TECH TICKED AS TARIFFS TAKE EFFECT — President Donald Trump’s 25 percent tariffs on roughly $34 billion worth of Chinese goods kicked into gear at midnight last night, the latest salvo in his trade dispute with Beijing. Customs and Border Protection is set to begin collecting the levies, described by U.S. officials as retaliation for China’s theft of American intellectual property. Among the items targeted are capital goods, various types of plastics and other intermediate goods used in manufacturing, Pro Trade’s Doug Palmer reports.
— Tech groups sound off: Josh Kallmer of the Information Technology Industry Council said that by moving ahead with the tariffs, the Trump administration “will harm American consumers and businesses without addressing discriminatory and systemic Chinese trade practices and policies.” And Information Technology and Innovation Foundation President Robert Atkinson argues Trump’s efforts are misplaced. “Rather than alienate our allies, the administration should focus squarely on those actions that push back against China’s unfair trade practices,” he said.
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ZTE STATUS TBD — ZTE is taking more steps to comply with its agreement with the U.S. in an effort to avoid crippling sanctions. The Chinese telecom giant on Thursday announced a slate of new executives and installed 20-year company veteran Xu Ziyang as CEO. As part of the company’s deal with the Trump administration to avoid a seven-year sales ban, ZTE must replace its management and appoint a new board of directors. The the company’s entire board announced its resignation last week.
— The action comes following reports that U.S. officials granted ZTE a temporary reprieve that would allow the company to maintain existing networks and equipment in the country until Aug. 1 while it works to meet U.S. conditions. But even as ZTE and the Trump administration move forward with their arrangement, U.S. lawmakers are pushing ahead with efforts to reverse it. The House and Senate are expected to meet later this month to reconcile their versions of a defense policy bill, the Senate version of which includes language reinstating tough penalties on ZTE.
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CALIFORNIA’S NET NEUTRALITY COMEBACK — A push to reinstate net neutrality rules in California is back on, with Democrats restoring the bulk of a bill that its author said had been “hijacked” by special interests and stripped of its most important consumer safeguards. The revised measure, one of the strongest of its kind among state legislatures, would bar internet service providers from throttling web traffic, charging websites fees to access customers and offering zero-rating plans under which companies can offer certain content for free. It would also require that companies entering into state contracts abide by net neutrality principles.
— “This is the strongest net neutrality measure … bar none,” California state Sen. Kevin de León said at a press conference announcing the agreement Thursday. “It’s our hope that other blue states will follow,” de León added. The efforts by de León and state Sen. Scott Wiener got a boost from U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who last week urged them to enact strong internet safeguards.
— A blow for ISPs? Electronic Frontier Foundation policy analyst Katharine Trendacosta, whose group backed the measure in California, said the decision to reinstate key aspects of the original bill signaled a big loss for the telecom industry’s lobbying campaign. “A lot of the things that ISPs have been targeting are back in this bill,” she told MT. “This sends a pretty strong message that this is a fight that isn’t going to end quietly.”
— CTIA, a trade group that represents AT&T, in a statement called the revived measure a “flawed and consumer unfriendly approach” that “will jeopardize the benefits of technology in the state and lead to increased costs for Californians.” And California Cable & Telecommunications Association president Carolyn McIntyre, whose group represents Comcast, told MT that “to the extent that they are putting back provisions that were removed from the bill,” CCTA’s past opposition to the original measure “likely” remains “on point.”
AI-MING BIG — A group of nonprofits, scientific organizations and tech experts is urging the White House to solicit public comments on artificial intelligence policy. In a July 4 letter addressed to the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the signatories are critical of a recent White House summit on “AI and American Industry,” during which they say “many critical issues in the AI-field were not discussed.” The letter, spearheaded by groups including the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said a public comment process could better “incorporate the concerns and opinions of those whose lives will inevitably [be] impacted by the growing use of AI technologies.”
LISTEN: Nancy sat down with Pro chief economic correspondent Ben White for the POLITICO Money podcast to discuss her must-read POLITICO Magazine piece on the futuristic smart neighborhood that Google is planning to build in Toronto. “A lot of times cities just take what companies give them,” Nancy told Ben. “Whatever happens in Toronto is going to set expectations and frameworks that are going to persist in other cities. If we want to be a little dystopian, we could wake up in a couple of decades and we have Google running a lot of our cities and we never really opted into that.” Hear the full discussion here.
— Daniel Lerner, a former staffer on the Senate Armed Services Committee, will be director of Microsoft Azure government affairs in the company’s D.C. office. … The president announced he will nominate William Bryan to be the undersecretary for science and technology at the Department of Homeland Security.
SILICON VALLEY MUST READS
— Too smart for your own good: Outcry over consumer privacy and data collection has largely focused on tech giants like Google and Facebook, but according to The New York Times, smart TVs are also extracting information on users.
— Subtraction by ad-dition? Jeff Bezos’ Amazon continues to threaten different industries with its corporate expansion. But it’s the advertising industry that has the most reason to fear the online retailer’s moves, NBC News’ Claire Atkinson writes.
— Angry Birds: Will there be an employee uprising at Twitter? The New York Times’ Farhad Manjoo breaks down the social networking site’s complicated politics and why its employees have yet to follow other tech staffers in revolt.
— Losing Huawei: Chinese telecom giant Huawei is pushing back against an FCC plan that would restrict rural carriers from buying their equipment, The Wall Street Journal reports.
— You never give me your money: European Union lawmakers rejected proposed changes to copyright rules that would have made tech companies share more of their revenues with publishers, record labels and artists — despite a lobbying campaign from Sir Paul McCartney, The Guardian reports.
— We all Shine on: President Donald Trump has hired former Fox News executive Bill Shine to lead his communications team, per POLITICO’s Matthew Nussbaum.
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