RSS LinkedIn google plus


Tech News Roundup

Subscribe to a free daily email with the day's most relevant stories on tech policy and tech industry.

Your E-mail

07/31/2015

Key Issues

Tech Business

How the 'sharing economy' is upending the travel industry. Americans are headed for summer vacations in record numbers this year – 220 million-plus airline travelers alone. More than ever, those consumers benefit from an expanding range of online choices for booking their flights and finding the best places to sleep. (Politico)

Asia’s Tech Startups Shrug Off Chinese Market Turmoil. China’s stock-market turmoil has delivered a wake-up call to Asia’s tech startups, even as investor enthusiasm appears to remain strong for a wave of new companies coming up from the fast-growing region. (Wall Street Journal)

This idea by the FCC is terrifying Apple, Amazon and Microsoft. Streaming video services by Apple, Amazon and Google have thrived off the idea that they are alternatives to cable TV. Now, the Federal Communications Commission is considering if it should begin to regulate online video services, like they do cable companies. And that's causing anxiety in Silicon Valley. (Washington Post)

Uber Wants Your Parents to Be Drivers. Agism might be rampant in Silicon Valley, but some of the Bay Area’s leading companies are now actively trying to engage the senior crowd, recognizing the huge potential of experienced workers and responsible adults. (Time)

Requiem For The App Revolution. The app revolution is dead. In fact, it died years ago. It had been a good run, but a revolution is no longer a revolution when the model is the status quo. (TechCrunch)

Hawking, Musk, Wozniak call for ban on autonomous weapons. Tech leaders from around the world have co-signed an open letter to regulatory bodies calling for a ban on autonomous weapons. (FedScoop)

Cybersecurity

Floor crunch could spike cyber bill. Senators are wary about Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan to pivot quickly to a stalled cybersecurity bill next week in the waning days before the upper chamber’s August recess. (The Hill)

McConnell says cyber bill could reach Senate floor next week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday that the Senate could take up cyber legislation next week, if Democrats block a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. (The Hill)

Opponents focus on defeating CISA cyberthreat info-sharing bill. Opponents of a U.S. Senate bill intended to encourage businesses to share information about cyberthreats may have stalled a vote on the legislation. ITI's Dean Garfield is quoted. (Computer World/IDG News)

Wyden, cyber bill foes gear up even as Senate debate slips to fall. Amid growing signs that cyber information-sharing legislation will not be considered in the Senate in the coming days, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and other opponents are sharpening their arguments against the bill and promising a month of grassroots efforts in preparation for a September debate. (Inside Cybersecurity)

Major flaw could let lone-wolf hacker bring down huge swaths of Internet. A recently disclosed vulnerability in Bind, the most widely used software for translating human-friendly domain names into IP addresses used by servers, makes it possible for lone-wolf attackers to bring down huge swaths of the Internet, a security researcher has warned. (Ars Technica)

Researcher says can hack GM's OnStar app, open vehicle, start engine. A researcher is advising drivers not to use a mobile app for General Motors Co's OnStar vehicle communications system, saying hackers can exploit a security flaw in the product to unlock cars and start engines remotely. (Reuters)

FBI understaffed to tackle cyber threats, says watchdog. The FBI is struggling to attract computer scientists to its cybersecurity program mainly due to low pay, a report by the U.S. Department of Justice showed, highlighting weaknesses in a flagship initiative to tackle growing cyber threats. (Reuters)

McCaul Bill Would Expand DHS Authority to Combat Cyberattacks. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul introduced legislation today that broadens the Homeland Security Department’s mandate to monitor federal networks for cyber threats. (PoliticoPro)

Official: DHS pleased with grant bids on cyber info-sharing standards. The Department of Homeland Security has received "great proposals" in response to a grant opportunity notice that will enable DHS to select a non-governmental organization to lead the development of cybersecurity information-sharing standards, according to an agency official. (Inside Cybersecurity)

Internet of Things

IoT Device Makers Want E-Privacy Reform. Reforming federal electronic privacy law would help the nascent Internet of Things industry by providing greater certainty that it could pass on to its customers, industry representatives told a Congressional panel July 29. ITI's Dean Garfield is quoted (Bloomberg BNA)

With Internet of Things boom comes need for spectrum, industry says. Tech industry representatives lobbied to free the government-regulated spectrum to drive the success of the Internet of Things. ITI's Dean Garfield is quoted. (FedScoop)

Is California Ready for the Internet of Things? Dean Garfield, president and CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council, calls for a strategic national Internet of Things (IoT) plan to be developed which encourages public-private partnerships, accelerates IoT adoption, and enables vast economic and societal benefits from the IoT in both the near and long term. (TechWire)

Can the Insurance Industry Survive Driverless Cars? The auto insurance industry is having its Napster moment. Like record companies at the dawn of online music file sharing, Allstate, Geico, State Farm, and others are grappling with innovations that could put a huge dent in their revenue. (Bloomberg)

Workforce

Black caucus brings diversity push to Silicon Valley. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are flying to Silicon Valley next week to press the nation’s biggest technology companies to hire more African-American workers — a sign that the industry’s well-documented diversity problems are starting to generate new political heat in Washington. (Politico)

Black lawmakers to push diversity in Silicon Valley. The Congressional Black Caucus is heading to Silicon Valley. Caucus Chairman G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) and two other members are slated to travel to California in early August to pressure tech leaders to put more of a focus on African-American recruitment. (The Hill)

Pinterest Puts a Number on Diversity. The image-sharing site today said it has put in place specific diversity goals for 2016, including increasing the hiring rate for full time engineering roles to 30% women and 8% underrepresented minorities. For non-engineering roles, it aims to hire 12% of workers from underrepresented minorities. (Wall Street Journal)

Intellectual Property

Google Loses Bid to Overturn Low-Cost Patent Licenses to Microsoft. In a setback for Google, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Thursday that the low licensing rate Microsoft pays to use some of Google’s Motorola Mobility patents had been properly set. (re/code)

Privacy

Google Appeals French Order to Apply ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ Globally. Google Inc. is appealing a French data-protection order to expand Europe’s “right to be forgotten” to its websites world-wide, kicking off a legal tussle over the territorial scope of a rule established last year by the European Union’s top court. (Wall Street Journal)

GAO To Congress: Revisit Privacy Concerns Over Facial Recognition Technology. Senator Al Franken announced a new report by the GAO on the use of facial recognition technology. Franken has been on the side of looking into the privacy implications on that type of tech and says today that the report shows that there needs to be a set of federal standards in place before widely adopted. (TechCrunch)

Fake data sets could safeguard privacy. As more detailed information is collected, the datasets become more useful—but confidentiality becomes harder to preserve. A research team led by Jerry Reiter, a professor of statistics at Duke University, and John Abowd, a professor of economics at Cornell University, has developed an innovative approach to solve this problem using not real, but synthetic data: simulated data generated from statistical models. (NextGov)

Net Neutrality

Telecoms lobbyists rail against 'arbitrary and capricious' net neutrality rules. Telecoms lobbyists have filed a brief in a lawsuit that includes nearly every major industry player demanding that the Washington DC court of appeals vacate net neutrality rules ordered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in February. (The Guardian)

Global Trade

Gloom Descends On TPP Ministerial, With Deal Looking More Unlikely. An air of pessimism descended over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ministerial here halfway through the meeting, with sources predicting late Wednesday (July 29) that it will be more difficult than previously anticipated to conclude the negotiations in the remaining two days, largely due to a continuing disagreement over dairy market access. (Inside Trade)

Japan says TPP is not a place to negotiate currencies. Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso dismissed on Friday a call to set up a forum within the Pacific free trade negotiations to stop countries from manipulating exchange rates. (Reuters)

Broadband

Facebook’s internet-beaming drone is ready for testing. Facebook has completed the construction of its first internet-beaming drone and will undertake a test flight in the US in the coming months. The unmanned aircraft, Aquila, is part of the social network’s elaborate plan to provide connectivity using satellites, drones, and lasers. (Quartz)

Comcast’s Wireless Ambitions Face Hurdle. Comcast Corp.’s most obvious route into the wireless business isn’t looking as easy as it once did. (Wall Street Journal)

T-Mobile CEO calls spectrum reserve of any size 'significant win'. Just the existence of a block of airwaves set aside for smaller carriers in an upcoming spectrum auction is a “significant win,” T-Mobile’s chief executive said Thursday, with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reportedly poised to deny the company's request to expand the reserve. (The Hill)

Environment and Sustainability

This Map Shows What San Francisco Will Look Like After Sea Levels Rise. Developers in the booming San Francisco Bay Area are busy planning everything from much-needed new housing to sports stadiums and gleaming tech campuses. But according to a new report just published by the San Francisco Public Press, many of these construction projects sit on land susceptible to rising waters due to climate change. And regulators and local governments are not doing much to prepare. (CityLab)

Public Sector

House gets companion for Senate’s DHS cyber bill. The House now has companion legislation for a Senate measure rapidly heading toward the floor that would give the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) more powers to defend government networks from cyberattacks. (The Hill)

White House wants consistent cyber rules for contractors. The White House wants to establish strict, consistent rules for how government contractors should lock down sensitive data. (The Hill)

Trade group collecting tips on federal cybersecurity for White House. Trade group ACT-IAC wants to hear all ideas for improving government cybersecurity. Starting Wednesday and until Aug. 28, the organization is collecting recommendations from academia and the public and private sectors for ways to strengthen the federal security posture. (NextGov)

Buy or build? For IT, it's custom vs. COTS. If agencies had all the money and time they needed, most would probably still prefer to build their own IT applications and house them on hardware located on agency premises. But that option is no longer viable. (FCW)

DHS pledges big bucks to GSA’s professional services contract. The Homeland Security Department is committing $250 million a year in spending to the professional services governmentwide acquisition contract known as OASIS. DHS signed a memorandum of understanding with GSA Tuesday detailing its commitment. (Federal News Radio)

Army issues guidance for commercial cloud migration. The office of the Army chief information officer on July 30 published guidance for migrating Army systems and applications to commercial cloud providers. (FCW)

Agencies plow ahead with DATA Act despite big hurdles. The executive branch has gotten the DATA Act off to a good start by meeting its first deadline, Obama administration officials, auditors and lawmakers agreed Wednesday. But persistent problems with the data itself threaten to undermine the financial transparency that the law is intended to achieve. (Federal News Radio)

Bill to let DHS monitor Internet traffic on government systems advances. A Senate panel on Wednesday voted to set into law the Department of the Homeland Security's responsibility to monitor public Internet traffic on all government systems. The bill is designed to minimize the harm from breaches like those that hit the Office of Personnel Management. (NextGov)

How States Can Make Their Digital Offerings Accessible to People With Disabilities. States should craft policies ensuring people with disabilities have equal use of digital products and services governments procure, according to a National Association of State Chief Information Officers brief. (Route Fifty)

Innovation

Senate panel passes bill to give public access to more research. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee cleared the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act by voice vote, along with 10 other pieces of legislation. The bill would require every agency with an outside research budget of $100 million or more to make sure any research paper produced is publicly posted for free within a year of publication in a journal. (The Hill)

The first machine that can jump on water. Engineers use biomimetics to turn water surface tension into a launchpad. (Ars Technica)

A New Way to Mute Distractions. This device pauses all of the tech clamoring for your attention. It’s a new gadget that mutes digital chatter so that you can focus on tackling one task at a time. (CityLab)

3D printing is not the miracle we were promised. 3D printing has been hailed as the future of manufacturing for years now. But that Jetsons-like vision hasn’t come to pass. And that’s not going to change any time soon. (Quartz)

ITI Member News

Apple Will Debut New Apple TV In September. The new Apple TV is headed to market along with an App Store of its own. Next step: that long-in-the-offing subscription internet-TV service. (BuzzFeed)

Google Quietly Distributes New Version of Glass Aimed at Workplaces. Google Inc. is quietly distributing a new version of its Glass wearable computer aimed at businesses in industries such as health care, manufacturing and energy, according to people familiar with the situation. (Wall Street Journal)

LinkedIn Gets Boost From Lynda.com Deal. LinkedIn Corp.’s stock yo-yoed in after-hours trading Thursday as investors realized that it beat growth expectations because of a recent acquisition, not because of a recovery in its core business. (Wall Street Journal)

Microsoft Partners With Jasper to Expand Internet of Things. Microsoft Corp. has partnered with Jasper Technologies Inc. as it readies a public preview of its Internet of Things services later this year. (Wall Street Journal)

Nokia Posts Surprise Profit Rise. Nokia, the world’s No. 3 telecom network equipment maker, posted a surprise rise in quarterly profits on Thursday helped by lucrative software sales and a refusal to chase after lower-margin contracts that had hurt profits previously. (re/code)

Toyota Inks Deal for Telenav In-Car Navigation, Drives Away From Google and Apple. Earlier this year, Toyota spelledout what many car companies were thinking: It would rather have its own software inside its cars than software from Apple and Google. On Thursday, it took another step to box out the mobile giants. (re/code)

1600 Penn.

In the morning, the President and Vice President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office.

Today on the Hill

The House is not scheduled to return for votes until September 8.

The Senate stands adjourned until 10:00am on Thursday, July 30, 2015. Following any Leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R.22, post-cloture, with the time until 12:00pm equally divided. All time during adjournment of the Senate will count post-cloture on H.R.22. At 12 noon a roll call vote will be held on H.R.22, as amended (Highway/Transportation Reauthorization and Export-Import Bank Reauthorization) followed by a roll call vote at approximately 1:45pm on HR.3236, Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvements Act of 2015 (3-month extension to October 29, 2015 for highways) [60 vote affirmative threshold]