ITI Daily News Roundup


Key Issues

Tech Politics

Tech may want to pay attention to Washington.  With about two weeks to go before the midterm election, chances are good that Republicans will be the new majority in the Senate.  That could reset the balance on a number of tech issues that have gone nowhere in the past year, such as immigration, patent reform and NSA surveillance policy. ITI's Dean Garfield is quoted. (Mercury News)


Not All Cases Cited by FBI Hinge on Access to Data.  FBI Director James Comey says encrypting data stored on smartphones and computers could hurt criminal investigations, and evidence reviewed by The Associated Press shows that the child abuse case in Los Angeles from summer 2011 is a powerful, compelling argument. But at least three other examples the FBI director has cited are not so cut and dry. They are cases in which the authorities were tipped off — or even solved the crime — through means other than examining data they took from victims or suspects. (Associated Press)

The FBI Wants More Access to Your iPhone. Congress Is Standing in the Way. The bureau’s director is arguing that legislation is needed to catch criminals who are using new technologies, but lawmakers are skeptical. (National Journal)

Are American Tech Companies Disloyal?  As the debate over end-to-end encryption heats up, there is a fundamental question at work: What loyalty do companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook have to the U.S. government?  With U.S. government agencies actively hacking the cloud infrastructure of America’s top technology companies, the line between legal and extralegal activity is not so easy to discern. (TechCrunch)

Fed-backed Twitter study draws fire.  A Republican member of the Federal Communications Commission is warning about a government-backed study that “seems to have come straight out of a George Orwell novel.” One of two Republicans on the five-member commission — warned in a Washington Post op-ed on Saturday about a National Science Foundation study of people's communications on Twitter, which he said amounted to government monitoring of people’s speech. (The Hill)

NSA reviewing deal between official, ex-spy agency head.   The U.S. National Security Agency has launched an internal review of a senior official’s part-time work for a private venture started by former NSA director Keith Alexander that raises questions over the blurring of lines between government and business. (Reuters)

BBC to publish 'right to be forgotten' removals list. The BBC is to publish a continually updated list of its articles removed from Google under the controversial "right to be forgotten" rule. (BBC)


9/11 Commission warns: ‘Pattern seems to be repeating itself’.  Members of the 9/11 Commission demanded this week that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) work to pass a cybersecurity bill before the end of the year. Citing major hacks against Target and Home Depot as well as newly discovered vulnerabilities in common security tools, members of the former government commission warned that the country could be hit with a major cyberattack if Congress does not act. (The Hill)

Got Hacked? Here's How Obama Wants to Protect Your Data.  President Obama on Friday signed an executive order intended to protect consumers' personal and financial information from hackers, marking the latest step in the administration's ongoing efforts to combat the growing tide of cyberattacks on American interests.  It is also designed to prompt the commercial sector to more quickly implement similar safeguards. (National Journal)

Phone Hackers Dial and Redial to Steal Billions. An age-old fraud has found new life now that most corporate phone lines run over the internet.  The swindle, which on the web is easier to pull off and more profitable, affects mostly small businesses and cost victims $4.73 billion globally last year. (New York Times)

Stop worrying about mastermind hackers. Start worrying about the IT guy. Mistakes in setting up popular office software have sent information about millions of Americans spilling onto the Internet.  This was not the work of sophisticated Russian hackers or Chinese cyber-warriors, who typically get blamed for problems in computer networks. Instead, researchers are pointing to humble system administrators for making routine errors that left the data unsecured. (Washington Post)

The internet of things is here, but the rules to run it are not. The first murder through the internet of things will likely take place in 2014, police service Europol warned this month. The crime could be carried out by a pacemaker, an insulin dosage device, a hacked brake pedal or myriad others objects that control life-and-death functions and are now connected to the internet. Such accidental — or deliberate misuse of networked objects — is stoking concerns not just in companies, but government too. (GigaOm)

China says it's hard to resume cyber security talks with U.S. Resuming cyber security cooperation between China and the United States would be difficult because of "mistaken U.S. practices", China's top diplomat told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Cyber security is an irritant to bilateral ties. (Reuters)

Intel Chief: Russia Tops China as Cyber Threat. The top U.S. spy sounded alarms about America’s lack of preparedness to combat a growing threat from cyberattacks and said that Russia poses a greater cyberspying threat than China. (The Wall Street Journal)

Hackers find suppliers are an easy way to target companies. The windows may be bolted and the security gate locked, but security experts are warning that unless every other entrance and exit is secured, cyber criminals can still enter your company via your supply chain. The risk of hackers entering a company’s computer networks through a supplier – or even, the supplier of a supplier – has become a greater concern since the cyber attack on the US retailer Target late last year. (Financial Times)

Obama issues new cybersecurity executive order and plans summit. President Obama on Friday signed a new executive order directing the government to better secure transactions and sensitive data and will convene a summit on cybersecurity and consumer protection later this year.  The White House said the new "BuySecure Initiative" would help victims of identity theft, bolster the government's payment security and speed the shift to better security technologies and tools. (Inside Cybersecurity)

NIST releases final agenda for cyber framework workshop in Tampa.  The National Institute of Standards and Technology has fleshed out the objectives for a set of "topic specific working sessions" at its upcoming cybersecurity workshop in Tampa, FL.  NIST on Thursday released the final agenda for the Oct. 29-30 workshop, including the addition of a speaker from the European Commission. (Inside Cybersecurity)

Tax and the Economy

Long-term reforms of US tax system required to stop ‘deserters’.  New rules do nothing to deal with reasons why so many companies try to escape US taxes. (Financial Times)

Durbin Hopes Tide Turning Against Corporate Inversions.  Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., is hoping the tide is turning against corporate inversions — a practice aimed at minimizing U.S. taxes by merging with overseas firms. (Roll Call)

Officials examine 6.25% rate for new ‘knowledge box’ scheme. Irish officials are examining the feasibility of a new corporate tax scheme as the Government moves to shore up inward investment after its decision to scrap the controversial “Double Irish” mechanism.  While this is one of several options under discussion, such a rate would apply to a new “knowledge box” scheme in which a preferential rate would be levied on assets such as patents which are managed from Ireland and located here. (Irish Times)


The FCC Wants to Upgrade Your Phone to 5G.  The agency is looking into the next generation of wireless technology, which could make phones a thousand times faster. (National Journal)

Meet ’5G,’ the next-gen technology that will bring you mobile data on steroids.  Federal regulators are already turning their eye toward next-gen technologies that will allow incredibly fast mobile data. We're talking rates that are 1,000 times faster than what the average American gets at home today from a fixed broadband connection. Welcome to the era of 5G. (The Washington Post)

Nigerian Twitter campaign informs the world about Ebola.  The extent to which the Twitter handles, websites and phone apps developed by technology entrepreneurs contributed in quashing the disease is hard to gauge but Nigeria’s rapidly expanding information technology sector played a central role in the public awareness campaign that helped federal, state and non-governmental agencies contain the deadly virus before it could spread out of control. (Financial Times)

Should we diagnose rare diseases with smartphones?  As fear of the Ebola virus escalates, we’re missing an important weapon. And you just need to reach into your pocket to find it. (BBC)

Global Policy

Australia Could Be Repeat Of Past Meetings Absent U.S.-Japan Progress. An informal round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks taking place in Canberra next week and an Oct. 25-27 ministerial meeting slated to follow it in Sydney appear unlikely to yield major progress in the negotiations as there is no sign that the United States and Japan are any closer to resolving their differences on agriculture and autos, according to government officials and observers following the negotiations. (Inside Trade)

TPP IP Leak Reveals U.S. Flexibility On Copyrights; New Details On Drugs. A purported draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiating text on intellectual property (IP) leaked this week shows that the United States has backed off some of its demands on copyright protection and patentability that faced serious opposition from other countries, and also reveals new details about the transition periods being discussed for countries to comply with pharmaceutical IP obligations. (Inside Trade)

How a simple note-taking app became the new anti-censorship tool in China. Mainland Chinese readers may have found one way around China’s tight grip over news and information about the pro-democracy protests that have swept Hong Kong for the last three weeks— a California-based app best known for its personal to-do lists, clipping web-pages, and sharing notes between coworkers. (GovTech)

Net Neutrality

FCC Chief Says He Agrees With Obama on Net Neutrality. Advocates Don't Buy it. The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission said Friday that he and President Obama agree on the importance of protecting net neutrality. (National Journal)


American Schools Are Training Kids for a World That Doesn’t Exist.  The crisis in American education may be more than a matter of sliding rankings on world educational performance scales.  Our kids learn within a system of education devised for a world that increasingly does not exist. Failing to create a new way of learning adapted to contemporary circumstances might be a national disaster. (Wired)

Pressing How Silicon Valley’s $50 Million Bet on Immigration Stalled.  When President Barack Obama decided in early September to postpone immigration reform, it marked the beginning of the end of Joe Green’s tenure as the head of one of Silicon Valley’s most ambitious political groups, playing into a stereotype that often surrounds the tech industry’s efforts at Beltway dealmaking: They’re amateurs. (Re/code)

Public Sector

Here comes the army cyber battle lab. The Army currently operates a Network Battle Lab and plans to change it to the Cyber Battle Lab beginning in October 2015 -- and is looking for some contractor support. (GovTech)

Information sharing: Are we safer? After the Sept. 11 disaster, the lack of appropriate information sharing within the federal government community was highlighted as a key weakness by the 9/11 Commission. A decade later, how has an information sharing environment fared? Can we effectively rate the government's improvements to intelligence, law enforcement and counterterrorism information sharing, and have they been made in a way that protects privacy and our civil liberties? (FCW)

Respect the FAR.  With increasing talk in Washington of a potential overhaul of federal procurement rules, a new report contends that the existing Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), the rules that control government procurement, aren't broken and do not need to be reconditioned, renovated or overhauled. (FCW)

Audit finds Commerce Department cloud contracts fail to meet FedRAMP requirements. An independent audit of the Commerce Department’s cloud computing contracts found services that did not comply with Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) along with other security-related deficiencies. (FedScoop)

Environment and Sustainability

Drip, drip: Water startups slowly tap a glacial industry.  Innovation in water hasn't been entirely glacial. But when startups try to sell their technology to utilities focused on ensuring a regular and clean supply of water, new ideas take a back seat to safety and reliability. (Reuters)

Younger Generation Prefers Transit to Cars, Report Says.  The report groups the reasons into three categories: socio-economic shifts, lifestyle preferences, and technological changes. (GovTech)


To Siri, With Love.  How one boy with Autism became B.F.F.'s with Apple's Siri. The developers of intelligent assistants recognize their uses to those with speech and communication problems -- and some are thinking of new ways the assistants can help. (The New York Times)

The Evolution of the Internet of Very Smart Things Will Require a Major Internet Reboot. the Internet of Things is truly taking off, already comprising about 25 billion smart devices at the edges of the Internet, a number that’s expected to more than double over the next decade, and continue to keep growing for the foreseeable future. (Wall Street Journal)

Convergence In The Internet Of Things Is Priming The Tech World For A Major Cultural Shift. To anyone who is tuned into the tech world, it should not come as earth shattering news that machine-to-machine (M2M) technology and the Internet of Things have hit a major convergence point in the tech industry so closely intertwined with each other that you can no longer think about one without thinking of the other. (TechCrunch)

Tech Business

How much do coders make? Check out this data from around the country. (GigaOm)

Web lobby warns court about ‘widespread disruption’ online.  Major Internet companies are warning a federal court that the outcome of a landmark trade case could put the future of the Internet at risk in an amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief involving the authority of the International Trade Commission (ITC), an independent agency that gives advice on trade policy. (The Hill)

Five Questions SEC Posed to Alibaba. Federal regulators who reviewed public filings of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. ahead of its September IPO focused in part on Alibaba’s ownership structure and affiliations with outside companies, according to disclosures Alibaba made Friday. (Wall Street Journal)

Fitbit Says It Will Make Changes to Address Complaints About Allergic Reactions.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission has opted not to recall the Fitbit Flex, provided that the company makes some small adjustments to make it safer for consumers.  (The New York Times)

The Future Of Artificial Intelligence Will Be Stacked. We are entering an exciting period for artificial intelligence. We’re seeing more consumer impacting developments and breakthroughs in AI technology than ever before. It’s reasonable to expect that major players like Apple, IBM, Google and Microsoft, among others, will lead a fierce consolidation effort for the AI market over the next five years. (TechCrunch)

Companies target baby boomers and the $15tn silver economy.  The global spending power of the now elderly “baby boomer” generation – which has more money, lives longer and is more active than their parents – will reach $15tn by 2020, Euromonitor has forecast. According to a survey carried out by the Silversurfer website for the FT, almost 60 per cent of those aged over 50 say that technology is still not being adapted to their needs. (Financial Times)

ITI Member News

Facebook unfriends federal drug agency.  Facebook's chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, said in a letter Friday to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart that law enforcement agencies need to follow the same rules about being truthful on Facebook as civilian users. Those rules include a ban on lying about who you are. (Associated Press)

Will Apple Pay be the next iRevolution?  Apple announced Thursday that Apple Pay will be released to the public on Monday. Can Apple Pay shake up the payment industry and be the next iRevolution? (Associated Press)

Google tweaks search engine to combat piracy. Google is updating its search engine technology to make websites that violate copyright law appear lower in search results. The Internet giant announced Friday that the update will roll out next week and target websites that have been flagged multiple times for copyright infringement. (The Hill)

MasterCard Will Borrow A Touch ID Trick For Fingerprint Scanning Credit Card.  MasterCard wants to make fingerprint scanning something even people without an iOS device can use to digitally ‘sign’ for contactless transactions. The credit card company is launching the “world’s first” fingerprint-enabled credit card with technology partner Zwipe, which will have the exact same dimensions as existing plastic payment cards, but with an embedded fingerprint scanner. (Tech Crunch)

1600 Penn.

In the afternoon, the President will deliver remarks and answer questions at a DNC event at a private residence in Chicago. In the evening, the President will depart Chicago en route to Washington, DC.

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