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Tech News Roundup - 01/19/2018

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Tech trade groups push Trump to allow H1B spouses work. A coalition of major Washington, D.C., trade associations representing technology and other industries is urging the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to preserve visas that allow spouses of H1B high-skilled workers to also be employed in the U.S. (ITI Mention, The Hill)

Tech groups push to keep work authorization for H-1B spouses. Nearly a dozen technology, business and human resources associations sent a letter yesterday to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services urging the agency to preserve a 2015 regulation that allows spouses of H-1B visa holders to apply for a work permit. (ITI Mention, Politico Pro)

Justice Department asks Supreme Court to rule on Trump's right to end DACA. The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to uphold President Donald Trump's right to end the program protecting so-called DREAMers, but has decided not to seek permission for him to proceed with the wind-down on the schedule announced last year. (Politico Pro)
Trump Angry at His Chief of Staff Over Comment President 'Not Fully Informed' on Border Wall Issue. President Donald Trump vented frustration at White House Chief of Staff John Kelly on Wednesday, upset about how Mr. Kelly described his immigration views in a Fox News interview and how he presented them to members of Congress earlier in the day, according to a person familiar with the matter. (Wall Street Journal)
Inside the Oval Office Immigration Meeting That Left a Senator Stunned. As they departed the now famous Oval Office meeting where President Trump used vulgar language to disparage the national origin of some potential immigrants, Senators Lindsey Graham and Richard J. Durbin found themselves in a condition unfamiliar to such veteran politicians: speechless. (New York Times)

Trump Administration Shuts Haiti Out of Seasonal Worker Program. Tightening of immigration rules comes after U.S. ended humanitarian program that allowed tens of thousands of Haitians to live and work in the U.S. (Wall Street Journal)
Trump Denies Changing His Position on Border Wall. President Trump directly contradicted his own chief of staff on Thursday and said his position on building a wall between the United States and Mexico had not "evolved." (New York Times)

House Passes Short-Term Spending Bill, Setting Up Shutdown Battle in Senate. The House approved a stopgap spending bill on Thursday night to keep the government open past Friday, but Senate Democrats - angered by President Trump's vulgar aspersions and a lack of progress on a broader budget and immigration deal - appeared ready to block the measure. (New York Times)

Red-state Democratic senators hold firm against stopgap spending bill. The 10 Democratic senators running for reelection this year in states won by President Donald Trump once looked like easy marks for bipartisan legislative deals. (Politico Pro)
Tax Overhaul Is a Blow to Affordable Housing Efforts. The last time that Congress approved a sweeping overhaul of the federal tax code, in 1986, it created a tax credit meant to encourage the private sector to invest in affordable housing. It has grown into a $9 billion-a-year social program that has funded the construction of some three million apartments for low-income residents. (New York Times)
Trump Says He Called Apple's Tim Cook to Thank Him for Investments. President Donald Trump said Thursday that he called Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook to thank him for announcing hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S. investments following passage of Republican tax legislation last year. (Bloomberg)
Saying You Want to Reform the Tax Code? Easy. Doing It? Less So. If taxpayers and lawmakers were expecting that a new 37-page report would provide a definitive road map of how New York State might sidestep the effects of President Trump's new federal tax plan and its sharp reduction in the deductibility of state and local taxes, they instead got a view of just how complicated this is. (New York Times)
With Tax Savings, Some Employers Will Boost 401(k) Contributions. Amid a tight labor market, companies are spending more on retirement plans to attract and retain talent. (Wall Street Journal)
Why many companies are giving bonuses - not raises - after the new tax cuts. On Wednesday, yet another company -- this time Apple, which pledged to give $2,500 restricted stock awards for most of its employees, in addition to investing $350 billion in the U.S. economy -- joined the ranks of employers offering bonuses in the wake of the new U.S. tax law. (Washington Post)
Apple's Home Court Disadvantage. For Apple Inc. bringing billions of overseas earnings home is one thing. Keeping it there is quite another. (Wall Street Journal)
Apple's U.S. tax payment does not change EU's Irish tax ruling. Apple's announcement that it will pay $38 billion in U.S. tax on its overseas cash will not reduce the $16 billion tax bill the company owes Ireland following a European Union ruling, the EU's executive said on Thursday. (Reuters)
Which Colleges Will Have to Pay Taxes on Their Endowment? Your Guess Might Not Be Right. Small liberal arts colleges could take a hit from a new tax on investments, while some wealthy universities will avoid payments in the near-term. (Wall Street Journal)

Global Trade

China looks to call bluff on Trump trade action. As influential voices within the U.S. business community warn China that U.S. President Donald Trump is serious about tough action over Beijing's trade practices, there is little sense of a crisis in the Chinese capital, where officials think he is bluffing. (Reuters)

NAFTA negotiators to extend Round 6. Officials from Canada, Mexico and the United States have extended the upcoming round of NAFTA negotiations by adding extra working-level talks to the start of the round and delaying the ministerial meeting by one day at the end, the official schedule shows. (Politico Pro)
Trump Rebuked China for North Korea's Oil Smuggling. It's More Complicated. With sanctions constricting its trade, including the import of refined petroleum, North Korea has increasingly turned to illegal clandestine shipments to acquire the fuel it needs, according to diplomatic officials and documents obtained by The New York Times. (New York Times)


Qualcomm Secures Antitrust Approvals for NXP Deal. Chip company gets green light for $39 billion takeover from EU and South Korean regulators. (Wall Street Journal)
Italy's anti-trust opens probe into Apple, Samsung phone complaints. Italy's antitrust body said on Thursday it had opened a probe into allegations that Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd used software updates to slow their mobile phones and push clients into buying new handsets. (Reuters)

Public Sector

Budget, workforce challenge CDM implementation. Industry representatives told a House panel on Jan. 17 that a key cybersecurity program aimed at protecting federal networks was making progress, but budgetary and workforce setbacks are contributing to implementation delays. (ITAPS Trey Hodgkins Quoted, FCW)

IRS looks to interagency threat sharing ahead of tax season. As the IRS enters another tax filing season with the prospect of further budget and workforce shortfalls, the agency is looking toward interagency threat sharing solutions to reduce the government's payout of tax returns to fraudsters. (Federal News Radio)
DoD innovation chief nominee puts weight behind DIUx, wants to bridge 'valley of death'. As the Defense Department moves forward in splitting its acquisition office, the nominee for the first ever defense undersecretary for research and engineering is pledging to stand by the department's established innovation hubs. (Federal News Radio)
How APIs Can Reshape the Defense Department Enterprise. By leveraging APIs, Defense stands to realize substantial increases in productivity and reductions in costs. (Next Gov)
Tech Politics

How to tame the tech titans. Not long ago, being the boss of a big Western tech firm was a dream job. As the billions rolled in, so did the plaudits: Google, Facebook, Amazon and others were making the world a better place. (The Economist)
New Type of Cyberattack Targets Factory Safety Systems. Hackers who attacked a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia last year gained control over a safety shut-off system that is critical in defending against catastrophic events, according to security researchers shedding light on what they describe as a new type of cyberattack. (Wall Street Journal)

Lebanese Intelligence Turned Targets' Android Phones Into Spy Devices, Researchers Say. Lebanon's internal intelligence agency appears to have been caught spying on thousands of people - including journalists and military personnel - in more than 20 countries, according to researchers at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Lookout, a mobile security company. (New York Times)
Intel fix causes reboots and slowdowns. Intel says devices are rebooting more than usual after being patched with fixes it has issued to the Spectre and Meltdown security flaws in its chips. (BBC)

Senate passes bill renewing internet surveillance program. The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed a bill to renew the National Security Agency's warrantless internet surveillance program for six years with minimal changes, overcoming objections from civil liberties advocates that it undermined the privacy of Americans. (Reuters)
Five years after Snowden, security hawks notch landmark win. Thursday'spassage of a long-fought surveillance bill is the first big legislative win in nearly five years for the national security community, which has faced increasing restrictions ever since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked details about the government's most secret spying programs. (Politico Pro)

Senate panel approves FCC commissioner for full term. The Senate Commerce Committee voted to confirm Commissioner Brendan Carr for a full five-year term at the Federal Communications Commission. (The Hill)
Here's how Hawaii's emergency alert design led to a false alarm. The disastrous false alarm issued by Hawaii over the weekend has raised concerns about what safeguards the state had in place. (The Verge)
House Dems want to give cities the right to build broadband networks. A group of House Democrats introduced a bill on Thursday that would give local communities the right to build their own broadband networks and compete with established providers like Comcast and Verizon. (The Hill)
Apple rejects net neutrality testing app, says it offers 'no benefits to users'. Researcher's iPhone app tests speeds of YouTube, Amazon, Netflix, and more. (Ars Technica)
FCC admits mobile can't replace home Internet, won't lower speed standard. Pai offers no data for claim that Title II repeal boosts broadband construction. (Ars Technica)

Facebook has added American Express CEO Ken Chenault to its board. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claims he's been "trying to recruit Ken for years." (Recode)
Google Researcher Ousted After Allegations of Sexual Harassment. Google said a researcher has left the company after allegations of sexual harassment, the latest reaction to widening evidence of misconduct across the technology industry and other sectors. (Bloomberg)

Digital technology must empower workers, not alienate them. It's clear that people need more options to thrive in the digital world. The next generation of workers will depend on how we evolve education and tech in the coming years. (Recode, Op-ed)
Internet of Things

A bill to put more self-driving cars on U.S. roads is stuck in the Senate. California's own senator isn't convinced the technology is ready. (Recode)

What's Really The Biggest Threat To The Coal Industry. President Trump has talked about a war on coal. He also talks about job killing regulations on coal. He's right that the coal industry is in decline, but the biggest threat isn't regulation, it's the free market. (NPR, Audio)


2017 was the second hottest year on Earth, according to NASA, NOAA. NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released 2017's global temperature data. See thermal images of Earth from 1860 to 2017. (Washington Post, Video)
Warming, Water Crisis, Then Unrest: How Iran Fits an Alarming Pattern. Nigeria. Syria. Somalia. And now Iran. In each country, in different ways, a water crisis has triggered some combination of civil unrest, mass migration, insurgency or even full-scale war. (New York Times)
Volvo's Swedish engine factory achieves climate-neutral status. It's the first plant in Volvo's vast network to reach this goal. (CNET)

Tech Business

Amazon Chooses 20 Finalists for Second Headquarters. Amazon said on Thursday that it had whittled the list of possible homes for its second headquarters to 20, including centers of technology like Boston and some surprise locations like Columbus, Ohio. (New York Times)
Amazon HQ2 Choices Are Disappointingly Undisruptive. Amazon has disrupted great swaths of the retailing landscape, but it's choosing not to break the mold with its second headquarters. (New York Times, Column)
A Maine Racetrack Didn't Lure Amazon. Multiply That Disappointment by 218. Here were 218 communities whose proposals did not reach the second round in Amazon's well-publicized search for its second headquarters. For those ambitious but unlucky folks, there were no "thanks for entering" gift baskets or any consolation prizes. (New York Times)
Amazon's review of Toronto could escalate tension with Trump. Inc's inclusion of Canada's largest city on a list of 20 finalists for a massive new campus could escalate tensions between the tech giant and U.S. President Donald Trump. (Reuters)
IBM Revenue Grows for the First Time Since 2012. International Business Machines Corp. IBM 0.28% reported higher revenue for the first time in 23 quarters and signaled continued growth into 2018, giving Chief Executive Ginni Rometty breathing space as she tries to turn around the century-old tech giant.

ITI Member News

Grumbling in Cupertino over Apple's bonuses. One might think that rank-and-file Apple employees would be thrilled with a just-announced $2,500 stock grant. And while that is probably true for the company's retail workers, who typically don't get such grants, not everyone in the engineering ranks was so pleased. (Axios)
Apple tops Fortune's list of the world's most admired companies. Apple is the world's most admired company, as ranked by Fortune, for the 11th year in a row. (Axios)
Google, Tencent Agree to Share Patents in Global Tech Alliance. Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Tencent Holdings Ltd. have agreed to share patents covering a range of products and technologies, an alliance between two of the world's largest corporations. (Bloomberg)
Apple will let you choose between your phone's speed and its battery life. Apple chief executive Tim Cook said Wednesday that you'll soon be able to make the decision between your iPhone's performance and its battery life yourself, amid controversy over the company's decision to do it for you. (Washington Post)
Apple says it will decide new campus site without an auction. Apple Inc said on Thursday that it will not hold a bidding process when it chooses the site for a planned new U.S. campus, marking a stark difference from the public contest that Inc has held for its second headquarters. (Reuters)
Tencent Widens Its Lead Over Facebook. Tencent Holdings Ltd. is widening its lead over Facebook Inc. as the world's most valuable social network company, riding a growing wave of optimism in Chinese technology. (Bloomberg)

Today on the Hill

The House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. First and last votes expected: 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
The Senate will convene and resume consideration of the motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R.195, the vehicle for the Continuing Resolution through February 16, 2018.
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