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Tech News Roundup - 01/10/2018

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Twitter misses deadline to answer Senate Intel's Russia questions. Twitter missed a Monday deadline to respond to written questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee about Russian online interference in the election, the panel's top Democrat said on Tuesday. (Axios)
Social media giants to testify over spread of terrorist propaganda. The Senate Commerce Committee is holding a hearing next Wednesday morning, examining how social media platforms are fighting the dissemination of terrorism propaganda. (Axios)
First look: "Techlash" warning. Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, will warn tomorrow of the consequences of the strengthening "techlash" - the "backlash against major tech companies [that] is gaining strength ... both at home and abroad, and among consumers and governments alike." (Axios)
U.S., French Officials Question Apple Over iPhone Battery Slowdowns. Apple Inc. is facing new questions from government officials in the U.S. and France about its handling of battery-related performance issues on iPhones, a sign that controversy over the problem continues despite the technology giant's apology last month. (Wall Street Journal)

Trump Appears to Endorse Path to Citizenship for Millions of Immigrants. President Trump on Tuesday appeared open to negotiating a sweeping immigration deal that would eventually grant millions of undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship, declaring that he was willing to "take the heat" politically for an approach that seemed to flatly contradict the anti-immigration stance that charged his political rise. (New York Times)
DACA Immigration Protections Must Continue for Now, Judge Says. In the middle of an intense political fight about the program that shields from deportation young immigrants who were brought illegally to the United States as children, a federal judge in California issued a nationwide injunction late Tuesdayordering the Trump administration to start the program back up again. (New York Times)
Judge blocks Trump wind-down of Dreamers program. A federal judge has blocked President Donald Trump's effort to shut-down the Obama-era program that provides quasi-legal status and work permits to foreigners who entered the U.S. illegally as children. (Politico)
Donald Trump Is Optimistic a Deal Can Be Reached on 'Dreamers'. President Donald Trump said he was optimistic that an immigration deal could soon be reached on "Dreamers" and agreed with lawmakers to limit talks to four policy areas during a bipartisan meeting Tuesday at the White House. (Wall Street Journal)
Trump puts immigration meeting on display amid questions about his mental state. For nearly an hour on Tuesday, President Donald Trump presided under an unusually public negotiating session on the subject of immigration, running the meeting while TV cameras rolled in a seeming rebuke of reports that he is less than a fully capable commander in chief. (Politico Pro)
DREAMer talks still jumbled after Trump's freewheeling summit. President Donald Trump's freewheeling, televised - and, at times, incoherent - immigration meeting with lawmakers Tuesday accomplished one thing at least, according to attendees: They agreed on what they would try to agree on. (Politico Pro)
DHS says it was "never considering" ending H-1B extensions. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says the agency "was never considering a regulatory change that would force H-1B visa holders to leave the United States." The statement comes after reports last week that DHS was considering ending H-1B extensions for visa holders with a pending green card. (Axios)
As Trump debates border security, field agents decry existing, dire staffing shortages. As both the Trump administration and Congress turn their focus to immigration and border security in the coming weeks, the agencies that have and will be charged to meet those demands aren't nearly equipped to handle the job - whatever that might be. (Federal News Radio)
Lenovo to make $400 million one-off charge on U.S. tax reforms. Lenovo Group Ltd said on Wednesday it expected to make a one-off charge of $400 million for nine months ended in December due to a reassessment of U.S. deferred tax assets. (Reuters)

Agriculture Firms Warn of Unintended Impact of Tax Law. The new U.S. tax law has placed Rick Tronson, a North Dakota grain-company operator, in a precarious position by unexpectedly bestowing big benefits on his main competitors. (Wall Street Journal)

Power Companies Got a Tax Cut. Will Your Bill Reflect It?. The newly passed tax law could save Americans billions of dollars on their utility bills. (New York Times)

What the Tax Law Will Do to Bank Earnings. It is going to be a noisy quarter for bank earnings. Because of the tax-overhaul law, big banks are going to record a host of special charges that cut into fourth-quarter profit. (Wall Street Journal)


Rules tees up surveillance renewal bill for floor debate. The House Rules Committee on Tuesday paved the way for floor debate on a compromise bill that would extend warrantless surveillance programs for another six years, as well as one measure that could rein in the spying tools. (Politico Pro)

How the government hides secret surveillance programs. In 2013, 18-year-old Tadrae McKenzie robbed a marijuana dealer for $130 worth of pot at a local Taco Bell in Tallahassee, Florida. (Wired)

China Swats Jack Ma's Ant Over Customer Privacy. Chinese internet regulators scolded the country's leading mobile-payments company for compromising its customers' privacy, putting pressure on firms to better protect personal data in a society subject to heavy state surveillance. (Wall Street Journal)

Global Trade

Working for China. Chinese investors and firms own a majority of almost 2,400 American companies employing 114,000 people, about the same number as the combined U.S. staffs of Google, Facebook and Tesla, according to data from MacroPolo. (Axios)

Artificial Intelligence

CES 2018: When will AI deliver for humans?. In Las Vegas this week you can learn a lot about the exciting potential of artificial intelligence. You can also be left wondering whether AI is a triumph of marketing, yet to deliver real improvements to the economy and the way we live. (BBC)


Democrats will force the Senate to debate net neutrality - but they don't have the votes to restore the rules. Democrats rejoiced on Tuesday that they had secured enough votes to force the Senate to debate whether to restore the U.S. government's recently repealed net neutrality rules. (Recode)

Net neutrality activists are celebrating as Democratic senators clear key hurdle to voting against the FCC. When the Federal Communications Commission voted last month to deregulate Internet providers by eliminating the agency's net neutrality rules, opponents of the decision vowed to fight it in Congress and in court. Now, those who are pushing for the FCC's vote to be overturned say they've won an initial victory. (Washington Post)

GOP senator says she'll vote to restore net neutrality rules. A Democratic effort to reinstate net neutrality rules has won support from a Republican senator and could pass in the Senate if just one more Republican breaks with the GOP. (Ars Technica)

Public Sector
Can AI help simplify federal acquisition?. For all the mystery still surrounding the future of artificial intelligence, some early governmental uses could help federal workers and contractors navigate acquisition regulations to make federal purchasing less complex. (Federal Computer Week)

Artificial intelligence proves major time savings for federal employees. The phrase "artificial intelligence" can stir up a lot of panic at some federal agencies, and can give rise to the idea of intelligent machines putting some employees out of work. (Federal News Radio)

CTO Michael Hermus to depart Homeland Security. Michael Hermus, chief technology officer at the Department of Homeland Security, has announced his departure from the agency, FedScoop has learned. His final day is scheduled for March 4. (Fed Scoop)

GSA kicks off e-commerce portal effort. The General Services Administration is moving quickly to implement a provision in the 2018 defense bill that mandates government buyers be able to purchase items from commercial e-commerce portals. (Federal Computer Week)


FBI chief calls unbreakable encryption 'urgent public safety issue'. The inability of law enforcement authorities to access data from electronic devices due to powerful encryption is an "urgent public safety issue," FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday as he sought to renew a contentious debate over privacy and security. (Reuters)

CES 2018: Intel to make flawed chips safe in a week. Intel's chief executive has said software fixes to address the recently discovered Meltdown and Spectre bugs in microchips would be released in the next few days. (BBC)

Microsoft says security patches slowing down PCs, servers. Microsoft Corp said on Tuesday that software patches released to guard against microchip security threats slowed down some personal computers and servers, with systems running on older Intel Corp processors seeing a noticeable decrease in performance. (Reuters)

The FBI Is Disrupting 10X Fewer Cyber Crime Rings Than In 2015. FBI agents took down or disrupted only about one-tenth as many cyber criminal operations during the 2017 fiscal year as they did three years earlier, according to annual reports. (Next Gov)

The revolution of obfuscation for cybersecurity and threat intelligence. It's no secret that cyber threats are everywhere and growing stronger all the time. (Federal Computer Week, OpEd)

The False Promises of Worker Retraining. Despite assurances from policymakers that retraining is the key to success, such programs have consistently failed to equip workers with the preparation they need to secure jobs. (The Atlantic)

Half of women in STEM jobs experience discrimination, says Pew. A Pew Research Center report highlights just how prevalent gender discrimination and harassment are in STEM fields. (CNET)

Trump Administration Drops Florida From Offshore Drilling Plan. The Trump administration said Tuesday it had ruled out drilling for oil and gas off the coast of Florida after strong opposition from the state's Republican governor, Rick Scott. (New York Times)

Oil prices hit highest since 2014, but analysts warn of overheated market. Oil prices hit their highest levels since 2014 on Wednesday due to ongoing production cuts led by OPEC as well as healthy demand, although analysts cautioned that markets may be overheating. (Reuters)

Coal executive blasts federal energy regulators for 'bureaucratic cop-out' on Trump administration power plan. Murray Energy chief executive Robert E. Murray, who had urged the Trump administration to prop up coal-fired power plants in electricity markets, blasted federal regulators Tuesday who rejected the administration's plan. (Washington Post)

Get ready for a lot of coal-plant shutdowns. A near record amount of coal-powered electricity is poised to shut down this year, according to recently released federal data. (Axios)

It's the same story under Trump as under Obama: Coal is losing out to natural gas. Just a day after federal regulators nixed a major Trump administration proposal to shore up the struggling coal industry, the nation's top energy forecaster predicted continuing, slow declines in U.S. coal production and in the burning of coal for electricity in 2018 and 2019, thanks to cheap natural gas and coal plant retirements. (Washington Post)


How a Coal Baron's Wish List Became President Trump's To-Do List. President Trump's first year in office has been a boon for the coal industry, with the Trump administration rolling back regulations on coal-fired power plants and withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate change agreement. (New York Times)

As Electric Cars' Prospects Brighten, Japan Fears Being Left Behind. At a factory near the base of Mount Fuji, workers painstakingly assemble transmissions for some of the world's top-selling cars. (New York Times)

Tesla says solar roof production has started in Buffalo. Tesla Inc said on Tuesday it began manufacturing its premium solar roof tiles at the company's Buffalo, New York factory last month and has started surveying the homes of customers who made a deposit of $1,000 to reserve the product last year. (Reuters)

GM races to build a formula for profitable electric cars. General Motors Co Chief Executive Mary Barra has made a bold promise to investors that the Detroit automaker will make money selling electric cars by 2021. (Reuters)

Tech Business
Twitter, Snapchat tie up with Fox to provide coverage of FIFA World Cup. Twenty First Century Fox Inc's Fox Sports is partnering with Twitter Inc to stream a live show and Snap Inc's Snapchat to showcase stories with matchday highlights on the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament to be hosted in Russia later this year. (Reuters)

ITI Member News

Apple planning new, 'robust' parental controls to help protect children, teens. An open letter to Apple from some investors sparked the tech giant to respond by promising new software tools for parents to restrict and monitor their kids' smartphone use. (Ars Technica)
Oracle app server hack let one attacker mine $226,000 worth of cryptocoins. In a report published on January 7 by SANS Technology Institute, Morphus Labs researcher Renato Marinho revealed what appears to be an ongoing worldwide hacking campaign by multiple attackers against PeopleSoft and WebLogic servers that leverages a Web application server vulnerability patched by Oracle late last year. (Ars Technica)
Google debuts standalone VR headset, 180-degree camera. Google is expanding its Daydream VR effort, adding standalone headsets and 180-degree cameras to the mix, in partnership with Lenovo and other hardware makers. (Axios)
Will Cosmetics Get an Amazon Makeover?. The retailer has become the biggest seller of beauty products online. Upscale brands worry about its lack of cachet. (Bloomberg)
Microsoft says security patches slowing down PCs, servers. Microsoft Corp said on Tuesday that software patches released to guard against microchip security threats slowed down some personal computers and servers, with systems running on older Intel Corp processors seeing a noticeable decrease in performance. (Reuters)
Apple Sets Date for China Data Handover. Apple Inc. AAPL -0.01% said it will turn over its cloud operations in China to a state-owned local partner Feb. 28, complying with Chinese law mandating that customer data collected on the mainland be stored here. (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 votes expected: 2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. Last votes expected: 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
The Senate will convene at 9:30 a.m. and proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the nomination of Thomas Lee Robinson Parker to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Tennessee.
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