Skip to main content

Tech News Roundup - 03/01/2018

Tech News Roundup

Go Back

Key Issues

Tech Politics

FTC nominees: Big isn't necessarily bad when it comes to tech. President Donald Trump's nominees to the FTC indicated they wouldn't target big tech companies simply because they are big, but expressed openness to looking into whether tech algorithms harm competition or consumer choice. (Politico Pro)
Facebook says finds no new evidence Russia interfered in Brexit referendum. Facebook Inc has told a British parliamentary committee that further investigations have found no new evidence that Russia used social media to interfere in the June 2016 referendum in which Britain voted to leave the European Union. (Reuters)
Amazon, Apple Struggle to Sit Out NRA Gun-Control Debate. Gun-control activists are demanding that Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos do something he has carefully avoided: pick a side in a hot-button political debate. (Bloomberg)
Trafficking bill that irks tech to get mid-March Senate vote. Senate Republican leadership is planning on taking up an anti-trafficking bill that has drawn the ire of some in Silicon Valley during the second full week of March, said one of its leading sponsors, Republican Senator Rob Portman. (Axios)
Oregon acts to protect state election system from Russia. The state office in charge of Oregon's elections was granted funding from the Legislature for an Internet security position to protect against Russian government interference and hacking by others, officials said Tuesday. (USA Today)
Global Trade
USTR seeks 'fast track' renewal to strike 'better' trade deals. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative today said it would seek a three-year extension of "fast track" trade promotion authority to negotiate new trade deals. That would include working on pacts with Japan, Vietnam and other members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which so far have ignored the administration's overtures. (Politico Pro)

Trump may announce steel and aluminum tariffs as soon as Thursday. The White House is laying tentative plans to announce new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports as soon as Thursday, according to two people briefed on the planning. (Politico Pro)

11,000 sought DACA renewal after judge ordered program's resumption. Roughly 11,000 young, undocumented immigrants applied to renew their enrollment in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program during the three weeks that followed a federal judge's order that DACA renewals resume, according to statistics released Wednesday by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. (Politico Pro)

Artificial Intelligence

Paul Allen Wants to Teach Machines Common Sense. Microsoft's co-founder Paul Allen said Wednesday that he was pumping an additional $125 million into his nonprofit computer research lab for an ambitious new effort to teach machines "common sense." (New York Times)
Facebook's "Cat and Mouse Game". Facebook C.T.O. Mike Schroepfer, speaking at The New York Times's New Work Summit, explained how artificial intelligence helps the social media giant tackle the constantly evolving threat of dangerous and offensive content. (New York Times, Video)
When bad AI happens to good people. The artificial intelligence revolution is fundamentally different from past big tech cycles, say leading researchers: unlike with almost any other major invention through history, AI will allow ordinary malefactors to easily do some extraordinarily bad things. (Axios)
Using AI to help stroke victims when 'time is on the brain'. This month, the Food and Drug Administration cleared to market its algorithms to doctors and hospitals. (Wired)
Google's shopping rivals call for action from EU antitrust watchdog. Google competitors have called for further action by European Union antitrust regulators to ensure the Alphabet-owned firm treats rivals offering shopping services equally. (Reuters)

Public Sector

GSA takes the lead on making federal websites mobile friendly. In January, President Donald Trump signed the bipartisan Connected Government Act, which requires agencies to make sure new citizen-facing websites are mobile friendly. The statue codifies existing governmentwide guidance, but also has a schedule to push agencies to adopt mobile-friendly design practices. (Federal Computer Week)
OIG pans OPM's most recent IT modernization plan. The Office of Personnel Management's inspector general said in a new report that the agency's plan to update its information technology infrastructure fails to account for the total costs and does not include key budget and security information. (Fed Scoop)
AI hunters for your computer intruders. Humans are no longer sufficient to police cyber attackers, experts tell Axios, and machines must move in to find them. (Axios)
The future of federal cybersecurity. Cybersecurity is high on the federal agendas and comes with various challenges; risk awareness, mitigation policies, threat detection software, modern systems and efficient procurement practices and a lack of top talent. (Federal News Radio, Audio)
DOD's move to commercial cloud requires 'revamp' of risk management framework. As the Defense Department considers a new enterprisewide cloud strategy, it's imperative that the department also "revamps" its risk management framework to fully take advantage of such a modern computing environment, its acting CIO said. (Fed Scoop)

FCC to vote on infrastructure rule changes to speed up 5G networks. The FCC will vote in March on whether to eliminate certain requirements for building wireless infrastructure to help speed up the development of super-fast 5G networks. (Axios)
Inside the huge, low-profile alliance fighting to save the FCC's net neutrality rules. Every week, a motley crew of tech wonks and legal experts meet in Washington to discuss the problem they've been grappling with for almost a year now: how to save the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules. (Washington Post)
Dozens of mayors sign letter supporting resolution to restore net neutrality. A bipartisan group of mayors and senior officials are voicing support for a resolution that would "fully restore" net neutrality rules. (State Scoop)
Bad internet in the big city. New York was supposed to be a model for big-city high-speed internet. Here's how it became a cautionary tale for uneven connectivity. (Wired)
Internet of Things

Self-driving car ace on techlash: rebuilding trust is "delicate balance". The CEO for autonomous car tech startup Aurora, Dr. Chris Urmson, told Axios' Mike Allen at an event Wednesday that he believes big tech companies "at their core are doing what they think is right for society" and "doing their best to generate a better world." (Axios)
DHS to launch cloud steering group. The Department of Homeland Security is launching a cloud steering group as part of its cloud computing strategy, CIO John Zangardi said during a keynote address at AFCEA's 2018 Cyber Summit on Feb. 27. (Federal Computer Week)


Lowe's offers $2,500 to employees who learn a trade. In one of the hardest times to hire skilled workers in decades, Lowe's is running a pilot program offering $2,500 to its own employees if they will learn a master trade, such as electrician or plumber. (ITI Dean Garfield Quoted, Axios)

Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg challenged a room full of Wall Street guys to be better mentors for women. Sandberg is worried about how #MeToo could hold women back. (Recode)

Facebook expands presence in jobs market. Facebook Inc said on Wednesdayit was expanding the jobs section on its social network, as it looks to compete in a market dominated by Microsoft Corp's LinkedIn. (Reuters)

Putting Green in the Tea Party, She Crusades for Clean Power. Debbie Dooley, an early Tea Party organizer who backs President Trump, says embracing alternative energy is part of a consistent worldview. (New York Times)
Microsoft to buy solar power in Singapore in first renewable deal in Asia. Microsoft Corp said on Thursday it will buy solar power from the Sunseap Group in Singapore, the technology company's first renewable energy deal in Asia. (Reuters)

ITI Member News

Twitter is finally rolling out a 'save for later' feature called Bookmarks. It's been one of the most popular Twitter product requests for years. (Recode)
Google updates search to better answer ambiguous questions. Google is launching a new feature, called multi-faceted featured snippets, that will provide users with multiple answers to nuanced questions. (Axios)
YouTube's mistaken 'purge' highlights new peril for video giant. YouTube said Wednesday that its moderators had mistakenly removed videos in recent days during what some critics had called an ideological "purge," highlighting the ongoing challenge for a video giant now hiring thousands of new employees in a push to rein in shocking and dangerous content. (Washington Post)
Your Love of Your Old Smartphone Is a Problem for Apple and Samsung. Some shoppers are balking at new-phone price tags pushing $1,000 or features that don't impress. (Wall Street Journal)

Today on the Hill

At 10:00 a.m. the Senate will convene and proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the nomination of A. Marvin Quattlebaum, Jr. to be United States District Judge for the District of South Carolina.
The House is not in session.
Share this News Roundup on: