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Tech News Roundup - 11/09/2017

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11/09/2017

Key Issues

Taxes

Top GOP senator says election losses could complicate tax reform. Republican leaders seeking to overhaul the federal tax code faced new challengesWednesday, including a new $74 billion hole in the House's plan and a drubbing inTuesday's state and local elections that will be on members' minds as they prepare for difficult tax votes. (Washington Post)

Grad students are freaking out about the GOP tax plan. They should be. Amanda Coston was preparing for a meeting with her advisor Monday afternoon when her friend, another first-year PhD student in Carnegie Mellon's machine learning department, knocked on her door. (Wired)

Want Kids, a Degree or a Home? The Tax Bill Would Cost You. To pass their immense tax giveaway to the rich, Republicans need to ensure their plan would add no more than $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next decade. (New York Times Editorial)

GOP bill would hike taxes on 31 percent of middle-class Americans by 2027, study finds. Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana took out his wallet and held it up Tuesday. "This is what tax reform is about!" he proclaimed. (Washington Post)
House GOP punches big hole in tax plan with changes to tax avoidance provision. Under pressure from businesses, House Republicans have gutted a plan to crack down on corporate tax avoidance - which is now helping put their broader tax-rewrite plan over budget. (Politico Pro)

Top GOP senator says election losses could complicate tax reform. House Republican leaders scrambled Wednesday to patch a $74 billion hole they had created in their own tax plan, leaving them with a painful choice between scaling back the bill's benefits for individuals or reducing their proposed tax cuts for businesses. (Washington Post)

GOP election drubbing scrambles tax reform outlook. Top Republicans in Congress had an urgent message to lawmakers after the party's drubbing inTuesday's elections: Pass tax reform or we're toast in 2018. (Politico Pro)

Here's who gets the tax cuts (and who doesn't). The House Republican tax bill would give tax cuts to people in most income brackets, but not all - creating potential problems for Republican leaders who promised tax cuts for everyone. (Axios)

Senate Republicans Will Diverge From House in Sweeping Tax Rewrite. Senate Republicans, under pressure to pass a sweeping tax rewrite before year's end, are expected to unveil legislation on Thursday that would eliminate the ability of people to deduct state and local taxes but would stop short of fully repealing the estate tax, according to lobbyists and other people familiar with the bill (New York Times)

House leaders race to round up tax votes. House GOP leaders are using a mix of behind-the-scenes cajoling and warnings about losing the majority to corral their oft-fractured conference on tax reform. (Politico)

Trump Says Democrats Will Like Senate Tax Plan More Than House Version. President Donald Trump moved to assuage centrist Democratic senators' concerns about the House Republican tax overhaul by telling them the Senate version will be more to their liking, in comments that risk muddying the GOP's effort to get a bill passed. (Wall Street Journal)

Tech Politics

Facebook backs Senate sex trafficking bill. Facebook has come out in support of a Senate sex trafficking bill that many internet platforms worry could hurt their business models. (The Hill)

Why Google and Facebook folded on sex-trafficking bill. Silicon Valley folded in a fight over a major anti-trafficking bill after months of mounting pressure from both political parties. The industry forged a compromise with senators that, while better for tech than the original proposal, amounts to the first major legislative defeat for tech giants Google and Facebook. (Axios)

Former Yahoo CEO apologizes for data breaches, blames Russians. Former Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer apologized on Wednesday for two massive data breaches at the internet company, blaming Russian agents for at least one of them, at a hearing on the growing number of cyber attacks on major U.S. companies. (Reuters)
Sen. Franken Urges 'Vigorous' Scrutiny of Big Tech. Congress should intensify and broaden its scrutiny of technology giants such as Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google in light of growing concerns that they have become too powerful, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said Nov. 8. (Bgov)

Sen. Al Franken torched Amazon, Facebook and Google for using their algorithms to maintain their massive footprints. His wide-ranging speechWednesday questioned their power over publishers and others. (Recode)

We must not let big tech threaten our security, freedoms and democracy. The dominance of these companies requires that the government consider their role in the integrity of our democracy, writes Senator Al Franken (The Guardian, Opinion)

Global Trade

Canada says won't be rushed on TPP trade deal at Asia-Pacific meeting. Canada said on Wednesday it would not be rushed into a revived Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal as the 11 remaining members met in Vietnam to discuss the pact ditched by U.S. President Donald Trump. (Reuters)
Cornyn debuts bill to reform CFIUS and stem tech transfers to China. A bipartisan group of lawmakers Wednesday unveiled a long-awaited bill designed to stem the transfer of sensitive U.S. technology to China. (Politico Pro)
China's New Effort to Tame Its Financial System May Disappoint. China on Wednesday released fresh details about a new financial regulatory body intended to calm a financial system that in recent years has endured a stock market crash, a huge exodus of money outside the country and the rapid accumulation of debt. (New York Times)
Trump Heaps Praise on Xi Jinping and Blames Predecessors for Trade Gaps. President Trump heaped praise on President Xi Jinping of China on Thursday, saying he was confident China would help defuse the threat from North Korea and reduce its trade deficits with the United States, which he blamed on his own predecessors, not the Chinese (New York Times)

U.S. on sidelines as Pacific nations talk trade. The United States may not matter in broad trade negotiations taking place this week. (Politico Pro)

Artificial Intelligence

AI and Corporate Responsibility: Not Just for the Tech Giants. There is an undercurrent of fear when we talk about AI; most conversations about its future paint images of a dystopian world dominated by robots taking our jobs. Leading technologists and scientists like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking have validated these fears by warning about the potential for AI to challenge - and potentially destroy - our societal structures, laws, and culture. (ITI Mentioned, Forbes)

Immigration
Homeland Security Nominee Says 'Dreamers' Won't be Targeted for Deportation. President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security offered a degree of assurance to Senate Democrats critical of the administration's tough immigration enforcement agenda during a confirmation hearing Wednesday. (Wall Street Journal)

Twin legal challenges in one week to latest version of President Trump's entry ban. The latest version of President Trump's entry ban will face a pair of legal challenges in the span of a few days next month in federal appeals courts on opposite coasts. (Washington Post)

Antitrust
U.S. Said to Seek Sale of CNN or DirecTV in AT&T-Time Warner Deal. The Justice Department has called on AT&T and Time Warner to sell Turner Broadcasting, the group of cable channels that includes CNN, as a potential requirement for approving the companies' pending $85.4 billion deal, people briefed on the matter said on Wednesday. (New York Times)

Selling CNN does not fix AT&T deal for Time Warner: Justice Department officials. U.S. Justice Department officials said on Wednesday that selling cable channel CNN would not solve antitrust concerns about AT&T Inc's deal to buy media company Time Warner Inc. (Reuters)

Regulators Seek Significant Asset Sales in AT&T Deal for Time Warner. U.S. antitrust regulators are pressing for major changes to AT&T Inc.'s T 1.12% proposed takeover of Time Warner Inc., TWX -6.51% demands that threaten to derail one of the biggest media deals ever, people familiar with the matter said. (Wall Street Journal)

Sources: AT&T, Time Warner under pressure to dump CNN. AT&T and Time Warner are under pressure from the Justice Department to offload CNN to win the Trump administration's approval of their $85 billion merger, according to sources familiar with the discussions. (Politico Pro)

Lawmakers alarmed at push to sell CNN. Even critics of AT&T's proposed mega-merger with Time Warner expressed alarm Wednesday at allegations that President Donald Trump's Justice Department is intervening in the deal for political reasons - namely his oft-expressed complaints about CNN. (Politico Pro)

Public Sector

IT funding bill survives NDAA conference. The Modernizing Government Technology Act continued its long churn through Congress, as the Senate Armed Services Committee confirmed Nov. 8 that the bill made it out of House-Senate conference as part of for the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. (Federal Computer Week)
Encryption

Why Texas Shooting Could Draw Apple Back Into Security Debate. More than a year after Apple battled the F.B.I. over the unlocking of an iPhone, a new skirmish may be brewing between the authorities and the company over privacy and strong encryption on its devices. (New York Times)

FBI may have lost critical time unlocking Texas shooter's iPhone. For about 48 hours after a deadly rampage at a Texas church, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies did not ask Apple Inc to help them unlock the gunman's iPhone or associated online accounts, a source told Reuters on Wednesday. (Reuters)

Apple says it immediately contacted FBI about unlocking Texas shooter's iPhone. Apple is refuting the Federal Bureau of Investigation's account of the aftermath of the Texas gunman's attack this past Sunday, saying it reached out to the bureau "immediately" to offer assistance in getting into the gunman's iPhone and expedite its response to any legal process. (The Verge)

The government's unexpected encryption warrior. Rod Rosenstein, the Justice Department's No. 2 official, has become the government's unexpected leader in a renewed push to convince Americans that law enforcement needs to access their secure chats and emails to effectively fight crime and terrorism - taking the baton from the FBI director he helped fire. (Politico Pro)

Cybersecurity

Fast-growing cyber crime threatens financial sector: Europol. The "remorseless" growth of cyber crime is leading to 4,000 ransom attacks a day and gangs' technological capability now threatens critical parts of the financial sector, the head of Europol said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has become the government's top combatant in a long-running battle with the tech community over encryption. (Politico Pro)

Privacy

Judiciary panel rejects amendment to close 'backdoor' searches. Surveillance critics Wednesday failed to further revise a bill that would renew digital spying programs, felled by vows from House leadership that the proposed changes would sink the overall measure. (Politico Pro)

Equifax says it owns all its data about you. Members of the Senate Commerce Committee challenged Equifax's chief executive Wednesday about the credit reporting agency's sweeping data collection and its one-sided relationship with millions of Americans whose personal information it harvests for profit (Washington Post)

Margrethe Vestager, technophobe. The longer Europe's competition boss Margrethe Vestager has spent rummaging through the business models of the large tech companies, the more concerned she has become about privacy. (Politico Europe)
Environment/Sustainability

Democrats Assail Environmental Nominees Over Climate Change. A Senate hearing on nominees for two top environmental posts on Wednesday quickly turned testy over the Trump administration's ambivalence on climate change science. (New York Times)

Europe Calls for Cutting Car Emissions by a Third. Not Enough, Critics Say. Vehicles in Europe would have to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by almost a third by 2030 under proposals unveiled on Wednesday by regulators in Brussels, who were immediately criticized for not doing enough to combat global warming and for succumbing to pressure from Germany and its powerful auto lobby. (New York Times)

Trump's top environmental pick says she has 'many questions' about climate change. Kathleen Hartnett White, President Trump's pick to serve as his top White House environmental official, told the Senate Wednesday that she had doubts about the link between human activity and climate change. (Washington Post)

Trump Ignores Climate Change. That's Very Bad for Disaster Planners. When Hurricane Irma swept through the Florida Keys in September, it brought a vivid preview of the damage that climate change could inflict on the region in the decades ahead. (New York Times)

Tech Business
China's Tencent Buys 12% Stake in Snap. Purchase adds to an investment Tencent made in parent of Snapchat in 2013 before company went public. (Wall Street Journal)

Aetna working with Apple on health and fitness apps. Aetna plans to give away Apple Watches to more than 500,000 of its members next year and is working with the tech giant to develop a variety of health and fitness apps. (Axios)

Tencent Continues to Snap Up Stakes in U.S. Startups. Tencent Holdings Ltd. TCEHY 0.01% , the rapidly growing Chinese internet giant, is proving a welcome source of capital to America's fledgling companies, with Snap Inc. SNAP -14.62% the latest beneficiary of its deep pockets. (Wall street Journal)

Small banks oppose U.S. regulator offering olive branch to tech sector. Small Main Street banks vowed on Wednesday to fight any review of a ban that prevents retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and tech companies like Amazon.com Inc from becoming fully fledged banks. (Reuters)

ITI Member News

Soothsayer in the Hills Sees Silicon Valley's Sinister Side. Jaron Lanier is the most unusual person I've ever met. (New York Times)

China Spreads Propaganda to U.S. on Facebook, a Platform It Bans at Home. China does not allow its people to gain access to Facebook, a powerful tool for disseminating information and influencing opinion. (New York Times)
Google promoted Texas gunman fake tweets. Google says it is "not happy" that its search results displayed false information about Texas gunman Devin Patrick Kelley, who killed 26 people. (BBC)

The End of the cult of the founder. When future historians look back on the cult of the Silicon Valley founder, they will set its starting point in the early 2000s. Its end point could be right about now. (Wired)

Apple Lands New Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston TV Show. Apple's second play in the TV game shows it's here to compete. (New York Times)

Sean Parker: Facebook was designed to exploit human "vulnerability". Sean Parker, the founder of Napster and former president of Facebook, said the thought process behind building the social media giant was: "How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?" Parker was interviewed by Axios' Mike Allen Wednesday. (Axios)

Intel hires Apple and AMD veteran to lead development of its own graphics chips. For all its silicon expertise and billions of dollars invested in research, Intel has never been a leader in graphics, though the company is now hoping to correct that situation by snapping up AMD's graphics chief. Raja Koduri, who until this week had served as AMD senior VP and chief architect of the Radeon Technologies graphics division, is now taking up the same position at Intel. (The Verge)

Today on the Hill

The House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. First and last votes expected: 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.
The Senate will convene at 9:30 a.m. and proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the nomination of William L. Wehrum to be an Assistant Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
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