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Tech News Roundup - 10/27/2017

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Key Issues

Artificial Intelligence

Facing Growing Concern Over AI, Tech Firms Call for 'Responsible' Development. A trade group representing the world's largest technology companies this week rolled out a set of principles to guide the "responsible" development of artificial intelligence as concern grows about its use in public life. (ITI Dean Garfield Quoted, Wall Street Journal)
Tech lobby group's AI principles: encourage growth, don't over-regulate. As the potential of artificial intelligence to touch nearly every aspect of our computing experience becomes clearer, pressure for a set of standards to govern the emerging technology is growing. (ITI Dean Garfield Quoted, Associations Now)
AI Model Fundamentally Cracks CAPTCHAs, Scientists Say. Scientists say they have developed a computer model that fundamentally breaks through a key test used to tell a human from a bot. (NPR)
AI and machine learning can revolutionize CIA, digital director believes. Cloud services are a good start for digitizing the business of the CIA, but artificial intelligence and machine learning could revolutionize the agency's ability to gather intelligence, its director of digital innovation said Thursday. (FedScoop)
When an Algorithm Helps Send You to Prison. In 2013, police officers in Wisconsin arrested a man driving a car that had been used in a recent shooting. The man, Eric Loomis, pleaded guilty to attempting to flee an officer, and no contest to operating a vehicle without the owner's consent. Neither of his crimes mandates prison time. (Opinion, New York Times)
This Robot Will Handle Your Divorce Free of Charge. Aa the son of a hedge-fund manager and the great-grandson of the former leader of the U.S. Communist Party, Joshua Browder has the mind of a capitalist and the heart of a collectivist.(Wall Street Journal)
Facebook's head of AI wants us to stop using the Terminator to talk about AI. Yann LeCun is one of AI's most accomplished minds, so when he says that even recent advances in the field aren't taking us closer to super-intelligent machines, you need to pay attention. (The Verge)

Tech Politics

Facebook Steps Up Efforts to Sway Lawmakers. Amid Russia probes and online ad scrutiny, social-media giant boosts lobbying spending and work on messaging. (Wall Street Journal)
Russia Fanned Flames With Twitter, Which Faces a Blowback. Fires need fuel. In this era of political rage, a Twitter account that called itself the unofficial voice of Tennessee Republicans provided buckets of gasoline. (New York Times)
Twitter bans RT and Sputnik ads amid election interference fears. Twitter is banning two of Russia's biggest media outlets from buying advertising amid fears they attempted to interfere with the 2016 US election. (BBC)
Twitter urged firms to delete data during 2016 campaign. Twitter quietly ramped up a campaign last year to permanently delete some user data from its social media platform and the files of commercial firms using it, raising concerns that the policy would help Russian cyberspies suspected of meddling in the 2016 election cover their tracks. (Politico)

CEOs suggest Trump tax cut may lift investors more than jobs. U.S. President Donald Trump is selling tax reform to Americans on the promise it will create extra income for companies to invest in their businesses and create jobs. Some of the biggest companies have very different plans. (Reuters)

House narrowly passes budget, paving way for $1.5 trillion tax cut. House Republicans agreed to budget legislation Thursday morning, narrowly overcoming internal dissension and Democratic opposition to clear a major obstacle in the GOP's quest to pass large-scale tax cuts. (Washington Post)
The Memo: Trump tax reform nears crunch time. President Trump faces a stark question as he and Republicans in Congress move ahead on tax reform: Can he come up with a plan that helps the people who elected him, or will most of the rewards go to the richest Americans? (The Hill)
Budget vote raises red flag for GOP on tax reform. The tight 216-212 House vote Thursday to pass the GOP budget is raising a red flag for Republicans on tax reform. (The Hill)
Major divisions remain as GOP nears its tax deadline. Republicans set an aggressive timeline for passing legislation to overhaul the nation's tax code, putting pressure on senior lawmakers and the White House to resolve major disagreements about the effort before a Wednesday deadline to introduce a bill. (Washington Post)

Global Trade

EU considers tax on digital firms' global profit. The European Union is asking its citizens to help decide on a fairer tax regime for large digital corporations that may include a tax on their global profits. (Reuters)
Democrats Pressure Trump to Fulfill Promise to Impose Steel Tariffs. Frustration over President Trump's delay in imposing the stiff tariffs he has promised on imports of foreign steel and aluminum is morphing into a fight over two of Mr. Trump's trade policy nominees. (New York Times)


Border Wall Prototypes Are Unveiled, but Trump's Vision Still Faces Obstacles. The Department of Homeland Security unveiled several border wall prototypes here on Thursday that the agency said was the first step in carrying out President Trump's plan to build a barrier along the nearly 2,000-mile border that the United States shares with Mexico. (New York Times)


For big tech, a threat from the ground up. For months, a threat to big tech has been building from the top, with numerous senators and congressmen proposing to regulate or give anti-trust scrutiny to Google, Facebook and Amazon. But now figures of both major parties say the unhappiness with the companies is also bubbling up from the bottom. (Axios)

Public Sector

Acting DOD tech chief tapped for DHS CIO post. John Zangardi, currently the acting CIO of the Department of Defense, has been named by President Donald Trump to lead tech at the Department of Homeland Security. (Federal Computer Week)
Massive classified NSA contract under protest. One of the National Security Agency's most important technology contracts-secretly awarded to AT&T weeks ago-is under protest by one of the losing bidders, DXC Technology. (NextGov)


WhatsApp and Facebook to face EU data taskforce. WhatsApp and Facebook will be scrutinised by a data protection taskforce, after they were accused of "non-compliance" with EU laws. (BBC)


Reddit Is Removing Nazi And Alt-Right Groups As Part Of A New Policy And Some Users Are Confused. "The front page of the internet" is removing violent and hateful material - Nazi and alt-right groups were some of the first to go. (Buzzfeed)


The FCC plans to roll back some of its biggest rules against media consolidation. The Federal Communications Commission will vote next month to eliminate a decades-old rule designed to preserve media diversity in local markets, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said Wednesday. (Washington Post)
FCC, Congress feud over media ownership loophole. One of the heads of the Federal Communications Commission called on lawmakers to look into ties between agency leadership and the Sinclair Broadcast Group as the media giant prepares to purchase Tribune Media in an "unprecedented" deal. (NextGov)
House Judiciary to hold hearing on net neutrality, antitrust issues. The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on net neutrality and the role of antitrust for Nov. 1. (The Hill)

U.S. jobless claims rise modestly as labor market tightens. The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits increased less than expected last week, suggesting the labor market continued to tighten after recent hurricane-related disruptions. (Reuters)

Internet of Things

What to watch in the future of cloud adoption. The federal government's road to cloud computing has never been easy, but as more agencies seek to make the shift, new challenges and opportunities are following. (FedScoop)
Alphabet looks to snowy Michigan to test self-driving cars. Alphabet Inc's self-driving car unit Waymo is expanding winter testing as it works to address a potential blind spot for autonomous vehicles: snowy and icy conditions. (Reuters)
Researchers Find Flaw That Could Turn LG Robot Vacuums Into Perfect Spying Machines. Hackers could've hijacked internet-connected refrigerators, ovens, air conditioners, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, and camera-equipped robotic vacuum cleaners manufactured by LG, thanks to a flaw in the mobile app used to control them, according to security researchers. (Motherboard)


Ex-Air Force Officer To Oversee Puerto Rico's Power Restoration. A retired senior military officer has been appointed to oversee the rebuilding of Puerto Rico's devastated power grid in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, as some three-quarters of the island's residents remain without electricity. (NPR)
Big Oil's Suddenly Popular Measure for Success: Break-Even Oil Price. Investors watch metric, once obscure, for assurance that companies can pay dividends despite low energy prices. (Wall Street Journal)


Trump's proposal for a 'solar' border wall now appears dead. So much for solar. President Trump insisted that a solar paneled border wall wasn't a joke. That it was his idea. That solar panels would help pay for his "big, beautiful" wall. (Washington Post)

Tech Business
What Worries? Big Tech Companies Post Glowing Quarterly Profits. Big technology companies are being dragged in front of Congress to answer tough questions about their impact on the 2016 presidential election, and their market power is under increasing scrutiny. (New York Times)
Twitter says it could turn first-ever profit, shares surge. Twitter Inc said on Thursday it may become profitable for the first time next quarter after slashing expenses over the past year and ramping up deals to sell its data to other companies, which could help to break its reliance on advertising for revenue. (Reuters)
Twitter has been miscounting user growth since 2014. It still delivered for Wall Street. Twitter added four million new users last quarter, in line with the kind of user growth Wall Street was expecting. (Recode)
Microsoft's profit beats estimates on gains from cloud services. Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday as demand for its cloud computing services for companies rose and personal computer software business stabilized. (Reuters)
Intel raises full year revenue, profit forecast. Intel Corp, the world's largest computer chipmaker raised its full-year revenue and profit forecast, helped by strong growth in its data center and cloud computing business. (Reuters)
Amazon's stock price is soaring after its financial results crushed third-quarter expectations. Amazon reported strong financial results in the third-quarter that beat analyst expectations, sending shares soaring more than 7 percent in after-hours trading. (Recode)

Alphabet revenue jumps 24 percent on mobile advertising growth. Google parent Alphabet Inc reported a 24 percent jump in quarterly revenue on robust mobile advertising. (Reuters)
Apple's Billion-Dollar Bet on Hollywood Is the Opposite of Edgy. Days before Apple Inc. planned to celebrate the release of its first TV show last spring at a Hollywood hotel, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook told his deputies the fun had to wait. (Bloomberg)
Facebook looks to become your next used car salesman. The social media company beefs up its Marketplace listings for cars and plans for more new categories soon. (CNET)
Automakers Build War Chests to Finance a Self-Driving Future. Detroit's Big Three automakers are showing a new sense of bottom-line discipline as they angle for any advantage in the race with Silicon Valley, and one another, to develop the cars of the future. (New York Times)

ITI Member News

How 5 Tech Giants Have Become More Like Governments Than Companies. New York Times tech columnist Farhad Manjoo warns that the "frightful five" - Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook - are collectively more powerful than many governments. (NPR, Audio)

Twitter loses almost as many users as it gains every day. People are interested in Twitter, but they need a reason to stick around. (Recode)

Apple asks SEC to exclude shareholder diversity proposal. Apple has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to exclude a shareholder proposal that would attach diversity of senior executives to CEO performance. (The Hill)

Diversity in Technology: A workshop for leaders promoting corporate diversity. TCS and STEMConnector partnered with other like-minded organizations to develop this white paper on Diversity in Tech, highlighting the current tech workforce diversity challenge and offering several approaches to build a more diverse workforce. (Ignite My Future)

Today on the Hill

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