Executive Briefing July 27, 2018


Brad Smith on LinkedIn An important step in advancing the dialogue on AI

Congress took an important step this week to establish rules for use of new, emerging technology, writes Microsoft President Brad Smith. Senate and House negotiators called for the creation of a National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence as part of the conference report for the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Microsoft believes it is critical for Congress to address ethical issues as the use of AI technologies become ever more pervasive.

The Hill House panel approves bill to codify key cybersecurity program at DHS

The House Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday approved a bill that will codify a key cybersecurity program at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The bill, introduced by Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), would give the Secretary of DHS the authority to establish the Continuous Diagnostics Mitigation (CDM) program at DHS, which aims to protect federal networks from cyberattacks.

Politico Pro (paywall) Tech on deck (again) in September

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee sometime in September, with an invite also out for Google CEO Sundar Pinchai. The hearing will provide lawmakers with yet another opportunity to grill the companies, which have faced scrutiny over their protection of user data.


Axios Microsoft to deliver rural broadband via TV white spaces

Microsoft is working with a small broadband provider to bring Internet service to portions of New York and Maine using so-called TV “white spaces.” Why it matters: After years about talking up the notion of bringing broadband to rural America via gaps in the TV airwaves, Microsoft has struck a commercial deal to do just that.

The Virginian-Pilot RTO Wireless and Microsoft announce agreement to deliver broadband internet to rural communities in New York and Maine

On Tuesday, RTO Wireless and Microsoft Corp. announced a new agreement to provide broadband internet access to more than 290,000 people living in unserved rural regions of New York and Maine. The partnership is part of the Microsoft Airband Initiative, which aims to extend broadband access to 2 million people in unserved portions of rural America by July 4, 2022.

Associated Press Schools eye facial recognition technology to boost security

The surveillance system that has kept watch on students entering Lockport schools for over a decade is getting a novel upgrade. Facial recognition technology soon will check each face against a database of expelled students, sex offenders and other possible troublemakers. It could be the start of a trend as more schools fearful of shootings consider adopting the technology, which has been gaining ground on city streets and in some businesses and government agencies. Read more about public regulation of facial recognition technology from Microsoft on the Issues.

Politico China, EU seize control of the world’s cyber agenda

The United States is losing ground as the internet’s standard-bearer in the face of aggressive European privacy standards and China’s draconian vision for a tightly controlled Web. The weakening American position comes as the European Union, filling a gap left by years of lax U.S. regulations, imposes data privacy requirements that companies like Facebook and Google must follow. At the same time, China is dictating companies’ security practices with mandates that experts say will undermine global cybersecurity — without any significant pushback from the United States.

Roll Call Tech Fellowship Expands After Embarrassing Facebook Hearing

Among the complex problems that Facebook poses to Congress, at least one has an easy solution: Most lawmakers don’t understand technology. So they need to hire more people who do. That’s according to Travis Moore, a former staffer whose nonprofit aims to increase tech savvy on the Hill. TechCongress, a fellowship program his organization started with two recipients in 2015, is expanding and accepting applications for a class of up to ten to be placed in congressional offices in January.

Axios How Venmo’s privacy policy exposes users’ financial transactions

A data expert sifted through 200 million Venmo transactions, from drug deals, to eating habits and arguments, to show the payment app lacks default privacy protections. Venmo is seen as an informal millennial app that connects friends with likes and emojis on payments. Regardless, Venmo still shows the financial spending habits of millions of users, the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s Christine Bannon tells Axios.


The App Association

  • Blog on Broadband and Telehealth: This month, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr announced plans to allocate $100 million to establish a Connected Care Pilot program to support the use of telehealth solutions for low-income and rural Americans. The App Association and Connected Health Initiative continue to advocate for an environment that supports remote patient monitoring and telehealth capabilities for patients in all corners of the country. ( ACT | THE APP ASSOCIATION BLOG — Connecting Patients to Care: Why Broadband is the Key Prescription for Telehealth Innovations, July 25, 2018).

Information Technology Industry Council (ITI)

  • Statement on Perkins Modernization Act: ITI senior vice president of government affairs Andy Halataei released the following statement applauding the Senate for passing the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act: “At a time when there are 3 million open STEM jobs across the country, we need to pull every possible lever to help Americans fill these good-paying jobs. We applaud the Senate for getting us a step closer to doing that by modernizing the Carl D. Perkins Act. (ITI STATEMENT — Tech Industry Applauds Senate for Passing Perkins Modernization Act, July 24, 2018).

Internet Association

  • Statement on the CyberTipline Modernization Act: Internet Association Senior Vice President, Global Government Affairs Melika Carroll released the following statement in support of the CyberTipline Modernization Act: “The CyberTipline Modernization Act is important legislation that will help internet platforms combat the scourge of child exploitation online. The internet industry supports its passage.” (INTERNET ASSOCIATION STATEMENT — Statement Supporting the Bipartisan CyberTipline Modernization Act, July 25, 2018).
  • Statement on Pledge to America’s Workers: Internet Association signed the Pledge to America’s Workers at a White House event, and commited to providing over 100,000 opportunities for on-the-job training, continuing education, and work-based learning programs over a 5-year period. “Improving workforce training and development has been a long standing priority for the internet industry, and we will continue to strengthen the skills of American workers,” said IA President and CEO Michael Beckerman. (INTERNET ASSOCIATION STATEMENT — Internet Association Signs Pledge to America’s Workers, July 19, 2018).