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Tech News Roundup - 10/30/2017

Tech News Roundup

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10/30/2017

Key Issues

Tech Politics
Americans don't trust tech firms, feds to police Russian election meddling. Americans don't trust tech companies or the government to prevent foreign manipulation of online platforms to influence elections, according to an Axios/SurveyMonkey poll. The result underscores the complexity of the issue that brings top lawyers for Facebook, Google and Twitter to testify on Capitol Hill this week. (Axios)

Americans worried about Russian influence on elections. Americans are suspicious of Russia's impact on U.S. elections, an exclusive Axios/SurveyMonkey poll finds. (Axios)
Nancy Pelosi isn't going anywhere. Will it help or hurt Democrats in 2018?. Nancy Pelosi wanted everyone to know that she had been here before and knew what to do. (Washington Post)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein is demanding more information from Facebook and Twitter about Russian users on their sites. In new letters, she asks both companies for reams of information about many users with Russian ties. (Recode)

Facebook, Google and Twitter might face yet another grilling by U.S. lawmakers angry about their algorithms. A powerful House committee wants to explore tech platforms, though it hasn't secured witnesses. (Recode)

Top Republican promises to scrutinize tech's data practices. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee, is promising to scrutinize tech companies' data practices as online giants are facing mounting questions about their handling of consumer information. (The Hill)

Facebook says will make ads more transparent. Facebook said on Friday it would make advertising on its network more transparent, amid increased scrutiny of political spending on social media. (Reuters)

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. (Axios)

Tech giants rush to self-regulate amid scrutiny. Facebook, Twitter and other social media giants are racing to implement their own solutions to foreign election influence, a move that could help them avoid congressional intervention. (The Hill)

Mark Warner: Tech Millionaire Who Became Tech's Critic in Congress. Senator Mark Warner was fired up. Sitting in his basement office at the Capitol last week, he leaned forward in his chair, waved his hands in the air and pounded his fingers on the coffee table. (New York Times)

Silicon Valley giants to be grilled this week on Capitol Hill. Silicon Valley's most prominent companies are running a gauntlet in Washington this week: top staffers from Facebook, Google and Twitter will be confronted by three Congressional panels on Tuesday and Wednesday about the role their platforms played in Russian election meddling. (Axios)

Facebook struggles to contain Russia narrative. Facebook has been happy to keep congressional investigators focused on the Russian-bought online ads that helped sway voters in last year's election - despite the many other ways that fake messages and bogus accounts spread on the dark side of social media. (Politico)

Tech firms must do more on extremism: World Economic Forum. U.S. tech firms such as Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc should be more aggressive in tackling extremism and political misinformation if they want to avoid government action, a report from the World Economic Forum said on Monday. (Reuters)

Russian-Backed Facebook Accounts Organized Events on All Sides of Polarizing Issues. Workers behind Russian-linked Facebook Inc. accounts helped organize or finance real-life events before and after the 2016 election, often working directly with U.S. activists and playing both sides of the same hot-button issue-even on the same day. (Wall Street Journal)
Taxes

Home builders raise hammer, try to smash GOP tax bill. The National Association of Home Builders know how to demolish things, and on Saturday they decided to take on a new project - the House Republican tax bill. (Washington Post)
A $1.5 trillion gift to the House. House Ways and Means Republicans gained a good deal of breathing room on tax reform with House passage of the Senate budget last week. (Politico Pro)

While Tax Cuts Remain Theoretical, the Economy Blooms. It turns out that the United States economy is doing just fine without tax cuts. (New York Times)
Third quarter's strong economic growth could boost GOP tax effort. The U.S. economy expanded at a strong 3 percent rate this summer, advancing President Trump's goal of faster economic growth and potentially providing a tail wind to Republican efforts to overhaul the tax code. (Washington Post)
House Tax Writer Gives Ground on a State and Local Tax Break. Bowing to concerns from Republican House members in high-tax states, the chamber's chief tax writer said he'll preserve a federal income-tax break for property taxes. (Bloomberg)

House Republicans throw tax orthodoxy out the window. Swallow a deficit-swelling budget? Sure. Skimp on cutting the top income tax rate? Fine. Take millions of moderate-income Americans off the tax rolls? OK. Pass a potentially 1,000-page tax bill in just a couple of weeks? Alright. (Politico Pro)

GOP tax bill shrouded in secrecy. Rank-and-file House Republicans are increasingly alarmed by the secrecy shrouding the massive tax bill their party leaders plan to ram through Congress next month. (Politico Pro)

Businesses Push Workers to Mobilize Before Tax Revamp. In the parking lot outside Elliott Equipment Co.'s manufacturing plant here last month, more than a hundred employees gathered in front of a banner-bedecked truck, its raised boom flying an American flag 30 feet overhead, to hear from the company's chief executive and the local congressman. (Wall street Journal)

Honeymoon phase ending for GOP tax plan. House Republicans in charge of tax reform face a hellish few days before they finally release their bill on Wednesday. (Axios)

Property-tax deduction could help GOP reform bill. House tax writers' decision to allow an itemized deduction for state and local property taxes in their reform plan could be a step toward quelling a revolt against the plan by Republican lawmakers from high-tax states. (Politico)

Trump under pressure to deliver tax victory. President Trump is under pressure to deliver a big win for Republicans on taxes. (The Hill)

Republicans, desperate for a win, already face setbacks as they prepare to unveil tax bill this week. The Republican effort to overhaul the tax code suffered a bruising setback over the weekend when a powerful corporate interest group came out against the proposal just days ahead of when House leaders plan to release it to the public. (Washington Post)
Global Trade
Brady pours cold water on short-term NAFTA renewal. House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady appeared to reject a Trump administration proposal that could terminate a new NAFTA agreement after only five years. (Politico Pro)

Texas Republicans to Trump: U.S. can't afford to blow up NAFTA. A pair of high-ranking Texas Republican congressmen cautioned President Donald TrumpThursday that he has taken the wrong path in the NAFTA talks and urged him to rethink his approach to avoid further damaging the U.S.-Mexico relationship. (Politico Pro)

Trump's recipe for a NAFTA deal: U.S. must get tougher. President Donald Trump said U.S. negotiators must get tougher if the NAFTA renegotiation is going to produce a deal that is in America's best interests. (Politico Pro)

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence smart enough to fool Captcha security check. Computer scientists have developed artificial intelligence that can outsmart the Captcha website security check system. (BBC)

Public Sector

As federal IT lags, Connolly calls out White House for lack of CIO leadership. Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., knows one country strongly focused on infusing its infrastructure with new technology development to power economic interests on an international stage: China. (FedScoop)

To close the digital divide, California approves $330 million broadband infrastructure fund. A new law in California may yet close the digital divide. (StateScoop)

Cybersecurity

Britain Says North Korea Was Behind Cyberattack on Health Service. Britain believes "quite strongly" that North Korea was behind the "WannaCry" cyberattack in May that wreaked havoc on the National Health Service's computer systems and spread to more than 150 countries, a senior official said on Friday. (New York Times)

Privacy

Supreme Court's cell phone tracking case could hurt privacy. One of the biggest cases for the US Supreme Court's current term could mark a watershed moment for the Fourth Amendment. (Wired)

The little black box that took over privacy. The Kodi Box pitch is hard to resist. A little black plastic square, in look not much different from a Roku or Apple TV, and similar in function as well. (Wired)

Workforce/Diversity
Why the explosive growth of e-commerce could mean more jobs. When the robots came to online retailer Boxed, dread came too: The familiar fear that the machines would take over, leaving a trail of unemployed humans in their wake. (Associated Press)

Broadband/Communications

FCC wants to ease rules to benefit broadcast giant Sinclair. On the campaign trail, Donald Trump promised to fight media mergers that concentrated more power in fewer hands. (Wired)

Internet of Things

What Virtual Reality Can Teach a Driverless Car. As the computers that operate driverless cars digest the rules of the road, some engineers think it might be nice if they can learn from mistakes made in virtual reality rather than on real streets. (New York Times)

Armies Race to Deploy Drone, Self-Driving Tech on the Battlefield. Defense forces are rapidly adopting and testing technology that facilitates unmanned border patrol and convoys. (Wall Street Journal)

To let self-driving cars go anywhere, train them everywhere. For a moment there, Arizona was the place for autonomous vehicles learning to drive. (Wired)

Energy

Puerto Rico's Governor Calls for Whitefish Energy Contract to Be Canceled. More than a month after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico and ravaged its electrical grid, most of the island remains without power. Candles and flashlights serve as lighting, and for many, canned food has become a staple. (New York Times)

'Transformation Is Happening': Saudi Aramco's Chief on Future of Oil. As Saudi Aramco, the Saudi national oil company, prepares for a widely-awaited initial public offering next year, its chief executive, Amin H. Nasser, is at the center of the planning. (New York Times)

Environment/Sustainability

Wall Street loves electric cars, America loves trucks. Wall Street may love the shares of Silicon Valley electric carmaker Tesla Inc, but Americans love big, fuel-thirsty trucks like Ford Motor Co's bestselling F-Series pickups and are paying ever higher prices to buy them. (Reuters)

Tech Business

Tech Stocks Roar Again in Faint Echo of 2000. Previous rally was premised on internet potentially changing people's lives; this one is based on companies that already are making a difference. (Wall Street Journal)
Samsung Investors Expect Strong Earnings-and Answers. A successor to one of the Samsung's top executives, Kwon Oh-hyun, who said he will soon resign, is expected to be named in coming days. (Wall Street Journal)

Tech's Big Get Bigger in Earnings Blowout. The tech industry's banner day underscored the dominance of a handful of companies-and foreshadowed expansion into new sectors. (Wall Street Journal)

Amazon's bet on groceries, drones and films can't dent profit. The e-commerce giant posted another surprise quarter -- this time a good one. (CNET)

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)

Chinese investors are making moves to increase their spending in Silicon Valley. Leading Chinese financial institutions are slowly increasing their physical footprint in Silicon Valley, mirroring the moves made by Middle Eastern investors in recent years as foreign countries look to capitalize on the U.S. tech boom. (Recode)

ITI Member News

Who Will Rein In Facebook? Challengers Are Lining Up. Pressure is building, at home and abroad, as powerful outsiders refuse to wait for Facebook to solve its own problems. (Wall Street Journal)

At Facebook, Hand-Wringing Over a Fix for Fake Content. In June, Mark Zuckerberg spoke about "community" with a gathering of influential Facebook users in Chicago. (New York Times)

Forget Washington. Facebook's Problems Abroad Are Far More Disturbing.In Myanmar, doctored photos and unfounded rumors about Rohingya Muslims, a religious minority, have gone viral on Facebook. (New York Times)

Can Twitter's community fix Twitter? Here are your suggestions to save it. Twitter is struggling. It has for a while. The company is still having a hard time growing its user base and keeping new users around. (Recode)

How Google goggles won, then lost, the camera-first future. Google's first public foray into augmented reality began with an argument in a bar. (Wired)

The Next Generation of Cybersecurity Experts: A Day on Capitol Hill With GSUSA. Cybersecurity experts from Palo Alto Networks and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) joined forces on Capitol Hill yesterday to highlight National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) and a shared commitment to building a talent pipeline to tackle tomorrow's toughest cybersecurity challenges. (Palo Alto Networks)

Hearing Amazon's Footsteps, the Health Care Industry Shudders. With little more than a whiff of Amazon's interest in a new business, the company can crater the stocks of potential competitors, prompting them to consider bold acquisitions and other drastic measures in response. Just ask companies in the home improvement, meal-kit and grocery businesses. (New York Times)

Lawsuit accuses Facebook of scheming to weasel out of paying overtime. Facebook is being hit with a proposed class-action federal lawsuit alleging that the social-networking company purposely misclassifies employees to exempt them from overtime pay. (Ars Technica)

Facebook denies 'listening' to conversations. A Facebook executive has denied the social network uses a device's microphone to listen to what users are saying and then send them relevant ads. (BBC News)

Forget Washington. Facebook's Problems Abroad Are Far More Disturbing. For months, Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., has been in crisis mode, furiously attempting to contain the damage stemming from its role in last year's presidential campaign. (New York Times)

Today on the Hill

The House is not in session today.
The Senate will convene at 3:00 p.m. and proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the nomination of Trevor N. McFadden to be United States District Judge for the District of Columbia.
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