Tech Brief: GSA Launches Civilian Bug Bounty Program

Washington Brief

  • A public-private U.S. effort to stem cyberattacks is underway as the General Services Administration partners with HackerOne to incentivize the discovery of web vulnerabilities in a “bug bounty” program. Researchers would give the government time to fix problems before the vulnerabilities become public. (FedScoop)
  • Microsoft criticized the U.S. government for sitting on software vulnerabilities that led to the global “ransomware” attack that started Friday and spread to 150 countries. The attackers encrypted files and asked for Bitcoin payments in order to decode them. (The Associated Press)
  • The Defense Advanced Research Projects Activity is looking into ways to improve the decision-making capabilities of artificial intelligence by modeling systems after the brains of living creatures. (Nextgov)

Business Brief

  • Lyft Inc. and Waymo, Alphabet Inc.’s self-driving car division, are teaming up to bring autonomous vehicle technology to the ride-hailing service. The companies will seek to make self-driving cars mainstream through pilot projects and product development efforts. (The New York Times)
  • Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US are again discussing a merger. The companies have tried to consolidate in the past but are more optimistic about the regulatory environment under the new administration. (The Verge)
  • Western Digital Corp. is seeking legal action against its partner Toshiba Corp. for putting its chip-making arm up for sale without its permission. Companies bidding for Western digital’s technology include U.S. chip maker Broadcom Corp. (Reuters)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Bipartisan Policy Center panel discussion on digitizing the power sector 10:30 a.m.
NIST holds cybersecurity framework workshop 7:30 a.m.
AEI author event to discuss new book on big data 4 p.m.
NIST holds cybersecurity framework workshop 8 a.m.
House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on emergency alert systems 10 a.m.
ITIF event on federal radio systems and freeing up spectrum 10 a.m.
Phoenix Center event to discuss legal, economic and policy issues of FCC actions 11 a.m.
NTIA holds monthly webinar on accelerating broadband access 2 p.m.
FCC holds open meeting 10:30 a.m.
R Street Institute and Center for Democracy & Technology host tech policy happy hour 5 p.m.
Federal Communications Bar Association event on Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network 6 p.m.
The U.S. Chamber holds an event with Rep. Marsha Blackburn on broadband infrastructure 8:30 a.m.
Senate Broadband Caucus event on telehealth 10:30 a.m.
FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee meeting on robocalls 11 a.m.



DARPA wants artificial intelligence that doesn’t forget everything it knows
Mohana Ravindranath, Nextgov

Biological organisms are pretty good at navigating life’s unpredictability, but computers are embarrassingly bad at it. That’s the crux of a new military research program that aims to model artificially intelligent systems after the brains of living creatures.

Western Digital seeks arbitration in row over Toshiba’s $18 billion chip sale
Makiko Yamazaki, Reuters

Western Digital Corp (WDC.O) has sought international arbitration to stop partner Toshiba Corp (6502.T) from selling its chips arm without its consent, potentially derailing a much-needed capital injection for the Japanese conglomerate. California-based Western Digital is a long-standing joint venture partner in Toshiba’s main semiconductor plant in Japan.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is coming to Code
Kara Swisher, Recode

Let’s not bury the lede: Hillary Rodham Clinton is coming to the 2017 Code conference and it is likely to be an epic interview. Fake news? Check! Email problems? Check! FBI controversy? Check! Russian hackers? Check! The impact of tech on jobs? Check! The state of our very divided union? Double check!!

China-Backed Fund Raises $500 Million for U.S. and EU Startups
Nate Lanxon, Bloomberg News

A venture capital firm backed by the Chinese government is aiming to invest up to $500 million into U.S. and European technology startups. Silk Ventures, which has offices in Silicon Valley, London, Shenzhen, and Beijing, will put a particular focus on fintech, artificial intelligence, medical technologies and startups specializing in related sciences.

Oil Jumps With Commodity Currencies on Output Deal: Markets Wrap
Samuel Potter, Bloomberg News

Crude rallied on the prospect a deal to cut global supply will be extended, leading a broader advance across commodities and spurring the currencies of major exporters. Miners and energy shares gained in Europe as most other stocks fell.

Intellectual Property and Antitrust

Merger talks between T-Mobile and Sprint are back on
Chris Welch, The Verge

T-Mobile US and Sprint have revived discussions of a potential merger between the two mobile carriers, according to Bloomberg. After their first attempt at a deal fell apart under the Obama administration and Tom Wheeler’s FCC, the two sides have been unable to hold talks for an extended period of time because of the recent spectrum auction, which T-Mobile dominated.

Telecom, Wireless and TV

As Streaming Services Amp Up, Not all TV Channels Make the Cut
Shalini Ramachandran, The Wall Street Journal

The surge in cord-cutting has set off a race among media companies to be included in new “skinny” streaming bundles that are reshaping the American television landscape. Cord-cutting reached a record pace in the first quarter as consumers continue to ditch pricey pay-TV subscriptions and seek more online alternatives.

CBS affiliates’ OTT deal monetized on per-subscriber basis, but ad revenue possible
Ben Munson, Fierce Cable

CBS affiliates’ new OTT deal with the broadcaster, which will expand local broadcast content access on Hulu’s live TV and YouTube TV, is currently being monetized based on the number of subscribers. Chris Cornelius, chairman of the CBS Affiliates Board and vice president of business development for Morgan Murphy Media, said the affiliates negotiated a per-subscriber rate for OTT services including Hulu and YouTube TV.

Nokia, Ericsson mark separate 5G trial milestones in Japan, South Korea
Monica Alleven, Fierce Wireless

While Nokia and Japanese operator KDDI are talking about a 5G trial in a dense residential environment, Ericsson shared results of its 5G trials with KT in South Korea in preparation for 2018 Winter Olympics. Most recently, Nokia and KDDI announced a country-first trial simulating future 5G network demands, providing high-speed, 1 gigabit-per-second connectivity inside an apartment block using Nokia radio technology on the 28 GHz band.

Mobile Technology and Social Media

Lyft and Waymo Reach Deal to Collaborate on Self-Driving Cars
Mike Isaac, The New York Times

As the race to bring self-driving vehicles to the public intensifies, two of Silicon Valley’s most prominent players are teaming up. Waymo, the self-driving car unit that operates under Google’s parent company, has signed a deal with the ride-hailing start-up Lyft, according to two people familiar with the agreement who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

SoftBank to Pump $5 Billion Into China’s Didi
Mayumi Negishi, The Wall Street Journal

Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. is pledging to invest $5 billion in China’s leading ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing, seeking to position itself in a key technology growth area. The investment would come during the current business year, according to an earnings filing on Wednesday, and local media reports on Friday.

Cybersecurity and Privacy

GSA partners with HackerOne for first federal civilian bug bounty
Billy Mitchell, FedScoop

The General Services Administration will be the first federal civilian agency to engage in a bug bounty program. On May 9, GSA’s Technology Transformation Service and digital team 18F awarded HackerOne to be the agency’s “Software-as-a-Service bug-reporting platform,” which will reward independent researchers for their discovery of public-facing web vulnerabilities while giving the agency time to fix them before they’re made public, according an 18F blog post.

Monday morning blues as “Wannacry” hits at workweek’s start
Yuri Kageyama and Louise Watt, The Associated Press

The worldwide “ransomware” cyberattack spread to thousands of more computers on Monday as people logged in at work, disrupting business, schools, hospitals and daily life, though no new large-scale breakdowns were reported. In Britain, whose health service was among the first high-profile targets of the attack on Friday, some hospitals and doctors’ offices were still struggling to recover.

Bitcoin Faces More Scrutiny After Global Hack
Paul Vigna and Peter Rudegeair, The Wall Street Journal

In the wake of a global wave of cyberattacks that demanded payment in bitcoin, new attention is being focused once again on the digital currency’s role in hacking and illegal money movements. More than 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries were hit by a global cyberattack that crippled commerce, hospitals and government agencies over the weekend.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

One of the most important lessons of the crippling ransomware crisis
Brian Fung, The Washington Post

The massive online attack on Friday that seized control of computers at hospitals, shipping firms and telecom companies around the world was totally preventable. With a few routine software updates, the security flaw linked to the attack, known as Wanna Decryptor or WannaCry, could have been addressed by information technology administrators before it had a chance to do any damage.

How Google took over the classroom
Natasha Singer, The New York Times

The sixth graders at Newton Bateman, a public elementary school here with a classic red brick facade, know the Google drill. In a social-science class last year, the students each grabbed a Google-powered laptop.

Research Reports

Mobile Encryption Market by Component (Solution and Services), Application (Disk Encryption, File/Folder Encryption, Communication Encryption, and Cloud Encryption), End-User Type, Deployment Type, Vertical, and Region – Global Forecast to 2022
Markets and Markets

The mobile encryption market size is expected to grow from USD 761.4 Million in 2017 to USD 2,917.9 Million by 2022, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 30.8%. The proliferation of smartphones and tablets across enterprises, need for stringent compliance and regulatory requirements, and increased concerns for data security and privacy issues are some of the factors fueling the growth of the mobile encryption market across the globe. The base year considered for this study is 2016 and the forecast period considered is 2017–2022.