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Tech News Roundup - 12/07/2017

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12/07/2017

Key Issues

Taxes

Republicans move to calm business fears on tax reform. Republican lawmakers have told multinational companies they are prepared to resolve their concerns about international tax issues as the party races to finalise the most sweeping package of reforms in 30 years. (ITI Jennifer McCloskey Quoted, Financial Times)

Lobbyists push GOP in last-minute scramble to save tax breaks. Lobbyists have launched an all-out effort to save tax breaks and protect powerful industries as the Republicans' tax overhaul lurches toward President Donald Trump's desk. (Politico Pro)

Are GOP Senators Wiping Out Tax Breaks For Corporations?. A massive corporate tax cut is at the center of the Republican tax overhaul, in both the House and the Senate bills. (NPR)

Senate votes to pursue tax bill negotiations with House. U.S. Senate Republicans agreed to talks with the House of Representatives on sweeping tax legislation on Wednesday, amid early signs that lawmakers could bridge their differences and agree on a final bill ahead of a self-imposed Dec. 22 deadline. (Reuters)

Tax cuts may leave Washington low on ammo for next recession battle. President Trump predicts that the $1.5 trillion Republican tax cut nearing final congressional approval will jolt the U.S. economy into "high gear." (Washington Post)

Trump warns of shutdown as Freedom Caucus and Ryan face off. Republicans are scrambling to avert a government shutdown Friday, with President Donald Trump blaming Democrats even as GOP infighting grows. (Politico Pro)

Corporate rate cut in tax bill could change as GOP hunts for votes. Congressional leaders could end up decreasing the size of the corporate rate cut in their tax overhaul in an effort to pay for changes they'll need to make to get the votes they need for the bill, according to people briefed on meetings with lawmakers and White House officials. (Politico Pro)

GOP leaders consider shrinking size of planned corporate tax cut, sources say. Leading Republicans are looking at scaling back some of the corporate tax cuts that they are trying to usher into law, two people involved in the tax negotiations said, convinced they need to find new revenue in order to make last-minute fixes to the giant package moving through Congress. (Washington Post)

Republicans Move to Resolve Tax Bill Differences as Cost Concerns Loom. Republican leaders moved closer on Wednesday to resolving some key differences between the House and Senate tax bills, though several big issues, including the size of the corporate tax cut, remained in flux. (New York Times)

Family Businesses Worry the Tax Overhaul Will Hurt Them. Family-owned businesses including grocery stores, craft shops, small manufacturers and others are worried tax legislation in Congress could leave them at a disadvantage to big corporations and other competitors. (Wall Street Journal)

After cutting taxes, Trump looking to localities to raise revenue for infrastructure. Even as President Trump and Republicans in Congress seek to cut federal taxes, the White House has quietly come up with a very different plan for infrastructure: It wants to reward states and localities willing to raise taxes or other revenue to pay for new projects. (Washington Post)

Tech Politics
A battle between Apple and an app developer has caught Congress' attention. An attempt to crack down on spammy, duplicative apps has Apple at war with ChowNow, which aids restaurants. (Recode)

Inside Oracle's cloak-and-dagger political war with Google. Oracle has lobbied aggressively - and seeded negative stories about its search foe - as the two battle in court. (Recode)

EU urges internet companies to do more to remove extremist content. Internet groups such as Facebook, Google's YouTube and Twitter need to do more to stem the proliferation of extremist content on their platforms, the European Commission said after a meeting on Wednesday. (Reuters)

Privacy

North Koreans Get Smartphones, and the Regime Keeps Tabs. North Korea has allowed more citizens access to smartphones and an isolated intranet, offering residents who can afford it a new way to communicate and giving the dictatorship new opportunities to monitor its people and bolster its powers. (Wall Street Journal)

Americans don't want phones searched without a warrant. A new survey offers a fascinating view of how much privacy Americans are prepared to give up for national security. (CNET, OpEd)

DHS Needs to Better Protect Employees' Sensitive Info, IG Says. An audit found the agency falls short of federal privacy requirements. (NextGov)

Global Trade
China Says It's Open for Business. Foreign Firms Find It's Not That Simple. The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou on Wednesday welcomed dozens of corporate leaders and foreign dignitaries with one overriding message: China is open for business. (New York Times)

Apple's Tim Cook: No Point Yelling at China. Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook defended his company's move to pull hundreds of apps from its China store to comply with Beijing's demands. (Wall Street Journal)

U.S. Tech Firms Spooked by China's Arcane Cybersecurity Law. Six months after it went into force, China's tough new cybersecurity law is still troubling U.S. technology executives who fear that it will put the intellectual property of their companies and the data they collect in jeopardy. (Wall Street Journal)

Artificial Intelligence
Google's 'superhuman' DeepMind AI claims chess crown. Google says its AlphaGo Zero artificial intelligence program has triumphed at chess against world-leading specialist software within hours of teaching itself the game from scratch. (BBC)

Alphabet's latest AI show pony has more than one trick. The history of artificial intelligence is a procession of one-trick ponies. (Wired)

The AI company that helps Boeing cook new metals for jets. At HRL Laboratories in Malibu, California, materials scientist Hunter Martin and his team load a grey powder as fine as confectioner's sugar into a machine. (Wired)

Inside Baidu's bid to lead the AI revolution. Presumably, Robin Li wanted attention last summer when he decided to launch Baidu's bid for the future of self-driving cars from the front seat of a car that was driving itself. (Wired)

Your online shopping habit is fueling a robotics renaissance. Go ahead, hit that BUY NOW button. Procure that sweater or TV or pillow that looks like a salmon fillet. Hit that button and fulfill the purpose of a hardworking warehouse robot. (Wired)

AI can beat humans only one game at a time. Despite all of the potential for artificial intelligence to solve our most vexing problems, it's still in a primitive state, according to a new report by Stanford University. (Axios)

Immigration

Thousands rally outside Capitol to demand DACA solution; at least 2 Md. lawmakers arrested. Nearly 200 protesters were arrested Wednesday on the steps of the U.S. Capitol after thousands gathered to demand legislation protecting young, undocumented immigrants whose work permits are being revoked by the Trump administration. (Washington Post)

Ending Temporary Protection For Foreign Workers Could Hurt U.S. Rebuilding Efforts. The Trump administration has been eliminating some protections that allow more than 300,000 people to live and work in the U.S. under what is known as temporary protected status. Many could face deportation when their status expires. (NPR)

Appeals court considers legality of latest Trump travel ban. A federal appeals court gave a somewhat friendlier reception Wednesday to President Donald Trump's latest travel ban order, just two days after the Supreme Court allowed the policy to be implemented in full for the first time. (Politico Pro)

Futures in Jeopardy, 'Dreamers' Get Backing of Big Names and Businesses. Before Thanksgiving, Busy Philipps, an actress with a large following among millennial moms, urged her fans to bring up a "really important topic" at the holiday dinner table. (New York Times)

Dreamers' Fate Hangs Over Efforts to Avert Government Shutdown. A long-running fight over immigration threatens to spark a government shutdown later this month and add to Republicans' political and policy challenges moving forward. (Wall Street Journal)

U.S. Issues Travel Restrictions Against Cambodians Over 'Anti-Democratic Actions'. The U.S. has begun applying travel restrictions against Cambodians accused of undermining democracy in the country after the main opposition party was dissolved and its leader arrested and detained for treason. (Wall Street Journal)

Antitrust

Trump and Warren Find Common Ground on Antitrust. President Trump and Senator Elizabeth Warren make odd antitrust bedfellows. (New York Times)

Warren: "No exception in antitrust law for Big Tech". Progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren urged antitrust enforcers on Wednesday to pursue big tech companies, like Google and Facebook, that control giant tranches of consumer data. (Axios)

Broadband/Communications

Tom Wheeler slams Ajit Pai's plan to kill net neutrality rules. Former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler took aim at his successor's plan to eliminate net neutrality rules today, saying that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is selling out consumers and entrepreneurs at the behest of major Internet service providers. (Ars Technica)

Internet Association asks for U.S. net neutrality vote delay. The Internet Association, whose more than 40 members include companies like Google and Amazon, urged the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday to delay a vote to repeal a 2015 order banning internet providers from blocking or throttling online content. (Reuters)

House Dems want investigation of fake net neutrality comments. A group of House Democrats are urging the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate fake comments submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the agency's efforts to repeal its net neutrality rules. (The Hill)

Net neutrality supporters predict tough court battle over FCC's repeal plan. Net neutrality supporters are predicting that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will have a hard time defending its decision to repeal the landmark rules in court. (The Hill)

The FCC's net neutrality plan may have even bigger ramifications in light of this obscure court case. The plan by the Federal Communications Commission to eliminate its net neutrality rules next week is expected to hand a major victory to Internet service providers. (Washington Post)

Public Sector
Senate Confirms GSA Leader. The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Emily Webster Murphy to head up the federal government's buying hub, a move that has drawn support from technology contracting groups who think her appointment could be good for business. (ITAPS Trey Hodgkins Quoted, NextGov)

One cloud to rule them all at DOD?. Ellen Lord, the Pentagon acquisitions chief, said the Department of Defense is closing in on a solicitation to dramatically advance its scale in cloud computing. (Federal Computer Week)

How DHS hacks agency networks to make them stronger, more resilient. The National Cybersecurity Assessments and Technical Services team (NCATS) at DHS is growing to apply its hacking skills to more than IT systems. (Federal News Radio, Audio)

Getting data scientists into the good stuff is goal of new GSA platform. The General Services Administration wants to help data scientists capitalize on the opportunities within the government's massive trove of information by offering them a common gateway to access it. (FedScoop)

Cybersecurity
China's Blurry Cyber Laws Give U.S. Tech Companies No Security. Six months after it went into force, China's tough new cybersecurity law is still troubling U.S. technology executives who fear that it will put the intellectual property of their companies and the data they collect in jeopardy. (Wall Street Journal)
Computer security needs more federal regulation, says US senator. Sen. Maggie Hassan, a rising Democrat from New Hampshire, is vocal about the risks the US faces from bad security practices. (CNET)
More companies are detecting breaches internally. More businesses are detecting breaches internally, and they're doing it faster than before, according to CrowdStrike's Cyber Intrusion Services Casebook of 2017, which analyzes the businesses the cybersecurity technology company worked with this year. (Axios)
North Carolina County Refuses to Pay $23,000 Ransom to Hackers. In a world rocked by hackers, trolls and online evildoers of all stripes, the good people of the internet have long looked for a hero who would refuse to back down. Finally, someone has said enough is enough. And that someone is the government of Mecklenburg County, N.C. (New York Times)
Censorship

Will tech firms challenge China's 'open' internet?. Sometimes you can gauge how proud someone is about being at an event by the extent to which they want to talk about it. When that event is China's annual global internet get-together in Wuzhen there are plenty who turn up, but fewer who want to advertise their attendance. (BBC)

House negotiations ramp up over anti-sex trafficking bill. Negotiations are intensifying in the House over anti-sex trafficking legislation, after a similar bill appeared to overcome tech industry resistance in the Senate. (Politico Pro)

Workforce/Diversity

Nearly 80 percent of female tech founders have experienced sexual harassment at work or know someone who has. More than three-quarters of female tech founders, or 78 percent, have either been sexually harassed or have known someone who's been sexually harassed in the workplace, according to a new survey of tech founders by seed-stage venture firm First Round Capital. About half of male founders - 48 percent - have had the same experience.(Recode)

Investment group urges more women in Amazon's senior ranks following harassment allegations. In the wake of sexual harassment allegations against a now former Amazon executive, a group that advocates for investors sent a letter last week to the online giant, urging it to improve the diversity of its senior executive ranks, among other things. (Washington Post)

Google beats class action sex bias claims, for now. A California state judge has dismissed class action claims accusing Alphabet Inc's Google of paying female employees less than men and giving them fewer opportunities for promotions. (Reuters)

Energy
Wall Street Tells Frackers to Stop Counting Barrels, Start Making Profits. Twelve major shareholders in U.S. shale-oil-and-gas producers met this September in a Midtown Manhattan high-rise with a view of Times Square to discuss a common goal, getting those frackers to make money for a change. (Wall Street Journal)

Environment/Sustainability
Climate change already costs us all money, and it's going to get worse. Tuesday evening, Columbia University's Earth Institute hosted a panel that was meant to focus on an issue we're likely to be facing with increasing frequency: the need to move entire communities that are no longer viable due to rising seas or altered weather. (Ars Technica)

Tech Business

Amazon Prime Video now available on Apple TV. Amazon.com Inc and Apple Inc have partnered to bring the Amazon Prime Video app to Apple TV in more than 100 countries, the companies said on Wednesday. (Reuters)
U.S. entrepreneur bets on new Silicon Valley in west France. When Rob Spiro left San Francisco to settle in France with his wife and kid in 2016, the family chose a mid-sized city on France's west coast over Paris' burgeoning start-up scene. (Reuters)
Luxury Brands Win Right to Block Sale of Goods on Amazon in Europe. Luxury brands can restrict retailers from selling their products on web platforms like Amazon.com Inc. and eBay Inc. to protect their image, the European Union's top court ruled Wednesday. (Wall Street Journal)
Smartphone Parts Boost Broadcom's Earnings. Broadcom Ltd. reported higher-than-expected earnings in the most recent quarter as the chip maker looks to convince Qualcomm Inc.'s shareholders to back its $105 billion takeover bid. (Wall Street Journal)
Wal-Mart's New Name: It's Not Just a Store Anymore. The move highlights the company's shift away from building traditional stores toward competing online with rival Amazon.com Inc. (Wall Street Journal)
The smart-speaker war is on. Retailers think this is the holiday season of the smart speaker, with Google, Amazon, and other tech firms spending big on marketing and discounts to get their voice-assistant technology into as many living rooms as possible. (Axios)

ITI Member News

It's Amazon's World-But Do You Want to Live There?. It's 5:30 p.m. on a Saturday and I'm on Day Six of my Amazon diet. An Amazon diet is when you use as many products and services from Amazon as possible and live in an apartment that looks like what would happen if Jeff Bezos's brain threw up. (Wall Street Journal)
Facebook's Oculus gives you a VR room of your own. The social network's VR company is offering a pre-release version of its latest software designed to let you create a unique space in VR. (CNET)
Facebook just made VR better -- by adding Microsoft Windows. Being transported to a virtual world can be fantastic -- until you realize what you've left behind. No email, no instant messages from friends or family, no TV in the background, no streaming tunes, no Tweets or Snaps or Likes. (CNET)
Qualcomm adds security, battery life features to phone chips. Qualcomm Inc on Wednesday revealed new security and battery life features on its latest Snapdragon 845 mobile phone processor, a chip that customarily powers high-end Android-based phones from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and others. (Reuters)
These three companies have made this best workplaces list for 10 consecutive years. Glassdoor released its 10th annual list of the best-reviewed workplaces by employees on Wednesday, and Facebook is ranked No. 1, topping the list for the first time since 2013. (Washington Post)
Amazon and Google are fighting, and that means consumers lose. Two tech giants are in a messy streaming video fight right now, leaving consumers squeezed in the middle. (Washington Post)
Snap, Google, Facebook again dominate list of top iPhone apps. Apple released its list of top iPhone apps for the year and, once again, the list was dominated by titles created by Facebook, Google and Snap. Their apps combined for all of the top seven spots among free iPhone apps followed by Netflix, Spotify and Uber. (Axios)

Today on the Hill

The House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.
The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.m. and begin a period of morning business.
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