to persuade American politicians, celebrities and journalists to share select content with their own massive lists of followers, two people familiar with the matter said. (Washington Post)
McCain signs on to Democrats' Facebook ad disclosure bill. Sen. John McCain has become the first Republican to sign on to a draft bill from Democrats Amy Klobuchar and Mark Warner that would increase the transparency of political advertisements on social media platforms like Facebook. (Politico)
Senators Demand Online Ad Disclosures as Tech Lobby Mobilizes. Senator John McCain and two Democratic senators will move on Thursday to force Facebook, Google and other internet companies to disclose who is purchasing online political advertising, after revelations that Russian-linked operatives bought deceptive ads in the run-up to the 2016 election with no disclosure required. (New York Times)
Congress Rolls Toward Shutdown Fight Over Immigration and Obamacare. The year's most divisive fights in Congress are set to converge in a bitter partisan clash in December that could result in a U.S. government shutdown. (Bloomberg)

Senators Demand Online Ad Disclosures as Tech Lobby Mobilizes. Senator John McCain and two Democratic senators will move on Thursday to force Facebook, Google and other internet companies to disclose who is purchasing online political advertising, after revelations that Russian-linked operatives bought deceptive ads in the run-up to the 2016 election with no disclosure required. (New York Times)

Mnuchin warns of 'significant' stock market drop if tax reform fails. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said that failure to pass the Republican tax overhaul would trigger a "significant" drop in the stock market, which has rallied to record highs in recent months. (Los Angeles Times)

Trump urging House GOP to pass Senate budget as shortcut to tax reform. President Trump has begun calling House Republicans to urge them to pass the Senate budget without going to conference, according to three sources familiar with the calls. (Axios)

Trump floats bipartisan tax reform group. President Donald Trump suggested at a meeting with senators Wednesday that the Senate create a bipartisan working group for tax reform, surprising Republicans who've been planning to pass a party-line bill, senators said afterward. (Politico)

Sanders, Cruz spar over tax reform in CNN debate. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) sparred over taxes in a primetime debate on CNN Wednesday, with Cruz arguing that the GOP's framework would benefit the economy and Sanders lambasting it as a boon for the wealthy. (The Hill)

Artificial Intelligence

AI experts want to end 'Black Box' algorithms in government. The right to due process was inscribed into the US constitution with a pen. A new report from leading researchers in artificial intelligence cautions it is now being undermined by computer code. (Wired)


Trump will nominate Joseph Simons for FTC chair. President Donald Trump will nominate antitrust attorney Joseph Simons as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, moving to install a hand-picked leader at the consumer protection agency that's been without a permanent head for 10 months. (Politico)

Public Sector

GSA, OPM nominees pledge to build public trust through open data programs. A Senate committee Wednesday scrutinized the people nominated to lead two agencies responsible for major technology projects. (NextGov)


The latest way companies are luring top female talent: Breast milk shipping. After returning to work following the birth of her twins, Kate Torgersen was on a business trip in San Diego in spring 2014. It wasn't the most important trip professionally, but personally, she recalled, proving that she could seamlessly transition back to the workplace was a big deal. (Washington Post)

Meritocracy 'Myth' Can Hold Companies Back, Experts Say. The ideal of a meritocracy may be holding back technology firms in their push to increase minority hiring, according to experts who work with tech companies on diversity. (Wall Street Journal)

Why Amazon's new headquarters won't guarantee economic boon. Cities across the country are falling over themselves to score the winning ticket in the biggest local lottery ticket - Amazon's second North American Headquarters. Today's the deadline for them to submit proposals. But luring Amazon's promised 50,000 jobs comes with costs that may outweigh the benefits for some cities. (Axios)

Internet of Things

Here's a closer look at Apple's secret self-driving car. A new video of what would appear to be one of Apple's "Project Titan" self-driving cars was posted to Twitter last night, and it looks much different than it did the last time we saw it. (The Verge)

Apple and GE team up on software to track power plants, machinery. Apple Inc and General Electric Co say they are working together to make it easier to write software that can track power plants and jet engines on Apple's iPhones and iPads. (Reuters)

Tech Business
IBM shares head for biggest gain in eight years. Shares in International Business Machines Inc (IBM.N) surged 9 percent on Wednesday after it beat expectations on revenue and gave an outlook that hinted one of the world's first big computing names was back on a growth track after six years in retreat. (Reuters)

Young Children Are Spending Much More Time In Front Of Small Screens. It's not your imagination: Tiny tots are spending dramatically more time with tiny screens. (NPR)

Changes in Store for Foreign Companies' Tax Treatment in U.S. Foreign companies operating in the U.S. could face major changes in their tax bills under an overhaul being planned by Republicans. Those could include new surtaxes or limits on how much the companies can deduct on certain expenses such as rent, royalties and interest on debt. (Wall Street Journal)

ITI Member News

'A Major Distraction': Is A Megadeal Like Amazon's HQ2 Always Worth It?. On a wall in Greg LeRoy's office is a frame with a custom-engraved wrench and a photo of workers in front of the Diamond Tool and Horseshoe factory in Duluth, Minn. It's from his days helping unions fight plant closings - when he first started digging into the convoluted financial relationship of corporations and local governments. (NPR)
Google's Founders Wanted to Shape a City. Toronto Is Their Chance. Google's founders have long fantasized about what would happen if the company could shape the real world as much as it has life on the internet. (New York Times)
In Amazon Bid, New York Brags About, Well, Everything. The Empire State Building, 4 Times Square, 1 World Trade Center and other New York City skyscrapers were bathed in orange light on Wednesday night. Halloween had not come early. The color was a nod to the arrow in the logo of the giant retailer Amazon, designed to mark the moment New York City delivered its bid for the company's second headquarters. (New York Times)
Southern California cities to submit bids for Amazon's new headquarters site. Since Amazon rolled out the reality-show-like competition for its second headquarters last month, communities have come up with a multitude of creative ways to generate buzz for their bids. (New York Times)
BuzzFeed CEO: Google, Facebook Should Share More Revenue. BuzzFeed's Jonah Peretti said he expects Facebook to work on creating more ways for media companies to earn revenue on its platform. (Wall Street Journal)
Native American tribe sues Amazon and Microsoft over patents. The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe has filed patent lawsuits against Amazon and Microsoft, using patents it acquired from a company called SRC Labs, according to reports in Reuters and CNBC. (Ars Technica)
This Is What Really Happens When Amazon Comes to Your Town. Thursday is the deadline for cities bidding to host "HQ2," as Amazon calls its planned second headquarters, and the competition has been intense. More than a hundred would-be hosts have assembled generous packages with everything from multibillion-dollar tax breaks to free utilities to an offer to build Amazon its own city (also named Amazon) in the hope of enticing the online retail giant and up to 50,000 of its handsomely paid employees. (Politico)
Samsung Is Under Scrutiny Again as South Korean Police Raid Offices. Barely two months after its crown prince was sent to prison on corruption charges, the family that controls Samsung's vast business empire is again facing allegations of white-collar crime. (New York Times)
This is what really happens when Amazon comes to your town. Thursday is the deadline for cities bidding to host "HQ2," as Amazon calls its planned second headquarters, and the competition has been intense. (Politico)

Today on the Hill

The House is not in session today.

The Senate will convene at 9:30 AM and resume consideration of H.Con.Res.71, establishing the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2018 and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2019 through 2027.
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