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Tech News Roundup - 12/18/2017

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12/18/2017

Key Issues

Taxes

The Winners and Losers in the Tax Bill. President Trump has called the $1.5 trillion tax cut that Republican lawmakers are on the verge of passing a Christmas present for the entire nation. (New York Times)

Republicans' $1.5 Trillion Tax Plan Appears on Track to Pass Next Week. Republican lawmakers appeared to secure enough votes on Friday to pass the most sweeping tax overhaul in decades, putting them on the cusp of their first significant legislative victory as leaders geared up to pass a $1.5 trillion tax cut along party lines and send it to President Trump by Christmas. (New York Times)

CHART: How The New Version Of The Republican Tax Bill Would Affect You. On Friday evening, congressional Republicans released the final version of their tax overhaul plan. (NPR)

Charities' Fear Under Tax Bill: Less Money to Help the Needy. Even before congressional Republicans finalized their tax bill, charities were worried. (New York Times)

A Middle-Class Tax Cut? Americans Aren't Buying It. Republican congressional leaders say their tax overhaul would raise wages, accelerate economic growth and give middle-class families a badly needed tax cut. They are having a hard time convincing Americans of those claims. (New York Times)

Tax Bill Largely Preserves Incentives for Wind and Solar Power. The final text of the Republican tax bill made public Friday largely preserves key tax credits for wind and solar power and electric vehicles, reversing language in earlier versions that could have slowed the growth of renewable energy across the United States. (New York Times)

Tax Bill Would Curb Breaks for Sexual Abuse Settlements. The sexual misconduct allegations against the former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein - and the confidential settlements arising from those accusations - have prompted a provision in the final tax bill that aims to stem the use of nondisclosure agreements. (New York Times)

File Your Taxes on a Postcard? A G.O.P. Promise Marked Undeliverable. The Republican tax bill does not pass the postcard test. (New York Times)

GOP Releases Final Tax Bill As Rubio, Corker Boost Path To Christmas Passage. Congressional Republicans released a final draft of their tax bill Friday. With newfound support from two wavering senators, lawmakers appear to be on track to pass the measure and deliver it to President Trump for his signature by Christmas. (New York Times)

GOP Tax Bill Would Set Up Years of Challenges. Republicans are on the cusp this week of passing a historic overhaul of the U.S. tax system but might also be ushering in a new period of instability in the tax code, because the plan is advancing without bipartisan support and with expiration dates that guarantee it will be revisited for years. (Wall Street Journal)

The essential tradeoff in the Republican tax bill, in one chart. Republicans are paying for a permanent cut for corporations with an under-the-radar tax increase on individuals. (Washington Post)

GOP, with tax bill finalized, makes its case to a skeptical public. Republicans, confident they've found the votes to pass a massive tax overhaul, entered the next phase of their effort Sunday, attempting to sell the plan to a public that polling suggests is deeply skeptical. (Washington Post)

Here's what the GOP's proposal to overhaul the tax code means for schools, students and parents. Republicans backed away from some of the most controversial education proposals in their finalized tax bill Friday, leaving in place a school supply deduction for teachers and breaks for student borrowers while also declining to tax tuition benefits, a prospect that had infuriated graduate students. (Washington Post)

The winners and losers in the GOP tax plan. Every tax bill yields winners and losers. The tax overhaul legislation Republicans are expected to release Friday afternoon, H.R. 1 (115), is no different. Based on what's known about the bill now, here's how it breaks down. (Politico Pro)

How Republicans will pay for tax cuts. The ways that Republicans hope to pay for tax cuts in their tax reform bill are coming into focus. (Politico Pro)

Historic tax reform vote lined up with GOP bill finalized. Republicans unveiled on Friday their final, compromise plan to rewrite the tax code, putting them on the brink of a historic victory in Congress that's sure to reverberate into next year's elections. (Politico Pro)

Why Democrats failed to tank tax reform. The tax fight has all the ingredients that helped Democrats kill Obamacare repeal: party unity on Capitol Hill, energized liberal activists and legislation that polls in the toilet. But this time it doesn't appear to be enough. (Politico Pro)

Sanders: Corporate taxes would go back up if Democrats retake Senate. Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sunday that corporate taxes would likely roll back up if Democrats retake control of the Senate in the 2018 midterm elections.

U.S. taxpayers rush to claim deductions under threat from tax bill. Financial advisers and accountants are working overtime as many U.S. taxpayers scramble to pay the rest of their 2017 taxes before Jan. 1 when the proposed Republican tax overhaul would sharply cut the amount they can deduct on federal tax bills. (Reuters)

Tech Politics

For Russian 'Trolls,' Instagram's Pictures Can Spread Wider Than Words. The enduring popularity of a provocative post on Instagram, created by a company with connections to the Kremlin, demonstrates why fighting propaganda on social media will be an uphill battle. (New York Times)

Congress wants to set the stage for AI regs. A bipartisan group in Congress wants to build a resource to guide policymakers as they confront the mammoth challenge of regulating artificial intelligence. (Federal Computer Week)

Privacy

Senators urge McConnell: Renew surveillance tools 'the right way'. A bipartisan group of 10 Senators is urging leadership to not jam through reauthorization of warrantless surveillance programs by tacking it on to a must-pass continuing resolution that keeps the government open. (Politico Pro)

Netflix and Spotify Ask: Can Data Mining Make for Cute Ads?. Last week, Netflix decided to have some holiday fun courtesy of its user data. So the streaming service took to Twitter to pose the question, "To the 53 people who've watched A Christmas Prince every day for the past 18 days: Who hurt you?" (New York Times)

Global Trade

Governors Look to Save Nafta Amid Washington's Tough Talk. As the Trump administration continues to cast doubt on the future viability of the North American Free Trade Agreement, American business leaders, members of Congress and governors have paraded into the White House to warn about the economic dangers of unraveling the pact. (New York Times)

U.K.'s Next Brexit Agony: What Sort of Trade Deal?. With European Union leaders having agreed at a summit meeting last week to start talks on trade ties after Britain withdraws from the bloc, the country is finally starting to think about what it wants, and that is creating a whole new set of problems. (New York Times)

This One Weird Tax Trick Could Shrink the Trade Deficit. Besides tax reform, one of President Donald Trump's most cherished goals is reducing the gaping U.S. trade deficit. (Wall Street Journal)

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is killing the uncanny valley and our grasp on reality. There's a revolution afoot, and you will know it by the stripes. (Wired)

Immigration

Congress Faces Crunch Time on Spending, Immigration. Congress begins its likely final week of 2017 with lawmakers from both parties forced to grapple with tough questions they have deferred all year, including immigration and the federal budget. (Wall Street Journal)

Antitrust

U.S. Justice Department, AT&T settlement talks failed: court filing. The U.S. Department of Justice and AT&T Inc have held unsuccessful settlement talks over the wireless and pay-TV company's bid to buy movie and TV show maker Time Warner Inc, the two sides said in a court filing on Friday. (Reuters)

Broadband/Communications

What's Next After the Repeal of Net Neutrality. The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to discard so-called net neutrality rules that prevented broadband providers from slowing sites or demanding payments from them for fast delivery. (New York Times)

Right and Left React to the F.C.C.'s Vote on Net Neutrality Rule. The political news cycle is fast, and keeping up can be overwhelming. Trying to find differing perspectives worth your time is even harder. That's why we have scoured the internet for political writing from the right and left that you might not have seen. (New York Times)

The next front in the net neutrality war: Feds versus the states. States like Washington and New York are gearing up to fight the FCC's recent repeal. (Recode)

Do you really have a choice of internet providers?. With the repeal of net neutrality rules that make internet service providers treat all traffic equally, it could be time to switch your ISP. But your options are limited by where you live. (Recode)

U.S. internet rule change leaves major streaming companies unscathed for now. Behind your video stream of a hit like "Stranger Things" is a complicated array of technology and business relationships that will not change very much, at least in the short term, as a result of this week's repeal of U.S. regulations on internet traffic, industry insiders say. (Reuters)

Exclusive: FCC plans to fine Sinclair $13.3 million over undisclosed commercials. The Federal Communications Commission plans to fine Sinclair Broadcasting Corp $13.3 million after it failed to properly disclose that paid programming that aired on local TV stations was sponsored by a cancer institute, three people briefed on the matter told Reuters. (Reuters)

Schumer promises a Senate vote on overturning FCC's net neutrality repeal. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Friday that he intends to force a vote on a bill that would preserve Obama-era net neutrality rules, which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided to repeal this week. (The Hill)

How Will the Web Look Without Net Neutrality? We Travel Into the Future to Find Out. There's a lot of talk about net neutrality these days. (Wall Street Journal)

Get Ready for a Faster, Pricier and More Confusing Internet. The Federal Communications Commission's abandonment of net-neutrality regulations-which had promised retribution for companies that didn't treat all internet traffic the same-only reinforces trends that have been in motion for years: Alliances are being forged and dissolved, and companies once known as giants are being swallowed up by even bigger behemoths. (Wall Street Journal)

Energy

Coal still isn't expected to make a lasting comeback. White House regulatory rollbacks and higher natural gas prices have brightened the mood of the U.S. coal industry, but it still faces major headwinds and production is not heading for a multi-year resurgence, the International Energy Agency said in its just-released five-year market report. (Axios)

The clumsy way Congress picks energy winners. Congress is doubling down on the least efficient and most expensive way to advance energy and climate policy: through a multi-billion dollar maze of tax subsidies. (Axios)

Environment/Sustainability

E.P.A. Employees Spoke Out. Then Came Scrutiny of Their Email. One Environmental Protection Agency employee spoke up at a private lunch held near the agency headquarters, saying she feared the nation might be headed toward an "environmental catastrophe." (New York Times)

How To Survive Climate Change? Clues Are Buried In The Arctic. We're on the Bering Land Bridge, where woolly mammoths roamed 20,000 years ago. Today, the land is covered in bright green grass and miniature shrubs. (New York Times)

Chinese Electric-Car Startup NIO Undercuts Tesla With Debut Model. Chinese electric-car maker NIO has launched sales of its first vehicle three years after the company was founded, undercutting the price of a rival model from Tesla Inc. (Bloomberg)

Investors Are Pushing Big Business to Get in Line With the Paris Agreement. Investors managing more than US $26.3 trillion announced this week they are going to insist the world's 100 largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters do their part in the transition to a low-carbon economy to meet climate change targets set by the Paris Agreement. (Motherboard)

Tech Business
A New Breed Drives the Deal-Making Frenzy at Computer Chip Firms. The industry is now dominated by an aggressive set of chief executives who are quicker to push big acquisitions, slash costs and drive up profits. (New York Times)

A Rainmaker Seeks to Grow His Firm at a Time of Big Media and Tech Deals. Five years ago, the investment banker Aryeh B. Bourkoff, on his own after having left UBS, hitched a ride on the private plane of the billionaire John C. Malone and pitched a deal: Now was the time for the mogul to get back into the telecommunications business. (New York Times)

ITI Member News

Facebook Conceded It Might Make You Feel Bad. Here's How to Interpret That. Facebook published a quietly groundbreaking admission on Friday. Social media, the company said in a blog post, can often make you feel good - but sometimes it can also make you feel bad. (New York Times)
Why is Facebook admitting that social networks can be bad for our health?. Facebook did something surprising: It admitted, in a corporate blog post yesterday, that using social media can leave people feeling crummy. (Recode)
Twitter's new rules could result in a major purge of alt-right accounts. Twitter will begin enforcing new rules tomorrow that will suspend accounts affiliated with hate groups "on and off the platform" - a policy that could lead to a crack down on some alt-right users. (Recode)
Facebook defends itself against critics of social media. Facebook Inc on Friday struck back against scientific researchers and tech industry insiders who have criticized the world's biggest social media network and its competitors for transforming how people behave and express emotion. (Reuters)
Equinix to buy Australia's Metronode data center group for $791 million. U.S. data center group Equinix Inc on Monday said it was buying Australian data center company Metronode from the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan in an all-cash deal worth A$1.035 billion ($791.15 million). (Reuters)
Amazon to pay 100 million euros to settle Italy tax dispute. Italy's tax authority said on Friday it had reached an agreement with e-commerce giant Amazon to settle outstanding tax claims covering the period 2011-2015. (Reuters)
Google AI Researcher Accused of Sexual Harassment. Sexual harassment accusations have hit another corner of the tech industry, with allegations involving prominent artificial intelligence researchers, including one at Google, a leader in the field. (Bloomberg)
Oracle to Buy Australian Software Maker Aconex. Oracle Corp. has struck a $1.2 billion deal to buy an Australian project-management software provider, the latest leg in its push to take on Amazon.com Inc. and others in selling cloud-computing services. (Wall Street Journal)
Scoop: Amazon in talks to buy cybersecurity startup Sqrrl. Amazon is in advanced talks to acquire Sqrrl, a Massachusetts-based cybersecurity software company whose founders used to work for the NSA, Axios has learned. (Axios)
Facebook is clamping down on posts that ask people for Likes or shares. Facebook is cracking down on a new type of clickbait: Posts that ask people to Like or share or comment to goose engagement numbers, what Facebook is calling "engagement bait." (Recode)
France files complaint against Amazon for abuse of dominant position: paper. The French government has filed a complaint with the Paris Commerce Court against e-commerce company Amazon for abusing its dominant position with some suppliers, newspaper Le Parsien said on Monday. (Reuters)

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 nominations of J. Paul Compton, Jr. to be General Counsel of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Owen West to be an Assistant Secretary of Defense.

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