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Tech News Roundup - 11/28/2017

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Senators Begin Deal-Making to Secure Tax Votes. Senate Republicans returned to Washington on Monday determined to speed ahead with their tax overhaul as lawmakers aimed toward a possible floor vote this week in what promises to be a frenzied stretch to pass a tax package by Christmas. (New York Times)

Senators Seek Changes to Tax Bill as Busy Week Kicks Off. Senate Republicans began a frenzied week of negotiations to pass a landmark tax overhaul, grappling with several blocs of wavering GOP senators and trying to cobble together enough votes. (Wall Street Journal)

Trump could personally benefit from last-minute change to Senate tax bill. Last-minute changes to the Senate tax bill could personally benefit President Trump, who has investment stakes in roughly 500 entities that could be affected by the planned adjustments. (Washington Post)

Senate Republicans drop some pass-through guardrails. Senate Republicans are taking special steps to try to prevent the well-to-do from gaming their plans to cut taxes on businesses - though only for people earning more than $500,000. (Politico Pro)

Senators Scramble to Advance Tax Bill That Increasingly Rewards Wealthy. The Republican tax bill hurtling through Congress is increasingly tilting the United States tax code to benefit wealthy Americans, as party leaders race to shore up wavering lawmakers who are requesting more help for high-earning business owners. (New York Times)

Do tax reform the right way. Major tax reform is one of the most important tasks of this or any Congress. But those in charge of the current process seem hell bent to pass something, anything, that can be called tax reform before an arbitrary Christmas deadline, with no real input from Democrats (or Independents), outside experts, states and communities affected, or ordinary citizens. (Axios, Op-Ed)

Senate GOP making last-ditch changes to tax plan. Senate Republicans are rushing to change their tax overhaul just days before a planned floor vote, with GOP leaders trying to appease at least a half-dozen holdouts. (Politico)

Senate tax drama intensifies as bill faces key panel vote. President Donald Trump's drive to overhaul the U.S. tax code headed toward a new drama on Tuesday in the Senate, where a pair of Republican lawmakers demanded changes to the party's tax bill in exchange for their help in moving the measure forward. (Reuters)

Tech Politics

Supreme Court Weighs Streamlined Patent Challenges. The Supreme Court appeared divided on Monday over the constitutionality of a procedure that makes it easier to challenge questionable patents. (New York Times)

Global Trade
U.S. bid to include Mexico reform in NAFTA stalls telecom talks. A U.S. proposal to enshrine measures targeting Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim's America Movil thwarted NAFTA negotiators' goal to reach a deal on telecommunications issues during the latest talks, according to three sources with knowledge of the matter. (Reuters)

Ending NAFTA would hurt growth, competitiveness of United States, Canada: report. Terminating the North American Free Trade Agreement would harm the U.S. and Canadian economies and reduce their competitiveness versus Asia and Europe, a report issued by the Bank of Montreal said on Monday. (Reuters)

Report: NAFTA withdrawal would increase trade deficit, hurt auto sector. A decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw from NAFTA could increase the U.S. trade deficit, hurt the auto sector and slow the nation's economic growth, according to a new report from BMO Economics, a division of the North American financial services giant. (Politico Pro)

Vice President Mike Pence meets with U.S. automakers on NAFTA. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and the administration's top trade official met with the chief executives of General Motors and Fiat Chrysler, and a senior manager from Ford, on Monday to discuss trade and the renegotiation of NAFTA. (Reuters)

On Trade, Trump Puts Corporate America First. The latest round of North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations came to an end last week without a deal. It's not clear whether a compromise will be reached or President Trump will make good on his threat of pulling out. But we have seen enough of his approach to trade to know it is fundamentally mistaken and counterproductive. (New York Times, Op-Ed)

Artificial Intelligence

Facebook to expand artificial intelligence to help prevent suicide. Facebook Inc will expand its pattern recognition software to other countries after successful tests in the U.S. to detect users with suicidal intent, the world's largest social media network said on Monday. (Reuters)

The military should teach AI to watch drone footage. When the US Air Force deployed Gorgon Stare, a drone video system that consists of 368 cameras covering nearly 40 square miles at a time, in 2011, an official declared, "we can see everything." (Wired)

An old technique could put artificial intelligence in your hearing aid. Dag Spicer is expecting a special package soon, but it's not a Black Friday impulse buy. (Wired)

A New Way for Machines to See, Taking Shape in Toronto. In 2012, Geoffrey Hinton changed the way machines see the world. (New York Times)

Alphabet's Deepmind Is Trying to Transform Health Care - But Should an AI Company Have Your Health Records?. Deepmind, the digital brain foundry owned by Google's parent company, Alphabet, wants to use artificial intelligence to solve... well, everything. Last year, its software taught itself to play the strategy game Go better than any human on the planet. For its next trick, it wants to move beyond games to a very real-world problem: health care. (Bloomberg)

AT&T-Justice Department Clash Puts Outspoken Judge Back in Spotlight. In 2011, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon nearly torpedoed a settlement between the Justice Department and Comcast Corp. over the company's takeover of NBCUniversal. (Wall Street Journal)

Public Sector

White House missing opportunity to modernize federal websites, think tank says. The White House's directive for widespread federal tech modernization misses out on a key opportunity to improve agency websites, a D.C.-based technology think tank says in a new report. (Fed Scoop)


FBI gave heads-up to fraction of Russian hackers' US targets. The FBI failed to notify scores of U.S. officials that Russian hackers were trying to break into their personal Gmail accounts despite having evidence for at least a year that the targets were in the Kremlin's crosshairs, The Associated Press has found. (Associated Press)

Republican senators pressure Uber for more answers about breach. Four GOP senators are demanding more details from Uber about a cyberbreach the ride-hailing firm endured in which the accounts of 57 million users were compromised. (The Hill)

Siemens, Trimble, Moody's breached by Chinese hackers, U.S. charges. Three people affiliated with a Chinese cyber security firm hacked into the networks of Siemens AG, Trimble Inc and Moody's Analytics to steal business secrets, U.S. prosecutors said on Monday. (Reuters)

U.S. Indicts Three Chinese For Alleged Cyberattacks on Moody's, Siemens. Three Chinese people have been indicted in the U.S. for allegedly hacking into the email account of a Moody's Analytics economist and stealing confidential business information from German electrical engineering giant Siemens AG , according to an indictment unsealed Monday. (Wall Street Journal)

Germany may need constitutional change to allow it to strike back at hackers. Germany may need to change its constitution to allow it to strike back at hackers who target private computer networks and it hopes to complete any legal reforms next year, a top Interior Ministry official said on Monday. (Reuters)


Silicon Valley's diversity efforts get mired in scandal. In 2017, the technology industry faced a humiliating reality that took the shine off efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive future. (CNET)


Internet businesses ask U.S. to keep net neutrality rules. AirBnb, Reddit, Shutterstock, Inc, Tumblr, Etsy, Twitter and a long list of small internet companies urged the Federal Communications Commission on Monday to scrap a plan to roll back net neutrality rules. (Reuters)

Tech companies make Cyber Monday appeal to save net neutrality. Hundreds of tech companies and groups, including Twitter, Airbnb, Reddit and Vimeo, are urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to keep the Obama-era net neutrality rules. (The Hill)

FCC chairman Ajit Pai says his children are being harassed over net neutrality. After proposing to dismantle net neutrality rules, and setting off a firestorm of criticism, Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, said his family has become the target of harassment. (Washington Post)

Portugal's internet shows us a world without net neutrality, and it's ugly. Advocates of network neutrality, which is under active assault by the conservative chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, have been pointing to a vivid example of how abandoning the principle will allow internet providers to manipulate their offerings at the expense of consumers. (Los Angeles Times)

Internet of Things

Lyft can now test self-driving cars in California. Lyft is one key step closer to testing autonomous vehicles on California roads. (CNET)

Shared self-driving cars could slash demand for U.S. sedans: study. Ride services using self-driving vehicles could slash by more than half demand for owner-driven sedans in the United States by 2030, according to a study releasedMonday by consulting firm KPMG that used cellphone data to map commuter travel in three large U.S. cities. (Reuters)

Amazon Plays Catch Up in a Corner of the Cloud Where It Lagged. Microsoft and Google were first with machine-learning enhancements. Amazon makes strides with new hires and products. (Bloomberg)

Waymo Seeks Delay in Court Fight With Uber Over Trade Secrets. A battle between two technology titans that could impact the future of self-driving automobiles may be delayed after new evidence surfaced in a court filing on Monday. (New York Times)


Shell and carmakers aim to go the distance with highway charging. Royal Dutch Shell has partnered with top carmakers to deploy ultra-fast chargers on Europe's highways, stealing a march on rivals in the race to remove one of the biggest obstacles facing the electric car sector. (Reuters)

Exxon Mobil CEO makes first big changes to refining. Exxon Mobil Corp Chief Executive Darren Woods is reorganizing the company's refining operations, part of a push to boost profits amid volatile oil and natural gas prices, the company saidon Monday. (Reuters)

U.S. oil falls on Keystone restart, doubts about Russia's resolve. U.S. oil prices fell more than 1 percent on Monday, easing from two-year highs on prospects of higher supply from a planned restart of the Keystone crude pipeline and uncertainty about Russia's resolve to join in extending output cuts ahead of this week's OPEC meeting. (Reuters)

TransCanada to restart Keystone pipeline on Tuesday. The Keystone crude oil pipeline will restart at reduced pressure on Tuesday, TransCanada Corp said, nearly two weeks after closing the line after it leaked 5,000 barrels of crude in rural South Dakota. (Reuters)

Key senator backs incentives over tariffs in solar trade battle. Sen. Jeff Merkley says domestic solar manufacturers should be helped by incentives instead of tariffs to compete with cheap imports, putting the Oregon Democrat on the side of most of the solar industry and against an Oregon-based manufacturer seeking tariffs from President Trump. (Axios)

Oil Prices Chase $60 After a Year of Surging Demand. Oil prices have risen to levels not seen since June 2015, as unexpectedly strong global growth has driven demand and helped soak up a supply glut that has plagued the market for years. (Wall Street Journal)

Tech Business

Cyber Monday is shaping up to be the largest online shopping day in U.S. history. Online sales soared to record highs this Thanksgiving weekend, as more Americans used their smartphones and tablets to shop from home. (Washington Post)

Chipmakers drag stocks after bearish note, U.S. crude falls. Declines in chipmaker shares weighed on stocks across the globe on Monday, while U.S. energy shares fell as crude dropped and the dollar slipped against the yen. (Reuters)

ITI Member News

Twitter Says Blocking a New York Times Account Was 'an Error'. As Twitter has tried to draw bright lines between what is acceptable and not acceptable on its platform, it has stumbled over them itself. (New York Times)

When your kid tries to say 'Alexa' before 'Mama'. In Yana Welinder's house, her son will say "Papa' to either her or her husband. "Mama" isn't in his vocabulary yet. But her child, who just turned 1, does have a name for another prominent figure in the household: "Aga." (Los Angeles Times)

Toyota Clings to Hydrogen Bet While Electric Sales Soar. Toyota Motor Corp., which has made a big bet on hydrogen-powered cars, is looking more isolated as industry rivals double down on plug-in electric vehicles as the dominant technology in the emerging post-fossil fuel era. (Bloomberg)

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.
The Senate will convene at 12:00 p.m. and proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the nomination of Gregory G. Katsas, of Virginia, to be United States Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit.
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