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Tech News Roundup - 01/26/2018

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H-1B reform bill seeks to expand annual quota. A new bill wants to expand the H-1B visa -- a hotly debated pathway for foreign workers. (ITI Dean Garfield Quoted, CNN)
Hatch bill would dramatically increase H-1B visas. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) plans to release legislation on Thursday that would expand high skilled immigration visas and allow the spouses and children of such visa holders to legally work in the U.S. (ITI Dean Garfield quoted, The Hill)
I-Squared Act coming today. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) plans to re-introduce the Immigration Innovation Act today, seeking a host of changes to U.S. immigration policy even as Congress struggles to reach a solution on the DACA program that shields certain young undocumented immigrants from deportation. (ITI Dean Garfield Quoted, Politico Pro: Morning Tech)
Bill would increase number of H-1B visas and allow spouses to work. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, plans to introduce a bill Thursday that would dramatically increase the number of H-1B visas available each year, and allow the spouses of these visa holders to work in the U.S., according to a draft of the bill provided to The Chronicle. (ITI Dean Garfield Quoted, San Francisco Chronicle)
As H-1B application season gets under way, foreigners face new challenges. The next round of H-1B applications are due in less than three months, and during a recent immigration information session in San Francisco, the stress was palpable. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Trump Immigration Plan Demands Tough Concessions From Democrats. President Trump proposed legislation on Thursday that would provide a path to citizenship for as many as 1.8 million young undocumented immigrants in exchange for an end to decades of family-based migration policies, a costly border wall and a vast crackdown on other immigrants living in the country illegally. (New York Times)

Trump's immigration plan draws harsh reviews from left and right, and some conservatives label him 'Amnesty Don'. President Trump is testing the loyalty of his most ardent conservative supporters, proposing a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children, while demanding that Democrats support $25 billion for border security, including his proposed border wall, and strict new limits on legal immigration. (Los Angeles Times)
Trump Proposes Citizenship for Dreamers in Exchange for Wall, Other Concessions. Administration also looking to restrict family-based immigration and hiring more border agents, immigration judges and prosecutors. (Wall Street Journal)
Rubio rejects bipartisan immigration gang. The Florida GOP senator, a key co-author of the 2013 Gang of Eight comprehensive immigration bill, has no plans to join a swelling bipartisan group of senators trying to strike a deal to protect DREAMers. (Politico Pro)
Tech Politics

Tech companies say they didn't see Russian social media infiltration in 2017 elections. Google and Twitter told lawmakers they've found no evidence of Russian influence efforts via their platforms in the handful of U.S. elections held last year. (Politico Pro)
Facebook, Google and Twitter told Congress they do not believe Russian trolls interfered in last year's elections in Virginia and New Jersey. The companies' comments came in response to another round of questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee. (Recode)
Russians got tens of thousands of Americans to RSVP for their phony political events on Facebook. Russian operatives used Facebook to publicize 129 phony event announcements during the 2016 presidential campaign, drawing the attention of nearly 340,000 users -- many of whom said they were planning to attend -- according to a company document released by the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday. (Washington Post)
Tech firms let Russia probe software widely used by U.S. government. Major global technology providers SAP, Symantec and McAfee have allowed Russian authorities to hunt for vulnerabilities in software deeply embedded across the U.S. government, a Reuters investigation has found. (Reuters)
ACLU Challenges Lawmakers Who Block People on Social Media. Reps. Gosar, Lewis among group's targets. (Roll Call)
EU dismisses class action lawsuit against Facebook. The European Union voted in favor of Facebook on Thursday, arguing that Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems could not bring a class action lawsuit against the tech giant for what he claimed were data privacy violations under EU law. (Axios)

What Facebook, Google and Twitter Told Congress About Russian Misinformation. Congress on Thursday published responses from Facebook Inc, Twitter Inc. and Google to questions about how Russian actors used their platforms to spread misinformation before and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election. (Wall Street Journal)
Facebook: Russian agents created 129 U.S. election events. Facebook Inc said Russian agents created 129 events on the social media network during the 2016 U.S. election campaign, according to testimony to Congress, shedding more light on Russia's purported disinformation drive aimed at voters. (Reuters)
Twitter Pushed by U.K. Lawmakers to Hunt for Russia-Brexit Link. Twitter Inc. is facing renewed pressure from U.K. lawmakers over possible Russian interference in the 2016 vote to leave the European Union, after the company said an expanded investigation into the referendum found little evidence of Kremlin activity. (Bloomberg)

Global Trade

U.S. mulls Canada's proposals to unblock NAFTA, talks grind on. U.S. officials on Thursday probed Canadian proposals for unblocking talks on NAFTA but there were few signs of progress, raising questions about whether any real movement is happening at the latest round of negotiations on the treaty. (Reuters)
Trump's Enthusiasm for Stock Market Collides With His Trade Plans. He boasted about it at a banquet given by the Communist president of Vietnam. (New York Times)
President Trump predicts 'tremendous increase' in UK-US trade. President Donald Trump has predicted a "tremendous increase" in UK-US trade, after talks with Theresa May. (BBC)
U.S. 'intransigence' would hurt NAFTA talks: Union Pacific CEO. United States officials who are in talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will not reach the "right spot" during final negotiations without a collaborative approach, Union Pacific Corp railroad's top executive told Reuters on Thursday. (Reuters)

SunPower puts U.S. expansion on hold over Trump tariff. SunPower Corp on Thursday said it was putting a $20 million U.S. factory expansion and hundreds of new jobs on hold until and unless its solar panels receive an exclusion from federal tariffs the Trump administration imposed this week. (Reuters)

Trump to Promote U.S. as 'Open for Business' in Davos Speech. President Donald Trump is expected Friday to promote the U.S. as "open for business," while highlighting the nation's commitment to global trade, in an address to foreign leaders and business executives gathered at the World Economic Forum, according to a senior administration official. (Wall Street Journal)


The Tax Law, Just One Month Old, Is Roaring Through U.S. Companies. From acquisitions and equipment purchases to stock buybacks, firms are rapidly recalibrating their business plans. (Wall Street Journal)

Tax Incentive Puts More Robots on Factory Floors. New tax rules are hastening automation and modernizing in U.S. factories, giving manufacturers an incentive to buy machinery and boost productivity in a tight labor market. (Wall Street Journal)
Intel Revenue Rises, but Chip Maker Reports Loss on Tax Charge. Charge of $5.4 billion is booked after recent changes in U.S. tax law. (Wall Street Journal)

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence's 'Black Box' Is Nothing to Fear. Alongside the excitement and hype about our growing reliance on artificial intelligence, there's fear about the way the technology works. (New York Times, OpEd)
UK PM seeks 'safe and ethical' artificial intelligence. The prime minister says she wants the UK to lead the world in deciding how artificial intelligence can be deployed in a safe and ethical manner. (BBC)

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)
Chinese Phonemakers Protest Broadcom's $105 Billion Qualcomm Bid. Three of China's largest smartphone makers spoke up against Broadcom Inc.'s hostile $105 billion bid for Qualcomm Inc., arguing that a combination of the two giant U.S. chipmakers will create a monopoly and stifle innovation. (Bloomberg)

Public Sector

GSA seeks industry input on shared services tech. The General Services Administration wants an update on commercial financial systems software as the agency readies to accelerate a governmentwide shift to shared services. (Federal Computer Week)

ITI offers support for revised NIST framework language on measurement, supply chain, federal alignment. The Information Technology Industry Council is offering strong support for the latest proposed update to the framework of cybersecurity standards, pointing to the National Institute of Standards and Technology's recent revisions on metrics, supply-chain and other issues as particularly effective. (ITI Mention, Inside Cybersecurity)
Cyber incidents doubled globally in 2017: report. The number of cyber incidents globally doubled to 159,700 last year, according to the Online Trust Alliance's (OTA) Cyber Incident & Breach Trends Report released Thursday. (Axios)
DNC beefs up cyber team with former Yahoo executive. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is bringing on new talent from the private sector to bolster its cyber defenses ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. (The Hill)
Intel says updated chips coming to protect against Meltdown, Spectre. Intel told investors Thursday that the company is working "around the clock" to tackle the security issues stemming from the Spectre and Meltdown flaws and that it will release updated chips later this year to provide a long-term solution. (Washington Post)
Wall Street to grill Intel on chip security flaws. Wall Street analysts will grill Intel Corp executives on how massive security flaws in its computer chips are impacting business when the company reports quarterly results on Thursday. (Reuters)
May calls again for tech firms to act on encrypted messaging. Theresa May has signalled her desire to crack down on encrypted messaging apps, arguing that the services provide a safe haven for terrorists and extremists and hinting that the government may take more concrete action if developers do not act themselves. (The Guardian)
Government could shift to security-as-a-service, DHS's West says. With cyber talent in high demand, Barry West said Thursday that the government may soon to lean more heavily on the private sector for cybersecurity help. (Fed Scoop)
DHS Cyber Info Sharing Tool to Get a Reboot This Year. The Homeland Security Department plans to update its system for automatically sharing cybersecurity threat information with companies, critical infrastructure providers and other federal agencies this coming summer or fall, a top official said Thursday. (NextGov)


San Jose mayor quits FCC advisory committee. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo resigned today from a panel that advises the Federal Communications Commission on broadband deployment, alleging that the committee is dealing internet service providers "a very favorable hand" of policy recommendations. (Axios)
Congress pushes broadband access ahead of Trump infrastructure proposal. Congress is making a push to get rural internet access projects funded through President Trump's promised $1.7 trillion infrastructure plan. (The Hill)

Employee who sent false alert in Hawaii not cooperating with FCC probe, official says. The employee responsible for sending a false mobile alert across Hawaii warning of an incoming ballistic missile is not cooperating with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) investigations looking into the matter, an FCC official said Thursday. (The Hill)

'Don't Think A Robot Could Do This': Warehouse Workers Aren't Worried For Their Jobs. The wheels of a tall, metal cart squeak as Chris Beatty, 26, pulls it through a maze of aisles inside a cosmetics warehouse in Burlington, N.J. (NPR)
What new mothers have to say about returning to their jobs in tech. Recode readers responded to our survey in their own words. (Recode)

Women leaders in federal tech urge developing diverse talent pool. For years, the federal government has experienced challenges around recruiting young talent, fresh out of college, for information technology jobs. (Federal News Radio)
Internet of Things

Alexa, What Happened to My Car?. Amazon's Alexa voice-controlled virtual assistant is the Chatty Cathy of the tech world, a digital darling that consumers can't get enough of. (New York Times)
Ford Scoops Up Software Firms as It Drives Toward the Driverless. Autonomic and TransLoc join auto maker as it beefs up its tech talent. (Wall Street Journal)
After crash, injured motorcyclist accuses robot-driven vehicle of 'negligent driving'. A California motorcyclist has filed a lawsuit against General Motors, accusing one of the manufacturer's robot-operated vehicles of "negligent driving." (Washington Post)

Apple expands its fleet of self-driving cars in California. Apple has expanded its fleet of self-driving cars in California, registering an additional two dozen vehicles with the state's Department of Motor Vehicles. (The Verge)

Keystone XL pipeline route change is not major issue: TransCanada CEO. TransCanada Corp does not see a route change for the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline to Nebraska as a major issue, and the company is confident a key regulatory approval will stand, Chief Executive Russ Girling said on Thursday. (Reuters)

Davos Lauds China's Climate Efforts Even as Emissions Rise. Xi Jinping, China's president, galvanized supporters of the climate-change fight last year when he told an audience at the World Economic Forum that the effort "is a responsibility we must assume for future generations." (New York Times)
EPA Withdraws Air Pollution Policy. The Trump administration is withdrawing a decades-old air policy aimed at reining in some of the largest sources of hazardous pollutants like mercury and lead. (Wall Street Journal)
Tesla Semi caught cruisin' California. It's just a short video, but it's a pretty solid look at Tesla's forthcoming electric semi. (CNET)

Tech Business

Big Tech Takes Repentance Tour to Davos to Fend Off Backlash. Google's top executive said the search giant would welcome higher taxes. Uber Technologies Inc.'s new CEO said it must be more accommodating with regulators. (Bloomberg)
Dell Technologies Considering IPO, Other Options, Sources Say. Dell Technologies is considering strategic options including a public stock offering, according to people familiar with the matter, as the corporate-technology company seeks ways to boost revenue and raise funds. (Bloomberg)

Qualcomm signs $2 billion sales MOUs with Lenovo, Xiaomi, vivo and OPPO. Qualcomm Technologies Inc has signed memorandums of understanding for sales worth at least $2 billion with top Chinese smartphone vendors, receiving vocal support from the firms as it fights an unsolicited buyout bid from Broadcom Ltd. (Reuters)
Advertisers are finding new places for ads with the rise of voice technology. We're entering the fourth (screen) dimension. (Recode)
Apple's Getting Back Into the E-Books Fight Against Amazon. Apple Inc. is ready to take on Inc. in the digital book market again, years after regulators forced the iPhone maker to back down from an earlier effort to challenge the e-commerce giant's lead. (Bloomberg)
Wal-Mart Has a New Ally in Fight With Amazon: Japan's Rakuten. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is joining with Japan's largest online retailer, Rakuten Inc., to bolster its efforts to compete with Inc. in Asia and the U.S. (Wall Street Journal)

ITI Member News

Apple Goes Deeper Into La La Land With Damien Chazelle Project. Apple has taken another step toward becoming a power in the entertainment business by scooping up the rights for a TV project from Damien Chazelle, the Oscar-winning writer and director of "La La Land," the unlikely critical and box office hit from 2016. (New York Times)
Google rolls out new addition to 'Mute This Ad' feature. Alphabet Inc's Google rolled out a new addition to its ads settings that will enable users to mute reminder ads in apps and on websites that partner with the company to show the ads. (Reuters)
S&P expects positive credit boost for Amazon 'HQ2' winner. The winning location for's $5 billion second headquarters project and its promise of up to 50,000 new jobs will likely receive a credit boost, S&P Global Ratings said on Thursday. (Reuters)
Twitter Is Working on a Snapchat-Style Video Sharing Tool. Twitter Inc. is working on a new Snapchat-style feature that makes it easier to post videos on the social-media company's app, according to people familiar with the matter, aiming to attract more users and cement a nascent turnaround. (Bloomberg)
Apple prepares macOS users for discontinuation of 32-bit app support. At last year's Worlwide Developer's Conference (WWDC), Apple announced to Mac app developers that macOS High Sierra "will be the last macOS release to support 32-bit apps without compromise." (ArsTechnica)
Ranking Amazon's HQ2 Short List. Amazon has narrowed the list of metro areas it is considering for its new headquarters to 20 from 238. Now the real hunt begins. (Wall Street Journal)

Today on the Hill

The House is not in session.
The Senate will convene at 2:00 p.m. and resume consideration of the motion to proceed to S.2311, Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
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