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Tech News Roundup - 01/09/2018

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Tech Politics

The growing war on tech addiction. The addictive power of the technology that dominates every aspect of daily life is getting more and more attention from people who may have enough influence to do something about it. (Axios)

Sinclair deal spooks liberals ahead of 2020 presidential race. Sinclair Broadcasting Corporation's proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media would give the conservative-leaning company control of an additional TV station in Des Moines, Iowa - one of the most important presidential primary media markets in the country. (Axios)

Iranians Turn to Tech Tools to Evade Internet Censors. Iran's new offensive against social media is showing signs of backfiring. (Wall Street Journal)

Tax Law May Send Factories and Jobs Abroad, Critics Say. In Indiana, Missouri and Pennsylvania, President Trump used the same promise to sell the tax bill: It would bring jobs streaming back to struggling cities and towns. (New York Times)

Congress Changed 529 College Savings Plans, And Now States Are Nervous. With the new tax law, Republicans have made important changes to 529 plans that will affect millions of taxpayers, not just the ones saving for college. (NPR)

Trump Overstates Size of Tax Cuts in Speech to Farmers. President Trump delivered an economic victory lap during a speech to farmers on Monday in which he vastly overstated the size of the tax cuts passed by Congress late last year and played up a rollback of regulations on American businesses. (New York Times)

Blue states eye 'political gift' in tax workaround fight with Trump. The new tax law's limit on of the state and local deduction may pose a fiscal threat to high-tax states and their affluent taxpayers. But it's also a political gift to Democratic officials in those states seeking to raise their national profiles by challenging President Donald Trump and circumventing the law. (Politico)

Trump tax law poised to create windfall for states. When President Trump signed a massive tax overhaul late last month, congressional Republicans celebrated a job accomplished. But the work is just starting for state legislators, who are likely to see hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue. (The Hill)


Toymaker VTech Settles Charges of Violating Child Privacy Law. The popular electronic toymaker VTech Electronics agreed to pay $650,000 to settle charges that it had collected digital data on children without parents' permission and failed to keep that information secure from hackers, the Federal Trade Commission said Monday. (New York Times)

Why Uber Can Find You but 911 Can't. Software on Apple Inc.'s iPhones and Google's Android smartphones help mobile apps like Uber and Facebook to pinpoint a user's location, making it possible to order a car, check in at a local restaurant or receive targeted advertising. (Wall Street Journal)

Global Trade

Investment court poses crucial test for trade leadership. Europe's attempt to create a new court system for resolving investment disputes promises to be one of the most grueling policy battles of the year. (Politico Pro)

Lighthizer aims to finish KORUS talks as soon as possible. The United States outlined its proposals to open South Korea's market to more imports of American autos as the two nations held the first round of formal discussions on modifying the nearly six-year U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Friday evening. (Politico Morning Trade)

Perdue chides Canada for unwillingness to make changes to NAFTA. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue criticized Canada on Monday for standing in the way of substantive negotiations to modernize NAFTA, even as he remained upbeat that the three countries would ultimately be able to reach an agreement on a new pact. (Politico Pro)

Trump loves farmers but keeps them guessing on NAFTA strategy. President Donald Trump on Monday delivered a campaign-style speech to thousands of farmers that largely dodged one of the most pressing concerns in agriculture - whether Trump intends to blow up the North American Free Trade Agreement. (Politico)

GOP anxious with Trump on trade. Republican senators from farm states are stepping up pressure on President Trump ahead of a key round of trade negotiations scheduled later this month. (The Hill)


Trump Administration Says That Nearly 200,000 Salvadorans Must Leave. Nearly 200,000 people from El Salvador who have been allowed to live in the United States for more than a decade must leave the country, government officials announced Monday. (New York Times)

Democrats setting up shutdown fight over border wall, immigration policy. With less than two weeks until the next deadline, Congress is gearing up for another fight over government spending, this time with the topic of immigration and border security taking center stage. (Federal News Radio)

To Pay for Wall, Trump Would Cut Proven Border Security Measures. The Trump administration would cut or delay funding for border surveillance, radar technology, patrol boats and customs agents in its upcoming spending plan to curb illegal immigration - all proven security measures that officials and experts have said are more effective than building a wall along the Mexican border. (New York Times)

From Offices to Disney World, Employers Brace for the Loss of an Immigrant Work Force. They clean federal office buildings in Washington and nurse the elderly in Boston. They are rebuilding hurricane-wrecked Houston. The Atlanta Falcons' new stadium, plumbing and heating systems at Fannie Mae's new headquarters, the porterhouse at Peter Luger Steak House and even the Disney World experience have all depended, in small part or large, on their labor. (New York Times)

Republicans: Budget deal prospects are dimming. Congressional Republicans and White House officials are increasingly skeptical that they'll reach a long-term budget agreement with Democrats in the next 11 days, accusing progressives of slow-walking a spending deal until they get what they want on immigration. (Politico)

Trump to meet lawmakers in search for immigration compromise. U.S. President Donald Trump will meet on Tuesday with Republican and Democratic lawmakers in an uphill search for an election-year compromise on protecting thousands of young, undocumented immigrants from deportation. (Reuters)


Israel's anti-trust regulator to look at internet giants. Israel's anti-trust regulator said it will look at the business practices of internet giants such as Facebook and Google to make sure they are not stifling competition. (Reuters)

Senate bill to reverse net neutrality repeal gains 30th co-sponsor, ensuring floor vote. A Senate bill that would reverse the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) decision to repeal net neutrality received its 30th co-sponsor on Monday, ensuring it will receive a vote on the Senate floor. (The Hill)

Net neutrality gaining steam in state legislatures after FCC repeal. State legislators in Nebraska and California are proposing net neutrality laws to replace the US-wide ones repealed by the Federal Communications Commission. (Ars Technica)

After Hurricane Harvey and the California wildfires, the FCC is aiming to upgrade the country's wireless alert system. After a season of deadly hurricanes and devastating wildfires, the U.S. government is angling to prod AT&T, Verizon and other tech and telecom giants to do a better job of helping first responders deliver disaster alerts to Americans' smartphones. (Recode)

White House unveils texts of broadband order, memorandum. The White House has released the texts of the two broadband deployment documents President Donald Trump signed this afternoon in Tennessee. (Politico Pro)

States can keep options open on FirstNet. Just because states have opted into AT&T and FirstNet's plans for a nationwide wireless public safety network, governments still have the option to use another network for their communications needs, according to a major provider of public safety communications. (Federal Computer Week)

Nebraska Becomes the First Red State to Introduce Net Neutrality Bill After FCC Scrapped Federal Rules. The effort to revive net neutrality is full steam ahead after the Federal Communications Commission repealed federal rules last month. Even reliably red state Nebraska is bucking the GOP-led decision by introducing a bill to recreate net neutrality rules at the state level. (Motherboard)

Public Sector
White House preparing executive order on CIO authorities. The White House is considering adding one more piece to its IT modernization strategy. (Federal News Radio)

DoD reshuffles panel tasked with speedy adoption of cloud computing. The panel of senior leaders the Defense Department appointed to help speed up its adoption of cloud computing is undergoing notable changes to its membership less than four months after it was first created. (Federal News Radio)

Meltdown and Spectre Complicate Government's Cybersecurity Posture. The dust had hardly settled on the New Year celebrations when the world was rocked by the cybersecurity vulnerability revelations dubbed Meltdown and Spectre. (NextGov)

Zero Day Disclosure Bill Heads to House Floor. The House will debate legislation Tuesday requiring the Homeland Security Department to report on how the government decides whether it will exploit newfound computer software vulnerabilities against U.S. adversaries or disclose them to manufacturers to be patched. (NextGov)

Louisville, Ky., Hires New Head of IT. Louisville, Ky., has picked Chris Seidt to serve as its new director of information technology. (GovTech)

Federal contracting in 2018: Opportunities and risks for a company town. The federal government is the primary customer of a substantial portion of our region's technology businesses. So it bears watching what it does. Industry participants tell me that the coming year looks promising, but even so, there are reasons for concern. (Washington Post, Op-Ed)

Internet of Things

Uber is working with Toyota to create a vehicle and system that is built for ride-sharing. Toyota is working with Uber and other partners to develop a new self-driving shuttle service. (Recode)

Driverless-Car Companies Try to Rev Their Engines on Commercial Prospects. A year ago Glen DeVos shuttled potential clients around the CES consumer electronics show in self-driving sport-utility vehicles to demonstrate his company's progress in handling complicated driving conditions. (Wall Street Journal)

Hyundai to Test Autonomous Driving With Fuel-Cell Vehicle. Hyundai Motor Co. said it will start testing a fuel-cell powered sport utility vehicle for autonomous driving as the South Korean automaker speeds up development of self-driving cars with a goal to bring a model to the market by 2021. (Bloomberg)

Baidu launches version 2.0 of its Apollo self-driving moonshot. Chinese search engine and artificial intelligence giant Baidu announced the second version of its Apollo open, autonomous driving platform today at CES in Las Vegas. (CNET)

Intel says Mobileye's autonomous driving tech to be used in two million vehicles. Intel Corp Chief Executive Brian Krzanich said on Monday 2 million vehicles from BMW, Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Volkswagen AG would use its unit Mobileye's autonomous vehicle technology to crowdsource data for building maps that enable autonomous driving. (Reuters)

Intel to form new cybersecurity group amid chip flaw: report. Intel Corp will create a new internal cybersecurity group in the wake of recently disclosed flaws in its microchips, the Oregonian newspaper reported on Monday, citing a memo sent to company employees. (Reuters)

Apple releases new update to fix 'Spectre' chip flaw. Apple Inc on Mondayreleased an updated version of its operating system software to fix a major microchip security flaw that affected nearly all computer chips made in the last decade. (Reuters)

SEC's burgeoning cyber unit taking securities fraud by storm. The Securities and Exchange Commission is now up against a growing amount of digital securities fraud. In September, the agency even created a new cyber unit as part of the enforcement division to tackle the issue, the unit chief said. (Federal News Radio)

Winter Olympics targeted by hackers says security firm. Hackers have attempted to steal sensitive data from groups involved with next month's Winter Olympics, cyber-security firm McAfee said. (BBC)


Google Memo Author Sues, Claiming Bias Against White Conservative Men. James Damore was fired from his engineering job at Google last year after he wrote a memo that criticized the company's diversity efforts and argued that the low number of women in engineering positions was a result of biological differences. (New York Times)

How Robots Are Helping A Furniture Shop Without Putting Workers Out Of Jobs. Furniture making is a job associated with old fashioned handiwork. But robots are coming to the field, not to replace workers but to help U.S.-based companies survive. (NPR)

Under pressure, Trump team backs off proposal to cull foreign tech workforce. Under intense pressure from the business and technology communities, the Trump administration appears to be backing away from a policy change that could have forced foreign tech workers out of the country. (McClatchy)

Two Suits Catch Google in Middle of Gender Debate. Former Google female employees last week sued the company for allegedly discriminating against women. On Monday, former male employees sued Google for allegedly discriminating against conservative white men. (Wall Street Journal)

Rick Perry's Plan to Rescue Struggling Coal and Nuclear Plants Is Rejected. Federal regulators on Monday rejected a proposal by Energy Secretary Rick Perry to subsidize struggling coal and nuclear plants, in a major blow to the Trump administration's efforts to revive America's declining coal industry. (New York Times)

Why So Cold? Climate Change May Be Part of the Answer. As bitter cold continues to grip much of North America and helps spawn the fierce storm along the East Coast, the question arises: What's the influence of climate change? (New York Times)

Tech Business
Facebook, Sony/ATV sign music licensing deal. Sony/ATV said on Monday it signed a licensing agreement with Facebook Inc that will allow the social media platform's users to upload and share videos from the music publishing company's catalog on Facebook and Instagram. (Reuters)

Google teams with Sony, Lenovo for smart speakers with touchscreens. Alphabet Inc's Google said on Monday its voice-controlled virtual assistant will show up this year in new tablet-like devices designed by LG Electronics Inc and Sony Corp as the technology company seeks to challenge Inc's dominance in a fledgling market. (Reuters)

Samsung Electronics Expects Another Record Quarter. Samsung Electronics Co. said fourth-quarter operating profit will be its highest ever, as the company benefits from strong demand for its electronics components. (Wall Street Journal)

Huawei, Seen as Possible Spy Threat, Boomed Despite U.S. Warnings. Huawei Technologies Co. may be considered the bogeyman of the global telecom equipment industry in some Washington circles, but in Mountain View, Wyo., it's a hero. (Wall Street Journal)

The numbers behind recent VC trends. Venture capitalists have become much pickier than they once were, are taking longer to invest and are writing bigger checks. (Axios)

IPhone addiction may be a virtue, not a vice for investors. Apple Inc. investors are shrugging off concerns raised by two shareholders about kids getting hooked on iPhones, saying that for now a little addiction might not be a bad thing for profits. (Reuters)

Huawei's global ambitions hit by AT&T phone distribution deal's collapse. Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's planned deal with U.S. carrier AT&T Inc to sell its smartphones in the United States has collapsed at the eleventh hour, people with knowledge of the matter said, in a blow to the Chinese firm's global ambitions. (Reuters)

Tech's Enormous Scale: Samsung Now Outspends Exxon and Shell Combined. Samsung Electronics Co. spent more money on capital expenditures last year than any other publicly traded company, offering a dramatic example of how technology and telecom firms have driven an uptick in global manufacturing investment. (Wall Street Journal)

ITI Member News

Apple Investors Warn iPhones and Other Technology May Be Hurting Children. A pair of investors who say they hold about $2 billion in Apple stock are pushing the company to do more to protect its youngest users from the effects of digital technology. (New York Times)
Tech Backlash Grows as Investors Press Apple to Act on Children's Use. Two of the biggest investors on Wall Street have asked Apple to study the health effects of its products and to make it easier for parents to limit their children's use of iPhones and iPads. (New York Times)
Apple Defends Its Smartphone Practices for Children After Investor Critique. Apple Inc. defended its record of providing parental controls and other protections for children who use its iPhones and other devices, after a pair of prominent investors called on the tech giant to take more steps to curb the ill effects of smartphones. (Wall Street Journal)
French prosecutor launches probe into Apple planned obsolescence: judicial source. A French prosecutor has launched a preliminary investigation of U.S. tech giant Apple over alleged deception and planned obsolescence of its products following a complaint by a consumer organization, a judicial source said on Monday. (Reuters)
Google rebrands all its payment solutions as 'Google Pay'. Google just announced that it is merging all of its various payment programs into a single brand, called "Google Pay." (Ars Technica)
Facebook's virtual assistant M is dead. So are chatbots. It's difficult to remember now, but there was a moment in early 2016 when many in the tech industry believed chatbots-automated text-based virtual assistants-would be the next big platform. (Wired)
Facebook's Oculus to partner with Xiaomi to build VR headsets. Facebook Inc's Oculus said on Monday it is partnering with Chinese phone maker Xiaomi Technology Co to make its new standalone virtual reality headset and also revealed that it will launch a version of the product exclusively for the Chinese market. (Reuters)
Amazon Echo's dominance in the smart-speaker market is a lesson on the virtue of being first. Three years and change since Amazon first launched Alexa, the digital assistant has become a familiar voice in American homes. (Quartz)
Far-Right Activist Charles Johnson Has Sued Twitter Over His Suspension. For years, the controversial right-wing activist Charles C. Johnson has threatened to sue Twitter, which banned him in 2015. (Buzzfeed)
Twitter allows apparent phishing scam to buy promoted tweet. Twitter's advertising platform allowed a fraudulent website to purchase promoted tweets that directed users to what appears to be a phishing scam. (The Hill)
Want to see the future? Look at the chips. Nakul Duggal, Qualcomm's vice president of product management, sticks his head into a Cadillac SUV and points up at a gaping rectangular hole in the ceiling. (Wired)
Intel CEO's Stock Sale Called Unusual by Private Securities Specialists. The sale of Intel Corp. stock by Chief Executive Brian Krzanich while the company was handling concerns about security flaws in its chips was a highly unusual move that risked attracting regulatory scrutiny, according to lawyers and analysts who follow executive stock sales. (Wall Street Journal)

Today on the Hill

The House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. First and last votes expected: 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
The Senate will convene at 10:00 a.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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