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Tech News Roundup - 11/29/2017

Tech News Roundup

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11/29/2017

Key Issues

Taxes

Senate GOP gets breathing room as tax plan advances. Senate Republicans got some sorely needed momentum behind their tax overhaul Tuesday as key GOP swing votes inched closer to backing the legislation - after Senate leaders launched a frenzied round of negotiations to persuade the holdouts. (Politico Pro)
Two GOP Senators Voice Optimism About Supporting Tax Bill. Budget Committee votes 12-11 to advance measure to the floor. (Wall Street Journal)

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)

What the Tax Bill Would Look Like for 25,000 Middle-Class Families. The tax bill being debated in the Senate this week would affect nearly every American. Numerous analyses have estimated the average impact of the bill on household finances, and advocates on both sides have produced examples of "typical" families that would win or lose under the plan. (New York Times)

Senate bill includes a new tax on some foreign carriers that compete with U.S. airlines. A years-long feud between U.S.-based carriers and airlines from the Persian Gulf has found its way into the highly politicized debate over the tax plan. (Los Angeles Times)

Collins expresses optimism over Senate tax plan. Sen. Susan Collins, a key swing vote, said today that she believes her Republican colleagues are receptive to a "number" of concerns she has with their plans to rewrite the tax code. (Politico Pro)

Senate GOP leader races to lock down tax votes. Senate Republicans launched a frenzied round of last-minute deal-making on Tuesday to persuade key blocs of holdouts on their tax overhaul - and it's far from clear leaders can satisfy the diverging concerns. (Politico Pro)

Trump adviser: 'This is not a true tax reform bill'. One of President Donald Trump's top outside economic advisers says the individual side of the GOP tax plan never should have happened and threatens to "hurt a lot of different people." (Politico)

Trump's Tax Promises Undercut by CEO Plans to Reward Investors. Major companies including Cisco Systems Inc., Pfizer Inc. and Coca-Cola Co. say they'll turn over most gains from proposed corporate tax cuts to their shareholders, undercutting President Donald Trump's promise that his plan will create jobs and boost wages for the middle class. (Bloomberg)

Tech Politics

Congress probing Big Tech's use of algorithms, data. The investigation into how Russian ads and content spread on Google, Twitter and Facebook was just the beginning of Congress digging into how tech does business. (Axios)

Facebook, Twitter say they'll cooperate with UK probe of Russia election interference. Twitter and Facebook say they are willing to assist with the U.K.'s probe of potential Russian interference in last year's "Brexit" vote for the country to leave the European Union. (The Hill)

Net Neutrality Hits a Nerve, Eliciting Intense Reactions. It usually doesn't take much to get people on the internet worked up. To get them really worked up, make the topic internet regulation. (New York Times)

Global Trade
The U.S. dominates the world of big data. But Trump's NAFTA demands could put that at risk. In the nearly 10 hours that it takes a Boeing 737 to fly from Sao Paulo to New York, its twin engines will transmit a flood of digital data roughly equivalent to 15,000 Blu-ray movies. (Washington Post)

U.S. to Probe Aluminum as It Presses China on Trade. The Trump administration is employing a little-used authority to combat imports of inexpensive Chinese aluminum. (Wall Street Journal)

Donald Trump is going to build a big, beautiful deficit and rely on China to help pay for it. Republicans' tax plans are going to clash headfirst with President Trump's anti-China, anti-trade-deficit rhetoric. It's just simple economics. (Washington Post)

Strange Bedfellows: Democrats and Trump Blow Up 20-Year Unity on Trade. A lone senator jumped to the Trump administration's defense last month when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce attacked its proposal to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement. (Wall Street Journal)

Artificial Intelligence

A New Way for Machines to See, Taking Shape in Toronto. Geoffrey Hinton and Sara Sabour are researching a system that could let computers see more like humans at a Google laboratory in Toronto. (New York Times)

World power 'threatened' by Chinese AI. The economic and military balance of world power could be altered as China rushes to develop artificial intelligence technology, a US think tank has warned. (BBC)

Facebook's Training A.I. to Spot ISIS, al Qaeda Posts -- Nazis Come Next. Assailed for not doing enough to combat online misinformation and extremism, Facebook Inc. says it is making big strides in one area: removing propaganda posts and accounts from Islamic State and al Qaeda. (Wall Street Journal)

Legal AI Gains Traction as U.K. Startup Targets U.S.. Artificial intelligence companies have been busy trying to replace lawyers with code, with dozens launching software packages designed to do everything from drafting contracts to helping law firms assess their chances with a specific judge. (Bloomberg)

Immigration
Trump Feuds With Democrats Ahead of a Possible Government Shutdown. Less than two weeks before much of the government runs out of money, President Trump on Tuesday escalated the threat of a shutdown, accusing Democratic congressional leaders of plotting to use their leverage to raise taxes and flood the country with undocumented immigrants. (New York Times)

Antitrust

AT&T, Time Warner extend deadline to finalize merger. AT&T and Time Warner are extending the termination date of their merger to April 22, 2018, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, now that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is suing to block their deal. (The Hill)

AT&T responds to Justice Department lawsuit. AT&T isn't going down without a fight. Faced with a lawsuit from the Justice Department over its planned merger with Time Warner, the telecommunications giant on Tuesday released a point-by-point rebuttal to the case government regulators have laid out. (Washington Post)

Public Sector

HHS CISO Chris Wlaschin on the importance of cyber-hygiene. Chris Wlaschin says a lot could be accomplished with just a little bit of basic cyber-hygiene. (FedScoop)

D.C. CTO Archana Vemulapalli announces resignation. Washington, D.C., Chief Technology Officer Archana Vemulapalli is resigning, her office's Twitter account announced Tuesday. (StateScoop)

Government Has Completed Phase Two of Kaspersky Ban. The federal government has completed the first two phases of a three-part plan to scrub itself of a Russian anti-virus that intelligence officials say could be a conduit for Kremlin hacking, a Homeland Security Department official told Nextgov Tuesday. (NextGov)

Privacy
U.S. Supreme Court weighs major digital privacy case. The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday takes up a major test of privacy rights in the digital age as it weighs whether police must obtain warrants to get data on the past locations of criminal suspects using cellphone data from wireless providers. (Reuters)

Workforce/Diversity

High school students are more likely to take AP computer science if they live in Maryland or Rhode Island. More high school students around the U.S. took college computer science courses last year than ever before, but in what states are they more likely to take advanced coding classes? (Recode)

Forget Robots: Bad Public Policies Could Be Bigger Job Killers. Automation could be a huge boon to the world's workers-but only if governments and businesses prudently manage the disruption it creates. (Wall Street Journal)

Robots Are Coming for Jobs of as Many as 800 Million Worldwide. As many as 800 million workers worldwide may lose their jobs to robots and automation by 2030, equivalent to more than a fifth of today's global labor force. (Bloomberg)

Broadband/Communications

FCC's Pai, addressing net neutrality rules, calls Twitter biased. The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, accused social media company Twitter Inc of being politically biased on Tuesday as he defended his plan to roll back rules intended to ensure a free and open internet. (Reuters)

FCC chief slams 'Hollywood celebrities' who oppose net neutrality rollback. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai on Tuesday hit back at critics of his plan to roll back Obama-era net neutrality rules, singling out celebrities and tech giants. (The Hill)

How bots broke the FCC's public comment system. On a single day in late May, hundreds of thousands of public comments poured into the Federal Communications Commission regarding its plans to roll back net neutrality protections. (Wired)

The Internet Is Dying. Repealing Net Neutrality Hastens That Death. The internet is dying. Sure, technically, the internet still works. Pull up Facebook on your phone and you will still see your second cousin's baby pictures. But that isn't really the internet. (New York Times, Op-Ed)

Net neutrality defenders gear up to sue FCC. The net neutrality repeal isn't even official yet, but supporters of the regulation are already gearing up for the likely lawsuit as it sits on the chopping block. (Politico Pro)

Net Neutrality is Not the Problem. I've got bad news for everyone who is working overtime to protest Federal Communications Commission chair Ajit Pai's campaign to eliminate net neutrality: You are being tricked. Pai is running a kind of shell game, overreaching ("go ahead and run all the paid prioritization services you want, Comcast!") so that we will focus our energies on the hard-to-pin-down concept of net neutrality-the principle of internet access fairness that he has vowed to eliminate. (Wired, Op-Ed)

Internet of Things

Uber and Waymo trial delayed after evidence 'withheld'. The US trial between self-driving car giants Uber and Waymo has been delayed after the judge said that Uber had withheld evidence. (BBC)

Rebuking Uber Lawyers, Judge Delays Trade Secrets Trial. A federal judgeon Tuesday delayed a highly anticipated trade secrets trial between Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving car unit, and Uber, a day before jury selection was set to begin. (New York Times)

Arizona Tech Towns Open to AV Testing on City Streets. Both Tempe and Chandler, Ariz., have become test beds for self-driving car technology. (GovTech)

Amazon signs Time Warner's Turner unit as cloud customer. Amazon.com Inc said Time Warner Inc's broadcast unit Turner had signed up for its Amazon Web Services, a notable contract win for the Seattle tech company as competition within the fast-growing cloud computing market intensifies. (Reuters)

Microsoft Adds SAP as Cloud Partner to Challenge Amazon. Deal aims to boost Microsoft's share of $22 billion market renting computing resources online. (Wall Street Journal)

Uber Ex-Employee Alleges Covert Tactics to Steal Rivals' Secrets. Uber Technologies Inc. had a team dedicated to stealing trade secrets and helped employees dodge regulators' scrutiny, according to allegations from a former employee that are generating the latest in a string of controversies to beset the ride-hailing firm. (Wall Street Journal)

Energy

Shell, to Cut Carbon Output, Will Be Less of an Oil Company. Bowing to pressure from shareholders and the Paris international climate accord, Royal Dutch Shell pledged on Tuesday to increase its investment in renewable fuels and to cut its carbon emissions in half by 2050. (New York Times)

OPEC Leader Cites 'New Optimism' With Oil Prices on the Rise. As officials from some of the world's biggest oil producers arrive here in Vienna, they have plenty to be cheery about. (New York Times)

Venezuela Appoints General to Tighten Grip on Oil Industry. A day after President Nicolás Maduro named a general to lead Venezuela's beleaguered state-owned oil company, analysts and opposition leaders on Monday described the appointment as a political move that threatened to worsen the country's misfortunes. (New York Times)

Natural gas supplies could be tight in Southern California this winter, state authorities warn. California utilities and energy authorities are warning that Southern California Gas Co. might not be able to provide enough natural gas for all its customers if a cold snap hits this winter. (Los Angeles Times)

How a bankruptcy filing shielded a big coal company from California's climate-change lawsuits. Peabody Energy, the nation's largest private-sector coal company, joined several of its fellow coal producers in bankruptcy in 2016. Its main goal was to wriggle out from under more than $10 billion in debt it had incurred to expand, even as demand was sharply falling. (Los Angeles Times)

Pressured for profit, oil majors bet big on shale technology. Shale oil engineer Oscar Portillo spends his days drilling as many as five wells at once - without ever setting foot on a rig. (Reuters)

In the heart of coal country, EPA gets an earful about Clean Power Plan's fate. Coal executive Robert Murray ambled through the packed hearing room inside the gold-domed capital complex here, past reporters and photographers, past environmental activists and energy lobbyists, past more than two dozen of his miners who had filled the seats, wearing their work uniforms and hard hats. (Washington Post)

GOP Closes In on Opening Arctic Wildlife Refuge to Drilling. Oil companies and their allies are getting closer to opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling for the first time as congressional Republicans seek to use the tax overhaul to end the nearly 40-year debate. (Wall Street Journal)

Environment/Sustainability

Tesla Truck gets DHL order as shippers test Semi. Deutsche Post AG's DHL and Fortigo Freight Services Inc, one of Canada's largest fleet management companies, said on Tuesday they had pre-ordered Tesla Inc's electric truck unveiled earlier this month to test on limited routes. (Reuters)

ITI Member News

Software Provider Autodesk to Cut 1,150 Jobs in Restructuring. Design-software provider Autodesk Inc. said Tuesday that it will cut 13% of its workforce in a bid to streamline the company. (Wall Street Journal)
New Facebook service aims to make apartment hunting easier. Technology has already transformed the search for an apartment and a roommate along with every other social interaction. Tech companies have been entering the real estate market for a while now, disrupting the traditional method of working with a real estate agent or broker to find a place to live. Before that, Craigslist began connecting renters and owners without agents. (Washington Post)

Today on the Hill

On Wednesday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. First votes expected: 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Last votes expected: 4:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.
The Senate will convene at 12:00 p.m. and begin a period of morning business.
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