Executive Briefing June 8, 2018


The Washington Post ‘I can understand about 50 percent of the things you say’: How Congress is struggling to get smart on tech

Members of Congress are confronting a wide array of complex policy debates posed by inventions like artificial intelligence and problems like the rise of Russian propaganda online – and they admit they aren’t fully prepared to deal with the issues. This article highlights the need for technologists and technology professionals to engage in advocacy and relationship building with Congressional offices, as many Voices for Innovation members have done.


FierceWireless Microsoft keeps White Spaces on the front burner
Microsoft’s Rural Airband Initiative now includes 23 projects in 15 states, and it’s got the support of a bipartisan group of governors of various states going on the record to support White Spaces technologies for access to broadband internet.

Agri Pulse Opinion: Innovative Technologies to Enable Precision Agriculture Tools

The technology boom of the past two decades has brought an array of modern tools that help farmers cut costs, conserve resources and increase yields. Unfortunately, most of these tool sare out of reach for the farms that lack broadband connectivity. The digital divide has hit the farming economy as hard as any other industry. Connecting farms to internet with TV White Space technology is possible, but the FCC must take definitive action to make the plan a reality.

Washington Post Trump orders Energy Secretary Perry to halt shutdown of coal and nuclear plants

President Trump recently ordered Energy Secretary Rick Perry to halt the shutdown of ailing coal and nuclear power plants that he said were needed to maintain the nation’s energy mix, grid resilience and national security. Environmental groups, natural-gas producers, and Republicans and Democrats who have pushed for greater competition in electricity markets all condemned the latest signal that the administration might be moving closer to imposing the plan.

New York Times Opinion: Bailing out the Coal Industry Will Hurt Consumers

The president has ordered his energy secretary, Rick Perry, to prepare immediate steps to keep coal and nuclear plants open. In this piece, Jeff Nesbit argues that the plan makes no economic sense and runs counter to free market ideology. The effort could cost consumers an estimated $11.8 billion.

Fortune Microsoft Just Dumped a Data Center Into the Ocean

This week, Microsoft submerged an experimental data center into the ocean floor of the Northern Isles near Scotland. The center is part of Microsoft’s Project Natick initiative, which is intended to research more energy efficient data centers. Read more on this story from Microsoft.

Microsoft on the Issues Microsoft + GitHub = Empowering Developers

On Monday, Microsoft announced an agreement to acquire GitHub, the world’s leading software development platform. As every industry is impacted by technology, the developer community will only grow in numbers and importance. Developers will be at the center of solving the world’s most pressing challenges. Building technology so others can build technology is core to Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

New York Times Facebook Gave Data Access to Chinese Firm Flagged by U.S. Intelligence

Facebook has data-sharing partnerships with at least four Chinese electronics companies, including a manufacturing giant that has a close relationship with China’s government, the social media company said on Tuesday. The agreements, which date to at least 2010, gave private access to some user data to Huawei, a telecommunications equipment company that has been flagged by American intelligence officials as a national security threat, as well as to Lenovo, Oppo and TCL.

New York Times Protecting Privacy Is a Civil Rights Issue

In an opinion piece, the former chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law and founder of Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology argues that the real-time ad targeting enabled used by Facebook and other advertisers allows for precise, secret discrimination on the basis of race, income, religion, health status, and more. Ultimately, the author calls for the passage of a GDPR-style law in the US.

Fortune Washington Attorney General Sues Facebook and Google Over Campaign Finance Violations

The state of Washington is suing Facebook and Google over allegations that the two companies violated campaign finance laws. Washington attorney general Bob Ferguson announced that his office filed two lawsuits this week against the two tech giants, alleging they failed to maintain records on entities that have purchased political ads on their platforms, violating state campaign finance laws.

USA Today Foxconn chief says U.S.-China dispute is over tech, not trade

The CEO of Taiwan’s Foxconn, which assembles Apple iPhones and other products for tech companies, said Wednesday that Washington’s dispute with China is over technology rather than trade. Terry Gou’s comments at an event celebrating the anniversary of Foxconn’s first investment in mainland China follow Beijing’s threat to scrap trade deals with Washington if President Trump’s tariff hike on Chinese technology products goes ahead.

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