Skip to main content

Tech News Roundup - 01/18/2018

Tech News Roundup

Go Back

Key Issues


U.S. tech trade groups urge Trump to let spouses of H1b holders to work. U.S. technology trade groups on Thursday urged the Trump administration to retain an Obama-era rule that allows certain spouses of highly skilled guest workers to also work legally in the United States. (ITI's Dean Garfield Quoted, Reuters)
Business, tech communities speak out on work permits for H-1B spouses. Until the Trump administration decides whether she can keep working in the U.S., Renuka Sivarajan feels like her life is on hold. (ITI's Dean Garfield Quoted, San Francisco Chronicle)
Business and tech industry groups -- representing Inc., Google, Visa Inc. and other companies -- are urging the Trump administration not to halt work authorizations for spouses of immigrants who have specialty worker H-1B visas and are seeking permanent residency. (ITI's Dean Garfield Quoted, Bloomberg)

Tech lobby wants to protect H-4 visa program. Business and tech industry groups -- representing Inc., Google, Visa Inc. and other companies -- are urging the Trump administration not to halt work authorizations for spouses of immigrants who have specialty worker H-1B visas and are seeking permanent residency. (ITI's Dean Garfield Quoted, Axios)

Tech giants are telling Trump to preserve a program that allows some spouses of high-skilled immigrants to work in the U.S.. A broad coalition of businesses including Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft urged the Trump administration on Thursday to preserve a program that allows the spouses of some high-skilled immigrants to work in the United States. (ITI Mentioned, Recode)
Mark Zuckerberg is urging people to call their local congressperson in support of undocumented Dreamers."This is a basic question of whether our government works," he wrote. (Recode)
Congress Remains Split on Immigration Path as Shutdown Looms.Partisan crossfire intensified on Capitol Hill Wednesday as negotiations over an immigration deal made little headway and Republicans and Democrats started laying the groundwork to blame the other side for a potential government shutdown this weekend. (Wall Street Journal)

White House Chief of Staff Calls Trump's Campaign Wall Promises 'Not Fully Informed'. President Trump's chief of staff on Wednesday told a group of Democratic lawmakers that Mr. Trump's campaign promise to build a wall along the Mexican border was "not fully informed," and that the president has "evolved" on the issue of immigration, participants in the meeting said. (New York Times)
Kelly expresses optimism about 'dreamer' deal without suggesting timeline. As House Republican leaders worked to avoid a government shutdown by rounding up votes for a short-term spending bill, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly expressed optimism that Congress will work out a deal to protect "dreamers." (Washington Post)
DACA-shutdown talks still stalled after Kelly meets with Democrats. House Democrats left a meeting with top White House officials Wednesday seemingly no closer to reaching a deal on immigration or government funding before a critical Friday deadline. (Politico Pro)
Kinship Emerges as Immigration Flashpoint. A foreigner who immigrates to the U.S. doesn't just get a shot at a better life. That person also in effect gets a voucher with which to share the prospect of a future in the U.S. with relatives. (Wall Street Journal)
Trump's claim that immigrants bring 'tremendous crime' is still wrong.Trump earned Four Pinocchios the last time we looked into his claim that immigrants cause crime rates to rise in the United States. Fresh data and several new studies have been released since that fact-check in 2015, and we took another look at the body of knowledge to see how the president's view holds up. (Washington Post)
Exclusive: Trump takes hard line on immigration, rejects 'horrible' bipartisan plan. President Donald Trump on Wednesday aligned himself solidly with conservative Republicans on immigration, criticizing a proposed bipartisan deal as "horrible" on U.S. border security and "very, very weak" on reforms for the legal immigration system. (Reuters)
Tech Politics
Senate presses tech firms on anti-extremism efforts. In a session that appeared to be more about keeping up pressure than making any specific demands, US lawmakers once again pressed major technology companies over efforts to combat terrorism and propaganda. (BBC)
How tech companies are using algorithms to prevent extremist content. Representatives from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Jan. 17. (Washington Post, Video)
Facebook to Take Broader Look at Possible Russian Role in Brexit Vote. Facebook said on Wednesday it was reopening and broadening an internal investigation into the possibility that Russia had used the platform to influence the British vote to leave the European Union. (New York Times)
Google and Twitter face more questions in Washington over Russian interference. Twitter is planning to notify users who may have been exposed to Russian propaganda during the 2016 presidential election, the company's head of public policy told a Senate panel Wednesday. (Washington Post)


Apple, Capitalizing on New Tax Law, Plans to Bring Billions in Cash Back to U.S. Less than four weeks after President Trump signed the most consequential tax legislation in three decades, the world's most valuable public company - Apple - laid out how it planned to capitalize on the new rules. (New York Times)

Apple to Pay $38 Billion in Taxes on Cash Overseas, Build New U.S. CampusApple Inc. AAPL 1.65% said it would pay a one-time tax of $38 billion on its overseas cash holdings and ramp up spending in the U.S., as it seeks to emphasize its contributions to the American economy after years of taking criticism for outsourcing manufacturing to China.(Wall Street Journal)
Apple Gives Employees $2,500 Bonuses After New Tax Law. Apple Inc. told employees Wednesday that it's issuing a bonus of $2,500 worth of restricted stock units, following the introduction of the new U.S. tax law, according to people familiar with the matter. (Bloomberg)
Apple's Tax Payment Could Set Off Repatriation Trend. Changes in U.S. tax regime mandate companies pay tax on offshore cash; raising specter of repatriation. (Wall Street Journal)
Tax Law Saves Verizon $17 Billion In Deferred Taxes. Verizon Communications Inc. VZ 0.12% said it expects to book a nearly $17 billion gain in its fourth-quarter profit due to the new tax law. (Wall Street Journal)
Global Trade

GOP Senator to Block Two Trump Nominees Over Trade Concerns. Sen. Tim Scott says he will hold up nominees for two deputy U.S. trade representative posts. (Wall Street Journal)
Schumer pushes Trump, again, to crack down on China. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on President Donald Trump on Wednesday to block Chinese car companies from entering the U.S. auto market, repeating his call for the president to follow through on campaign promises to crack down on Beijing. (Politico Pro)

Sources: White House considering creation of investment reciprocity regime with China. The White House is considering the creation of a reciprocal investment regime with China following a Section 301 investigation into Chinese technology and intellectual property policies, but some in the administration fear it would lead to stock market losses and negatively affect U.S. companies doing business in China, private-sector sources briefed by White House officials told Inside U.S. Trade. (Inside U.S. Trade)
Artificial Intelligence

Google Sells A.I. for Building A.I. (Novices Welcome). On Wednesday, Google introduced a cloud-computing service that it bills as a way to build a so-called computer vision system that suits your particular needs - even if you have little or no experience with the concepts that drive it. (New York Times)
Survey suggests AI has reached critical mass. A new survey suggests that artificial intelligence has at last penetrated mainstream business at a high rate, and is not headed for a third "winter," a post-hype loss of faith. (Axios)
Microsoft tries to write the book on AI. When it comes to the ethics and impact of artificial intelligence, Microsoft is literally trying to write the book. The Future Computed: Artificial Intelligence and its Role in Society is being made available in digital form tonight, with a forward from longtime lawyer Brad Smith and AI/Research chief Brad Smith. (Axios)
FTC Investigates Broadcom Over Negotiations With Customers. Agency recently issued subpoenas in Broadcom antitrust probe. (Wall Street Journal)

Public Sector

Mallory Barg Bulman: Artificial intelligence comes to the federal government. Thanks to software advances and fast computers, AI technology is catching on with the federal government. Mallory Barg Bulman, vice president for research and evaluation at the Partnership for Public Service shared some highlights. (Federal News Radio, Audio)
Shared services director says agencies should leave innovation to industry. If shared services mark a sea change in how the government procures the tools it needs to achieve mission, then Beth Angerman wants to appropriately start with one the government's biggest pain points: IT modernization. (Fed Scoop)
HHS looks to infrastructure, shared services for modernization. The Department of Health and Human Services is looking to expand its use of shared services, revamp its IT infrastructure and incorporate artificial intelligence as part of its modernization plan. (Federal Computer Week)
How Trusting Tech Can Improve Disaster Response. Using data from both government and volunteer sources is key to an effective disaster response strategy. (Gov Tech)
At HUD, it takes too long to find electronically stored documents and data.A recent inspector general's evaluation found that HUD might struggle with this task - the agency's tool for finding these documents, its E-Discovery Management System (EDMS), is just too slow. (Fed Scoop)

Judge hears suit on Trump White House use of encrypted apps. Justice Department says disappearing-message apps are effectively banned by existing policy. (Politico)


Shutdown could make it harder to prevent cyberattacks. Government shutdown and budgeting debates hurt agencies' ability to adequately protect their networks, because they lose time to procure necessary technologies, according to Trey Hodgkins, senior vice president for public sector at the Information Technology Alliance for Public Sector. (ITAPS Trey Hodgkins Quoted, Federal Times)

How a 22-Year-Old Discovered the Worst Chip Flaws in History. In 2013, a teenager named Jann Horn attended a reception in Berlin hosted by Chancellor Angela Merkel. He and 64 other young Germans had done well in a government-run competition designed to encourage students to pursue scientific research. (Bloomberg)
House Votes to Restore Top Cyber Diplomat's Office. The vote is a rare rift on cyber policy with the Trump administration. (Next Gov)
Under threat: Cyber security startups fall on harder times. A wave of cyber attacks by criminals, spies and hacker activists should make these heady days for U.S. cyber security startups. (Reuters)

Why Google's New App Won't Match Your Face to Art in Some States. Popular selfie tool in Arts & Culture app is blocked in Illinois and Texas because of privacy laws. (Wall Street Journal)
China's VPN Crackdown May Aid Government Surveillance. China's clampdown on the cyber tunnels used to burrow through its Great Firewall may do more than further restrict internet access-it also threatens to make emails and data transmissions by foreign companies more vulnerable to government surveillance, security analysts say. (Wall Street Journal)

Washington's next big tech battle: closing the country's digital divide.Efforts to improve high-speed internet access are likely to be part of an upcoming $200 billion infrastructure bill. (Recode)
House panel to hold hearing on false Hawaii missile alert. The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the false missile alert in Hawaii last week and the state of the country's public alert systems. (The Hill)
Intellectual Property

Exclusive: Trump considers big 'fine' over China intellectual property theft. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the United States was considering a big "fine" as part of a probe into China's alleged theft of intellectual property, the clearest indication yet that his administration will take retaliatory trade action against China. (Reuters)

Mining, demand for heating power U.S. industrial production. U.S. industrial production increased more than expected in December as unseasonably cold weather at the end of the month boosted demand for heating, but manufacturing output barely rose, pointing to moderate growth in the industrial sector. (Reuters)
Jack Gerard to step down as head of powerful American Petroleum Institute. Jack Gerard announced Wednesday he would step down as head of the American Petroleum Institute, a powerful lobbying association representing a wide variety of oil and natural gas companies. (Washington Post)

In Colorado, a glimpse of renewable energy's insanely cheap future. This month, energy nerds are very excited about a utility bid solicitation. (Vox)
Tech Business

Verizon Expands Deal for NBA Games. Besides streaming league play, Verizon and the NBA will develop original programming to complement coverage. (Wall Street Journal)
IBM shares rise after Barclays double upgrade. Shares in International Business Machines rose nearly 2 percent on Wednesday, helped by a double-notch upgrade for the company from Barclays ahead of fourth-quarter results on Thursday. (Reuters)
For These Young Entrepreneurs, Silicon Valley Is, Like, Lame. Last week, a group of Chinese startup founders and investors made a pilgrimage to Silicon Valley. They toured a Tesla assembly line, complained to senior Apple executives about its slow app-reviewing process in China and brunched on baked eggs and avocado at Russian billionaire investor Yuri Milner's hilltop mansion. (Wall Street Journal)

ITI Member News

It's Time for Apple to Build a Less Addictive iPhone. It's not Apple's fault that you feel enslaved by your phone. But the company that gave the world the modern smartphone has a perfect opportunity this year to create a brave and groundbreaking new take on that device: a phone that encourages you to use it more thoughtfully, more deliberately - and a lot less. (New York Times, Column)
Google will penalize websites that load slowly on phones. People like fast-loading sites, Google says, so slow ones will have a harder time with prominence in search results. (CNET)
Facebook wants more people watching videos together at the same time. So it's testing a new feature called "Watch Party" to try and make that happen. (Recode)
Apple's new U.S campus won't be an HQ2. The new office, which won't be in Texas or California, will initially house technical support staff. It may grow, but isn't imagined as a second headquarters. (Axios)
IBM May Finally Stop Shrinking. But Is It a Turnaround?. For five and a half years, nearly the entire tenure of its chief executive, Virginia M. Rometty, IBM has reported a steady erosion of revenue. (New York Times)

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: 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Last votes expected: 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
The Senate will convene and resume consideration of the motion to concur in the House amendment to accompany S.139, the vehicle for the FISA Amendments Reauthorization bill.
Share this News Roundup on: