Executive Briefing June 15, 2018


Tech Crunch Democrats introduce security bill that would propose paper trails and mandatory audits

As primaries ramp up in states across the U.S., concerns about election cybersecurity are mounting too. This week, a group of Democratic senators introduced a bill to mitigate some of the well-established risks that the nation’s uneven mix of voting machines and election systems poses.

New York Times Paul Ryan Says Trump Is All In on Next Week’s Immigration Votes

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, seeking to unite his fractious conference around a compromise immigration bill, assured Republican lawmakers during a closed-door session on Wednesday that President Trump is backing the effort, though passage of the measure next week remains very much in doubt.

Federal Computer Week Bid to revive Capitol Hill tech office fails

A bid to revive the Office of Technology Assessment, an internal congressional think tank that produced reports on technical matters for lawmakers, failed on a mostly party-line June 8 vote in the House of Representatives. Newt Gingrich shuttered the OTA in 1995 as part of a cost-cutting measure. At its peak, OTA had a budget of $20 million and employed 140 staffers. It produced what were considered authoritative reports on a variety of scientific and technical topics.


Government Technology Microsoft’s ‘White Space’ Broadband Project to Come to West Virginia

West Virginia is among the states Microsoft is targeting for a rural broadband expansion initiative the company debuted last year. Microsoft will launch at least one broadband project in the state, which ranks 43rd among states in fixed broadband access, through its Rural Airband Initiative.

Financial Review Microsoft president Brad Smith wants to save the world from cyber warfare

In recent years, the issues of privacy and data security have moved out of the realm of the IT department to emerge as a geopolitical issue. Microsoft believes in greater cybersecurity awareness worldwide. In this article, Microsoft president Brad Smith discusses the CLOUD Act, the Cyber Security Tech Accords, and Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to customer privacy in the wake of GDPR.

Fast Company Microsoft is using AI to cut the cloud’s electric bill

Microsoft’s cloud services are 93% more energy efficient and up to 98% more carbon efficient than traditional enterprise data centers, the company said in a study it issued last month in partnership with the engineering firm WSP. That efficiency is in part thanks to hardware carefully managed by artificial intelligence. Microsoft’s cloud facilities have been 100% carbon neutral since 2012, and the company has committed to using more renewable energy sources like wind, hydropower, and solar.

WIRED The Elite Microsoft Hacker Team That Keeps Windows PCs Safe

One of them jailbroke Nintendo handhelds in a former life. Another has more than one zero-day exploit to his name. A third signed on just prior to the devastating Shadow Brokers leak. These are a few of the members of the Windows red team, a group of hackers inside Microsoft who spend their days finding holes in the world’s most popular operating system. Without them, you’d be toast.

Washington Post ‘I don’t think consumers are going to see any change at all,’ FCC chief Ajit Pai says of net neutrality repeal

The U.S. government’s net neutrality protections may have been wiped from federal rulebooks on Monday, but the battle is only just beginning. The architect of that repeal, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, must still contend with a challenge to his efforts in federal court, a campaign on Capitol Hill.

Forbes Net Neutrality Lives on in Washington State After FCC Kills It

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may have made good on its promise to kill the net neutrality rules created under the Obama administration, but Washington State isn’t having any of it. A new state law requires Internet service providers (ISPs), like Comcast and CenturyLink, to treat the delivery of all data equally no matter which company originates it.

ABC News Court rules no privacy for cellphone with 1-2-3-4 passcode

A man serving 18 years in prison in South Carolina for burglary was rightfully convicted in part because he left his cellphone at the crime scene and a detective guessed his passcode as 1-2-3-4 instead of getting a warrant, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. In his dissent, South Carolina Chief Justice Don Beatty said Brown likely didn’t consider his cellphone abandoned and his passcode showed he wanted to protect the contents inside and police should have gotten a warrant for a search like they would the home or car of someone suspected in a crime.

The Guardian Apple strikes blow to Facebook as it clamps down on data harvesting

Apple has updated its rules to restrict app developers’ ability to harvest data from mobile phones, which could be bad news for a Facebook-owned data security app called Onavo Protect. Onavo ostensibly provides users with a free virtual private network (VPN), but simultaneously feeds information to Facebook about what other apps you are using and how much you are using them.


Brookings Institution

BSA The Software Alliance

  • Mentioned in CIO article on skills gap: A recent study of 600 U.S. human resources leaders found that nearly half believe colleges aren’t preparing students for the workforce, and that more than a third believe filling open jobs was harder in 2018 than 2017. 43 percent of employers say the roles that are hardest to fill are in technology and IT, and 63 percent say the most in-demand college major is computer information systems. … BSA The Software Alliance, an advocacy group for the global software industry, recently released a set of workforce policy prescriptions that detail how government, the private sector and educational institutions can work together to close the skills gap. (CIO – Class of 2018: This year’s grads not seen as a skills gap solution, by Sharon Florentine, June 11, 2018)