Skip to main content

Tech News Roundup - 12/11/2017

Tech News Roundup

Go Back

Key Issues


Focus on Shareholders Holds Back U.S. Wage Growth. Corporate America's shareholder-first ethos is holding back wage growth. The United States economy added a healthy 228,000 jobs in November, which was more than expected, but wage growth remained tepid. (New York Times)

Tax Plans May Give Your Co-Worker a Better Deal Than You. In most places, a dollar is a dollar. But in the tax code envisioned by Republicans, the amount you make may be less important than how you make it. (New York Times)

Tax Bill Favors Adding Robots Over Workers, Critics Say. Republicans call their tax bill the Tax Cut and Jobs Act. But critics say maybe it should have been named the Tax Cut and Robots Act. (NPR)

Tax-loss selling to pressure 2017's losers in December. Stocks that have been lackluster so far in 2017 are unlikely to see their fortunes reversed in the final month of the year, as investors engage in tax-harvesting practices before the new year. (Reuters)

Why these researchers think most Americans could end up losing under the GOP tax plan. If President Trump and congressional Republicans end up paying for their proposed $1.4 trillion tax cut by reducing spending or raising taxes later on, most Americans making less than $86,000 would be worse off, according to a new report by the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank. (Washington Post)

As tax plan gained steam, GOP lost focus on the middle class. The GOP tax plan on the cusp of becoming law diverges wildly from the promises President Trump and top advisers said they would deliver for the middle class - an evolution that shows how traditional Republican orthodoxy swamped Trump's distinctive brand of economic populism as it moved through Washington. (Washington Post)

'Very, very scary': 8.8 million Americans face big tax hike if Republicans scrap the medical deduction. Anne Hammer is one of millions of elderly Americans who could face a substantial tax hike in 2018 depending on the final negotiations over the Republican tax bill. (Washington Post)

Trump's casual tax comments scald his Hill allies, again. Oops, President Donald Trump did it again. (Politico Pro)

The Taxman Cometh: Senate Bill's Marginal Rates Could Top 100% for Some. Some high-income business owners could face marginal tax rates exceeding 100% under the Senate's tax bill, far beyond the listed rates in the Republican plan. (Wall Street Journal)

Precision sacrificed for speed as GOP rushes ahead on taxes. Republicans are moving their tax plan toward final passage at stunning speed, blowing past Democrats before they've had time to fully mobilize against it but leaving the measure vulnerable to the types of expensive problems popping up in their massive and complex plan. (Washington Post)

How health insurers would benefit from tax reform. Large health insurance companies would be among the biggest winners under Republicans' tax overhaul bill. Nearly all of their business is based in the U.S. and they consequently pay close to the full 35% corporate tax rate. (Axios)

Republicans fret over tax bill's unpopularity. Republican lawmakers are concerned about how their tax bill is being viewed by the public and say they need to do a better job of selling it to middle-class and low-income voters. (The Hill)

Small Investors Face Steeper Tax Bill Under Senate Proposal. A little-discussed provision in the Senate tax bill could lead to a higher tax bill for millions of small investors and cause many to unload stocks before year-end to avoid those costs. (Wall Street Journal)

Tech Politics
Tech's new D.C. partner: Charles Koch. The tech industry has found a surprising new ally in its effort to shape public policy in Washington: the 82-year-old libertarian billionaire Charles Koch. (Politico Pro)

Tech Companies' Transparency Efforts May Be Inadvertently Causing More Censorship. In 2002, two Chinese men were detained for their dissident activities online. The first, Wang Xiaoning, had used email and Yahoo forums to spread pro-democracy messages, a crime for which he served ten years. The second, a journalist called Shi Tao, was convicted of providing state secrets to overseas entities and served eight years. (Motherboard)

Former Facebook exec says social media is ripping apart society. Another former Facebook executive has spoken out about the harm the social network is doing to civil society around the world. Chamath Palihapitiya, who joined Facebook in 2007 and became its vice president for user growth, said he feels "tremendous guilt" about the company he helped make. (The Verge)

Global Trade

EU agrees biggest free trade deal with Japan. The European Union and Japan have agreed terms for a free trade deal set to create the world's biggest open economic area. (BBC)

Once the W.T.O.'s Biggest Supporter, U.S. Is Its Biggest Skeptic. As officials from the 164 countries in the World Trade Organization gather in Buenos Aires this week for their first major meeting in two years, they will be watching to see whether the United States, once the group's biggest advocate, is seeking to subvert it. (New York Times)

WTO chair: U.S. 'willing to engage' at trade conference. The government of President Donald Trump will not block progress at the 11th WTO ministerial conference starting Sunday here in the Argentinian capital, chair Susana Malcorra told POLITICO in an interview. (Politico Pro)

POLITICO Pro Q&A: Susana Malcorra, chair of the 11th WTO ministerial conference. Reaffirming and strengthening the global trade order in the era of U.S. President Donald Trump are two key priorities as trade ministers from all over the world come together for a four-day conference in South America on Sunday, the chair of the meeting Susana Malcorra says. (Politico Pro)

From Geneva to Doha and Buenos Aires: Trade talk milestones. Memories of dramatic late-night negotiations, painful setbacks and sometimes surprising successes will be on the minds of trade ministers from 164 WTO member countries Sunday when they launch their 11th ministerial conference in this South American capital. (Politico Pro)

Protectionism denounced as WTO conference begins. WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo on Sunday forcefully denounced protectionism - the threat of which he said "remains ever-present" - and noted that the world "so badly needs champions of global trade." (Politico Pro)

EU takes over global trade stage. The international trading system created by the U.S. after the Second World War has a new leader - the European Union. (Politico Pro)

As Brexit Looms, Paris Tries a Business Makeover. The phone rings a lot at Paris Region Entreprises, a one-stop shop for companies deciding whether to move employees to the City of Light. Typically, callers ask about visas and minutiae of employment law. But not long ago, an executive from Japan called with a stumper: Where, he asked, are the dancing clubs? (New York Times)

Garrett Ex-Im appointment in doubt as vote approaches. Former Rep. Scott Garrett hasn't locked down the backing he needs to be confirmed as the head of the Export-Import Bank, with a critical Senate committee vote expected soon. (Politico Pro)

Montreal in mind: What's at stake in this week's NAFTA talks. This week's NAFTA talks in Washington, D.C., give negotiators a chance to gain some badly needed breathing room and put a wrap on a handful of chapters as a down payment for next month's all-important sixth round. (Politico Pro)

Artificial Intelligence
Meet Your New Boss: An Algorithm. Uber Technologies Inc. and other pioneers of the so-called gig economy became some of the world's most valuable private companies by using apps and algorithms to hand out tasks to an army of self-employed workers. (Wall Street Journal)


Sparks fly over Trump tweets at travel ban court arguments. Among all the legal and constitutional arguments a federal appeals court considered Friday about President Donald Trump's latest travel ban, the judges turned again and again to the same subject: the president's provocative tweets about Muslims. (Politico Pro)

Dems push for stricter antitrust rules amid merger boom. Democrats are ramping up their attacks on major corporate mergers after a series of mega-deals from corporate giants. (The Hill)

Meet the judge overseeing the trial to block AT&T's merger with Time Warner. Lawyers from the Justice Department and AT&T gathered in a small Washington courtroom Thursday to meet the judge who will oversee their legal battle, one of the biggest antitrust cases in decades. (Washington Post)

AT&T's courtroom conundrum: How to avoid paying an extra $500 million to Time Warner. On March 19, AT&T and the Justice Department are expected to head to court to decide the future of Time Warner in what could be a historic legal showdown over a massive $85 billion merger. (Washington Post)

Net Neutrality's Holes in Europe May Offer Peek at Future in U.S. Last spring, Swedes got a tantalizing offer: If they subscribed to Sweden's biggest telecom provider, Telia Company AB, they could have unlimited access on their mobile phones to Facebook, Spotify, Instagram and other blockbuster apps. (New York Times)

Trump jokes, Verizon shilling and the end of the Internet: Ajit Pai roasts himself at event. As attendees of the telecom industry's premier social gathering were escaping the 44-degree chill and entering the Washington Hilton, several dozen net-neutrality protesters chanted outside. Across the street, on an exterior wall of the Courtyard Marriott, the activists projected in giant lettering, "No Slow Lanes. Open & Equal Internet For All." (Washington Post)

FCC must investigate fraud before voting on net neutrality. When Netflix debuted the second season of Stranger Things on October 27, more than 15 million people watched the first episode in the following three days. But the strangest thing about Stranger Things? Its early audience was bigger than some of this year's World Series games. (Wired)

Nelson staffer says infrastructure package should include direct funding for broadband. A top staff member for Senate Commerce top Democrat Bill Nelson of Florida pushed back against the Trump administration's announcement Thursday that its infrastructure proposal will likely lack funding dedicated to broadband deployment. (Politico Pro)

Mayors, CWA slam net neutrality rollback as Pai cites small ISP support. A slew of local officials and mayors and a union that represents telecom workers joined the opposition to the FCC's planned net neutrality repeal. (Politico Pro)

Pai faces backlash for rejecting New York AG's net neutrality request. The offices of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel lashed out today at FCC Chairman Ajit Pai for a letter his general counsel sent Schneiderman dismissing concerns about fake net neutrality comments and citing consumer privacy as explanation for refusing to help Schneiderman as he probes the issue. (Politico Pro)

Mobile-Wireless Market Might Be Our Post Net-Neutrality World. With the rules governing internet services set to be rolled back this week, service providers and their detractors are envisioning new models that could translate into a wider range of fees-both lower and higher. (Wall Street Journal)

Internet of Things

IT companies press Pentagon to pick more than one winner in cloud competition. A consortium of industry groups is concerned that the Pentagon could issue a single contract for Internet cloud computing services, putting one company in a dominant position to lock out competitors that might develop new innovations in the future. (Washington Post)

Apple executive reveals more of its self-driving technology. A theme emerged when Apple's director of artificial intelligence research outlined results from several of the company's recent AI projects on the sidelines of a major conference Friday. (Wired)

Public Sector

Essye Miller named acting DOD CIO. Essye Miller is now the Defense Department's acting CIO, the agency has confirmed. (Federal Computer Week)

Kentucky's New CIO: A Retired Colonel With Federal-Level IT Expertise. After roughly two years without a designated chief information officer, Kentucky has tapped a recently retired U.S. Army veteran with federal-level information technology (IT) experience as its top tech official. (Government Technology)

NGA Launches Bold Recruitment Plan to Hire Silicon Valley's Best. Attention Silicon Valley, Boston, Austin and other tech hubs across the country: One of the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies wants your best and brightest tech talent, and it's making a game-changing strategic play to get them. (NextGov)

Apple HomeKit flaw left smart gadgets vulnerable. Apple has fixed a security flaw in its HomeKit system that could have let unauthorised people control smart home gadgets such as door locks and lights. (BBC)


The First Women in Tech Didn't Leave-Men Pushed Them Out. Sexism in the tech industry is as old as the tech industry itself. (Wall Street Journal)

Mine the Gap: More Women Embrace Mining Careers. Companies' efforts to diversify their workforces and advances in technology mean more women are heading to remote mines. (Wall Street Journal)

Facebook Offers Its Harassment Policy as a Guide for Tech Firms. Facebook is making public its internal sexual harassment policy, including a strongly worded clause that protects employees who report misconduct. (Bloomberg)

Fired Tech Workers Turn to Chatbots for Counseling. Made redundant by automation, thousands of workers are embracing the convenience, anonymity and affordability of online therapy. (Bloomberg)

Can Parents 'Robot-Proof' Their Child's Job Future?. Like a lot of children, my sons, Toby, 7, and Anton, 4, are obsessed with robots. In the children's books they devour at bedtime, happy, helpful robots pop up more often than even dragons or dinosaurs. The other day I asked Toby why children like robots so much. (New York Times)

An American energy plan straight from coal country. Energy Secretary Rick Perry had been in office less than four weeks when he took a meeting from a coal magnate who had an urgent request. (Washington Post)


Under Trump, E.P.A. Has Slowed Actions Against Polluters, and Put Limits on Enforcement Officers. The highway billboard at the entrance to town still displays a giant campaign photograph of President Trump, who handily won the election across industrial Ohio. But a revolt is brewing here in East Liverpool over Mr. Trump's move to slow down the federal government's policing of air and water pollution. (New York Times)
The dirty secret of the world's plan to avert climate disaster. On the eve of releasing a major report, the United Nation's climate change panel appeared to be touting an untried technology as key to keeping planetary temperatures at safe levels. (Wired)
Governor Brown criticizes President Trump for climate change position as California burns. California Governor Jerry Brown says President Trump is ignoring the facts of global warming. (CBS News)

Tech Business
Apple Said to Be Acquiring Shazam, the Song Identifying App. A decade ago, Apple's iPhone helped make a music-tech star out of Shazam, the app that, almost like magic, could identify a song just by hearing a few seconds of it. (New York Times)
How Amazon Picks Its Seemingly Random Deals of the Day. Independent sellers of everything from coffee pots to pet accessories contribute about 70% of sales, analysts say. (Wall Street Journal)

ITI Member News

Apple's Ive returns to helm of design teams. Apple Inc Chief Design Officer Jony Ive is returning to day-to-day management of the company's design teams after handing off managerial duties two years ago to focus on other projects, Apple told Reuters on Friday. (Reuters)
Tracking Dolphins With Algorithms You Might Find on Facebook. Researchers developed an algorithm that analyzed recordings of millions of dolphin clicks gathered using underwater sensors in the Gulf of Mexico. (New York Times)
#NoRussiaNoGames: Twitter 'bots' boost Russian backlash against Olympic ban. What began as a grassroots online campaign featuring a schoolboy has grown into a mass hashtag protest against Russia's exclusion from the Winter Olympics - backed by what appear to be fake Twitter accounts and users connected to past pro-Kremlin causes. (Reuters)

Amazon Gets Help From State AG in Marketplace Fraud Fight. Inc. is getting help from its home state's attorney general to clean up fraud on its online marketplace that attracts more than 300 million global shoppers. (Bloomberg)

Nokia's COO quits after eight months in the job. Nokia said its chief operating officer will leave the telecom network equipment maker, which is struggling in the face of a shrinking market and tough competition, after just eight months in the job. (Reuters)
Share this News Roundup on: