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Tech News Roundup - 01/04/2018

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Twitter says Trump's North Korea tweet doesn't violate terms of service. Twitter said on Wednesday that President Trump did not violate the platform's policies against violent threats when he raised the possibility of nuclear war with North Korea in a tweet late Tuesday. (The Hill)

Would Twitter Ever Suspend Trump's Account?. President Trump boastedTuesday evening that he had a "nuclear button" that is "much bigger" and "more powerful" than North Korea's, again prompting fears that an errant tweet could lead to a nuclear conflict. (New York Times)

Online Sex Trafficking Bill Boosted With 60 Senate Backers. A proposal to combat online sex-trafficking has won the backing of 60 U.S. senators, potentially ensuring it would clear procedural hurdles to passage, according to Republican Rob Portman of Ohio and Democrat Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who have been leading supporters of the bill. (Bloomberg)

Congress and White House inch forward in budget talks. Congressional leaders emerged from closed-door talks with Trump administration officials Wednesday claiming progress toward a budget deal but without any breakthroughs to announce - with less than three weeks to go before another government funding deadline. (Politico)

Legislation would allow Californians to donate money to the state in effort to blunt effects of GOP tax bill. Californians might soon be able to make donations to the state in an effort to blunt the effects of the federal tax overhaul recently signed by President Trump. (Los Angeles Times)

Fed Minutes Reveal Uncertainties Over Tax Cuts. Federal Reserve officials in December debated whether looming tax cuts might require them to raise short-term interest rates more aggressively in 2018 than last year, when they lifted borrowing costs three times. (Wall Street Journal)

Companies Are Handing Out Bonuses Thanks to the Tax Law. Is It a Publicity Stunt?. The big corporate tax break that became law last month is great news for companies and their investors. But what about employees? How much of the corporate tax windfall will go to workers via higher wages? (New York Times)

Skyrocketing executive pay packages are about to become more costly for corporate America. For years, lawmakers and regulators have struggled with how to rein in the multimillion-dollar pay packages earned by corporate America's top executives. Despite legislation signed in the 1990s attempting to cap C-suite pay, average salaries have more than doubled over the past 20 years. (Washington Post)

Global Trade

Meet the truckers for NAFTA, whose lives depend on moving all those exported, and imported, goods. In 1956, C.L. Werner left his family farm in Nebraska and sold his car to buy his first truck. Six decades later, he's the executive chairman of one of the nation's largest trucking companies - and has enough pull to dine with President Donald Trump. (Politico Pro)

2018 Administration Priority: Overhauling U.S. Trade Policy. One of President Trump's top priorities for the new year is overhauling U.S. trade policy. Ailsa Chang talks to Wendy Cutler, a former deputy U.S. trade representative under President Obama. (NPR, Audio)

TPP: Could UK really join Pacific trade group?. Britain is reportedly exploring joining the Trans Pacific-Partnership (TPP), as part of efforts to map out its trade future after Brexit. (BBC)

Will 2018 Be the Year of Protectionism? Trump Alone Will Decide. The Trump administration will soon face several major trade decisions that will determine whether the White House adopts the type of protectionist barriers that President Trump campaigned on but that were largely absent during his first year in office. (New York Times)

Artificial Intelligence

AI System Sorts News Articles By Whether or Not They Contain Actual Information. There's a thing in journalism now where news is very often reframed in terms of personal anecdote and-or hot take. In an effort to have something new and clickable to say, we reach for the easiest, closest thing at hand, which is, well, ourselves-our opinions and experiences. (Motherboard)

Google and Intel Beware: China Is Gunning for Dominance in AI Chips. The silicon part of Silicon Valley needs to watch out. Competitors in China think it's finally their turn to shine. (Wall Street Journal)

This Cat Sensed Death. What if Computers Could, Too?. Of the many small humiliations heaped on a young oncologist in his final year of fellowship, perhaps this one carried the oddest bite: A 2-year-old black-and-white cat named Oscar was apparently better than most doctors at predicting when a terminally ill patient was about to die. (New York Times)

ICE is increasing presence in California because of 'sanctuary state' law, says Trump immigration chief. Taking a jab at Gov. Jerry Brown, President Trump's top immigration chief on Wednesday said he was preparing to "significantly increase" his agency's enforcement presence in California because of last year's passage of a landmark "sanctuary state" law. (Los Angeles Times)

Trump May Deport Thousands of Indian H-1B Visa Holders as They Wait for Green Cards. US president Donald Trump's administration is reportedly considering a proposal that could lead to the deportation of thousands of Indians and drastically impact Indian IT business. (NextGov)

Fewer family visas approved as Trump toughens vetting of immigrants: Reuters review. President Donald Trump is ramping up calls on the U.S. Congress to stop legal immigrants from sponsoring extended family members who want to move to the United States, saying so-called "chain migration" poses a threat to national security. (Reuters)

Confusion over Trump's border wall delays spending talks. Senate negotiators say a lack of clarity from President Trump about his plans for a proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is holding up talks to avoid a government shutdown. (The Hill)

Senate Republicans to meet with Trump Thursday on DACA. A group of Senate Republicans are expected to meet with President Trump at the White House on Thursday as they try to get on the same page ahead of a looming fight over immigration. (The Hill)

Senators say they're waiting on White House immigration demands. Key senators involved in negotiations on a key Obama-era immigration program said Wednesday they are still waiting for the White House's list of border security demands. (The Hill)

Immigration Debate Complicates Budget Talks. Congressional leaders emerged Wednesday from a meeting with White House officials without a budget deal, as Democrats intensified their push to reach an immigration agreement as part of the negotiations. (Wall Street Journal)


Verizon, Samsung Will Team Up to Bring Faster 5G to California. Verizon Communications Inc. has chosen Samsung Electronics Co. as a major supplier in the telecom giant's push to offer high speed internet over its wireless network, as the first commercial launches of fifth-generation offerings take shape. (Wall Street Journal)

AT&T sued over layoffs-after promising more investment because of tax cut. AT&T was sued last week by a workers' union that is trying to stop the telco from instituting what it calls a "massive layoff." Thousands of employees are reportedly being laid off by the company, which reported $39.7 billion in revenue and $6.4 billion in operating income last quarter. (Ars Technica)

Activists launch site to track lawmakers' positions on net neutrality. A pro-net neutrality group is launching a new campaign to pressure members of Congress into saving the Federal Communications Commission rules from repeal. (The Hill)

After beating cable lobby, Colorado city moves ahead with muni broadband. The city council in Fort Collins, Colorado, last night voted to move ahead with a municipal fiber broadband network providing gigabit speeds, two months after the cable industry failed to stop the project. (Ars Technica)

AT&T says it will offer 5G wireless in a dozen cities by late 2018. AT&T plans to begin mobile 5G service in a dozen cities later this year, the company said Wednesday, suggesting the next generation of wireless technology will arrive sooner than expected. The move follows the recent ratification of a key 5G wireless standard. (Axios)

Public Sector

Beyond modernization: What's next for federal IT in 2018?. With the New Year here, the federal IT community is trying to anticipate what's going to come next. While IT modernization will remain the focal point in 2018, there's a lot more than that going on within the federal government. (Fed Scoop)

GSA's $50 Billion IT Contract Delayed Again. The $50 billion Alliant 2 IT contract is again on hold following a third series of bid protests, this time in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. (Next Gov)

Zielinski eyes the evolution of IT modernization in 2018. Zielinski spoke to FedScoop about the new role and what 2018 holds in store for IT modernization. (Fed Scoop)

SEC sets the stage for an IT overhaul. The Securities Exchange Commission is gearing up to evaluate bids for a "streamlined, common, and flexible" contract that will revamp how it procures integrated IT services across the agency. (Fed Scoop)

Data Breach Affected More Than 240,000 Homeland Security Workers, IG Confirms. Personal information about more than 247,000 Homeland Security Department employees and other people connected with the agency was compromised in 2014, the department's internal auditor said Wednesday. (Next Gov)

Will 2018 be the year for blockchain for government?. While 2017 was the year everyone in government talked about blockchain, 2018 may finally mark the year of action. (Federal Computer Week)

The IT Workforce: Pivoting Toward the Cloud. Is the approaching public-sector retirement boom a silver tsunami or more of a minor swell? Opinions ran the gamut when we talked to state chief information officers at the annual NASCIO conference in Austin last October. (Government Technology)

Internet of Things

BlackBerry, Baidu Partner to Work on Driverless Car Software. BlackBerry Ltd.'s efforts to push into self-driving cars took a new step forward as the former smartphone maker signed a deal with Chinese internet giant Baidu Inc. to work together on automotive software. (Bloomberg)

Swedish startup Einride prepares to drop the T-Pod at Detroit. Einride is bringing its dream of silent, autonomous trucks to the Detroit Auto Show. (CNET)

Alexa could be our next crime fighter. A UK police force is exploring ways to let residents report crimes on their Amazon Echo speakers. (CNET)

Competing with the Giants in Race to Build Self-Driving Cars. Before the car can drive without a human, one must first get behind the wheel. (New York Times)

Security flaws put virtually all phones, computers at risk. Security researchers on Wednesday disclosed a set of security flaws that they said could let hackers steal sensitive information from nearly every modern computing device containing chips from Intel Corp, Advanced Micro Devices Inc and ARM Holdings. (Reuters)

Researchers Discover Two Major Flaws in the World's Computers. Computer security experts have discovered two major security flaws in the microprocessors inside nearly all of the world's computers. (New York Times)

How tech giants are dealing with a massive chip vulnerability. The entire tech industry is scrambling to create software patches that close a massive security hole due to a decade-long flaw in how nearly all modern chips are designed. (Axios)

Intel doesn't expect massive vulnerability to hit bottom line. Intel said Wednesday that it doesn't expect a significant financial impact from a just-disclosed security vulnerability affecting nearly all modern chips. (Axios)

Massive chip flaw not limited to Intel. A soon-to-be-disclosed and massive chip flaw affects more than just Intel chips, according to both sources familiar with the issue and Intel itself. (Axios)

What you need to know about the massive chip security flaw. A nasty series of vulnerabilities affecting decades of chip processors from Intel and others is the root of the broadest security hole to date, affecting nearly all computers, smartphones and servers. (Axios)

Compliance Isn't Security-But It Helps. It is all too easy for government IT professionals to confuse compliance with security, but those two concepts are not necessarily equal. For instance, agency IT teams can diligently follow the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, checking off all of the necessary boxes comprising the core structure and reporting results as required, and still fail to be truly secure. (Next Gov)

For CES 2018, security of connected devices still a core fear. Internet-connected devices will be all the rage at CES, but security experts see the trend setting us up for future attacks. (CNET)


Revised gender-pay lawsuit faults Google for asking hires about their prior salaries. A revised gender-pay lawsuit seeking class-action status against Google faults the online search giant for asking new hires about their prior salaries, a practice that is now banned in California. (Associated Press)

The Real Future of Work. In 2013, Diana Borland and 129 of her colleagues filed into an auditorium at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Borland had worked there for the past 13 years as a medical transcriptionist, typing up doctors' audio recordings into written reports. The hospital occasionally held meetings in the auditorium, so it seemed like any other morning. (Politico)

Drillers Are Optimistic As U.S. Oil Production Booms. Oil prices have edged up over the last few years and now domestic drilling is booming. The U.S. is expected to break oil production records set in the 1970s. (NPR)

Oil hits highest in 2-1/2 years on Iran tensions, economic data. Oil prices rose about 2 percent on Wednesday to the highest in 2-1/2 years, with a sixth day of unrest in OPEC member Iran and strong economic data from the United States and Germany spurring buying. (Reuters)


January may be a make-or-break month for the U.S. solar business. The federal government faces two deadlines in January that could have far-reaching ramifications on the U.S. solar industry if they do not go industry's way. (Washington Post)

Students redesign Ford's iconic F-150 for the future of driving. Ford's F-Series pickups are not just America's best-selling trucks-they are America's best-selling vehicle, and have been for decades. (Wired)

New electric cars: Love it or lease it?. An overwhelming majority of EV buyers are choosing to lease their cars rather than buy them. But why? (CNET)

Norway powers ahead (electrically): over half new car sales now electric or hybrid. Sales of electric and hybrid cars rose above half of new registrations in Norway in 2017, a record aided by generous subsidies that extended the country's lead in shifting from fossil-fuel engines, data showed on Wednesday. (Reuters)

Italian grid operator Snam shows way by converting car fleet to natural gas. Italian gas grid company Snam has launched a 33 million euro ($40 million) tender to convert its car fleet to natural gas in a sign of its commitment to develop gas fuelling stations in the country. (Reuters)

Tech Business
iPhone sales could dip by 16M units, thanks to battery snafu. About 10 percent of Apple's iPhone users would rather switch batteries than pony up for a new phone, a financial analyst says. (CNET)

Alphabet's Google explores sale of restaurant reviewer Zagat: sources. Alphabet Inc's Google is exploring a potential sale of Zagat, the U.S. restaurant review guide which the search giant bought for $151 million in 2011, people familiar with the matter said. (Reuters)

Amazon, Google cut speaker prices in market share contest: analysts. Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google both discounted their virtual assistant speakers so deeply over the holiday shopping season that they likely lost a few dollars per unit, highlighting a sharply different strategy from Apple Inc as it prepares its HomePod speaker, analysts said. (Reuters)

The Cashless Society Has Arrived- Only It's in China. Soliciting handouts near a grocery store, Zhao Shenji, a slender man with shorn hair, made giving easy for Beijing residents accustomed to relying on their smartphones. (Wall Street Journal)

The Big Tech Trends to Follow at CES 2018. Imagine this: When you leave the house, your air conditioner and lights turn off automatically. Then when a motion sensor detects a person in the house, like your house cleaner, it sends an alert to your phone. When you arrive home, a camera recognizes who you are and the door automatically unlocks. (New York Times)

Spotify makes confidential filing for U.S. IPO: source. Music streaming service Spotify has filed confidentially with U.S. regulators for an initial public offering and is targeting a direct listing in the first half of 2018 that would allow some longtime investors to cash out, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

ITI Member News

SEC mixes message on Apple shareholder proposals, activists say. Apple Inc was allowed to disregard one activist shareholder proposal on greenhouse gas emissions but told to hold a vote on another concerning human rights issues, in closely watched securities rulings that tested new guidance from U.S regulators. (Reuters)
Brazilian agency requires Apple to inform consumers on batteries. A Brazilian state agency responsible for consumer issues notified Apple Inc on Wednesday that it must explain how Brazilian owners of iPhones will be able to buy battery replacements at lower prices. (Reuters)

Today on the Hill

The House is not in session today.
The Senate will convene at 11:00 a.m. and proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the nomination of Walter David Counts III, of Texas, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Texas.
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