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Tech News Roundup - 11/01/2017

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11/01/2017

Key Issues

Tech Politics

Tech Executives Are Contrite but Play Down Their Role in Russian Election Interference. Facebook, Google and Twitter arrived on Capitol Hill for two days of marathon hearings that started on Tuesday afternoon with the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on crime and terrorism. (New York Times)

U.S. senators hammer Facebook for power over elections. U.S. senators on Tuesday pressed Facebook Inc's chief lawyer on why the company did not catch 2016 election ads bought using Russian rubles, why its investigation of them took so long and how much it knows about its 5 million advertisers. (Reuters)

Russian Interference Campaign Was Broader Than First Known, Big Tech Tells Hill. Russian interference efforts in the 2016 presidential election were broader than anyone first knew, as representatives for Facebook, Twitter and Google told lawmakers on Capitol Hill Tuesday. (NPR)

Sen. Mark Warner isn't sure that Facebook, Google and Twitter have fully uncovered the scope of Russia's election meddling. He spoke with Recode about some of the questions he plans to ask at a hearing on Wednesday. (Recode)

Russia-linked posts 'reached 126m Facebook users in US'. Facebook has said as many as 126 million American users may have seen content uploaded by Russia-based operatives over the past two years. (BBC)

Fed Up With Uncivil Discourse Online, Lawmakers Block Their Constituents. Twitter may be the public square of our times, but some citizens say their elected officials don't want to hear from them. It has become increasingly common for politicians at all levels of government to block followers, whether for uncivil behavior or merely for expressing a different point of view. (NPR)

People love technology, but don't trust it. More than 70% of Americans believe technology has had a positive or somewhat positive effect on society, according to an Axios/ SurveyMonkey poll, and most Americans are optimistic about the impact of technology on the future. (Axios)

Conservatives in Silicon Valley speak in shadows. In an industry known for its liberal tendencies, conservative tech workers say they're victims of a witch hunt. Laurie Segall speaks with the undercover conservatives of Silicon Valley - who say they need to remain hidden for fear of losing their jobs. (CNN, Video)

Civil rights groups slam Facebook. A group of 19 prominent civil rights groups representing African-American, Muslim, Latino, Asian and LGBTQ communities, among others, sent a letter to Facebook Monday, expressing "deep concern" over "hateful content on your platform used to divide the country," and calling for the social media giant to do more to combat it - including release the now infamous Russian-bought ads that attempted to use divisive social messages to influence the presidential election. (Politico Pro)

Five key moments from Senate Judiciary's look at Russian election influence. The Senate Judiciary Committee got the first crack at officials from Facebook, Google and Twitter to probe them about their role in facilitating Kremlin-backed influence in the U.S. presidential election. POLITICO sent a team to the hearing, and here are their five takeaways. (Politico Pro)

Americans worried technology will kill jobs. Jobs lost to globalization was an undercurrent of the 2016 presidential campaign. Those concerns could envelop tech companies in the future as Americans are already wary of tech companies and the information they have. (Axios)

The questions left unanswered by Facebook, Google and Twitter. The top lawyers for Google, Twitter and Facebook spent more than two hours yesterday explaining how they are cracking down on malicious activity by foreign actors, but we walked away from the hearing with a few unanswered questions. (Axios)

Facebook, Twitter: Russian actors sought to undermine Trump after election. Top lawyers from Facebook and Twitter said Tuesday that Russian-linked posts and advertisements placed on the social networks after Election Day sought to sow doubt about President Donald Trump's victory. (Politico)
Taxes
A Day Before Presenting Their Tax Cut Plan, Republicans Still Wrestle With Key Details. House Republicans are just one day away from unveiling their long-awaited tax plan, yet many key details remain in flux. (New York Times)

GOP deal to keep property deduction as part of tax overhaul leaves California lagging some other states. The decision by a key House Republican to maintain the deduction for property taxes but not for other state and local taxes is a victory for California but a bigger win for residents of other states. (Los Angeles Times)

Republicans to propose keeping top tax rate for very wealthy, working to win over moderates. House Republicans leaders on Wednesday will propose preserving the top income tax rate for very wealthy people, a last-minute adjustment to their plan to overhaul the tax code they hope will assuage concerns that it will mainly benefit the rich, according to four people briefed on the planning. (Washington Post)

GOP scrambling to finalize tax bill hours before rollout. House Republicans are racing to finalize their tax reform proposal before its much-anticipated rolloutWednesday morning. But so many key details have yet to be finalized that some congressional sources worry the unveiling may have to be postponed. (Politico Pro)

Trump says he is not looking to phase in corporate tax cut. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he was not looking for the corporate tax rate reduction that the White House is seeks to be phased in over time. (Reuters)

Release of GOP tax bill to be delayed until Thursday. The release of the Republican tax bill is being delayed until Thursday, according to sources with direct knowledge, though Chairman Kevin Brady says the committee is still pushing to finalize the bill by Wednesday. (Axios)

Republicans Delay Releasing Tax Bill, Signaling Trouble for Party. House Republicans delayed the rollout of their tax bill late on Tuesday, in a sign of early trouble for what party leaders had hoped would be a quick victory. (New York Times)

The quest for tax reform is Ryan's moment of truth. This is Paul Ryan's moment of truth. The 47-year-old Speaker of the House has been preparing for it ever since the Wisconsin Republican won his first election to Congress nearly two decades ago. (The Hill)

GOP Tax Plan Won't Cut Rate for Highest Earners. The House Republican tax plan will preserve a top individual tax rate of 39.6%, according to people familiar with the matter, though party leaders are delaying its release by a day to iron out unresolved issues. (Wall Street Journal)

Most Americans Are Skeptical or Uncertain About GOP Tax Plan, Poll Finds. The debate in Congress over revamping the tax code begins with large groups of Americans not knowing much about the Republican plan or skeptical about its merits, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey finds. (Wall Street Journal)

GOP Tax Plan Would Affect Trump and Clinton Voters Differently. The House Republican tax bill and the changes it will bring to the tax code, if it becomes law, are likely to vary across the country. (Wall Street Journal)
Voters like tax reform overall but cool to corporate cut. Overall public support for the tax plan outlined in September by President Donald Trump and GOP Hill leaders remains steady, but opposition to a corporate rate cut has edged up, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll. (Politico Pro)

Global Trade

Trump's Trade Endgame Could Be the Undoing of Global Rules. What if President Trump's ultimate goal is to kill the World Trade Organization? (New York Times)

Roberts, Cruz sound alarm on Trump's NAFTA policy. The top Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee is warning that the path President Donald Trump and his administration appear to be taking on trade "is fraught with a lot of dangers" and could bring devastating effects to rural America. (Politico Pro)

President Donald Trump has been holed up in a series of rapid-fire briefing sessions on his upcoming 12-day, five-country tour through Asia - an effort the White House hopes will help avoid the kind of diplomatic snafus that have dogged his presidency. (Politico Pro)

Artificial Intelligence

This Researcher Wants to Open the 'Black Box' of Financial AI. In the world of finance, every second counts. With billions of dollars traded every day on stock markets around the world, financial institutions look for every competitive edge they can. (Motherboard)

Public Sector
Automation is the secret to modernization. With the Modernizing Government Technology Act working its way through Congress, agencies should be planning now for how they can address the imperative to accelerate their IT modernization efforts. (Federal Computer Week)

Cybersecurity

China tests the limits of its US hacking truce. For the last two years, America's cybersecurity relationship with China has been held up as a triumph of digital diplomacy: Since the two countries signed an agreement not to hack each others' private sector companies for commercial gain in late 2015, that pact has come to represent one of the most effective demonstrations in history of government negotiation to curtail state-sponsored cyberspying. (Wired)

Senators to introduce bill to boost cyber defenses of voting systems. A bipartisan pair of U.S. senators plans to introduce legislation on Tuesday seeking to boost the cyber defenses of state election systems, after warnings from senior U.S. officials that future elections may be vulnerable to foreign interference. (Reuters)

Malaysian data breach sees 46 million phone numbers leaked. A massive data breach has seen the customer data of more than 46 million mobile subscribers in Malaysia leaked on to the dark web. (BBC)
Lawmakers back down from pushing NIST into cyber auditing role. House Science Committee lawmakers have pared back a controversial bill that would have tasked the government's cyber standards agency with auditing federal agencies' cyber protections. (NextGov)

Privacy

Verizon asks FCC to preempt states on internet privacy. Concerned with the potential for a "patchwork" of state and local policies, telecom giant Verizon has filed with the Federal Communications Commission a 20-page white paper requesting federal preemption of laws pertaining to internet privacy. (StateScoop)

Immigration

Democrats weigh government shutdown over DREAMers fight. Senate Democrats are weighing whether to use their ultimate leverage - the threat of a government shutdown in December - in their bid to protect hundreds of thousands of so-called DREAMers from the possibility of deportation. (Politico Pro)

Censorship

U.S. Investor Pushes for Change at Chinese Tech Giant. The Chinese internet boom has been good to Sina. Maybe, protests one of its American investors, it could have been better. (New York Times)

Broadband/Communications

Media deregulation blitz hits. The FCC is taking up several key measures that could make way for even more media consolidation under the Trump Administration, after it already signed off on a rule change that cleared the way for the Sinclair-Tribune deal. (Axios)

Internet of Things

In Self-Driving Race, Waymo Sets Its Own Terms. A self-driving car is not a self-driving car is not a self-driving car. That is the message Waymo, the autonomous vehicle division of Alphabet, Google's parent company, tried to sendon Monday, when it invited a group of reporters to visit Castle, a facility in California's Central Valley that it has been using as a training course for its self-driving vehicles. (New York Times)

Waymo has a big lead in driverless cars-but here's how it could lose it. Even if Waymo gets to market first, it'll face stiff competition from rivals. (Ars Technica)

Alphabet's 'driverless' cars still aren't driverless. It takes a long time and a lot of staged incidents for a car to learn how to drive itself. (Recode)

Energy

To Protect U.S. Solar Manufacturing, Trade Body Recommends Limits on Imports. Trade officials recommended on Tuesday that the United States impose restrictions on solar power equipment purchased from abroad, including tariffs of up to 35 percent, setting the stage for one of President Trump's first major trade decisions. (New York Times)

U.S. Trade Panel Backs Solar Tariffs. Members of the U.S. International Trade Commission recommend the Trump administration impose a tariff of up to 35% on imported solar panels. (Wall Street Journal)

Exxon Will Pay $2.5 Million for Pollution at Gulf Coast Plants. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice announcedTuesday that Exxon Mobil will pay $2.5 million in fines for flaring gases at eight plants along the Gulf Coast. Agency officials said the announcement was evidence of the Trump administration's commitment to enforcing the nation's environmental laws. (New York Times)

Canada oil, gas drilling to pick up in 2018: industry body. Canadian oil and gas drilling activity will climb 5 percent in 2018 as a gradual uptick in crude prices gives rise to cautious optimism among producers, an industry body forecast on Tuesday. (Reuters)

Environment/Sustainability

Pruitt Bars Some Scientists From Advising E.P.A.. Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, stripped a half-dozen scientists and academics of advisory positions Tuesday and issued new rules barring anyone who receives E.P.A. grant money from serving on panels that counsel the agency on scientific decisions. (New York Times)

On-the-go sensors could help businesses, cities pinpoint pollution. A recent study from UPS and GreenBiz revealed that 95 percent of surveyed companies recognize the effect that urbanization, particularly air quality and traffic congestion, will have on business growth and sustainability. (Green Biz)

Tech Business

Samsung Unveils New Management to Quell Leadership Crisis. Samsung Electronics, the South Korean tech giant, announced a new slate of executives on Tuesday in an effort to bring stability to its top ranks. (New York Times)

Facebook has a big Russia problem, but its stock price and business are going to be just fine. Facebook reports Q3 earnings on Wednesday, but that won't be the most interesting thing happening for the social giant. (Recode)

ITI Member News

Apple could drop Qualcomm components in next year's iPhones, iPads: sources. Apple Inc (AAPL.O) has designed iPhones and iPads that would drop chips supplied by Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O), according to two people familiar with the matter. (Reuters)

Qualcomm dips on risk of losing Apple, Intel gains. Shares in Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) fell as much as 8 percent on Tuesday on reports that Apple Inc (AAPL.O) would not use its modem chips in iPhones and iPads from next year. (Reuters)

Mark Zuckerberg's Big Blind Spot And The Conflict Within Facebook. In July 2016, the aftermath of a police shooting of an African-American man was broadcast live on Facebook. Instantly, Americans of all stripes used the platform to step up the race wars and attack each other. (NPR)

Amazon's next targets: FedEx and UPS. Amazon has gotten so good at moving merchandise that it now accounts for 43 cents of every dollar spent online in the U.S., according to eMarketer. An ebullient Wall Street last week sent the company's share price soaring after a record-breaking third quarter, and made CEO Jeff Bezos the richest man in the world. (Axios)

Facebook's next fake news headache: messaging. While much of the fake news conversation in the U.S. has been around fake news spreading on Facebook's News Feed, reports of misinformation spreading globally on Facebook's messenger properties, Whatsapp and Messenger, demonstrate another major problem for the global tech company. (Axios)

Google Docs Glitch That Locked Out Users Underscores Privacy Concerns. Google Docs threw some users for a loop on Tuesday when the service suddenly locked them out of their documents for violating Google's terms of service. The weird part? The documents were innocuous. The alerts were caused by a glitch, but they served as a stark reminder that not much is truly private in the cloud. (New York Times)

Today on the Hill

The House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. First votes expected: 1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. Last votes expected: 5:15 p.m. - 6:15 p.m.
The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m. and proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the nomination of Joan Louise Larsen to be United States Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit.
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