Tech News Roundup

04/25/2017

Key Issues

Tech Politics

Negotiations for 2017 budget 'very positive,' White House says. The White House reiterated its confidence that a government shutdown on April 29 is not in the cards. (Federal News Radio)

Democrats plan to press Trump's competition cop on his ties to AT&T, tech giants. Democratic lawmakers are signaling they plan to question President Donald Trump's nominee to oversee competition issues on his past ties to corporate giants like AT&T, which is currently seeking the government's permission to buy Time Warner. (Recode)

Broadband/Communications

FCC Chairman Expected to Announce Net Neutrality Strategy Wednesday. The nation's top telecommunications regulator is expected to unveil his strategy Wednesday for rolling back Obama-era net neutrality rules, people familiar with the matter said, signaling the start of a new clash over internet regulation. (Wall Street Journal)

House Dem calls on FCC chair to reveal net neutrality plans. Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce technology panel, wrote a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Monday calling on him to inform Congress about his plans to roll back the 2015 net neutrality rules amid Pai's meetings with representatives from the tech and telecom industries on the issue. (The Hill)

Verizon is launching its ultrafast competitor to Google Fiber. Verizon has launched a faster version of its FiOS Internet service that can reach download speeds of up to 940 Mbps per second, the company said Monday. (Washington Post)

Public Sector

White House links innovation and cybersecurity. The White House is close to finalizing its long-awaited cyber executive order, and there are growing questions over how authorities for modernizing and securing federal IT will be split between the National Security Council and the new Office of American Innovation. (BBC News)

White House: Cybersecurity EO is close, will be 'intertwined' with IT modernization. The Trump administration is "close" to unveiling its cybersecurity executive order and is carefully aligning its policy in that area with plans for modernizing federal IT networks, White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Robert Joyce said Monday in his first public comments since taking office. (FedScoop)

The Fed should do more to oversee financial sector cyber. The Federal Reserve could be doing more to protect the nation's financial industries in the face of cyber peril. So says a new report from the Fed's Office of Inspector General, which spelled out a range of measures that are needed to help defend private sector financial institutions against mounting cybersecurity risks. (FCW)

Watchdogs urge Trump to be strategic in cutting DoD workforce. As the Trump Administration continues its push to trim the size of the federal workforce, both liberal and conservative groups are calling on the White House to use some restraint in how it pares down the Defense Department's civilian employees. (Federal News Radio)

NASCIO kicks off midyear conference, asking: What is innovation?. Innovation starts when you stop looking at your smartphone. (StateScoop)

Trade

Senate Finance to vote on Lighthizer in Tuesday session. The Senate Finance Committee will vote on Robert Lighthizer's nomination to be U.S. trade representative in an executive session on Tuesday, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the panel's chairman, announced today. (Politico Pro)

Ross Says U.S. Intent on Pursuing Trade . U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross warns EU would be in competition with China and Japan to show willingness to do the first trade deal with the new administration, FT reports, citing an interview. (BNA)
China's protectionist policies in high-tech industries require U.S. response. Emerging technologies such as self-driving cars, personalized medicine, and military robots are all on cusp on transforming every aspect of how we conduct business, go to war, and live our lives. (The Hill)

Taxes

Trump Wants Tax Plan to Cut Corporate Rate to 15%. President Donald Trump has ordered White House aides to draft a tax plan that slashes the corporate tax rate to 15%, even if that means a loss of revenue and exacerbating the procedural and partisan hurdles he faces in search of his first major legislative victory, according to people familiar with the directive. (Wall Street Journal)

What to watch for in Trump's tax announcement. Congressional Republicans have been waiting for months to see President Donald Trump reveal his hand on tax reform. The White House says it will provide a glimpse on Wednesday, though it's expected to be far short of a detailed plan. (Politico Pro)

Why cutting corporate tax and raising the deficit might not hurt Trump politically. For those who have tracked Republican politics over the past few years, the Trump administration's proposal to slice the corporate tax rate without worrying about deficits seems like an anathema. (Washington Post)

Immigration

As government shutdown looms, Trump stumps for building the wall. President Donald Trump pushed for the construction of a wall along the Mexico-America border Monday as the deadline looms for a government funding bill that could come down to funding for the construction project. (Politico Pro)

With Ally in Oval Office, Immigration Hard-Liners Ascend to Power. After sending more than 13,000 Twitter messages in less than three years, Jon Feere, an outspoken opponent of illegal immigration, suddenly went silent after Inauguration Day. (New York Times)

Energy and Environment

How India's Tata is mainstreaming natural and social capital. A less well-known event in the history of earth systems research is the not-so-successful attempt to create Biosphere 2in the Arizona desert. (GreenBiz)

Apple is aiming to use 100 percent recycled materials to make its iPhones, Macbooks and other electronics products in the future in a bid to reduce its reliance on mined raw materials, the company revealed last week. (GreenBiz)

Cybersecurity

Interpol-led operation finds nearly 9,000 infected servers in Southeast Asia. An anti-cybercrime operation by Interpol and investigators from seven southeast Asian nations revealed nearly 9,000 malware-laden servers and hundreds of compromised websites in the ASEAN region, Interpol said on Monday. (Reuters)

On cybersecurity, Virginia governor says states can't wait for a federal strategy. With the sophistication and severity of digital attacks increasing daily, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe told state chief information officers Monday they should not wait for federal cybersecurity standards to bolster their own defenses. (StateScoop)

Privacy

Service Faces Backlash Over a Widespread Practice: Selling User Data. For months, Uber has paid a public price for some of the questionable tactics it has used to conquer the transportation industry. Now another company is experiencing some of the fallout for working with Uber. (New York Times)

Internet of Things

No Longer a Dream: Silicon Valley Takes On the Flying Car. On a recent afternoon, an aerospace engineer working for a small Silicon Valley company called Kitty Hawk piloted a flying car above a scenic lake about 100 miles north of San Francisco. (New York Times)

Amazon.com Inc. AMZN 0.99% has created a team focused on driverless-vehicle technology to help navigate the retail giant's role in the shake-up of transportation, according to people briefed on the matter. (Wall Street Journal)

Apple Hires Rocket Scientists as It Tries to Catch Up in Driverless Cars. Apple Inc.'s AAPL 0.96% plan for autonomous vehicles calls for putting more-senior engineers in all of its cars than some of its rivals are using for road tests, a move that suggests the company is still in the early phases of testing its technology, analysts say. (Wall Street Journal)

This state wants to usurp California as the capital of driverless cars. Gov. Terry McAuliffe bounded into the spare offices of a start-up incubator to make a rapid-fire pronouncement: He will spend the last nine months of his term trying to make Virginia "the capital of automated vehicles." (Washington Post)

Self-driving cars should leave us all unsettled. Here's why.. It is a warm autumn morning, and I am walking through downtown Mountain View, Calif., when I see it. A small vehicle that looks like a cross between a golf cart and a Jetson-esque, bubble-topped spaceship glides to a stop at an intersection. (Washington Post)

Driverless cars trial set for UK motorways in 2019. The Driven group also plans to try out a fleet of autonomous vehicles between London and Oxford. (BBC News)

Artificial Intelligence

Alibaba billionaire says AI will cause people 'more pain than happiness'. Artificial intelligence and other technologies will cause people "more pain than happiness" over the next three decades, according to Jack Ma, the billionaire chairman and founder of Alibaba. (The Guardian)

Workforce/Diversity

FCC to create advisory panel on diversity. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will soon have a committee to advise the agency on promoting diversity in the communications industry, Chairman Ajit Pai announced on Monday. (The Hill)

Tech Business

AT&T's Words on Time Warner Deal Say 'Underdog.' Its Actions Speak Otherwise.Here in the nation's capital, AT&T has painted itself as an underdog that needs to merge with Time Warnerin a blockbuster $85 billion deal to compete with powerful cable companies. (New York Times)

Uber, France spar over whether company is a transport service. U.S. ride-hailing app Uber told Europe's top court on Monday that it was a digital service, not a transport service, and that a French law clearly targeted online taxi services, in its latest European legal battle with the taxi industry. (Reuters)

Swedish tech know-how aids Stockholm's start-ups. When Jacob de Geer's ex-wife went to a trade fair seven years ago, she had a problem. More than half the potential customers for her glasses wanted to pay with credit and debit cards but as a small entrepreneur she could not afford to accept them. Most customers did not carry cash so went away empty-handed. (Financial Times)

Silicon Valley 'superstars' risk a populist backlash. Powerful narratives can take a long time to emerge. In 1981, economist Sherwin Rosen published the paper "The Economics of Superstars", which argued that technological disruptions gave disproportionate power to a few players in any given market. (Financial Times)

Yahoo execs including Mayer are out in Verizon's new Oath leadership team. Oath, the Yahoo-AOL creation owner Verizon will debut this year, plans to announce its leadership team Tuesday. And it does not include most of Yahoo's executive team. (USA Today)

ITI Member News

Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) is rolling out upgrades to its sales software that integrates data from LinkedIn, an initiative that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told Reuters was central to the company's long-term strategy for building specialized business software. (Reuters)

Oracle Plans Internal 'Startup' to Outpace Rivals' Innovation. Oracle Corp. is forming a unit it's calling a startup within its U.S. operations to work on new technologies that may include virtual reality and artificial intelligence, trying to attract talent and outpace the innovation of rivals. (Bloomberg)

1600 Penn.

In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will receive his daily intelligence briefing. The President will then depart the White House en route to the U.S. Capitol to give remarks at and participate in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's National Days of Remembrance. Later in the morning, the President will return to the White House. In the afternoon, the President will meet with Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin. The President will then have a meeting on tax reform. Later in the afternoon, the President will participate in a farmers' roundtable and signing of the Executive Order Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America. The President will then meet with National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster. In the evening, the President will have dinner with Senator Bob Corker.

Today on the Hill

On Tuesday, the House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for morning hour and 2:00 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m.
10:00 a.m.: Convene and proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the nomination of Rod J. Rosenstein to be Deputy Attorney General.
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