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Tech News Roundup - 01/08/2018

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Many H-1B holders could be denied certain extensions under draft White House plan. The Trump administration is working on plans to limit extensions of H-1B visas, a move that would affect hundreds of thousands of foreigners working in the United States, a source briefed on the plans told The Chronicle. (ITI's Dean Garfield Quoted, San Francisco Chronicle)
DHS may end H-1B extensions for workers with pending green cards. The Department of Homeland Security may end a practice that allows H-1B visas to be extended while the holder's green card is pending, two tech industry sources familiar with the process tell Axios. (ITI's Dean Garfield Quoted, Axios)
DHS May End H-1B Visa Extensions for Those Waiting on Green Cards. The Department of Homeland Security could end a rule in which workers that are in the country on H-1B visas are allowed extensions on those visas while their green cards are pending, Axios reported on Friday. (ITI Dean Garfield Quoted, Newsmax)
In next round of budget talks, 'dreamers' are set to dominate. With a potential government shutdown less than two weeks away, congressional leaders and the White House will meet this week to discuss ways to end an impasse over the legal status of young immigrants, which has become a primary obstacle to a spending deal. (Washington Post)
Durbin warns of shutdown over Trump's immigration demands. A top Senate Democrat trying to hammer out a deal to protect hundreds of thousands of so-called DREAMers trashed a White House border security plan on Friday, while warning that Washington is headed toward a government shutdown over the issue. (Politico Pro)
Inside the faltering DREAMer talks. Congressional negotiators and the White House are publicly touting progress toward a deal to shield hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation. But behind the scenes, Democrats and Republicans appear to be struggling more than ever on a plan that can earn President Donald Trump's signature and bipartisan backing from Capitol Hill. (Politico Pro)
China Unveils New Visa Program To Attract 'High-End' Foreigners. If you are a scientist, entrepreneur or a Nobel laureate, you might have a future as an expatriate in China. (NPR)
Refugee Admissions to U.S. Off to Slow Start in Fiscal Year 2018. The U.S. admitted about 5,000 refugees in the first three months of fiscal year 2018, far below similar periods in recent years, as the Trump administration implemented tougher screening and all but halted admissions from parts of the world that generate large numbers of refugees. (Wall Street Journal)
Salvadoran Immigrants Await Trump Administration's Decision on Status. The Trump administration has until Monday to decide whether some 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants allowed to live and work in the U.S. since 2001 may stay in the country under protections that were meant to be temporary. (Wall Street Journal)
Tech Politics

Without Naming Trump, Twitter Says It Won't Block World Leaders. For more than a year, Twitter has faced censure for allowing President Trump to use its service to say whatever he wants. And for more than a year, the company has not addressed the criticism definitively. (New York Times)

How to curb Silicon Valley power - even with weak anti-trust laws. Technology companies with unprecedented power to sway consumers and move markets have done the unthinkable: They've made trust-busting sound like a good idea again. (Wired)

Is Facebook preparing to open up on fake news?. After months of criticism over their refusal to share data on whether efforts to halt the spread of false news are working, Facebook officials told POLITICO this week that they may be ready to slowly open up. (Politico Pro)

German opposition calls for abolition of online hate speech law. Germany's opposition parties on Sunday called for the abolition of a new law that aims to rid social media of hate speech, saying it was wrong for private companies to be making decisions about whether posts are unlawful. (Reuters)

Retail's Tax Windfall Provides Ammunition Against Amazon. In its early stages, the Republican tax plan didn't bode well for retailers. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan wanted to include a border-adjusted tax on imports that would have been disastrous for an industry that sources much of its merchandise overseas. (Wall Street Journal)


House attempts to restart digital surveillance tool reauthorization. The House next week is putting in motion another stab at a long-term renewal of controversial digital surveillance tools, after enacting a short-term extension to close out 2017. (Politico Pro)

Facebook bug could have let advertisers get your phone number. Facebook tells users that giving the company their mobile phone number will help keep their account secure. (Wired)

US border agency searched 30,200 phones and computers in 2017. Searches of electronic devices at the border increased nearly 60 percent from 2016. The agency also released updated guidelines for conducting searches. (CNET)

China's watchful eye. For 40-year-old Mao Ya, the facial recognition camera that allows access to her apartment house is simply a useful convenience. (Washington Post)

Global Trade
NAFTA Digital Trade Provisions Seen At Risk As Other Talks Stall. U.S. technology companies are worried that stalled talks on non-technology provisions in a revamped North American Free Trade Agreement could derail the entire pact and quash long-sought digital trade language, tech industry trade groups told Bloomberg Law. (ITIs Josh Kallmer and Cody Ankeny Quoted, Bloomberg)

White House preparing for trade crackdown. President Donald Trump's administration is preparing to unveil an aggressive trade crackdown in the coming weeks that is likely to include new tariffs aimed at countering China's and other economic competitors' alleged unfair trade practices, according to three administration officials. (Politico Pro)

KORUS talks puts auto trade deficit center stage. The Trump administration's fixation on bilateral trade deficits is expected to put pressure on Seoul to open its market to more American cars as talks start Friday on revamping a nearly six-year-old U.S. trade deal with South Korea. (Politico Pro)

From Mexico to the U.S., a NAFTA Tale of Two Truckers. Restricted from operating in the United States, most Mexican drivers must hand off their cargo. The Trump administration wants even tighter controls. (New York Times)

Farmers Seek Signs That Trump Has Eased Opposition to Nafta. When President Donald Trump addresses the U.S. agricultural community Monday, farmers will be looking for signs that a recent push to lobby him in support of the North American Free Trade Agreement has been successful. (Wall Street Journal)

Artificial Intelligence

Using thought to control machines. Brain-computer interfaces may change what it means to be human. (The Economist)

We should raise AIs like parents, not programmers-or they'll turn into terrible toddlers. As we move toward artificial super-intelligence-a machine intelligence that surpasses human intellectual capability-we need to teach AI to decide right from wrong. (Quartz)

This AI-fortified bot will build the first homes for humans on Mars. When humans are finally ready to relocate civilization to Mars, they won't be able to do it alone. (Wired)

Nvidia partners with Uber, Volkswagen in self-driving technology. Nvidia Corp will partner with Uber Technologies Inc and Volkswagen AG as the graphics chipmaker's artificial intelligence platforms make further gains in the autonomous vehicle industry. (Reuters)


U.S. government, AT&T say pre-trial preparation progressing. Lawyers for the Justice Department and AT&T Inc said on Friday that preparations have been smooth for a trial to decide if the wireless and pay TV giant may buy movie and TV show maker Time Warner Inc. (Reuters)

Big Tech to Join Legal Fight Against Net Neutrality Repeal. An industry group that represents the country's biggest technology companies said on Fridaythat it planned to join a looming legal fight against the Federal Communications Commission over its repeal of so-called net neutrality rules. (New York Times)

Public Sector

Local Control at Heart of 'Small Cell' Debate. The small cell wireless antenna legislation has seen some success nationwide, but it has also prompted local governments to voice concern around the loss of control. (GovTech)

A Government Shutdown Doesn't Always Mean Shutting Down IT. Government shutdowns-and, more so, the specter of impending shutdowns-are stressful times for federal employees, which can be made more difficult when people aren't sure whether they are among those excepted employees expected to come into work. (NextGov)

Pentagon Seeks Laser-Powered Bat Drones. Tired: multi-rotor copters and fixed-wing drones. Wired: flying robots that move like living animals, are crafted of next-generation materials, and draw their power not from batteries but energy beamed from nearby aircraft. (NextGov)

Feds face limited options for Meltdown, Spectre bugs. Like any other large enterprise, the federal government is scrambling to protect its systems and networks in the wake of the Jan. 3 announcement that two newly-discovered vulnerabilities, nicknamed Meltdown and Spectre, exist in the processor chips of virtually all computers and mobile devices. (Federal Computer Week)


State-Sponsored Internet and App Shutdowns Damage Economies-And Freedom. Barely a week goes by without news of another government-mandated disruption of internet access, as is happening right now in Iran. Driven largely by political and national security concerns, state-ordered internet shutdowns are on the verge of becoming the "new normal". (Quartz)

Internet of Things
Delta to make faucets that work with Amazon Alexa. The Wi-Fi-enabled faucets will let you use the voice-activated assistant to turn your water off and on, measure how much water you need and heat water. (CNET)

The Free Market Won't Fix Botnets, Government Report Says. The current booming market for internet-connected devices, such as cameras, thermostats and home assistants, doesn't sufficiently incentivize companies to secure their smart products or penalize them when those products are breached, according to a draft report released Friday by the Commerce and Homeland Security departments. (NextGov)

Intel Faces Scrutiny as Questions Swirl Over Chip Security. In 1994, Intel faced a public relations crisis over an elusive mathematics glitch that affected the accuracy of calculations made by its popular Pentium computer chips. Now Intel faces an even bigger test: two serious security issues with its chips that could have implications for nearly everyone touched by computing. (New York Times)
Intel shares fall as investors worry about costs of chip flaw. Intel Corp shares fell nearly 2 percent on Thursday as investors worried about the potential financial liability and reputational hit from recently disclosed security flaws in its widely used microprocessors. (Reuters)

Intel says performance impact of security updates not significant. Intel Corp said fixes for security issues in its microchips would not slow down computers, rebuffing concerns that the flaws found in microprocessors would significantly reduce performance. (Reuters)

Businesses Rush to Contain Fallout From Major Chip Flaws. Businesses and institutions raced to patch computer systems and braced for slowdowns in system performance, as they-and much of Silicon Valley-reacted to the disclosure this week of two long-hidden vulnerabilities in chips running most of the world's computers. (Wall Street Journal)
Apple to issue fix for iPhones, Macs at risk from 'Spectre' chip flaw. Apple Inc will release a patch for the Safari web browser on its iPhones, iPads and Macs within days, it said on Thursday, after major chipmakers disclosed flaws that leave nearly every modern computing device vulnerable to hackers. (Reuters)
Meltdown and Spectre fixes arrive - but don't solve everything. This week, a pair of vulnerabilities broke basic security for practically all computers. (Wired)
Intel faces class action lawsuits regarding Meltdown and Spectre. Three class action complaints have been filed against Intel over the Meltdown and Spectre CPU security flaws that were discovered by researchers earlier this year and widely publicized earlier this week. (Ars Technica)
Triple meltdown: How so many researchers found a 20-year-old chip flaw at the same time. On a cold Sunday early last month in the small Austrian city of Graz, three young researchers sat down in front of the computers in their homes, and tried to break their most fundamental security protections. (Wired)
Indonesia's new cyber agency looks to recruit staff of hundreds. Indonesia's recently established cyber security agency will recruit hundreds of personnel in the coming months, its chief said on Friday. (Reuters)
How Kaspersky's Software Fell Under Suspicion of Spying on America. Eugene Kaspersky was late for his own dinner party. At his invitation, guests from the Washington cybersecurity community waited one evening in 2012. Seated at the National Press Club were officials from the White House, State Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies, said people who were there. (Wall Street Journal)
Cybersecurity Today Is Treated Like Accounting Before Enron. Last week, we learned that researchers had discovered two major flaws in microprocessors of nearly all the world's computers. (New York Times, Op-Ed)

The Future of Work, a History. America has a long, complicated track record of dreading that robots would take our jobs. (Politico)

Keystone XL pipeline opponents appeal Nebraska route approval. Opponents of TransCanada Corp's proposed Keystone XL pipeline appealed a decision by Nebraska regulators to approve a path for the project through the state, a lawyer for the opponents said on Friday. (Reuters)
US average fuel economy is down, cheap gas and SUVs are to blame. This is the first drop in average economy since it was first tracked in 2007. (CNET)


Expect Environmental Battles to Be 'Even More Significant' in 2018. If 2017 was the Trump administration's year of grand pronouncements declaring an end to environmental regulations, 2018 will be the year of trying to finish what it started. (New York Times)

Tech Business
Why Amazon's master plan for Alexa includes things like voice-controlled Bose headphones. One might think Amazon would be satisfied with the surprise success of its Echo speakers, the voice-controlled gadgets that have become hit holiday gifts and more in the three years since they were invented. (Recode)
In rare showing, Google arrives at CES to battle Alexa and Siri. More than 3,900 companies are on hand to show off their latest technologies at CES this week, but there's one giant name that stands out from the pack: Google. (Washington Post)
Google eyes Chinese e-sports market with investment in Chushou. Alphabet Inc's Google has joined an investment in Chinese live-stream mobile game platform Chushou that brings the startup's total funding to $120 million, as the U.S. firm eyes new inroads to China where its search engine is blocked. (Reuters)
India Clings to Cash, Even as Tech Firms Push Digital Money. Signs and banners for Paytm, India's biggest digital payments service, festoon Pooran Singh's cellphone shop, where people drop in all day to add data or talk time to their prepaid phones. (New York Times)

ITI Member News

Zuckerberg's Dilemma: When Facebook's Success Is Bad for Society. When scientists started linking cigarettes to cancer, the tobacco industry silenced them-only acknowledging the extent of the truth decades later, under legal duress. (Wall Street Journal)
Mark Zuckerberg essentially launched Facebook's reelection campaign. Since 2009, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has publicly announced a personal improvement challenge in January, a sort of New Year's resolution and Oprah's Book Club rolled into one. (Wired)
iPhones and Children Are a Toxic Pair, Say Two Big Apple Investors. The iPhone has made Apple Inc. and Wall Street hundreds of billions of dollars. Now some big shareholders are asking at what cost, in an unusual campaign to make the company more socially responsible. (Wall Street Journal)
Tim Cook Stumbles at His Specialty, Shipping Apple Products on Time. As Apple Inc.'s longtime chief operating officer, Tim Cook was known for ensuring that new products hit the market on schedule. (Wall Street Journal)

Google's Latest Search: What Happened to Its Bikes?. Google has built a massive business organizing the world's information, but it's having a lot of trouble keeping track of its own bicycles. (Wall Street Journal)

Alexa-powered smartglasses? Yes, from Vuzix. Talking to your glasses via Amazon's voice assistant is possible, thanks to Vuzix and what looks like an imminent CES reveal, according to Bloomberg. (CNET)

Samsung brings its fast-cleaning QuickDrive washer to CES. Samsung's QuickDrive washer works with SmartThings and promises to clean your clothes super fast. (CNET)

Twitter looks for better year in DC after bruising 2017. Twitter hopes to put the controversies of 2017 behind it this year, hoping to reassure lawmakers and fend off potential regulations. (The Hill)

Amazon's Alexa to Meet Google's Assistant in a Las Vegas Showdown. If the annual CES technology show in Las Vegas were a high school dance, Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google would be the kids who stayed away, preferring to throw their own parties. Only this year, the tech giants are all dressed up and looking for dates. (Wall street Journal)

Today on the Hill

The House will meet at 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 nomination of William L. Campbell, Jr., of Tennessee, to be United States District Judge for the Middle District of Tennessee.
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