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Tech News Roundup

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10/17/2017

Key Issues

Taxes

Tech group blasts EU push for higher taxes. The tech industry is pushing back against the European Union's calls for higher taxes on their profits. (ITI Jennifer McCloskey Quoted, The Hill)

Deficit hawks trampled in GOP tax cut stampede. Republicans' unified control of Washington is triggering an identity crisis within the party over what it means to be a fiscal conservative in the age of Donald Trump: Do deficits even matter, or do tax cuts trump all? (Politico Pro)
Questions beyond online ads in Russia probe. Via our EU colleagues: The Information Technology Industry Council, Washington's largest tech association, wrote to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development late last week setting out its view on the tax challenges raised by digitization. Read it, here. (ITI Mention, Politico's Morning Tech)

GOP corporate tax cuts benefit the wealthy, but could help workers too. The GOP tax plan framework, released last month, almost undoubtedly benefits the wealthy - and that's largely because of the corporate tax provisions. "It's not that this tax plan is a huge direct tax cut to rich individuals, it's that it's a huge tax cut to businesses, and those businesses are owned by rich individuals," said Marc Goldwein of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. (Axios)

Trump, McConnell: Republican tax plan could bleed into next year. President Donald Trump on Monday raised the possibility that Republicans may fall short of their goal of rewriting the tax code by the end of this year. (Politico)

Trump Seeks a Truce Between Republicans to Save Their Tax Plan. Steve Bannon won't abandon his war against congressional Republican incumbents, not even after President Donald Trump publicly pleaded for a truce that could salvage the tax overhaul at the heart of his legislative agenda. (Bloomberg)
Privacy

Justices to Decide on Forcing Technology Firms to Provide Data Held Abroad. The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide whether federal prosecutors can force technology companies to turn over data stored outside the United States. (New York Times)

Supreme Court to Consider Search Warrant Power in Microsoft Email Case. Company argues U.S. search warrants don't reach data stored outside domestic borders. (Wall Street Journal)

U.S. Supreme Court to decide major Microsoft email privacy fight. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to resolve a major privacy dispute between the Justice Department and Microsoft Corp over whether prosecutors should get access to emails stored on company servers overseas. (Reuters)

Tech Politics

Trump White House fed up with the Senate. President Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell stood side by side at the White House Monday afternoon to declare they're "together totally" and "very united" heading into this fall's tax reform battle. (Politico)
FCC chairman's bind: Defend Trump or free speech. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is facing increasing pressure to distance himself from President Donald Trump's threats against NBC - a course of action that would risk provoking the president's Twitter-fueled wrath. (Politico)

Global Trade

A Nafta Battleground on the Shores of Canada. This far-flung peninsula in the North Atlantic seems an unlikely place for an international trade dispute. But an American company's scuttled plans to build a quarry here have turned these quiet fishing grounds into a case study of the kind of thorny disputes that threaten to derail the North American Free Trade Agreement. (New York Times)

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence - hype, hope and fear. If my email inbox is anything to go by, a technology revolution is under way that is going to transform all of our lives very soon and it is called artificial intelligence. (BBC News)

Self-driving cars could ease traffic, but increase sprawl. A new study inspired by Boston's early experiments with self-driving cars finds that the technology could ease congestion, but might also lead to more cars on the road and further encourage urban sprawl. (Associated Press)

Public Sector

Exclusive: New York City Hires Quiessence Phillips as Deputy CISO to Help Lead New Cyber Command. New York City's effort to consolidate its cybersecurity operations into one enterprisewide command center has just taken a major step forward with the appointment of Quiessence Phillips as deputy chief information security officer. (GovTech)
Meet the Army's cyber protection force. A glimpse into the Army's cyber mission force will show the nation's biggest strengths and challenges when it comes to cybersecurity: education and awareness. (Federal Computer Week)

Encryption

DHS to order agencies implement email, website encryption tools. The Homeland Security Department plans to issue a binding directive Mondayrequiring agencies to implement a slew of new email security protections. (NextGov)

Cybersecurity
Millions of high-security crypto keys crippled by newly discovered flaw. Factorization weakness lets attackers impersonate key holders and decrypt their data. (Ars Technica)

The World Once Laughed at North Korean Cyberpower. When North Korean hackers tried to steal $1 billion from the New York Federal Reserve last year, only a spelling error stopped them. They were digitally looting an account of the Bangladesh Central Bank, when bankers grew suspicious about a withdrawal request that had misspelled "foundation" as "fandation." (New York Times)

Adobe warns that hackers are exploiting its Flash software. Adobe Systems Inc warned on Monday that hackers are exploiting vulnerabilities in its Flash multimedia software platform in web browsers, and the company urged users to quickly patch their systems to prevent such attacks. (Reuters)

Education Department warns of cyberattacks against schools. The Education Department on Monday urged schools and colleges to bolster their cybersecurity measures in response to what it said was a new type of online attack involving the release of sensitive data and threats of violence against students. (Politico Pro)

Microsoft responded quietly after detecting secret database hack in 2013. Microsoft Corp's secret internal database for tracking bugs in its own software was broken into by a highly sophisticated hacking group more than four years ago, according to five former employees, in only the second known breach of such a corporate database. (Reuters)

Google unveils security features meant to prevent another Podesta hack. Google wants to make it harder for hackers to break into high-profile individuals' email accounts, in an attempt to prevent a repeat of the kind of cyber assault that plagued Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. (Politico Pro)
Censorship

As U.S. Confronts Internet's Disruptions, China Feels Vindicated. In the United States, some of the world's most powerful technology companies face rising pressure to do more to fight false information and stop foreign infiltration. (New York Times)

German ambassador warns that internet controls could harm companies, isolate China. China's internet restrictions have struck a "new blow" against foreign companies working there, Germany's ambassador said on Monday, warning that such moves could undermine Beijing's political and commercial ties with the world. (Reuters)

Silenced by "free speech". There's a fundamental incongruency between being inflexibly pro 'free speech' and operating a global social network for civil public discussion. Twitter is struggling with it. Facebook is struggling with it too. And it can't be solved by a little more transparency or by hoping average citizens will do the right thing. (Tech Crunch)
Workforce/Diversity
YouTube's Susan Wojcicki explains why the 'Google memo' author had to be fired. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki was on vacation when Silicon Valley suddenly plunged into a bitter debate over sexism. The now-infamous "Google memo," written by engineer James Damore, argued against diversity initiatives at Google and said that female engineers were less capable of leading others. (Recode)

Colorado schools pay students to work with local tech firms. In one back room at Skyline High School, you can learn all you need to know about St. Vrain Valley School District. It's there that bins of materials sit next to past projects, exposing the district's DNA. (Wired)

Tech's Troubling New Trend: Diversity Is in Your Head. Discussing her work at Apple at an event last week about fighting racial injustice, Denise Young Smith, the company's vice president of diversity and inclusion, said, "There can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blond men in a room and they're going to be diverse, too, because they're going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation." (New York Times)

Black members of Congress push for more diversity in Silicon Valley hires. Days after two leading members of the Congressional Black Caucus got Facebook to commit to hiring a black member to its board of directors, they again pressed major tech firms to diversify the hiring of executives and rank-and-file employees. (Ars Technica)

Broadband/Communications

Senate Dem urges FCC chair to disavow Trump tweet. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Monday joined the growing number of Democrats who are calling on the head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to disavow President Trump's calls to challenge certain media outlets' broadcast licenses. (The Hill)

Internet of Things

Researchers uncover flaw that makes Wi-Fi vulnerable to hacks. The alert from the DHS Computer Emergency Response Team said the flaw could be used within range of Wi-Fi using the WPA2 protocol to hijack private communications. It recommended installing vendor updates on affected products, such as routers provided by Cisco Systems Inc or Juniper Networks Inc. (Reuters)

The 'Secure' Wi-Fi standard has a huge, dangerous flaw. When you set up up a new Wi-Fi network, you're probably conditioned by now to check the "WPA2" box. You may not specifically know when or why someone advised you to do this, but it was solid advice. Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 is the current industry standard that encrypts traffic on Wi-Fi networks to thwart eavesdroppers. And since it's been the secure option since 2004, WPA2 networks are absolutely everywhere. They're also, it turns out, vulnerable to cryptographic attack. (Wired)
Google to patch devices vulnerable to KRACK flaw. A weakness in the WPA2 protocol places virtually all wireless-enabled devices at risk. Google says it will patch its Android gadgets in "the coming weeks." (CNET)

IBM launches two new services to help businesses move to the cloud. IBM today announced two new services that are meant to make it easier for businesses to move their data and applications to the cloud. The company says the IBM Cloud Migration Services and IBM Cloud Deployment Services will make it easier and more affordable to migrate their existing workloads to the public cloud. (Tech Crunch)
Self-driving cars could ease traffic, but increase sprawl. A new study inspired by Boston's early experiments with self-driving cars finds that the technology could ease congestion, but might also lead to more cars on the road and further encourage urban sprawl. (AP)

Energy

Boom in American Liquified Natural Gas Is Shaking Up the Energy World. A shale gas drilling boom over the last decade has propelled the United States from energy importer to exporter, taking the country a giant leap toward the goal of energy independence declared by presidents for half a century. (New York Times)

How Cheniere Energy Decided to Take a Gamble on Liquified Natural Gas. Every few days, a 900-foot long tanker sails from Cheniere Energy's mammoth new Sabine Pass terminal on Louisiana's Gulf Coast, loaded with natural gas for destinations around the world. (New York Times)

Are the Days of Low Oil Prices Receding?. Oil prices rose on Monday, fueled by jitters about a disruption in supplies after government forces in Iraq moved on the Kurdish-held city of Kirkuk and on oil installations seized by the Kurds in 2014. (New York Times)

Environment/Sustainability
After Hurricane Power Outages, Looking To Alaska's Microgrids For A Better Way. Seafood processors like Ocean Beauty are some of the largest energy consumers in Kodiak, Alaska, which has generated more than 99 percent of its electricity from renewable sources since 2014. (Alaska Public Radio)

Intel, Eileen Fisher find value in the circular economy. The circular economy - an economic model focused on designing and manufacturing products, components and materials for reuse, remanufacturing and recycling - promises big opportunities for the private sector to drive new and better growth and accelerate innovation. (GreenBiz)

Tech Business
Two-thirds of adults worldwide will own smartphones next year. Two-thirds of adults worldwide, 66.5 percent, will own smartphones next year, according to new forecasts from media measurement company Zenith. (Recode)

Driverless car investments top $80 billion. At least $80 billion has been funneled into driverless car technology over the past three years, according to a new report, underscoring how the pace of development has accelerated in recent years. (The Hill)

Toyota to test self-driving, talking cars by about 2020. Toyota Motor Corpon Monday said it would begin testing self-driving electric cars around 2020, which will use artificial intelligence (AI) to engage with drivers, as the company competes with tech firms to develop new vehicles. (Reuters)

ITI Member News

Facebook Is Looking for Employees With National Security Clearances. Facebook Inc. is looking to hire people who have national security clearances, a move the company thinks is necessary to prevent foreign powers from manipulating future elections through its social network, according to a person familiar with the matter. (Bloomberg)

How Google's Quantum Computer Could Change the World. The ultra-powerful machine has the potential to disrupt everything from science and medicine to national security-assuming it works. (Wall Street Journal)
Facebook funds anti-bullying training in schools. Facebook has said it will fund existing training for one young person in every UK secondary school so they can support children who experience cyber-bullying. (BBC News)

Twitter's harassment problem is baked into its design. The first recorded example in Western literature of men telling women to shut up and stay in the house, writes classicist Mary Beard in her 2014 essay, "The Public Voice of Women," is in the Odyssey. Not-yet-grown Telemachus tells his mother, Penelope, to "go back up into your quarters, and take up your own work, the loom and the distaff ... speech will be the business of men, all men, and of me most of all." (NextGov)

Facebook Buys TBH, a Teen-Targeted Anonymous Poll App. Facebook Inc., which is trying to make inroads with younger users, said Monday that it bought TBH, an anonymous polling app that has become an overnight sensation among teens. (Wall Street Journal)

Today on the Hill

The House is not in session today.
The Senate will convene at 10:00 AM and proceed to executive session to consider the nomination of David Joel Trachtenberg, of Virginia, to be Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense.
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