Skip to main content

Tech News Roundup - 10/24/2017

Tech News Roundup

Go Back

Key Issues

Artificial Intelligence
Tech companies pledge to use artificial intelligence responsibly. The Information Technology Industry Council - a DC-based group representing the likes of IBM, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple- is today releasing principles for developing ethical artificial intelligence systems. (ITI Dean Garfield Quoted, Axios)
Tech industry to unveil 'principles' for artificial intelligence. The Information Technology Industry Council today will release technology industry "principles to advance the benefits and responsible growth" of artificial intelligence, a key technology with implications on cybersecurity. (ITI Mentioned, Inside Cybersecurity)
Apple sees its mobile devices as platform for artificial intelligence. Apple Inc sees its mobile devices as a major platform for artificial intelligence in the future, Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said on Monday. (Reuters)

'Alexa, Can You Prevent Suicide?'. How Amazon trains its AI to handle the most personal questions imaginable. (Wall Street Journal)

The surreal comedy bot that's turning AI into LOL. "Innovation," Jeff Bezos once said, "happens by gently lifting a grandfather and asking him for six different ideas." (Wired)

Tech Politics

Lawmaker requests briefing from Twitter, Google, Facebook on content management. Rep. Frank Pallone asked the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter and Google to brief House Energy and Commerce Committee staff on the the companies' content management and advertising policies. (Politico Pro)

House Dem questions internet platforms on policing content. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is calling on major internet platforms to explain how they police their sites' content, saying their policies are "vague and applied inconsistently." (The Hill)

Amazon, Facebook and Google beef up lobbying spending. Facebook, Google and Amazon bolstered their lobbying spending in the past three months as Washington has taken a closer look at the market power of some of America's biggest tech companies. (Washington Post)

How Big Tech became a bipartisan whipping boy. Silicon Valley oligarchs have plenty of reason to lose sleep these days, but the looming prospect of Nov. 1has to be high on the list. That's the day that executives from Google, Facebook, and Twitter are scheduled to testify in back-to-back hearings before Senate and House committees investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. (Wired)

Senate Democrats oppose NDAA limits on Buy America measures. A cadre of Democratic senators is pushing House and Senate Armed Services leaders to abandon efforts to sunset so-called Buy America provisions in a final version of the National Defense Authorization Act, H.R. 2810 (115). (Politico Pro)

Tech Firms Seek Washington's Prized Asset: Top-Secret Clearances. Under siege for letting their platforms be co-opted by Russian hackers during the 2016 election, Silicon Valley companies are learning what many businesses with interests in Washington have long known: It pays to have staff with government security clearances. (Bloomberg)

Cutting Taxes Is Hard. Trump Is Making It Harder. President Trump said on Monday that he would oppose any effort to reduce the amount of pretax income that American workers can save in 401(k) retirement accounts, effectively killing an idea that Republicans were mulling as a way to help pay for a $1.5 trillion tax cut. (New York Times)

Trump Says 'No Change' to 401(k) Plans Under Forthcoming Tax Proposal. Congressional Republicans said to be weighing limits in pretax contributions for retirement savings. (Wall Street Journal)

Trump's promises narrow GOP's options on tax bill. Republicans are accelerating efforts to fill in key details of their plan for massive tax cuts, but as lawmakers work to turn their proposal into legislation, President Trump's numerous tax promises are proving difficult to keep. (Washington Post)

Ivanka Trump sells GOP tax plan as good for families. Ivanka Trump characterized Republicans' tax reform plan as a positive step for working middle-class families on Monday as the White House pushes to get the plan through Congress. (Politico Pro)

Tax Cuts Are Coming. So Are the Fights About Paying for Them. Republicans are unfailingly passionate about cutting taxes, but as they look to craft the most sweeping tax code rewrite in 31 years, one question reliably dampens their enthusiasm: how to pay for the cuts. (New York Times)

Tough tradeoffs loom amid bullish talk on tax reform. The Republican drive to remake the tax code is approaching a crucial juncture as party leaders take key steps this week to set in motion what they hope will be the final push of their long-running effort. (Politico Pro)

Global Trade

Singapore PM: U.S. role in Asia 'your game to lose'. Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he would emphasize to President Donald Trump and other senior officials and lawmakers that U.S. economic engagement in Asia was vitally important even with Washington's current focus on domestic policy. (Politico Pro)


Trump deals another blow to H-1B visa holders. The Trump administration is making it more difficult for employment-based visa holders to extend their status in the U.S. - another blow to companies (particularly large technology firms) that rely on H-1B visas to hire high-skilled workers from other countries. (Axios)

Republicans quietly plot Dreamers deal. Key Senate Republicans have begun privately discussing the contours of an immigration plan to shield the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers who will lose work permits and deportation protections starting early next year. (Politico)

U.S. to Allow Refugees From All Countries but With New Rules. The Trump administration will allow refugee admissions to the U.S. to resume for all countries but with new rules meant to better vet applicants, administration officials and others familiar with the planning said. (Wall Street Journal)


Google, rural ISPs fight wireless giants over swath of airwaves. An under-the-radar fight pitting Google and rural broadband providers against the nation's wireless giants is heating up at the FCC as the agency considers changes to a critical swath of airwaves. (Politico Pro)

Internet of Things

In the race for driverless cars, are other safety items being left in the dust?. As Washington focuses on pressing forward with regulations to enable driverless cars and their safety benefits, safety watchdogs caution that the race to market means other low-hanging fruit that could decrease traffic deaths is being neglected. (Politico Pro)

Public Sector

White House sketches plans to staff its modernization efforts. The White House's Office of American Innovation is looking to set the stage for IT modernization efforts under the Trump administration by establishing a quartet of research centers, each dedicated to a core aspect of modern technology. (Federal Computer Week)
FBI Director: unbreakable encryption is a "huge, huge problem". "I get it, there's a balance that needs to be struck," Christopher Wray said. (Ars Technica)

FBI failed to access 7,000 encrypted mobile devices. Agents at the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have been unable to extract data from nearly 7,000 mobile devices they have tried to access, the agency's director has said. (BBC)

Russia's Kaspersky to Allow Outside Review of Its Cybersecurity Software. Kaspersky Lab ZAO, the Moscow-based cybersecurity firm, pledged to turn over the source code for its antivirus software for independent review-a bid to protect its reputation after U.S. officials said Russian operatives have used the popular program to spy on Americans. (Wall Street Journal)

Hackers are attacking power companies, stealing critical data: Here's how they are doing it. Hackers are continuing to attempt to gain access to the networks of nuclear power companies and others involved with critical national infrastructure, raising concerns about cyber-espionage and sabotage. (ZDNet)


Ex-U.S. spy chiefs urge Congress to renew internet surveillance law. Former U.S. intelligence officials who worked for both Republican and Democratic presidents urged Congress on Monday to renew an internet surveillance program they said has stopped militant plots and helped policymakers steer through international crises. (Reuters)

Burr aims to renew spying programs with few changes. Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr plans on Tuesday to mark up legislation that would extend expiring warrantless spying efforts through 2025 but make no other substantive changes to the controversial programs, according to a New York Times reporter. (Politico Pro)


How this retailer got robots and humans to work in harmony. E-commerce startup Boxed automated its New Jersey warehouse. But instead of laying off workers, it decided to retrain them. (CNET)


U.S. companies act on climate despite Trump: survey. U.S. companies are still among the most ambitious in setting targets to combat global warming despite President Donald Trump's plans to quit the 195-nation Paris climate agreement, a 2017 survey showed on Tuesday. (Reuters)

Congressional Auditor Urges Action to Address Climate Change. Fires, floods and hurricanes are already costing the federal government tens of billions of dollars a year and climate change will drive those costs ever higher in coming years, a new federal study warns. (New York Times)

China's New Antipollution Push Could Cool Its Growth Engine. Through the last four decades, China has achieved breathtaking economic growth at the cost of smoggy skies, fetid streams and lakes of dying fish. (New York Times)

China Shuts Down Tens Of Thousands Of Factories In Unprecedented Pollution Crackdown. In the gritty industrial town of Yiwu, workers prepare jeans to be dyed in a vivid range of colors. (NPR)

Tech Business

Amazon Counts Its Suitors: 238 Want to Be Home for 2nd Headquarters. Amazon said on Monday it got a total of 238 proposals from cities and regions across North America that want to be the home of its proposed second headquarters. (New York Times)

Howard Morgan teams with Facebook co-founder. Howard Morgan today announced that he has agreed to become chairman of B Capital Group, a global growth equity firm led by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and former Bain Capital investor Raj Ganguly. (Axios)

ITI Member News

After Supreme Court detour, Apple v. Samsung goes to a fourth jury trial. Apple wields design as a weapon, a strategy that has led to judicial paralysis. (Ars Technica)

Google hit by complaints over new phone. Google's new flagship smartphones have been hit by complaints about the quality of the screen. (BBC)

Russia's Favored Outlet Is an Online News Giant. YouTube Helped. When the state-backed Russian news channel RT became the first news organization to surpass one billion views on YouTube in 2013, it marked the achievement with a retrospective of its most popular videos and a special guest - one of the Google-owned site's senior executives. (New York Times)

Publishers might have to start paying Facebook if they want anyone to see their stories. Facebook may make it harder for people to see publishers' stories, unless those publishers pay to promote them. (Recode)

Amazon is shutting down its Amazon Wine business in the wake of the Whole Foods deal. Amazon Wine will close up shop at the end of this year. (Recode)

Apple, Samsung face new iPhone damages trial: U.S. judge. A U.S. judge has ordered a new trial to determine how much Samsung Electronics Co should pay Apple Inc for copying the look of the iPhone. (Reuters)

Social media site favored by 'alt-right' drops Google lawsuit. Gab, the social media site favored by some in the so called alt-right as a "free speech" alternative to Twitter and Facebook, plans to drop its lawsuit against Google for banning its app from the Google Play Store. (The Hill)

DOJ changes gag order policy, Microsoft to drop lawsuit. The Department of Justice has recently changed its own policy, saying it would now halt the standard never-ending gag orders that companies are faced with when they receive legal demands to handover user data. (Ars Technica)

Amazon rivals turn to legal fine print to stem Whole Foods strategy. Whole Foods Market met a new foe this summer during talks to lease a top retail space in a San Francisco mall: the Target next door. (Reuters)

Today on the Hill

The House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.
The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m. and resume consideration of the House message to accompany H.R.2266, the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act.
Share this News Roundup on: