Executive Briefing June 22, 2018


Seattle Times Microsoft President Brad Smith: ‘The battle is not over’ to protect migrant children
Microsoft President Brad Smith said the issue of family immigration reform is not over, despite the executive order President Trump signed Wednesday. The order came after weeks of intense backlash against the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their migrant parents at the Mexican border. The order will halt the practice but brings with it questions about how families will be detained. “We have to make sure as kids enter the country, their rights are protected and they are treated humanely,” Smith said in an interview Wednesday.


Politico Trump betrays House Republicans on immigration
Two days ago, President Donald Trump promised House Republicans he’d have their backs “1,000 percent” on immigration. On Friday, he told them to “stop wasting their time” — putting GOP leaders in an impossible position and throwing the conference into chaos. But House Republican leaders say they plan to forge ahead with an immigration vote next week nonetheless.

Nextgov Senate Bill Boosts Homeland Security Cyber Funding
The Homeland Security Department would receive an $86 million boost in cybersecurity money over the Trump administration’s request in a funding bill forwarded by a Senate Appropriations panel Tuesday. The $1.1 billion cybersecurity appropriation includes $406 million for a collection of intrusion detection and prevention systems known as Einstein, according to a fact sheet.

Washington Post Senate defense bill pushes Trump to get tougher on Russian hacking
The Senate wants to turn up the pressure on President Trump and his military chiefs to strike back against Russian hacking. The massive defense policy bill the Senate approved Monday night calls on Trump to curb Russian aggression in cyberspace. It gives Trump the green light to direct U.S. Cyber Command to “disrupt, defeat and deter” cyberattacks by the Russian government, conduct surveillance on Kremlin-backed hackers and partner with social media organizations to crack down on disinformation campaigns such as the ones that disrupted the 2016 election.


Williamson Daily News Microsoft targeting WV for broadband expansion initiative
West Virginia is among the states Microsoft is targeting for a rural broadband initiative in FY19. As part of the project, Microsoft would help build broadcast towers on facilities that have fiber-optic internet access – like libraries or schools — to provide wireless internet to local communities. The initiative focuses on improving broadband access in rural areas via TV white spaces, a method the company says can be more effective in areas where it is normally too costly to establish a wired internet connection, and other methods. Microsoft is expected to announce details of the projects it will be involved with in July.

NBC News Rural communities see big returns with broadband access, but roadblocks persist
This article covers broadband access in Lake County, Minnesota. Local leaders decided they needed high-speed internet, and after nearly eight years and the investment of more than $80 million, access to the internet is beginning to boost the local economy. That could mean a long-term impact of tens of millions of dollars in household economic benefit and residential real estate value. However, nationwide, challenges persist in connecting Americans to broadband internet.

AgWeb How the FCC Plans to Heal America’s Broadband Blister
Broadband is arguably one of the most limiting factors in rural America. Throughout the country, there are still communities with no access to the internet. FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr says the agency recognizes rural America’s disadvantage due to lack of broadband and is working to alleviate the pinch point as fast as possible.

CNBC Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on the rise of A.I.: ‘The future we will invent is a choice we make’
Speaking at a conference in France, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella discussed the power of big tech companies and their technologies, including AI, and the need for responsibility around issues like data privacy. Nadella also joined French President Emmanuel Macron at a “Tech for Good” event alongside Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, IBM’s Virginia Rometty and Intel Corp’s Brian Krzanich.

Associated Press FTC puts data, privacy under spotlight with new hearings
The Federal Trade Commission says it plans to hold hearings about technology, competition and privacy of a kind it hasn’t held in more than 20 years. The hearings were announced by the FTC’s new chairman, Joseph Simons, a Republican appointed by President Donald Trump.

Associated Press Orlando International Airport to scan faces of US citizens
Florida’s busiest airport is becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, including U.S. citizens, according to officials there. The expected announcement Thursday at Orlando International Airport alarms some privacy advocates who say there are no formal rules in place for handling data gleaned from the scans, nor formal guidelines on what should happen if a passenger is wrongly prevented from boarding.


American Enterprise Institute (AEI)


  • Email Privacy Act blog post: FreedomWork’s Samantha Debicki argued, “The Email Privacy Act is necessary and overdue to maintain our 4th Amendment rights win the digital age. This is a very important decision that is vital in preserving the Constitution in a modern world of endless technological capacities that could threaten the freedom of our citizens.” Moreover, she added that “Senators need to step up and confront the threats to our Constitution head-on, and passing the Email Privacy Act text is an easy way to start that fight.” (FREEDOMWORKS BLOG – Keep the Email Privacy Act in the NDAA, By Samantha Debicki, June 8, 2018)

National Taxpayers Union (NTU)