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04/24/2015

Key Issues

Tech Business

Europe Looks to Tame Web’s Economic Risks. The European Union could create a powerful new regulator to oversee a swath of mainly U.S.-based Internet companies, according to an internal document that lays bare the deep concerns in top EU policy circles around the economic threat posed by companies like Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. (WSJ)

GOP rep seeks ban on weaponized drones. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) is filing legislation to prohibit the use of weaponized drones under new rules for non-military flights being considered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  (The Hill) 

NASDAQ Hits Record High Ahead Of Big Tech Earnings Reports. It’s a big day for the technology sector: The NASDAQ kissed a new, all-time record high during regular trading, while Google, Microsoft, Pandora, and Amazon are set to report their first quarter financial performance after the bell. The four companies have a combined market cap of $913 billion. (TechCrunch) 

Nasdaq Surge Lifts Internet Boosters of the Past. On a wintery Thursday, Mary Meeker stood on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange celebrating the listing of Lending Club Corp., a peer-to-peer lending firm she helped nurture to the public boards. (WSJ)

Rich, but Not Silicon Valley Rich. Aaron Levie and Dylan Smith are worth more than $100 million combined after turning the cloud software firm they started in a Berkeley, Calif., garage into Box Inc., with 1,200 employees and expected revenue of $285 million this year. (WSJ)

Global Trade

Congressional Panels Approve Fast Track for Trade Deal, With Conditions. House and Senate committees this week easily agreed to give President Obama fast-track authority to negotiate a sweeping trade accord with Pacific nations, but the package of bills intended to speed completion of the deal also imposes difficult burdens on its negotiators. (NY Times)

GOP confident on trade vote. Republicans in both chambers are increasingly confident that they have the votes to pass the linchpin legislation President Barack Obama needs to enact his trade agenda. (Politico Pro)

Ways & Means, Finance Battle Over Currency Amendments In Markups. This week's markups of legislation to renew fast-track negotiating authority for up to five years and a customs reauthorization bill in both congressional trade committees brought to the forefront a debate over whether and how Congress should respond to foreign currency manipulation. (World Trade Online)

White House on trade deal: Hillary Clinton is with us. Hillary Clinton hasn’t said whether she supports President Barack Obama’s 12-nation Pacific trade deal, but the White House thinks the answer is pretty clear. (Politico) 

Privacy

FTC Delivers Mixed Warning on Location-Tracking. The Federal Trade Commission delivered a mixed warning to a burgeoning segment of the software industry in a settlement Thursday. (WSJ)

Here’s where the presidential candidates stand on the NSA scooping up Americans’ phone records. Jeb Bush is a big fan of government spying programs started under his brother, President George W. Bush. In fact, he called support of National Security Agency powers "the best part of the Obama administration" in a recent interview on a conservative radio talk show. (Washington Post)

The new German spying scandal is a big deal. German media organizations, such as Der Spiegel and Die Zeit, are reporting on Thursday on a spying scandal that threatens to create new controversy over the NSA. (Washington Post)

Cybersecurity

Biometrics May Ditch The Password, But Not The Hackers. Passwords get hacked — a lot. In an effort to move beyond passwords, big companies are embracing biometric technology: the use of fingerprints, iris scans or voice recognition for user identification. (NPR)

Cyber threat-sharing bill heads to Senate. It’s on to the Senate for Congress’s major cybersecurity bill. (The Hill)

Pentagon Announces New Strategy for Cyberwarfare. The Pentagon on Thursday took a major step designed to instill a measure of fear in potential cyberadversaries, releasing a new strategy that for the first time explicitly discusses the circumstances under which cyberweapons could be used against an attacker, and naming the countries it says present the greatest threat: China, Russia, Iran and North Korea. (NY Times)

Environment and Sustainability

Can the ICT sector think big enough to tackle big challenges? HP and GlobeScan recently wrapped up the second Living Progress Exchange (LPX). The LPX is an online forum bringing together experts and opinion leaders from around the world to create a dialogue to learn, inspire fresh thinking and share good practice — not only for HP but also for the wider information and communications technology (ICT) industry, and business as a whole. (GreenBiz) 

Is the Obama administration lowering the bar on green electronics? Environmental advocates fear that an executive order from the Obama administration last month may spell the beginning of the end for a federal ratings system aimed at greening America’s electronics industry. ITI is quoted. (The Guardian)

Public Sector

Agencies must factor in users when releasing data, panel says. An Interior official said agencies that gather geospatial information have been working to make that data more accessible and comprehensive. (FedScoop) 

Government cuts security clearances by 12 percent. Nearly 640,000 fewer people held security clearances at the end of fiscal 2014 than they did a year earlier, according to a new report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. (Federal News Radio)

Treasury IT under scrutiny. The leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee want answers from Treasury CIO Sonny Bhagowalia about conflicting status reports on several IRS IT projects. (FCW)

Trouble tracking DHS acquisition. The Department of Homeland Security remains beset by bumpy execution of its acquisition policies, resulting in delays and billions in cost overruns, according to a new study by the Government Accountability Office. (FCW)

Mobility

GAO calls for review of low-income phone program. The Federal Communications Commission should review the efficiency of its Lifeline program that helps offer phone service to low-income Americans, according to a Governmental Accountability Office report. (The Hill)

New Bill Would Tie Retrans to Performance Payment. Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) have reintroduced the Protecting the Rights of Musicians Act, a bill that is now a one-two punch aimed at broadcasters. ITI is quoted. (Broadcasting & Cable)

ITI Member News

Google first-quarter revenue jumps 12 percent, shares rise. Google Inc reported a 12 percent rise in quarterly revenue, helped by a 13 percent jump in the number of ads, or paid clicks, but missed lofty Wall Street expectations. (Reuters)

Microsoft Beats In Its FQ3 With Revenue Of $21.7B, EPS Of $0.61. Today following the bell, Microsoft reported its fiscal third quarter financial results, including revenue of $21.7 billion and earnings per share of $0.61. The street had expected Microsoft to earn $0.51 per share on revenue of $21.06 billion. TechCrunch)

Twitter encourages users to report accounts 'promoting terrorism'. Twitter is updating its internal policy to make clear that users can report people who appear to be promoting terrorist activity, after lawmakers on Capitol Hill raised concerns. (The Hill) 

Will Apple's Newest Gadget Ignite A Smart Watch Movement?  Is it a luxury item, or is the smart watch destined to be the next great essential, something we don't know we'll need but will. (NPR)

1600 Penn.

In the morning, President Obama and Vice President Biden will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. In the afternoon, they will meet for lunch in the Private Dining Room. Later, the president will deliver remarks at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to mark its 10th anniversary. 

Today on the Hill

The House will be back on Tuesday. The Senate will be back on Monday.