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Tech News Roundup - 11/06/2017

Tech News Roundup

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11/06/2017

Key Issues

Taxes

What tech thinks of the GOP tax proposal. Like other major industries, tech is cautiously optimistic about the Republican tax plan unveiled yesterday. (ITI Dean Garfield Quoted, Axios)

Tax Bill Takes Extra Bite of Apple and Other Global Companies. U.S. multinationals including Apple and General Electric are suddenly looking at as many as three new taxes -- estimated to raise $454.1 billion over a decade -- under the House tax bill released Thursday. (ITI Dean Garfield Quoted, Bloomberg)

Tax Plan Burdens Blue-State Republicans and Their Districts. Steve Schwartz looks like a voter who might swoon for the Republican tax plan, unveiled last week in Washington. He is a political independent who owns a company that makes windshield wipers, he describes himself as leaning "right on fiscal matters," and he said he would benefit from the elimination or scaling-back of the estate tax. (New York Times)

Trump Vowed End to Key Wall St. Loophole. G.O.P. Tax Plan Leaves It Intact. The tax-overhaul plan unveiled on Thursday by House Republicans would leave intact a loophole that benefits hedge funds, private-equity funds and other investment managers, despite President Trump's campaign promises to eliminate it. (New York Times)

The Republican tax bill's small-business problem - most won't benefit from the special new rate. The House Republican plan to cut taxes for small businesses has a big problem: Most apparently won't benefit from it. (Los Angeles Times)

The GOP's model family gets a tax cut in year 1 ... and a tax hike in year 7. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan spoke often Thursday (and tweeted) about how a typical family of four that makes $59,000 a year would get a $1,182 tax cut, but that's only in the first year. There are already serious doubts about how much the middle class benefits from the GOP plan - and for how long. (Washington Post)

Lobbying battle begins over GOP tax bill. For corporate lobbyists pressing on other issues, the tax bill floated Thursday by the House Ways and Means Committee was not the end of the battle. It was the starting gun. (Washington Post)

Some middle-class Americans would pay higher taxes under GOP bill, despite Trump's promise. President Trump promised to cut taxes for the middle class, but some would end up paying more under the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," according to a report released Friday night by Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation, the official scorekeepers tasked with determining how much any tax legislation would add to the debt and how it would impact the poor, middle class and wealthy. (Washington Post)

Top House tax writer says GOP is fighting the 'ferocity of the status quo'. House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) today defended his choices to eliminate or trim numerous popular deductions in tax reform, an early flashpoint in the legislation GOP leaders rolled out on Thursday. (Politico Pro)

Dems' plan to tank Trump's tax bill. Democrats helped crush the GOP's Obamacare repeal push by maintaining total unity and generating broad public outrage. It's a powerful formula that fractured Republicans - but one that will be harder to replicate against the GOP tax bill. (Politico Pro)

House GOP plots crackdown on corporate tax dodges. Buried deep in House Republicans' tax-reform plans are tough new rules aimed at cracking down on international tax avoidance. (Politico Pro)

Multinationals grapple with Republican excise tax surprise. The Republican tax bill unveiled last week in the U.S. Congress could disrupt the global supply chains of large, multinational companies by slapping a 20-percent tax on cross-border transactions they routinely make between related business units. (Reuters)

Marco Rubio: Tax Reform Should Help American Families. Having kids is one of life's greatest experiences. It's also expensive. Between school supplies and summer camps, sports and doctor's visits, raising children increasingly takes more and more money. I should know - my wife, Jeanette, and I have four. (New York Times, Op-Ed)

Act 2 of tax reform coming with Senate bill. The second big act of tax reform is expected to come this week, when Senate Republicans unveil a plan of their own that's likely to significantly differ in some places from the House legislation. (Politico)

Censorship

In Reversal, Tech Companies Back Sex Trafficking Bill. After a bruising week before lawmakers, big internet companies including Facebook and Google relented to pressure in Washington on Friday and agreed to support a sex trafficking bill they had vehemently opposed for months. (New York Times)
Tech Politics

Facebook Says It's Policing Fake Accounts. But They're Still Easy to Spot. Executives of Facebook, Twitter and Google pledged to Congress this week to do more to prevent the fakery that has polluted their sites. (New York Times)

Kremlin Cash Behind Billionaire's Twitter and Facebook Investments. Leaked files show that a state-controlled bank in Moscow helped to fuel Yuri Milner's ascent in Silicon Valley, where the Russia investigation has put tech companies under scrutiny. (New York Times)

McConnell is 'skeptical' of political ad disclosure bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Saturday threw cold water on legislation requiring social media companies to disclose who pays for ads - part of a bipartisan effort intended to thwart future Russian attempts to secretly interfere in an election. (Politico Pro)

The Washington Post, Miami Herald, InfoWars and other U.S. sites spread Russian propaganda from Twitter. Tweets from 2,752 fake Twitter accounts created by Russian government trolls found their way into U.S. news stories. (Recode)

Twitter introduces new 'safeguards' after Trump's account briefly disabled. Twitter said Friday that it had implemented new safeguards to prevent President Trump's personal account from being disabled again after the account briefly went dark the night before. (The Hill)

Trump Twitter takedown brings more grief for Silicon Valley. Twitter didn't mend any fences with conservatives when a rogue worker deactivated President Donald Trump's much-beloved personal account for 11 minutes Thursday night. Instead, the company drew more negative attention from Congress. (Politico Pro)

Trump Account Deactivation Exposes Tensions Within Twitter. Disconnect between Twitter's employees and its highest-profile user is exposed after account deactivation. (Wall Street Journal)

The rogue Twitter employee who deleted Trump's account could face hacking charges. Despite some onlookers calling him - or her - a hero, the anonymous Twitter employee who pulled the plug on President Trump's Twitter account Thursday night before leaving the company may want to lawyer up, according to experts on computer law. (Washington Post)

Warner: Congress should use 'lightest touch possible' in regulating social media companies. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia) said Sunday he believes Congress should take "the lightest touch possible" in regulating social media companies as it responds to Russia's use of their platforms to influence the 2016 presidential election. (The Hill)

Virginia's election on Tuesday will test the power of Silicon Valley's new activists. On Friday, Ryan Ko finished up his latest consulting project at McKinsey & Company and Ubered to the San Francisco Airport. His destination: the political hotbed of Virginia. (Wired)

Bots stoke racial strife in Virginia governor's race. Twitter bots are swarming into the Virginia governor's race and promoting chatter about a racially charged Democratic ad days before Election Day, according to a report commissioned by allies of Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam's campaign. (Politico Pro)

Global Trade
Trumpian words:U.S., China spar over adding 'fair' trade clause in APEC statement. The United States and China are sparring over the wording of a leaders' statement on trade that will be a centerpiece of President Donald Trump's debut trip to Asia next week. (Politico Pro)

Japanese firms say U.S. NAFTA proposals would be harmful. Several major Japanese companies are joining their U.S. counterparts this week to sound the alarm about a number of U.S. proposals in the ongoing NAFTA talks. (Politico Pro)
Artificial Intelligence

Building A.I. That Can Build A.I.. Google and others, fighting for a small pool of researchers, are looking for automated ways to deal with a shortage of artificial intelligence experts. (New York Times)

Immigration

Liberal Senate Democrats embrace shutdown showdown over DREAMers. The Senate Democrats' hell-no caucus is saying hell yes to a shutdown showdown over DREAMers. (Politico Pro)

Trump's H-1B Reform Is to Make Life Hell for Immigrants and Companies. Donald Trump came into office promising a restrictive new approach to immigration and there has been little question about his intention to follow through - with one seeming exception. (Bloomberg)
Trump Administration to Decide Whether to Extend Stay for Hondurans, Nicaraguans. The Trump administration is set to decide by Monday whether 86,000 Hondurans and 5,000 Nicaraguans living in the U.S. can remain here under a program that protects immigrants from countries that have suffered major disasters or social upheaval. (Wall Street Journal)

Privacy

Verizon Wants the FCC to Overturn State Internet Privacy Laws. It turns out getting national privacy laws dismantled wasn't enough for Big Telecom. Now, at least one wireless giant is lobbying to have state-level laws overturned as well. (Motherboard)

Workforce/Diversity

How Silicon Valley Plans to Conquer the Classroom. First graders at Church Lane Elementary Technology in Randallstown, Md., often use laptops in class. Their district, Baltimore County Public Schools, has embarked on one of the most ambitious technology makeovers in the United States. (New York Times)

The U.S. Added 261,000 Jobs in October; Here's the Upshot. The hurricane-battered job market surged back to life in October, the government reported on Friday, the latest sign that the American economy has entered perhaps its strongest stretch of growth in years. (New York Times)

The Disappearing American Grad Student. There are two very different pictures of the students roaming the hallways and labs at New York University's Tandon School of Engineering. (New York Times)

Broadband/Communications

Comcast asks the FCC to prohibit states from enforcing net neutrality. Pressure builds on FCC Chair Ajit Pai to preempt state net neutrality laws. (Ars Technica)

Internet of Things

How Government Can Avoid Rushing into IoT. If the Internet is going to creep out into the nooks and crannies of the world, there are some questions government will need to answer. (GovTech)

Lack of Trust in IoT Security Shows More Regulation Is Coming. Wherever you turn in the consumer, business, technology or government worlds, the Internet of things (IoT) is the hottest of all topics. (GovTech)

Energy
Forest Service suggests Trump could reopen uranium mining near Grand Canyon. The possibility reignites old tensions, unclear how much effect rules relaxation would have. (Ars Technica)

The misguided notion of peak oil demand. The new conventional wisdom suggests the world is approaching peak oil demand. That's a misleading term for a more stubborn dependency. (Axios)

BP, Shell lead plan for blockchain-based energy trading platform. A consortium including energy companies BP and Royal Dutch Shell will develop a blockchain-based digital platform for energy commodities trading expected to start by end-2018, the group said on Monday. (Reuters)

Environment/Sustainability
U.S. Report Says Humans Cause Climate Change, Contradicting Top Trump Officials. Directly contradicting much of the Trump administration's position on climate change, 13 federal agencies unveiled an exhaustive scientific report on Friday that says humans are the dominant cause of the global temperature rise that has created the warmest period in the history of civilization. (New York Times)

What the Climate Report Says About the Impact of Global Warming. Global warming is affecting the United States more than ever, and the impacts - on communities, regions, infrastructure and sectors of the economy - are expected to increase. (New York Times)

Momentum picks up on Paris Agreement goals. In the face of United States federal inertia regarding the Paris Agreement, a cluster of initiatives driven by corporations and NGOs has sprung up to help maintain forward momentum. These initiatives are drawing together large collaborative networks to set higher goals. (GreenBiz)

Tech Business

Amazon discounts other sellers' products as retail competition stiffens. Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) is cutting prices of products from third-party sellers on its website, moving beyond its more typical method of discounts on items it sells directly. (Reuters)

Civic tech companies are making a devastating mistake. Demand for civic tech may be growing, but a new report indicates civic tech startups may need to diversify their services and solve more tangible problems if they want to survive. (StateScoop)

ITI Member News

Amazon plans new corporate office in Vancouver, to double headcount. Amazon.com Inc said on Friday that it will a open second corporate office in Vancouver, doubling its staff in the western Canadian city by early 2020 as it looks to tap into a burgeoning local tech workforce. (Reuters)

Saudi Princes, Former Ministers Arrested in Apparent Power Consolidation. Saudi authorities on Saturday carried out a new wave of arrests, targeting royals and cabinet ministers in a crackdown against alleged corruption that comes as the Saudi leadership is seeking to consolidate power during a period of political transition. (Wall Street Journal)

Amazon Snips Prices on Other Sellers' Items Ahead of Holiday Onslaught. Amazon.com Inc. has quietly started lowering prices by as much as 9% in recent weeks on goods offered by independent merchants on its site, ratcheting up a price war with other retail giants-and potentially straining its relationship with some sellers. (Wall Street Journal)

Twitter blocks searches on "bisexual" even as hate speech flourishes. Twitter came under fresh criticism over the weekend after the service blocked some search results using a variety of terms related to the LGBTQ community including both "bisexual" and "queer." (Axios)

Broadcom Plans Unsolicited Bid for Qualcomm. Broadcom Ltd. is planning an unsolicited takeover approach to rival chip maker Qualcomm Inc., a bid that could be worth $100 billion but also faces steep odds of success. (Wall Street Journal)

Today on the Hill

The House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for morning hour and 2:00 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m.
The Senate will convene at 3:00 p.m. and proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the nomination of Steven Andrew Engel to be an Assistant Attorney General.
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