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Tech News Roundup - 01/25/2018

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GOP Lawmaker Wants to More Than Double High-Skilled Worker Visas. A Utah Republican plans to introduce a bill in the U.S. Senate as early as this week that would more than double the maximum number of temporary visas offered to high-skilled workers from overseas. (ITI Andy Halatei Quoted, Bloomberg)
Senate bill would allow up to 195,000 H-1B workers per year. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is expected to re-introduce his bipartisan immigration bill "I-Squared" on Thursday, Hatch's spokesperson confirmed to Axios. (ITI Dean Garfield Quoted, Axios)
Trump Says He Is Open to a Path to Citizenship for 'Dreamers'. President Trump on Wednesday said that he is open to a possible path to citizenship after 10 to 12 years for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, days after rejecting a bipartisan plan with that as its centerpiece. (New York Times)
Sanders: White House to unveil immigration framework next week. The White House will roll out a "legislative framework" next week to address the group known as DREAMers and make other reforms to the U.S. immigration system, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday. (Politico Pro)

Trump open to citizenship for DACA enrollees. President Donald Trump will consider a pathway to citizenship in 10 to 12 years for enrollees in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, he told reporters during an impromptu press conference Wednesday evening. (Politico Pro)

Budget breakthrough in reach, as Senate Democrats drop DREAMer demand. Senate Democrats are willing to drop their demand that relief for DREAMers be tied to any long-term budget agreement - a potential breakthrough on spending talks, but one that could face opposition from their House counterparts. (Politico Pro)

Tech Politics

At Davos, Tech Firms Open Up to Regulation. Facing heat on the uncontrolled effects of technology, some executives say they are willing to embrace more rules. (Wall Street Journal)
Senators ask social media execs to investigate "ReleaseTheMemo" hashtag. Meanwhile, WikiLeaks is offering to pay for a leaked copy of the memo in question. (Ars Technica)
UK's May seeks to harness investor power in fight against online extremism. Investors should use their financial clout to force internet firms into taking more responsibility for stopping militants and pedophiles using their platforms, British Prime Minister Theresa May will say on Thursday. (Reuters)
Global Trade

Proposed NAFTA changes could impact federal IT. On the campaign trail, Donald Trump called the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement, "the single worst trade deal ever approved in this country" and vowed to renegotiate the agreement. (ITAPS Eminence Griffin Quoted, Federal Computer Week)

Trump Tariffs Spark Criticism, Raise Tensions Over Trade. Eleven Pacific Rim nations forge a new trade bloc without the U.S. and Europe moves to shore up other ties as Washington takes tougher approach. (Wall Street Journal)

Trump takes his America First policies to Davos globalists. President Donald Trump arrived in Switzerland on Thursday to attend the World Economic Forum where he will push his "America First" agenda and seek more fair, reciprocal trade between the United States and its allies. (Reuters)

GOP lawmakers condemn Trump's tariff decision. Prominent Republicans warned President Trump on Wednesday against taking further trade actions that could harm American workers, even as top administration officials meeting in Davos, Switzerland, rose to the defense of the president's "America First" rhetoric on the eve of his arrival. (Washington Post)
LG to hike washing machine prices in response to Trump-imposed tariffs. President Trump's decision on Tuesday to impose steep new tariffs on washing machines and solar gear is already rippling through the U.S. retail market, with at least one importer saying it will hike prices in response. (Washington Post)
Job creator, or job killer? Trump angers solar installers with panel tariff. U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law a steep tariff on imported solar panels on Tuesday, a move billed as a way to protect American jobs but which the solar industry said would lead to thousands of layoffs and raise consumer prices. (Reuters)

Proposed NAFTA changes could impact federal IT. On the campaign trail, Donald Trump called the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement, "the single worst trade deal ever approved in this country" and vowed to renegotiate the agreement. (ITAPS Eminence Griffin Quoted, Federal Computer Week)
U.S. official backs weak dollar amid fears of trade war. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin welcomed a weaker dollar on Wednesday, sending the greenback reeling and underlining concerns that U.S. President Donald Trump is stepping up his attack on China and other big trading partners as part of his America First agenda. (Reuters)
Breaking tradition, Trump team unleashes verbal assault on the dollar. The Trump administration declared a surprising war on the U.S. dollar on Wednesday, breaking from a long tradition in which top American officials generally voice support for a strong American currency. (Politico Pro)

Mnuchin says not seeking trade war. A day after sending the dollar reeling with comments supportive of a weak U.S. currency, U.S Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration was not seeking trade wars but would defend its economic interests. (Reuters)

As U.S. Trumpets America First Rest of the World Is Moving On. President Trump is arriving at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to explain his "America First" approach at a moment when the world is moving ahead with a trade agenda that no longer revolves around the United States. (New York Times)


The eye-popping $38 billion tax bill that Apple Inc. said it plans to pay on its mammoth pile of accumulated foreign earnings will probably hit federal coffers in an eight-year trickle, not a one-time torrent. (Bloomberg)

Shake-up at Facebook highlights tension in race for AI. Facebook's hiring of French artificial-intelligence trailblazer Yann LeCun in 2013 to start its AI Research lab signaled that the social-media giant was serious about competing in the kinds of technologies revolutionizing the Web. (Washington Post)


Why Apple Isn't Worried About Broadcom's $105 Billion Bid for Qualcomm. Big takeovers have a way of placing pricing power in the hands of the merging companies. (Bloomberg)

Public Sector

Grants managers say they need their own DATA Act to address compliance woes. Though the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act was designed to usher in a new era of detailed and public federal spending information, grants managers see the need for another piece of major legislation to help them solve their own standardization woes. (Federal News Radio)
Pentagon enlists contractor to lead new commercial cloud acquisition. The Defense Department awarded a contract to Eagle Harbor Solutions LLC to support the military's latest effort to launch departmentwide cloud services. (Fed Scoop)
Federal Modernization Requires Focus on Technology, Budgets and People. Here are tips for agencies looking to speed up their plans. (Next Gov)
Upstate New York Cities Collaborate with Tech to Combat Blight. Four local governments have partnered with the Center for Technology in Government to develop a platform that will share data and stem the rising tide of blighted buildings. (Gov Tech)


Strong encryption is vital to our future in tech. Don't be fooled by recent proposals - anyone who understands how technology works knows that "back doors" aren't the answer. (The Hill)

Google Parent Launches Cybersecurity Firm. Chronicle, Alphabet's 13th unit, to help companies use data to improve security. (Wall Street Journal)
House Energy and Commerce demands answers on Spectre and Meltdown cyber flaws. House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders are demanding answers from major technology companies affected by the Spectre and Meltdown cybersecurity flaws that leave computer chips vulnerable to hackers. (The Hill)

Google can still use Bluetooth to track your Android phone when Bluetooth is turned off. When it comes to tracking the precise location of an Android user's phone, Google appears to use every means available-including Bluetooth-based location information transmitted to the company when the user might think they have Bluetooth turned off entirely. (Quartz)
EU calls on firms, governments to speed up privacy law preparation. Businesses, regulators and governments have just over 100 days to get ready for the biggest shake-up of personal data privacy rules since the birth of the internet, the European Union executive said on Wednesday, in a reminder of how much work still needs to be done. (Reuters)

EU court to decide if Austrian can bring Facebook class action suit. The highest court in the European Union will decide on Thursday whether an Austrian privacy activist can bring a class action lawsuit against Facebook for what he says are illegal violations of the privacy of users. (Reuters)


An Inside Look At The Accounts Twitter Has Censored In Countries Around The World. BuzzFeed News has identified more than 1,700 Twitter accounts that have been blocked in at least one country. (Buzzfeed)


AT&T Chief Calls for New Rules for Carriers, Tech Firms. Open letter to Congress comes as service providers, internet companies maneuver on policy changes. (Wall Street Journal)
AT&T wants Congress to draft a net neutrality law. Here's why that's a big deal. AT&T is calling on Congress for a national net neutrality law that would govern Internet providers and tech companies alike, which the telecom giant says would end a fractious, years-long debate over the future of the Web. (Washington Post)
Defying the FCC, New York's governor has signed an executive order on net neutrality. The state of New York became the second state to put itself on a collision course with federal officials as its governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, signed an executive order Wednesday designed to flout the Federal Communications Commission's recent decision to repeal its net neutrality rules. (Washington Post)
GAO to investigate bot-driven net neutrality comments. A congressional watchdog will probe allegations that the recent Federal Communications Commission docket on net neutrality was slammed by comments generated by automated bots, and by fake comments from individuals whose identities were stolen for the purpose. (Federal Computer Week)

Nevada Builds the Bridge Between Cybersavvy Students and Careers. Nevada's Learn & Earn Advanced-career Pathways helps encourage and equip high school students with entry-level cybersecurity skills. (Gov Tech)
When It Comes to Teaching Coding, Parents Wont Get With the Program.Chen Kunjie started learning piano when he was 4 years old, practicing Taekwondo at 7 and taking lessons for the mathematics Olympiad at 10. (Wall Street Journal)
Internet of Things

Senate looks for way out of gridlock on self-driving car bill. The chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee is pursuing different strategies to win approval this year of landmark self-driving car legislation that could make it easier for automakers to get thousands of cars on the road without human controls. (Reuters)
Auto Industry Tells Congress to Pump Brakes On Self-Driving Car Regulation. Automakers want lawmakers to wait to regulate self driving vehicles until the technology matures more. (Next Gov)
Autonomous vehicle lanes included in Colorado's big transportation proposal. Officials say they're not quite ready to set aside the space on state roads, but they're getting ready. (State Scoop)
Pennsylvania connects 5,000 state vehicles to the Internet of Things. With real-time data, the state says it hopes to improve efficiency and driver safety. (State Scoop)
Feds investigating after a Tesla on autopilot barreled into a parked firetruck. One driver had a blood alcohol content nearly double the legal limit and a tenuous relationship with consciousness when authorities found him on the Bay Bridge, between San Francisco and Oakland. (Washington Post)

Coal's Decline Seems Impervious to Trump's Promises. When Nic Zmija applied for a job at the 4 West coal mine three years ago, he was tantalized by a fat raise and a secure future. (New York Times)
Off-the-Shelf Nuclear Plants Could Soon Help Power Electric Cars. Demand for low-carbon electricity to power a future wave of electric vehicles could be provided by small, factory-built nuclear reactors. (Bloomberg)

Chinese Firm Found Guilty of Stealing Wind Technology from U.S. Supplier. American Superconductor Corp. claimed Sinovel Wind Group stole source code for turbine software. (Wall Street Journal)

Cold Weather Heats Up Natural-Gas Market. The threat of another blast of bitterly cold arctic air bearing down on the U.S. is sending natural-gas futures prices to their highest level in more than a year. (Wall Street Journal)


California sues Trump administration over repeal of fracking rule. On Wednesday, the largest state in the country filed another lawsuit against the Trump administration, this one concerning the repeal of a rule regulating hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on publicly owned lands under Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. (Washington Post)

ITI Member News

Apple, in Sign of Health Ambitions, Adds Medical Records Feature for iPhone. In the latest indication of Apple's growing ambitions in the digital health market, the tech giant on Wednesday unveiled a new feature that would allow users to automatically download and see parts of their medical records on their iPhones. (New York Times)
iPhone software update spotlights Apple secrecy on battery health. Apple Inc's move on Wednesday to give iPhone owners information about the health of their batteries reverses the company's longstanding refusal to make such information available directly on iPhones and iPads, even though battery health has long been easy to check on Apple's Mac computers. (Reuters)
Nielsen adds Instagram to social TV content ratings. Nielsen will add Instagram to its Social Content Ratings® (SCR) platform, which measures social engagement with TV shows. Nielsen already measures Facebook and Twitter engagement with TV shows. (Axios)
Xiaomi usurps Samsung to become top smartphone seller in India. Samsung Electronics has lost its crown as the top smartphone seller in India for the first time in six years, as it was outsold by China's Xiaomi in the final quarter of 2017, data from two tech research firms shows. (Reuters)
Why Twitter Let Noto Walk Away. Twitter Inc.'s executives gathered from around the world this week at its offices in New York's Chelsea neighborhood to discuss the state of the company, goals for the year, and management's broader ambitions. The twice-yearly meeting is usually a chance for Twitter's leaders to re-commit themselves and air any concerns to their hundred or so peers. (Bloomberg)

Today on the Hill

The Senate will convene and proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the nomination of R. D. James to be an Assistant Secretary of the Army at 10:00am.
The House is not in session.
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