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Tech News Roundup - 10/26/2017

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Graham prods tech giants to testify on Russia Tuesday. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that he is talking with Google, Facebook, and Twitter about testifying before the Judiciary Committee about Russia's social media manipulationon Tuesday, a day before the tech giants arrive for long-anticipated intelligence committee hearings on both sides of the Capitol. (Politico)

Twitter account exposes likely political bots. Quartz has developed a new Twitter account that crawls the platform for political tweets and rates how likely they were to have been tweeted by bots. (The Hill)

A new Trump policy could let Amazon and Google test more drones in U.S. cities. The White House wants cities and towns to partner with drone makers on new pilot projects. (Recode)

Trump purges enemies and reshapes party in his image. President Donald Trump is squeezing out his enemies in the Republican Party - diminishing the power of the GOP establishment and reshaping his party in his own image. (Politico)

Hill Republicans try to ignore Trump. Hill Republicans are tuning out President Trump's comments on policy, counting on their ability to change his mind later. (Axios)

Can Washington Stop Big Tech Companies? Don't Bet on It. The tech giants are too big. They're getting bigger. We can stop them. But in all likelihood, we won't. (New York Times)

Big Tech's Rivals Pounce at Chances to Win in Washington. For years, the country's biggest technology companies have been virtually untouchable in Washington. The public adored the companies' new devices, educators embraced their tools and politicians extolled their contributions to the economy. Even traditionally powerful voices, like media and telecom businesses, found little success in criticizing the technology industry. (New York Times)

Trump to Open Skies to More Drone Testing. President Trump is expected on Wednesday to loosen some rules for commercial drones, including for package deliveries, by allowing broader testing by companies like Amazon and Wing, a part of Alphabet. (New York Times)

How Facebook, Google and Twitter 'embeds' helped Trump in 2016. Facebook, Twitter and Google played a far deeper role in Donald Trump's presidential campaign than has previously been disclosed, with company employees taking on the kind of political strategizing that campaigns typically entrust to their own staff or paid consultants, according to a soon-to-be released study. (Politico)
Ryan says Republican tax plan must speed through choppy waters: Reuters interview. U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said on Wednesday that a sweeping Republican tax-cut plan is entering its toughest phase yet as lobbyists swarm Congress to try to protect valuable tax breaks. (Reuters)

Tax Cuts Are the Glue Holding a Fractured Republican Party Together. One week before they are set to unveil a sprawling overhaul of the federal tax code, Republicans struggled on Wednesday with key parts of their plan, reigniting a fight over retirement savings and racing to cut a deal with lawmakers from high-tax states ahead of a critical budget vote in the House on Thursday. (New York Times)

Six things that could derail the GOP's tax plans. Republicans are on the verge of adopting a budget that provides them a historic opportunity to rewrite the tax code for the first time in a generation. (Politico Pro)

GOP's beloved taxman about to be 'the most hated guy in Washington'. House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady has spent the better part of a year crafting a Republican tax reform bill. But on the cusp of the plan's long-awaited unveiling, the House GOP's point man on taxes has had to retool the proposal at least twice in 48 hours. (Politico Pro)

Top House tax writer says 401(k) changes still in play. Changes to retirement savings are coming, the House's top tax writer said Wednesday, despite a tweet earlier this week from President Donald Trump that there would be no changes to 401(k)s. (Politico Pro)

U.S. House to vote on budget plan amid Republican fight on taxes. The U.S. House of Representatives was set to vote on Thursday on a budget blueprint central to efforts by Republicans to enact big tax cuts, but the outlook was clouded by a rebellion by moderates within the party from high-tax states. (Reuters)

Trump feuds endangering tax reform. Republicans are warning that a growing war of words between President Trump and key GOP senators is threatening to undercut the party's efforts to pass tax reform and move its agenda. (The Hill)

GOP leaders make last-minute push for unity on taxes ahead of critical vote. House Republican leaders made a frantic attempt Wednesday to keep their aggressive tax overhaul effort on schedule, working to win over members who have balked at a proposal to ditch a key income tax deduction. (Washington Post)

Artificial Intelligence

Industry Group Representing Apple and Google Releases AI Policy Principles. The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), an industry group that represents several tech companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook, this week released Artificial Intelligence Policy Principles covering responsible and ethical artificial intelligence development. (ITI Dean Garfield Quoted, Mac Rumors)

Council representing Apple & other tech companies says AI could add $13T to global economy by 2025. The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) - of which Apple is a member - today has shared a new document outlining AI Policy Principles for the tech industry, the government, and public-private partnerships, as well as projecting how valuable AI could become in the near future. (ITI Dean Garfield Quoted, 9 to 5 Mac)
Intel aims to be inside your artificial intelligence stack. Intel, arguably the biggest ingredient brand ever, wants to be known as the processing brains behind artificial intelligence as well and enabling technologies such as the cloud and Internet of things. (ZDNet)
Apple, Google, and Other Tech Giants Promise to Use A.I. 'Responsibly'. A trade organization representing the interests of tech juggernauts like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, IBM, and Microsoft released a list of principles it says should guide the responsible development of artificial intelligence technologies. The principles stress that companies should keep human safety in mind, but the government should limit regulation. (ITI Dean Garfield Quoted, Inc)
Powerful Lobby Group Wants to Keep AI Unregulated. The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI)-a Washington D.C.-based lobby group that boasts Google, Amazon, and Microsoft among its many clients-is telling governments to think twice about establishing laws to regulate AI. But given mounting safety, ethical, and social justice concerns, is that such a good idea? (ITI Mention, Gizmodo)
Global Trade

Free traders gird for battle against Trump. Free traders, both inside and out of Congress, expressed alarm Tuesday night about President Donald Trump's leadership and said they are preparing for a once-in-a-generation fight to protect the gains of 70 years of trade liberalization. (Politico Pro)
Why NAFTA needs an expiration date. The Trump administration's recent proposal to insert a sunset clause into the North American Free Trade Agreement shocked just about everyone in the trade world. Under the plan, the three countries would have to renew the agreement every five years-or else it would be terminated. Canadian and Mexican negotiators immediately rejected the idea, arguing that it would create uncertainty for businesses and potentially spell the end for NAFTA. (Politico)
FCC plans vote over loosening limits on media ownership. The Federal Communications Commission is planning to vote in November on proposals to roll back ownership rules that were meant to support diverse voices in local media. (Associated Press)

Public Sector

GSA launching office to house White House innovation office's centers of excellence. The General Services Administration is creating an office to manage a variety of centers of excellence on behalf of the White House's Office of American Innovation, according to new procurement documents. (FedScoop)

Opioid ideas wanted: Ohio taps public with technology challenge. Even with nearly $1 billion spent annually to fight opioid addiction, the State of Ohio is looking to the public for effective ways to save lives amid a national epidemic. (StateScoop)

Equifax, reeling from hack, still has no earnings report date. Equifax Inc is running out of time to schedule its first quarterly results report since the massive breach that exposed sensitive data on 145.5 million people and erased more than $4 billion of the credit reporting firm's market value. (Reuters)

Trump Administration plans a new cybersecurity strategy. The Trump administration is planning to write a new cybersecurity strategy, White House Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert said Tuesday, suggesting that the slew of Obama-era cyber plans and strategies are fast outliving their usefulness. (NextGov)

The Post-Equifax Marketing Push: Identity Protection Services. The disturbing news about the Equifax breach had barely sunk in when the ominous marketing messages began to take hold. There was a fortuitously timed television commercial from Experian, another one of the big three credit bureaus, which asked: "Is your personal information already being traded on the dark web?" (New York Times)

Kaspersky says it intercepted NSA hacking tools but didn't hand them over to Russia. Kaspersky Lab removed what looked like National Security Agency hacking tools from a personal computer in 2014, the Russian anti-virus software firm acknowledged Wednesday, as part of an effort to clear its name from allegations of collusion with the Russian government. (NextGov)

Time for the feds to say what they know about Kaspersky. More than a month has passed since the antivirus giant Kaspersky Lab had its US government business executed without a trial. But while American federal agencies remove all traces of one of the world's most popular pieces of security software from their networks, they have yet to explain exactly what merits that Government Services Administration ban. (Wired)


How lobbyists convinced lawmakers to kill a broadband privacy bill. Leaked documents reveal scare tactics that helped ISPs avoid privacy rules. (Ars Technica)

Internet of Things

Google and Cisco Strike Cloud Partnership. Both companies need a boost in the corporate computing market amid increasing competition from Amazon and Microsoft. (Wall Street Journal)


US Government Accountability Office argues for acting on climate change. New report endorses a coordinated federal response to climate change. (Ars Technica)

Tech Business
Square, the Twitter Boss's Other Company, Could Pass It in Value. Jack Dorsey has become a household name in Silicon Valley thanks to his role as the chief executive and co-founder of Twitter, President Trump's favorite megaphone. (New York Times)

Cisco and Google Find Mutual Interest in Cloud Computing. Google and Cisco Systems, two trendsetters in different eras of the internet, are joining forces as the growth of cloud computing puts new pressure on big tech companies and leads to strange corporate bedfellows. (New York Times)

ITI Member News

Apple disputes Bloomberg report that it reduced Face ID accuracy. Apple Inc (AAPL.O) disputed a report by Bloomberg News on Wednesday that it recently allowed suppliers to reduce the accuracy of the iPhone X's facial recognition system to speed output of the phone. (Reuters)
Apple lowered iPhone's facial recognition accuracy to meet demand: report. Apple let its suppliers weaken the accuracy of the iPhone X's facial recognition system in order to speed up the phone's production, according to aWednesday Bloomberg report. (The Hill)
Will Facebook kill all future Facebooks?. In 2010, Foursquare co-founder Naveen Selvadurai believed that his company, and several other social-media upstarts-Twitter, Tumblr, Path-could carve out successful niches against Facebook. (Wired)
Amazon's New Plan for Home Deliveries: Hand Over the Keys. The online retailer's new door-lock system would allow homeowners to give couriers access to the house. (Wall Street Journal)
Amazon's Newest Service Would Let Couriers Unlock Front Doors, Monitored By Cameras. For years, Amazon has been testing the limits of online deliveries - expanding the number of things you can order at the click of a button (sometimes literally), pushing shipments to arrive faster, toying with delivery by drones. (NPR)
Google keeps low profile in Russia investigation. Facebook and Google both have a Russia problem. But while Facebook has mounted a very public response to charges of election meddling on its platform, Google has kept its head down. (Axios)
Google Is Sorry its Sentiment Analyzer is Biased. Google messed up, and now says it's sorry. (Motherboard)
Twitter keeps facing the same problems - so how is it going to fix them?. It's time to check in on Twitter again. (Recode)
Facebook says 30,000 businesses now use its Slack competitor, Workplace. Facebook's Slack competitor is growing quickly. (Recode)

Today on the Hill

The House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. First and last votes expected: 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m. and proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the nomination of Scott L. Palk to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Oklahoma.
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