Skip to main content

Tech News Roundup - 11/17/2017

Tech News Roundup

Go Back

Key Issues


House Passes Tax Bill in Major Step Toward Overhaul. The House passed a sweeping rewrite of the tax code on Thursday by 227-205, taking a significant leap forward as Republicans seek to enact $1.5 trillion in tax cuts for businesses and individuals and deliver the first major legislative achievement of President Trump's tenure. (New York Times)

Bill Signals G.O.P. Prioritizes Corporate Tax Cuts. There are tough choices at the heart of the Republican tax bills speeding through Congress, and they make clear what the party values most in economic policy right now: deep and lasting tax cuts for corporations. (New York Times)

Who'd Gain From an Estate Tax Rollback: The 0.2 Percenters. Supporters and critics of the Republican tax bills argue over their effect on middle-class Americans, but there is one group that everyone agrees would come out ahead: the millionaires and billionaires who have to reckon with the estate tax. (New York Times)

The House and Senate Still Have Very Different Tax Bills. Here's How They Compare. The tax cut bill that the House passed on Thursday differs significantly from the Senate version in several areas, including the timing and permanence of the tax cuts and its treatment of the Affordable Care Act. (New York Times)

Obamacare 101: Will the GOP tax bill force big Medicare cuts?. As congressional Republicans move forward with their tax legislation, there are growing concerns that the costs, which are projected to increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, will force a host of big cuts in government programs, including Medicare. (Los Angeles Times)
Senate tax bill would cut taxes of wealthy and increase taxes on families earning less than $75,000 by 2027. The tax bill Senate Republicans are championing would give large tax cuts to millionaires while raising taxes on American families earning $10,000 to $75,000 over the next decade, according to a report released Thursday by the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress's official nonpartisan analysts. (Washington Post)

Many in middle class will eventually pay higher taxes in new Senate plan, study says. Senate Republicans' revised plan to revamp the tax code would eventually raise taxes on many middle-income people, according to a new independent analysis. (Politico Pro)

House passes massive GOP tax cuts. House Republicans passed a $5.5 trillion tax bill Thursday, in a major step toward rewriting the nation's tax code and providing a sorely needed legislative victory for President Donald Trump. (Politico Pro)

Senate deficit hawks blanch at true cost of temporary tax cuts. Some Senate Republicans think their party's plans to rewrite the tax code may prove far costlier than it appears, posing another challenge to getting the legislation through the chamber. (Politico Pro)

Republicans only have one plan. Sometimes they call it 'tax reform.' Other times 'health-care reform.'. There's an easy way to tell the Republican tax plan from the Republican health-care plan. (Washington Post)

House passes GOP tax bill, upping pressure on struggling Senate effort. House Republicans on Thursday passed legislation that would overhaul the U.S. tax code, a crucial step forward in their effort to enact the centerpiece of President Trump's economic agenda. (Washington Post)

House G.O.P. Tax Writers Take Aim at College Tuition Benefits. The moment the last of Fred Vautour's five children walked across the stage as a Boston College graduate was priceless. (New York Times)

How the individual mandate scrambles the Senate tax cuts. The Senate Finance Committee's markup of the tax bill yesterday fixated on new tables from the Joint Committee on Taxation showing that, even before the lower individual rates expire, people with lower incomes would pay higher taxes. (Axios)

Senate Finance Committee approves GOP tax reform plan. The Senate's tax-writing committee this evening approved Republicans' sweeping plan to overhaul the tax code. (Politico)

Tech Politics

Momentum builds in U.S. for disclaimers on internet election ads. U.S. regulators on Thursday kicked off a process that could result in mandatory disclaimers on election ads that appear on social media, a reaction to anonymous, Russia-linked ads on sites such as Facebook ahead of the 2016 U.S. elections. (Reuters)

Global Trade

U.S. Pushes Tech, Internet Protections in NAFTA Revamp. U.S. negotiators are pushing for digital trade provisions in a revamped North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that go well beyond what the countries previously agreed to during their last major negotiations on digital trade, private-sector sources told Bloomberg Law. (ITI Josh Kallmer Quoted, BNA)
Cutler: TPP-11 may become TPP-10 over Canada's cultural concerns. Canada may have a hard time reaching a deal with the 10 other remaining members of the TPP if it wants the deal to include a broad cultural exception to shield its domestic media industries against foreign competition, a former U.S. trade official said Thursday. (Politico Pro)

U.S. efforts on NAFTA labor provisions crucial for attracting congressional Democratic support. President Donald Trump's promises of tougher trade policies fall in line with the demands of many labor organizations and public interest groups, but even they are wary about the ability or willingness of his administration to deliver tough new rules to improve Mexico's labor and wage standards in NAFTA. (Politico Pro)


IBM urged to avoid working on 'extreme vetting' of U.S. immigrants. A coalition of rights groups launched an online petition on Thursday urging IBM Corp to declare that it will not develop technology to help the Trump administration carry out a proposal to identify people for visa denial and deportation from the United States. (Reuters)

Court won't halt judge's demand for details on DACA cancellation decision. An appeals court has cleared the way for a federal judge to force the Trump administration to make public more of its internal documents on how officials arrived at the decision to rescind the program granting quasi-legal status and work permits to so-called DREAMers. (Politico Pro)


With AT&T and Time Warner, Battle Lines Form for an Epic Antitrust Case. If the government goes to court to block the merger of AT&T and Time Warner, as seems increasingly likely, it may well be the antitrust case of the decade, even without the claims of presidential meddling that have already engulfed the deal in partisan controversy. (New York Times)

Ex-Trump lawyer to defend AT&T-Time Warner merger. AT&T Inc said it hired media lawyer Daniel Petrocelli, whose clients have included U.S. President Donald Trump, to defend its acquisition of media and entertainment company Time Warner Inc if the government sues to block the deal. (Reuters)

AT&T continues to believe Time Warner deal will close: CFO. AT&T Inc still thinks its $85.4 billion deal to buy media and entertainment company Time Warner Inc will close, its chief financial officer said on Thursday. (Reuters)

DOJ antitrust chief's speech raises questions about fate of proposed AT&T-Time Warner merger. The head of the Justice Department's antitrust division made comments Thursday that could bode poorly for AT&T's bid to merge with Time Warner. (Washington Post)

Public Sector

Richard Branson's newest space venture, Virgin Orbit, just got a U.S. military contract. The Pentagon is hiring Richard Branson to launch satellites to orbit. (Los Angeles Times)

IT Modernization Bill heads to President. What began as an attempt by one Texas congressman to provide federal agencies new means to modernize their old and outdated systems will head to President Donald Trump's desk for a signature. (Next Gov)


House Intel to plot surveillance renewal strategy with leadership next week. Members of the House Intelligence Committee and their staff will meet with House leaders over the Thanksgiving holiday week to chart a path forward on legislation to renew warrantless surveillance programs set to expire at the end of the year, according to two people familiar with the panel's deliberations. (Politico Pro)

Surveillance critics to Ryan: Don't ignore us. A bipartisan group of House Judiciary Committee members is warning House Speaker Paul Ryan against bypassing the panel's favored surveillance revisions as leadership decides how to renew expiring online spying tools. (Politico Pro)


China cyber watchdog rejects censorship critics, says internet must be 'orderly'. China's top cyber authority on Thursday rejected a recent report ranking it last out of 65 countries for press freedom, saying the internet must be "orderly" and the international community should join it in addressing fake news and other cyber issues. (Reuters)


Struggling For Investments, Silicon Valley Women Reluctant To Speak Out On Harassment. This week, another big name in tech was toppled by accusations of sexual harassment - venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson, an investor in Tesla and SpaceX who left his prominent Silicon Valley company. (NPR)

F.C.C. Opens Door to More Consolidation in TV Business. The Federal Communications Commission voted on Thursday to allow a single company to own a newspaper and television and radio stations in the same town, reversing a decades-old rule aimed at preventing any individual or company from having too much power over local coverage. (New York Times)

FCC approves TV technology that gives better pictures but less privacy. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 on Thursday to allow broadcasters to voluntarily use a new technology to improve picture quality and allow better reception on mobile phones and give advertisers dramatically more data about viewing habits. (Reuters)

Sorry, poor people: The FCC is coming after your broadband plans. 70% of low-income wireless subscribers in Lifeline could have to find new ISPs. (Ars Technica)

All signs point to December vote to kill net neutrality rules, reports say. Chairman Pai likely to unveil plan next week and schedule vote for mid-December. (Ars Technica)

Internet of Things

The Near Future of Driving: Eyes Forward, but No Hands at 10 and 2. I am tapping this into my iPhone while sitting at the wheel of a 2018 Cadillac CT6 luxury sedan, rolling along a shade under 75 miles per hour on Interstate 94 about 20 miles west of Ann Arbor, Mich. (New York Times)

Phone-chip designer tackles 'industrial' internet of things. Masayoshi Son, Founder and CEO of SoftBank Group, has a lot of crazy ideas. (Wired)

Right to Repair

iFixit CEO: Right to Repair gaining momentum, 'just a question of when'. "Right to repair" can seem like more of a consumer-focused issue, but the concept is in fact supported by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries and a growing number of local governments as a way to expand opportunities for e-waste diversion. (Waste Dive)


Oil extends losing streak on U.S. oversupply worries. Oil prices ended lower again on Thursday on increased concerns about growth in U.S. production and inventories, despite expectations that major world producers will extend a supply-cut deal later this month. (Reuters)

Coal's technology problem, and vice versa. The future of coal in a carbon-constrained world depends on technically feasible but prohibitively expensive technology that captures emissions from coal power plants. That technology, in turn, has become politically and inextricably linked to coal, despite the fact that most of it right now is used for purposes separate from coal. (Axios)


As U.S. Debates Ending Electric Car Tax Credit, China Aims to Expand Sales. In the United States, politicians were to vote on Thursday on a proposal that included repeal of a $7,500 tax credit for buyers of electric cars. In China, auto executives from around the world were gathering to talk about ambitious plans to sell more of those vehicles here. (New York Times)

What they don't tell you about climate change. Two years ago the world pledged to keep global warming "well below" 2°C hotter than pre-industrial times. (The Economist)
Volkswagen Plans $12 Billion Electric-Car Blitz in China. Car maker and its local joint-venture partners intend to release five models a year through 2025. (Wall Street Journal)

Cobalt hedging not mining the route for VW in EV drive, official says. Volkswagen is not looking to secure long-term supplies of cobalt, a key ingredient of electric-car batteries, by investing in mines, a senior official at the automaker said. (Reuters)

A More Conciliatory Tone on Climate from the U.S. at Global Talks. The senior American diplomat at the United Nations climate talks here told world leaders Thursday that the United States would remain engaged in global climate change negotiations even as it planned to exit the Paris agreement "at the earliest opportunity." (New York Times)

U.N. Climate Projects, Aimed at the Poorest, Raise Red Flags. A landmark pledge seven years ago by the world's richest nations to spend billions to help developing countries tackle climate change seemed like a godsend for Kiribati, the Pacific island nation threatened by rising seas. (New York Times)

EPA Moves To Shield Older Semi Truck Engines In 'Gliders' From Emissions Rules. The Environmental Protection Agency wants to change how it classifies "glider vehicles" - heavy trucks that are built by pairing a new chassis with an old diesel engine and powertrain. The move would keep the EPA from imposing Clean Air Act emissions standards on the trucks. (NPR)

Apple and Google praised for taking action on conflict minerals. Advocacy group Enough put out a list of the tech and jewelry companies doing the most and least around use of conflict minerals - things like gold, tin, tungsten, and tantalum that are mined in violence-torn parts of the Congo. (Axios)

ITI Member News

Far-right accounts lose Twitter verified tick. Twitter has stripped several far-right accounts of their "verified" badge, after changing its policy. (BBC)

Facebook will livestream 47 college basketball games for free this season. Facebook is paying for the streams, which will only be available on Facebook. (Recode)

If 280 characters won't do, Twitter will help you tweetstorm. The social network is testing a tweetstorm function in its iOS and Android app. Make it rain! (CNET)

Google Has Picked an Answer for You-Too Bad It's Often Wrong. Going beyond search, the internet giant is promoting a single result over all others, and many are contentious, improbable or laughably incorrect. (Wall Street Journal)

Longtime Apple HR executive Denise Young Smith leaving company. Denise Young Smith, Apple's former HR chief and current head of diversity, plans to leave the company at year's end. She's been at the company since 1997. (Axios)

Toyota to Re-Enter Electric Vehicles From 2020 in China, India. Toyota Motor Corp. will introduce electric vehicles in China and India from 2020 as it accelerates a push into battery-powered autos amid rapidly tightening environmental regulations. (Bloomberg)

Today on the Hill

The House is not in session today.
The Senate will convene at 11:00 a.m. for a pro forma session.
Share this News Roundup on: