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Tech News Roundup - 02/12/2018

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Key Issues


Trump's Infrastructure Plan May Ignore Climate Change. It Could Be Costly. President Trump is expected to unveil on Monday a plan that would fulfill one of his signature campaign promises: a $1.5 trillion, once-in-a-generation proposal to rebuild, restore and modernize the nation's aging infrastructure. (New York Times)
Draft White House memo would speed up infrastructure project permitting. The White House is circulating a draft memo to more than a dozen federal agencies that would dramatically speed up the time it takes to secure environmental permits for infrastructure projects, according to a document obtained by POLITICO. (Politico Pro)
Trump finally launching $1.5T sales pitch. The White House is rolling out President Donald Trump's long-awaited infrastructure plan Monday, swinging for the fences with a $1.5 trillion initiative that is light on new federal dollars - but could inspire a wave of toll roads, ease decades-old regulations and permanently change cities' and states' expectations for assistance from Washington. (Politico Pro)
Tech Politics
His 2020 Campaign Message: The Robots Are Coming. Andrew Yang, a New York businessman who wants to be the Democrats' next presidential candidate, believes that automation threatens to bring Great Depression-level unemployment and violent unrest. (New York Times)
What to Know About the CLOUD Act. Lawmakers also weigh in on bug bounties and advance customer experience and open data bills. (ITI Mention, Next Gov)

32 Democratic senators question CFPB's motive in halting Equifax probe. Thirty-two Democratic senators cosigned a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Board leadership questioning whether its investigation into the Equifax breach was halted for political reasons. (Axios)

Unilever Threatens to Reduce Ad Spending on Tech Platforms That Don't Combat Divisive Content. Unilever is threatening to pull back its advertising from popular tech platforms, including YouTube and Facebook Inc., if they don't do more to combat the spread of fake news, hate speech and divisive content. (Wall Street Journal)

Republicans moving forward with Trump's immigration framework. President Donald Trump's immigration framework will likely get a vote during during the Senate's wide-ranging immigration debate this month, though it probably won't become law without major alterations that could bring Democratic support. (Politico Pro)

Trump's man on the Hill tries not to make promises he can't keep on immigration. President Donald Trump's legislative affairs director, Marc Short, stood just off the Senate floor as Republicans cast a party-line vote on Trump's tax package late last year, but his moment of triumph was brief. (Politico Pro)

Up next in the Senate: Immigration. And nobody knows what will happen. A long-anticipated showdown on immigration reform is coming this week - and nobody knows how it will turn out. (Washington Post)
Trump takes 'shackles' off ICE, which is slapping them on immigrants who thought they were safe. A week after he won the election, President Trump promised that his administration would round up millions of immigrant gang members and drug dealers. And after he took office, arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers surged 40 percent. (Washington Post)
Key White House budget request includes billions for Trump's wall. Late Sunday, the White House released key spending request items for fiscal year 2019 that Budget Director Mick Mulvaney is expected to unveil on Monday. (Axios)
McConnell's immigration gamble. Mitch McConnell is taking the reins of an immigration debate that may prompt a fix for "Dreamers" - or quickly spiral out of control. (Politico)
New Tax Law Haunts Companies That Did 'Inversion' Deals. Tax experts and companies say law will reduce advantages of corporate relocations. (Wall Street Journal)

The Tax Law Is About to Make Analyzing Earnings Trickier. The new U.S. tax law could throw a monkey wrench into a method many analysts and investors use to gauge the strength of companies' earnings. (Wall Street Journal)

Artificial Intelligence
Facial Recognition Is Accurate, if You're a White Guy. Facial recognition algorithms made by Microsoft, IBM and Face++ were more likely to misidentify the gender of black women than white men. (New York Times)

Phil Libin, the co-founder of Evernote, is backing an AI chat bot to help people report workplace abuse. The chat bot will prompt people about workplace incidents and record their responses, almost like a diary. (Recode)
Public Sector

Massive infusion of spending ends era of restraint for federal agencies, Pentagon. The massive infusion of cash approved by Congress early Fridaymorning is slated to lift the budgets of federal agencies and the Pentagon far beyond what they were at the start of the Trump presidency, ending the era of spending restraint that gripped Washington for most of this decade. (Washington Post)
Contract award spurs concerns Amazon might have inside track to big cloud deal. A Pentagon decision to award a cloud computing contract worth up to $950 million to a company that partners with has triggered worries that the online giant may have the upper hand in a far larger competition to shift systems to the Web. (Washington Post)


Games organizers confirm cyber attack, won't reveal source. Pyeongchang Winter Olympics organizers confirmed on Sunday that the Games had fallen victim to a cyber attack during Friday's opening ceremony, but they refused to reveal the source. (Reuters)


This crafty tactic may let states get around the FCC on net neutrality. State governments are becoming pivotal players in the battle over net neutrality. (Washington Post)

Survey: 86% of Feds Would Use Robotic Automation If Possible. More than 60 percent of senior federal employees said they spend a moderate to considerable amount of time completing mundane tasks at work, and the vast majority would welcome software that automates those duties, researchers found. (Next Gov)
Austin tech workers saw the biggest jump in salary last year. Austin tech workers made $202,000 on average, adjusted for cost of living, the highest in the U.S. (Recode)
In China's Coal Country, a Ban Brings Blue Skies and Cold Homes. A monument to China's efforts to wean itself from coal rises on the outskirts of this village deep in the heart of the nation's coal country. (New York Times)
There's a Global Race to Control Batteries-and China Is Winning. Chinese companies dominate the lithium-ion battery production process, which starts in Congo and ends up in a phone or electric car. (Wall Street Journal)
Tech Business
NBC Executive Takes Over Amazon Studios. The NBC Entertainment executive Jennifer Salke was named the new head of Amazon Studios on Friday, ending a nearly four-month search that began when Roy Price was ousted after a sexual harassment allegation. (New York Times)

ITI Member News

Uber and Waymo Settle Trade Secrets Suit Over Driverless Cars. Waymo and Uber settled their legal fight on Friday, nearly a year after Waymo first accused the ride-hailing company of plotting to steal important self-driving car technology. (New York Times)
With Qualcomm in Play, San Diego Fears Losing 'Our Flag'. The world's No. 1 maker of smartphone chips is the area's biggest employer and benefactor, a role threatened by Broadcom's $121 billion takeover bid. (New York Times)
Amazon to Test a New Delivery Service for Sellers. Amazon is planning to test a program this year that would replace some delivery services now done by United Parcel Service and FedEx. (New York Times)
Facebook testing "downvote" button for comments. Facebook is gathering data to better assess what resonates with consumers through conversations on the platform. (Axios)
Qualcomm, Broadcom plan to meet on February 14: sources. Qualcomm Inc and Broadcom Ltd plan to meet on Wednesday to talk about the latter's $121 billion acquisition offer, the first time the semiconductor companies will discuss the potential deal, people familiar with the matter said. (Reuters)
Exclusive: Amazon paid $90 million for camera maker's chip technology - sources. Inc paid about $90 million to acquire the maker of Blink home security cameras late last year, in a secret bet on the startup's energy-efficient chips, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. (Reuters)

Today on the Hill

The House is not in session today.
The Senate will convene at 3:00 p.m. and resume consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R.2579, the vehicle for immigration legislation.
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