ITI Daily News Roundup

07/29/2014

Key Issues

Privacy

Leahy unveils ‘historic’ NSA reform bill. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) will introduce legislation on Tuesday to put sweeping new limits on U.S. surveillance and peel back the curtain on controversial spying programs. (The Hill) 

The Senate Has a New Plot to Thwart NSA Spying. A reworked bill in the Senate being introduced this week is renewing confidence among anti-surveillance crusaders still hollering for reform. (National Journal) 

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity bills a year in the making. The speed with which the House passed a cybersecurity bill on Monday afternoon belied its long journey to the floor, which first began more than a year and a half ago. (Politico Pro)

DOE Cybersecurity Is a Mess, According to Senate Panel. There are 11 different places in the Energy Department budget that contain cybersecurity funding for energy, science and environmental missions. That’s too messy for the Senate Appropriations Committee, which wants to see all of that nearly $150 million consolidated into one place. (Roll Call)

House passes bill to help prevent attacks on infrastructure. The House on Monday passed a bill to direct the Department of Homeland Security to develop a strategy for protecting the nation's infrastructure from a terrorist attack. (The Hill)

Cellphone Unlocking

Will a cell phone unlocking law really matter? Republicans and Democrats in Washington, DC have finally found an issue they can rally around: making cell phone unlocking legal again. But the big question is whether the new soon-to-be-law will actually do what politicians promise it will do, which is offer more consumer choices. (CNET)

Tax

Bankers push 'tax-dodge' M&A deals.  US bankers and lawyers are inciting a sense of urgency among corporate clients to get tax-reducing acquisitions of offshore companies signed before the end of this year, now that a slew of recent so-called tax-inversion trades has set off alarms in Congress. (Reuters)

Grassley files amendments to restore wind, biodiesel tax credits. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Monday that he had proposed amendments that would restore the tax credits for wind energy and biodiesel production. (The Hill) 

The Long-Term Answer to Inversions? Tax Reform. The U.S. has the developed world’s highest corporate tax rate, and it taxes operations overseas differently than our competitors do; that’s what is driving our companies away. (Wall Street Journal)

Public Sector

FBI investigates cloud. The FBI is asking the private sector for ideas on how to construct a massive cloud infrastructure, a move that experts say could save the agency money and transform how it operates. ITI’s Trey Hodgkins is quoted. (Federal Times)

How IT reform could still pass Congress this yearAccording to media reports, the House GOP leadership is pressing to complete a “Big Four” list of issues before the upcoming August recess. Notice what’s not on this list? That's right: Any mention of acquisition or IT reform. But there may yet be a glimmer of hope. (FCW)

Workforce

Jesse Jackson: Tech diversity is next civil rights step. U.S. civil rights leader Jesse Jackson called on the Obama administration Monday to scrutinize the tech industry's lack of diversity. ITI’s Dean Garfield is quoted. (USA Today) 

Internet of Things

CIOs, Companies Sharpen Skills for ‘Internet of Things’ Future. Wearable devices and the Internet of Things will provide a number of opportunities for established technology companies and startups as well as those CIOs who will help implement the technology at their businesses. But as firms large and small wade into the uncertain world of “smart” things, the return on investment is far from clear. (Wall Street Journal) 

Global Trade

Modi's New India Is Off to a Bad Start. India's new prime minister, Narendra Modi, promised to give the stalling Indian economy a good, firm push. Under his leadership, he said, India would be open for business. There's little sign of it so far. (Bloomberg View)

U.S. and Europe Agree to Escalate Sanctions on Russia. After months in which European leaders were hesitant to go as far as the Americans, the two sides settled on a package of measures that would target Russia’s financial, energy and defense sectors. (New York Times)

Environment and Sustainability

EPA to get earful from climate rule friends, foes. An estimated 1,600 people are slated to sound off to the Environmental Protection Agency on its proposed climate change rule for existing power plants this week at a series of marathon public hearings. (Politico) 

How ICT Can Improve Freight Efficiency. Information and communications technologies (ICT) can help meet freight performance demands while improving energy efficiency, according to an American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy white paper. (Environmental Leader)

Innovation

A Tentacled, Flexible Breakthrough. For years, roboticists have yearned to develop a flexible machine that can explore tight spaces, repair dangerous equipment and potentially even conform to the human body. (New York Times) 

Researchers hard at work to make the workhorse lithium ion battery better. Researchers at universities are delivering innovations for the good ol’ lithium ion battery. (Gigaom) 

What might the U.S. Army use 3D printing for? Everything. 3D printing can be used for everything from printing food to clothing to weapons, and the Army is taking notice. (Gigaom)

Mobility

FTC Gives Carriers Tips on Preventing Wireless Cramming. The wireless industry could do more to prevent fraudulent charges ending up on subscriber phone bills, the Federal Trade Commission said in a new report Monday that offers a few suggestions for how the industry could step up its efforts. (Re/code) 

IP Enforcement

Police placing anti-piracy warning ads on illegal sites. The City of London police has started placing banner advertisements on websites believed to be offering pirated content illegally. (BBC)

ITI Member News

Microsoft targeted in apparent Chinese antitrust probe. Microsoft Corp appears to be the latest U.S. company targeted by China for antitrust investigation as government officials paid sudden visits to the software firm's Chinese offices on Monday. (Reuters)

Tesla and Panasonic said to reach agreement on Gigafactory. Panasonic has reached a basic agreement with electric-car maker Tesla to participate in a large-scale battery plant, or a so-called Gigafactory, according to a Japan-based report. (CNET) 

Why SAP sees an open road for 'connected cars'. The notion of an Internet of Cars may seem fanciful or futuristic, but it is gaining traction and speed at a surprising rate. (GreenBiz)

With PlayStation network, Sony goes back to the future in search of revival. Sony plans to reposition the video console warhorse as a hub for a network of streamed services, according to three senior officials, offering social media, movies and music as well as games. (Reuters)

1600 Penn.

In the morning, President Obama will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. Later in the morning, the president will discuss economic issues with House Democrats in the Roosevelt Room. In the afternoon, the president will travel to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to visit with wounded service members. Afterward, the president will travel to Kansas City, Missouri and will remain overnight.

Today on the Hill

The House will meet at 10 a.m. for morning hour and 12 p.m. for legislative business. First votes expected: 1:30 - 2:15 p.m. Last votes expected: 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.

At 10 a.m., in 2141 Rayburn HOB, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing entitled “Oversight of US Citizenship and Immigration Services” 

At 10:15 a.m., in 2322 Rayburn HOB, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade will hold a hearing entitled “Nanotechnology:  Understanding How Small Solutions Drive Big Innovation”

The Senate will meet at 10 a.m. for morning business. At 12 noon, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session to consider Executive Calendar #952, Robert Alan McDonald, to be Secretary for Veterans Affairs. The Senate will recess from 12:30 until 2:15 p.m. to allow for the weekly caucus meetings. At 2:45 p.m., there will a roll call vote on confirmation of the McDonald nomination, followed by several voice votes.

At 2:30 p.m., in 215 Dirksen SOB, the Senate Finance Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness will hold a hearing entitled “The US-Korea FTA:  Lessons Learned Two Years Later”

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