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Tech News Roundup - 10/20/2017

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Here's how U.S. lawmakers want to regulate political ads on Facebook, Google and Twitter. A trio of top Senate lawmakers is commencing a new push today to regulate the political ads that appear on Facebook, Google and Twitter, as Congress seeks to thwart the Russian government from spreading disinformation ahead of another U.S. election. (Recode)

Senators Demand Online Ad Disclosures as Tech Lobby Mobilizes. Senator John McCain and two Democratic senators moved 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)

Proposed 'Honest Ads Act' Seeks More Disclosure About Online Political Ads. Bill would mandate large digital platforms keep a public repository of paid political advertising appearing on their sites. (Wall Street Journal)
Tech firms improve cooperation on extremism but more needed, U.S. security chief says. Technology firms have improved cooperation with the authorities in tackling online militant material but still must act quicker to remove propaganda fuelling a rise in homegrown extremism, acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

Top Facebook lawyer to testify before Congress in Russia probe. Facebook's general counsel, Colin Stretch, will testify before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees during hearings examining how Russians may have used social media companies to interfere in the 2016 election, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed. (The Hill)
Ryan's friends flee as frustration with Trump grows. Paul Ryan's governing caucus is dwindling. (Politico Pro)

Silicon Valley's tech gods are headed for a reckoning. How Facebook and Google became mercenaries-and now casualties-in the information war. (Vanity Fair)
The Real Winners in Trump's Tax Plan. To promote his tax plan, President Trump issued a statement listing its benefits for workers and families. A closer look shows that many of his claims don't stand up to scrutiny. (Bloomberg)

Tax reform lurches ahead with Senate voting marathon. The Senate launched Thursday into an all-night voting marathon expected to yield a crucial outcome for Republicans: a route to a tax overhaul. (Politico Pro)

Trump: Senate budget vote 'first step towards massive tax cuts'. President Donald Trump said Thursday morning that the Senate's scheduled vote on budget legislation is a "first step towards massive tax cuts," but cautioned that a successful floor vote is not necessarily assured. (Politico Pro)

Senate Approves Budget Plan That Smooths Path Toward Tax Cut. The Senate took a significant step toward rewriting the tax code on Thursday night with the passage of a budget blueprint that would protect a $1.5 trillion tax cut from a Democratic filibuster. (New York Times)

Republicans Ready to Move on a Tax Plan Few Have Seen. Almost no one on or off Capitol Hill has seen the tax overhaul bill that Republicans are drafting behind closed doors. Congressional staff members have not settled on many key details. Yet party leaders are preparing to move ahead on a timeline even more aggressive than their unsuccessful attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. (New York Times)

Senate passes budget, clearing path for tax reform. Senate Republicans on Thursday passed a budget measure that will unlock the route to a sweeping tax overhaul, giving the GOP a sorely needed victory after other pieces of their legislative agenda collapsed earlier this year. (Politico)

France dials back on digital tax plans after US meetings. French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire was gung-ho about taxing digital giants like Google and Amazon on the billions of euros they generate, collectively, each year in Europe. (Politico Pro)

Global Trade
Mexican auto lobby rejects U.S. NAFTA proposal on rules of origin. The Mexican Auto Industry Association (AMIA) on Thursday rejected U.S. proposals to increase North American content for autos produced in the region and require, under a new NAFTA deal, that half of all content come from the United States. (Reuters)

Lawyers Begin Sketching Legal Strategy to Challenge Possible Nafta Withdrawal. Congressional trade lawyers and attorneys from private firms in Washington have begun meeting informally to come up with ways to challenge any decision by President Donald Trump to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement. (Wall Street Journal)


Exclusive: Tech companies to lobby for immigrant 'Dreamers' to remain in U.S. Nearly two dozen major companies in technology and other industries are planning to launch a coalition to demand legislation that would allow young, illegal immigrants a path to permanent residency, according to documents seen by Reuters. (Reuters)

Dems call on Trump to renew key immigration program. Democrats and activists are calling on the Trump administration to renew immigration permits for hundreds of thousands of citizens from a pair of Central American countries that have experienced serious disasters. (The Hill)

Trump's FTC picks unlikely to shake up tech landscape. President Trump has selected the next FTC chairman and minority commissioner. The White House announced Trump plans to nominate Joseph Simons, a Washington antitrust attorney who's served two tours at the FTC, to the chairmanship. Rohit Chopra, a senior fellow at the Consumer Federation of America, will be nominated as a commissioner. (Axios)

Trump's pick for a top consumer watchdog once represented Microsoft and MasterCard. The White House said Thursday that President Trump intends to nominate Joseph Simons, a longtime expert in competition law, to head the Federal Trade Commission, America's top privacy and consumer protection agency. (Washington Post)

Public Sector

DHS tells agencies to put a stronger lock on the door to most cyber attacks. Email is the front door for more than 90 percent of all successful cyber attacks, and the days of misspelled words or offers from Nigerian bankers are giving way to more sophisticated phishing attempts that are populated with ransomware and zero day malware. (Federal News Radio)

Graves says final IT modernization report will debut soon. The final version of the technology modernization report by the White House's American Technology Council and Office of American Innovation technology will be out shortly, acting federal Chief Information Officer Margie Graves said Wednesday. (FedScoop)

Internet of Things

To survive the streets robocars must learn to think like humans. Next times you're driving down the road or walking down the street, pause to consider how you read your surroundings. (Wired)

Canada, a Leader in AI, Is Now Taking Aim at Driverless Cars. Having built an impressive lead in artificial intelligence, Canada is keen to do the same in driverless cars -- specifically the lidar (laser radar) technology that lets these vehicles see where they're going. (Bloomberg)

Right to Repair

Why Buy a New iPhone When You Could Repair Your Old One?. The answer: Because tech companies make it as hard as possible for us to fix theirproducts. (The Nation)
Latest iOS Update Shows Apple Can Use Software to Break Phones Repaired by Independent Shops. "Non-genuine replacement displays may fail to work correctly." (Motherboard)

Mattis tells Congress off over NDAA cyber provisions, CMO post expansion. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is spitting a little venom at Congress over some of the provisions in the 2018 defense authorization bill as Senate and House begin to reconcile their differences over the bill in conference this week. (Federal News Radio)


We can achieve an energy reset in Puerto Rico. Two of the largest hurricanes in recorded history hit Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and other Caribbean islands within 10 days of each other. The cause is undeniable. The devastation almost indescribable, and the opportunity to rebuild a green, renewable more resilient electric grid has never been called for more urgently. (Green Biz)

New player in solar trade fight: Sean Hannity. As White House tariff decision looms, Fox News personality and radio host Sean Hannity has come out against proposals for new tariffs on imported solar panel equipment. (Axios)


Jeff Bezos christened Amazon's largest wind farm while 300 feet in the air. The new Amazon Wind Farm Texas is its largest farm, and one of the company's 18 clean-energy projects. (Recode)

Rocket tests and wind farms. Jeff Bezos had more on his mind today than just who wants to host an Amazon HQ. On a day when cities across the country were scrambling to submit their bids to become the home to Amazon's second headquarters, Jeffrey P. Bezos had something else on his mind: rocket engines and wind farms. (Washington Post)

Amazon Battles Google for Renewable Energy Crown. Even in the age of coal enthusiast President Donald Trump, clean-energy developers are finding plenty of interest in wind and solar power from businesses with sustainability targets, especially technology companies. (Bloomberg)

U.S. auto reliability dented by new technology; electric cars fare better: report. New technology to stream music into dashboards or boost fuel efficiency is making cars less reliable, although electric cars such as the Tesla Model 3 and the Chevrolet Bolt should fare better than many conventional models, Consumer Reports magazine said on Thursday. (Reuters)

Three-quarters of companies don't acknowledge climate risks. Investors and regulators around the world may be increasingly vocal in their demands for listed firms to report on climate-related risks, but a clear majority of companies remain deaf to their calls. (Green Biz)

This testbed in Iceland sucks carbon dioxide out of the air. Carbon capture tends to be a galvanizing topic. There is no shortage of hopeful startups and established companies trying their hand at ways to draw down what's already in the atmosphere and no dearth of skeptics who believe these systems always will be too darn expensive to scale. (Green Biz)

Tech Business

Lyft Is Said to Explore I.P.O. as It Raises $1 Billion Led by Alphabet. In an escalation of its ride-hailing war against Uber, Lyft has begun to explore going public in 2018 and is trying to strengthen its position by raising more capital, including $1 billion in new financing led by an investment arm of Google's parent company. (New York Times)

Wall Street flat amid tech stock weakness. Tech stocks weighed on Wall Street on Thursday as both Apple and eBay saw their shares fall. (BBC News)

Facebook to launch news subscription feature, some big names opt out. Facebook Inc (FB.O) said on Thursday it has signed up 10 news publishers including the Washington Post and The Economist to take part in a trial that gives its mobile app users access to a limited number of articles a month and then the option to subscribe via the publishers' own websites. (Reuters)

Facebook to Test News-Subscription Sign-Up. The program will begin on Android devices only with publishers including Washington Post, the Economist. (Wall Street Journal)

'Anemic' iPhone 8 demand drags Apple shares lower. Apple Inc's shares fell nearly 3 percent on Thursday on signs of weak demand for the iPhone 8 that caused analysts and investors to question the company's staggered release strategy for its latest phones. (Reuters)

Startup funding bill makes a comeback. A group of lawmakers is resurrecting a years-old effort to set aside funding for the nation's startups. (NextGov)

ITI Member News

As Cities Woo Amazon to Build Second Headquarters, Incentives Are Key. Cities and states woo e-commerce giant to house its second headquarters; request for proposals closes Thursday. (Wall Street Journal)

Amazon's Second Headquarters: Cities Make Their Final Pitches. Cities across the U.S. and Canada will be making their final pitches Thursday to Amazon - begging for a chance to become the new second headquarters. The prize winner will get 50,000 high-paying jobs. (NPR)
Billions in tax breaks offered to Amazon for second headquarters. Inc (AMZN.O) is receiving offers of billions of dollars in tax breaks and other subsidies from cities and states across North America that are participating in a company contest to pick a location for its second headquarters. (Reuters)

Native American tribe sues Amazon and Microsoft. A Native American tribe is suing Amazon and Microsoft for infringing data-processing patents it is holding. (BBC News)

Take two for Samsung's troubled Bixby assistant. If you have a Samsung phone, you most likely have Google Android. And if you have Google Android, you have the Google Assistant. (BBC News)

Microsoft and the Green Bay Packers want to score some innovation via a $10 million venture effort. In an unusual pairing of a giant tech company and a football team, Microsoft and the Green Bay Packers are trying to spur innovation in Wisconsin by forming a $10 million partnership that will make investments, give workspace to startups and encourage innovation among local businesses. (Recode)

Microsoft expands rural U.S. campaign with Green Bay Packers tie-up. Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) has teamed up with the National Football League's Green Bay Packers in a $10 million partnership intended to spur tech innovation in Wisconsin, the software company said on Thursday. (Reuters)

Facebook and Apple can't agree on terms, so Facebook's subscription tool will only launch on Android phones. Facebook's effort to help media companies sell subscriptions has hit a snag: Apple. (Recode)

The super-secret Google X lab has hired its own lobbyists in the nation's capital. Even the moonshots at Google have lobbyists. (Recode)

Google offers bug bounty to clean up mobile apps. Google is offering security experts a bounty to identify Android app flaws as the Alphabet Inc unit seeks to wipe out bugs from its Google Play store. (Reuters)

Twitter apologizes for past lapses, issues calendar of planned safety updates. Apologizing for past lapses, Twitter pledged to do a better job of keeping users safe on the social media platform and offered a calendar of planned enhancements. (Axios)

How Facebook Will Protect the 'Integrity' of Canada's Next Election. There are nearly as many Canadians who use Facebook daily as there are people in this country who are registered to vote-which is why the federal government is working with Facebook to protect its next federal election from fake news, filter bubbles, and cyber meddling. (Motherboard)

Trump: 'I think Apple is going to build some very, very big plants'.President Donald Trump reiterated a claim today that Apple intends to build "very, very big" plants in the U.S. as evidence that corporate America is responding positively to his administration's economic agenda. (Politico Pro)

Senators press Apple to explain removal of apps in China. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) are demanding answers from Apple CEO Tim Cook after his company removed apps in China that allowed users to skirt the country's internet censors. (The Hill)

Today on the Hill

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