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05/29/2015

Key Issues

Broadband

FCC Chairman Wants To Help Low Income Americans Afford Broadband. A government program called Lifeline subsidizes basic phone service for low-income people. Now, the head of the Federal Communications Commission also wants to use the program to pay for broadband Internet connections, which many poor people lack. (NPR)

Net Neutrality

Broadband providers hit back at FCC over neutrality. Broadband providers are swinging back against the Federal Communications Commission in a legal brawl over the industry's push to delay parts of the FCC's net neutrality regulations. (The Hill)

Privacy

Let Patriot Act Provisions Expire. Barring a last-minute compromise, congressional authorization for the program the government uses to sweep up Americans’ phone records in bulk will lapse on Sunday. That would be perfectly fine. (NY Times Editorial)

Rand Paul Gets Pressured to Block Any Last-Minute Patriot Act Renewal. Some surveillance critics want the White House contender to block any Patriot Act extension. Others hope he steps aside to allow one last vote on the Freedom Act. (National Journal)

Today’s Internet users are still being hurt by ’90s-era U.S. encryption policies. Another week, another dire warning about the technology used to secure online communications. Internet security researchers are warning about a previously undisclosed vulnerability that affected all modern Web browsers — a weakness that could allow an attacker to snoop or even change communications thought to be secure. (Washington Post)

Trouble for Patriot Act backup plans. Dozens of advocacy groups and business coalitions are making clear they have strong opposition to a pair of backup plans to renew expiring provisions of the Patriot Act. (The Hill)

Cybersecurity

DHS seeks input from groups interested in creating cyber 'ISAOs'. The Department of Homeland Security is seeking public comments from groups interested in establishing new information sharing and analysis organizations called for by President Obama's cybersecurity information-sharing executive order. (Inside Cybersecurity)

North Korean hackers 'could kill', warns key defector. North Korean hackers are capable of attacks that could destroy critical infrastructure and even kill people, a high-profile defector has warned. (BBC)

NSA testing gesture recognition as password replacement. The National Security Agency is testing gesture software that recognizes a user's writing style for use as a possible replacement for passwords. (ZDNet)

Online warzone. The Internet is the new underworld front line. Police, judges, lawyers and prosecutors must be trained to combat cybercrime, argued speakers Thursday on a European Commission cybersecurity panel. (Politico Pro)

Global Trade

The dozen Dems who’ll decide Obama’s trade deal. Scan the ranks of House Democrats and you’d be hard-pressed to find a lawmaker more loyal to President Barack Obama than Jim Clyburn — during the 2008 presidential primary, the South Carolinian even incurred the wrath of President Bill Clinton over his perceived support for the then-junior senator from Illinois. (Politico Pro)

EU seeks a digital single market to spur tech economy. The European Union's plan to create one set of rules for the online digital world that all of its member countries can follow should not cause concern in the U.S., a top EU official said here Thursday. (USA Today)

House GOP Leadership Plans TPA Action In Week Of June 8; Separate Vote On TAA. The House Republican leadership has indicated it intends to bring a bill to renew Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and reauthorize the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program to a House floor vote during the week of June 8, and is leaning toward a plan to hold two separate votes on its constituent parts, according to House Democratic aides. (World Trade Online)

Obama: 'Nothing secret' about Pacific trade deal. President Obama took time out of an impromptu Twitter Q&A on climate change Thursday to defend a sweeping Pacific trade agreement that’s one of his top second-term priorities. (The Hill)

Progressives to Froman: Release big bank communications. Progressive groups are pressing the Obama administration to release all communication between the U.S. trade ambassador and big banks. (The Hill)

TTIP wins key panel vote. The Parliament's trade committee backs a resolution in support of the EU-US free trade agreement, including a deal on the controversial investor state dispute settlement. (Politico)

Tax

That Cessna Flying Over Your House May Be Sending Photos to the Tax Assessor. Local authorities in every state are using aerial photography to make home assessments efficiently and accurately. (Bloomberg)

Environment and Sustainability

6 trends driving businesses to double down on sustainability. Sustainability is already significantly affecting many markets. But environmental and social issues are also poised to keep moving much higher up the list of business priorities. (GreenBiz)

Public education's climate change learning curve. There’s great hope that the next generation will be motivated to contain climate change and make the difficult decisions that today’s adults can’t agree on. But the reality is that today’s students will have varying levels of understanding about climate change, depending on the state where they grew up and attended school. (GreenBiz)

Will Homeowners Shell Out Thousands for Super Batteries? Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk sees a future in which super batteries change the world, making solar power available at night and turning homes into tiny utilities. (WSJ)

Public Sector

DHS lets out its 'inner MacGyver' in move to agile IT development. The use of agile or dev/ops for IT software development is no longer just in the pilot stage at the Homeland Security Department. So much so that the Citizen and Immigration Services put out a major solicitation in April calling for the widespread use of agile development processes across a broad range of enterprise support services. (Federal News Radio)

Federal IT Lobbying Group Backs COTS Provisions in Defense Authorization Bills. A lobbying group for federal information technology contractors has said it has no considerable objections to any provisions in both House and Senate versions of new defense authorization bills, Federal News Radio reported Thursday. (Executive Gov)

HHS names next CTO. ​Susannah Fox, an expert on the intersection of technology and medicine, takes over for former Chief Technology Officer Bryan Sivak. (FedScoop)

IT could pose a challenge in proposed data rules. The National Archives held an open meeting where it took questions from members of government and industry on the CUI draft rule. (FedScoop)

OPM Innovation Lab leads USAJobs rebuild with agile. The redesign team is using agile development — and a lot of Post-its — as it gives the often-ridiculed jobs site an upgrade, Innovation Lab Director Stephanie Wade said. (FedScoop)

We're paying contractors how much? How much should contracting officers be paying for labor? The General Services Administration has a new tool out aimed at answering that question. (FCW)

Workforce

Blind Auditions Could Give Employers A Better Hiring Sense. Entrepreneur Petar Vujosevic was just a regular guy who saw a big problem with the way the hiring system works. (NPR)

Innovation

Ampion Opens Applications For Its Road Trip Showcasing African Tech. Ampion, the Berlin-based accelerator and advisory firm promoting technology entrepreneurship in Africa, is opening up the latest round of its pan-African bus tours for corporate executives, startup founders, and investors. (TechCrunch)

Smartphones Are So Smart They Can Now Test Your Vision. British ophthalmologist Andrew Bastawrous moved his family from London to Kenya in 2013 with $150,000 of equipment, a team of 15 people and an ambitious goal: to understand the causes of blindness in rural Africa. (NPR)

Spider silk made without the spiders. After years of research, a team of scientists has created synthesised spider silk in a laboratory setting. (CNET)

Mobility

Australian government to auction regional 1800MHz spectrum. 4G services in regional and remote Australia could get a shot in the arm with government plans to auction spectrum in the 1800MHz band for use in regional and remote locations of Australia by the end of this year. (ZDNet)

Exclusive: FCC poised to side with Verizon, AT&T in airwaves spat. U.S. telecoms regulators are leaning toward rejecting a T-Mobile US Inc (TMUS.N) request that more airwaves be set aside for smaller wireless companies like itself to bid on during a government auction next year, according to people familiar with the matter. (Reuters)

ITI Member News

AMD brightens up Times Square with 25,000 square foot high-definition display. Chipmaker AMD is has unveiled details of how it is powering a 25,000 square foot - that more than half of an acre - high-definition display using only three FirePro graphics cards. (ZDNet)

Apple Acquires Augmented Reality Company Metaio. Apple has acquired Metaio, an augmented reality startup that launched way back in 2003 as an offshoot of a project at Volkswagen. (TechCrunch)

Avago, Broadcom deal could put pressure on Qualcomm. Avago Technologies Ltd's (AVGO.O) $37 billion deal to buy chipmaker Broadcom Corp (BRCM.O) creates new competitive challenges for Qualcomm and may force the world's largest mobile chip maker to radically rethink its own strategy. (Reuters)

Google lays out its ambitions for your phone, your home, your car and your wallet. Google made clear Thursday that it's still fighting a multifront war against its old rival, Apple -- and that the battles are as heated as ever. (Washington Post)

Intel nears $15B deal to purchase Altera. Chip giant Intel is close to a deal to buy fellow chip maker Altera Corp. for about $15 billion, The Post has learned. (NY Post)

Microsoft Launches New Project To Help Enterprises Improve Their DevOps Practice. Microsoft today announced a new project that aims to help developers and IT pros in the enterprise — and even smaller development shops — improve their DevOps practices. (TechCrunch)

Speech Recognition Gets Conversational. Smartphones are pretty good at understanding what users say to them, but they can’t handle conversations. The shift from one speaking voice to another confuses virtually all current speech-recognition software. But researchers at IBM IBM -0.17% have succeeded in building an algorithm that doesn’t get tripped up so easily. (WSJ)

1600 Penn.

In the morning, President Obama and Vice President Biden will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. In the afternoon, the president will meet with Attorney General Lynch in the Oval Office.

Today on the Hill

The House will reconvene on Monday. The Senate stands adjourned until 4 p.m. on Sunday and will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R.2048, USA Freedom Act.