What do you remember about the week in technology?A week is a long time in politics and the same can be said of technology too.The past seven days have seen product launches, new cybersecurity threats and the world of tech grapple with the Presidency of Donald Trump.You can find out more about all of that on the pages of Silicon, but why not see how closely you ve been paying attention with our brand new weekly quiz?It s a bit shorter and a bit more topical than our thematic quizzes which we ll still be doing every week but still just as much fun or infuriating .So, see what you can remember.
The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has now withdrawn its outrageous and unconstitutional order demanding Twitter give up user data related to an account frequently critical of the Trump administration.On Thursday, Twitter filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, the CBP, and others, arguing that the CPB’s demand to provide possibly identifying user data on @ALT_uscis, one of many anonymous Twitter accounts critical of the Trump administration, violated the First Amendment of the Constitution.According to Twitter, the CPB bizarrely justified its order by citing a statue concerning imported merchandise.Following Trump’s election, a handful of popular “rogue” Twitter accounts sprang up, purporting to be run by disgruntled employees of federal agencies.Most—if not all—of these accounts clearly aren’t associated with actual federal employees, but that doesn’t mean that the Trump administration can force Twitter to reveal their true identities.The American Civil Liberties Union previously pledged to represent the person running the Twitter account in court, and Twitter warned of the potential chilling effects on free speech this CBP demand could have.
p released today by The New York Times Co. is filtered through the nitty-gritty print metric of “daily,” it works out to 3,422 new and renewed digital subscriptions for each and every January, February and March day.All told, around 2.2 million people were paying to read the Times in digital form at the end of March.What’s more, that digital-only subscriber base represents a year-to-year increase of 60%, a massive jump mainly attributed to the political campaigning and presidency of Donald Trump.Mark Thompson, president and chief executive officer of The New York Times Company, said, “These results show the current strength and future potential of our digital strategy not just to reach a large audience, but also to deliver substantial revenue.We added an astonishing 308,000 net digital news subscriptions, making Q1 the single best quarter for subscriber growth in our history.”Coincidentally, TechCrunch today revealed that Thompson will be in their upcoming Disrupt NY conference, which runs May 15-17.
p While the presidency of Donald Trump has been a boon for publications like the Wall Street Journal – the era of “fake news” has left some advertisers and publishers cooling towards Facebook and Google as a platform for brands, notes News Corp's new global technology chief Marc Frons.While Frons wants NewsCorp to learn from big tech platforms, and keep its brands publishing through social sites – the deal has to stack up.Frons was confirmed in the role of chief technology officer earlier this month after Paul Cheesbrough moved along to the same role at sister company 21st Century Fox.In a recent interview with BeetTV, he notes that NewsCorp is continuing to innovate and seek new challenges, particularly in areas of voice computing.Frons sees the shift continuing to move towards mobile but “voice computing has also come to the fore”."With Alexa, Echo, etc, people are asking for the news, the weather, directions, to shop and we see voice as one of the biggest growth areas.
On Friday, the space agency released what it called a "mid-year report" on NASA five months into the presidency of Donald Trump.The nearly five-minute video is mostly a chronological summary of NASA's announcements so far this year, and seems designed to highlight all of the things the new administration has accomplished in space.However, there are some curious inclusions and omissions in the promotional video that provide clues about where NASA is headed under the new administration.The exploration of most of the Solar System enjoys widespread support from Congress, and evidently the Trump administration as well.The video celebrates the announcement of the Lucy and Psyche missions to asteroids, Cassini's exploits at the Saturn system, Juno's scientific discoveries at Jupiter, and the Hubble Space Telescope's apparent confirmation of plumes on the surface of Jupiter's Moon Europa.However, the video makes no mention of Mars at all, the planet where NASA has by far the most assets of any world other than Earth—several rovers and orbiters studying the red planet's surface and atmosphere for clues of its past habitability for life.
The Trump administration suffered a legal blow on Monday when the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled (PDF) that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must enforce methane emissions rules that were finalized by the Obama administration in mid-2016.The rules established performance standards for new drilling operations, and they required many oil and gas companies to conduct an initial survey of methane leaks by June 3, 2017.Changing finalized rules is often a lengthy and painstaking process, and Trump’s EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced his intention to start the reconsideration process for the rules in April.Pruitt, who sued the EPA as attorney general of Oklahoma over these rules, also announced a stay on the EPA’s enforcement of certain parts of the rules that could have lasted up to two years.Specifically, Pruitt said the EPA would not, for the time being, enforce four items specified in the rules, including regulation of low-production wells and the requirement that a professional engineer certify well vent system designs.Environmental groups—including the Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Integrity Project, Earthworks, the Clean Air Council, and the Sierra Club—challenged the EPA’s stay in court, however.
Taking a break from touching pieces of sophisticated technology labeled “do not touch” in a Kennedy Center clean room, Vice President Mike Pence made a speech to NASA yesterday that further signaled the Trump administration’s apparent enthusiasm toward space exploration.Pence’s appearance at the NASA facility was tied to his role as the chair of the reestablished National Space Council, a “high-level group [that] advises the president and comprises the leaders of government agencies with a stake in space.” During his appearance, Pence came out strong with some big promises for the U.S. space program, reiterating what we’ve heard before from the Trump administration.“Here from this bridge to space, our nation will return to the moon, and we will put American boots on the face of Mars,” he proclaimed.“For nearly 25 years, our government’s commitment seems to have not matched the spirit of the American people.But I’m here to tell you, that as we still enter this new century, we will beat back any disadvantage that our lack of attention has placed, and America will once again lead in space for the benefit and the security of all of our people and all of the world.”All told, these are bold yet curious claims for an administration openly hostile to the scientific community.
The Trump administration is not exactly known for its critical thinking skills.Not surprising, then, that a number of Trump administration officials—including dearly departed communications director Anthony Scaramucci, Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert and ambassador to Russia-designate Jon Huntsman—were taken in by an email prank from British Twitter user @SINON_REBORN.Here’s what the prankster wrote to Bossert while posing as Trump’s son-in-law and boy wonder, Jared Kushner:Tom, we are arranging a bit of a soirée towards the end of August.Here’s what the fake Priebus wrote:I had promised myself I would leave my hands mud free, but after reading your tweet today which stated how; "soon we will learn who in the media who has class, and who hasn’t", has pushed me to this.
Tech's rich aunts and uncles beg the President not to ditch Entrepreneur RuleA gang of venture capital firms and startup funds has asked the Trump administration to save an immigration rule that allows foreign startup founders to come to the US in order to build their companies.Exactly 60 companies and organizations on Thursday signed a letter [PDF] asking the President to scrap plans to rescind the proposed International Entrepreneur Rule before it can go into effect next March.Also known as the "Startup Visa," the rule would allow temporary residency for foreign nationals who enter the US expressly to found or grow a company they have started or want to start.It was proposed by the Obama administration in August of last year.First slated to become active on January 17, 2017, the Trump Administration ordered Homeland Security to delay the introduction of the rule to next year and, under this week's proposed immigration changes, eliminate the exception outright.
Staropoli lasts just under nine MoochesThe chief information officer of America's Department of Homeland Security has become the latest Trump administration appointee to resign.Richard Staropoli, the former US secret service agent who at one time vowed to run the department "like a hedge fund," will be leaving at the end of the month.Staropoli had been appointed to the CIO position by the Trump White House in May of this year.Prior to that he had worked at hedge fund Fortress Investment group as the CISO and head of global security.Staropoli had also spent 25 years working in the US Secret Service.
Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated PressWASHINGTON—The Trump administration announced plans Saturday to pressure China over alleged intellectual property theft, adding the threat of trade retaliation to an ongoing campaign seeking greater cooperation from Beijing in the North Korean nuclear crisis.Aides said President Donald Trump will sign a directive Monday ordering his trade representative to start a formal probe into whether Chinese government agencies and companies were unfairly acquiring valuable patents and licenses from U.S. firms, either through outright theft, or by pressuring Americans to turn over their inventions as the price of entry into China’s market.Officials at the briefing stressed that while they were casting a spotlight on what they consider a major irritant in bilateral commercial relations, they weren’t rushing into action.Mr. Trump has repeatedly said he would cut Beijing slack over trade issues if he felt the Chinese were being helpful in reining in Pyongyang.The Wall Street Journal reported earlier in the month that a new trade investigation over China’s alleged forced technology transfers was in the works and had been planned for an early August announcement.
The Trump administration said on Tuesday it plans to scrap a program that allows about 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children to stay and work in the country, shrugging off criticism from within the president's own party and prominent business figures.From a report: The Trump administration is essentially leaving Congress a six-month window of time to try to save it.The legal shield is known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, and since its enactment in 2012, it has allowed roughly 800,000 undocumented young adults to live in the United States and obtain work authorizations every two years.[...] In practice, implementation is complicated.Those previously approved under DACA, with the permission to work in the United States, can continue to work without interruption until those approvals expire.And those who have already applied for protection or are seeking renewals will still have their applications considered by the U.S. government.
The Trump administration has engaged in an unconstitutional practice of searching without a warrant the phones and laptops of Americans who are stopped at the border, a lawsuit filed on Wednesday alleged.From a report: Ten U.S. citizens and one lawful permanent resident sued the Department of Homeland Security in federal court, saying the searches and prolonged confiscation of their electronic devices violate privacy and free speech protections of the U.S. Constitution.DHS could not be immediately reached for comment.The lawsuit comes as the number of searches of electronic devices has surged in recent years, alarming civil rights advocates.
President Donald Trump said on the campaign trail that his administration would take a tough stance against mergers and consider breaking up Comcast and other conglomerates."Overall, this president and this administration is likely less hostile to horizontal growth or even vertical growth in the telecom space and elsewhere," Comcast Senior Executive Vice President David Cohen said in an interview, according to a Recode article today.Horizontal mergers are deals between companies that make the same goods or services and compete against each other, like the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger that was blocked by the Obama administration.Vertical mergers join companies that operate at different levels of an industry's supply chain.The Trump administration's apparent willingness to approve both horizontal and vertical mergers isn't a "license for 'anything goes,'" Cohen told Recode.That's in stark contrast to statements made by Trump when he was seeking voters' approval.
The Trump administration, which last week published new rules that the Department of Homeland Security will collect social media data of all immigrants effective Oct. 18, on Wednesday was hit with a lawsuit seeking more information about that and its “extreme vetting” plan.The plaintiff is the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, which had filed a Freedom of Information Act request over the summer.It says the Trump administration has failed to provide enough information about its plans regarding vetting of U.S. visitors and immigrants.“People around the world use social media to express their beliefs, associate with others who share their beliefs, and debate those who don’t,” said Carrie DeCell, staff attorney at the Knight Institute, in a press release.“The government’s new vetting policies threaten to chill free speech to the detriment of U.S. residents and non-residents alike.”Get tech news in your inbox weekday mornings.
Vice President Mike Pence will convene the first meeting of the reconstituted National Space Council on Thursday, which will begin its deliberations at 10am EDT in Chantilly, Virginia.Titled "Leading the Next Frontier," the event will allow key leaders of the civil, commercial, and military space communities to discuss the key issues facing their sectors.Pence's office has not yet published a roster of speakers, but Ars understands that there will be three panels during the meeting.According to sources, chief executives or presidents of Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Orbital ATK will speak during the civil space panel; representatives of SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Sierra Nevada Corporation will speak on the commercial space panel; and Air Force and Navy officials will speak during the military space panel.Among those concerns are a licensing regime for commercial space missions, space traffic management, space debris mitigation and remediation, and coordinating national goals in space, such as military's desire to assert itself in low Earth and higher orbits and establishing a civil policy that keeps NASA at the forefront of exploration."But I have lately come to feel that a Space Council will add another layer of bureaucracy between leadership and those supposedly 'in charge' of agencies such as NASA and NOAA and yet have little or not enough authority to actually impact the military or intelligence policies or architectures."
After the Trump administration's announcement mandating government-wide training sessions on "the importance of protecting classified and controlled unclassified information" leaked just under a month ago, the courses themselves have started making their way around to various federal agencies.And according to an inter-department announcement leaked to WIRED, the Department of Energy (DOE) is now the latest agency to undergo the one-hour course.Employees at both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services have already held the anti-leak classes.In the case of HHS, at least part of the video used in the training session was made publicly available on the department's YouTube account.McMaster's September 8 memo, which was first reported by BuzzFeed News.In the message that went out to "virtually every senior official in the federal government," according to BuzzFeed, McMaster asserted that leaking both classified and controlled unclassified information "causes harm to our Nation and shakes the confidence of the American people."
"But projects like this may not be possible in the future, as the Trump administration has asked for all ARPA-E funding to be cut in the 2018 budget."
The Trump administration is now pushing federal agencies to finally adopt basic security protocols designed to protect government emails against spoofing and phishing attacks.Reuters reported on Monday that a senior cybersecurity official at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has confirmed that the agency will issue a “binding directive” which requires the implementation of long overdue security measures.Within the next 90 days, public agencies will be required to adopt both DMARC and STARTTLS, two easy-to-implement technologies already widely used in the private sector.STARTTLS is a basic encryption protocol designed to prevent the interception of email messages in transit, whereas DMARC is an email authentication system that combines two decade-old technologies (SPF and DKIM) designed to detect email spoofing and in turn minimise successful phishing attempts.While the US intelligence community has already widely adopted such measures—which only happened after significant prodding—the fact that most government agencies have not has long been a point of admonition among security experts.The agency responsible for managing the Pentagon’s email systems announced just this summer that it intended to adopt STARTTLS, which has been around for about 15 years.
AT's purchase of Time Warner Inc. is reportedly hitting a speed bump as the Trump administration's Department of Justice considers filing a lawsuit to block the merger.This wouldn't be a death knell for the merger because the DOJ often files lawsuits against deals that it ultimately approves, and AT today said it still expects to get approval.The DOJ's antitrust division could file a lawsuit to block the proposed merger while at the same time filing a proposed settlement that would allow the deal to be approved, as it did last month with CenturyLink's purchase of Level 3.But a settlement could only happen if AT and the government agree on conditions that would offset the merger's harms to competition.The DOJ "is laying the groundwork for a potential lawsuit challenging" the proposed merger "if the government and companies can’t agree on a settlement, according to people familiar with the matter," the article said.The Journal's sources say that DOJ antitrust officials are "preparing for litigation" in case that happens:
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