Tech News for January 11

ELON MUSK: In two years your Tesla will be able to drive from New York to LA and find you (TSLA)

Tesla Model S owners woke up this weekend with some new tricks up their sleeves. The Elon Musk-run automaker released it latest software — version 7.1 — in an over-the-air update on Saturday. This update features several major changes to the company’s Autopilot system. The most significant addition is the beta version of the “summon” feature which allows the cars to enter or exit parking spots or garages without the driver in the car. “You can summon the car from your key fob or phone through a pull down menu, it will open the garage door, back out of the garage, close the garage door and come to you,” Musk said on a call with reporters Sunday.

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The First Ever CIO of $16 Billion Micron Technology

Seven months ago, Trevor Schulze joined $16 billion Micron Technology MU -8.33%, a global provider of semiconductor devices, as the company’s first ever chief information officer. After spending time as a technology leader at other technology-centric companies like Broadcom BRCM +0.00%, AMD, and Cisco, Schulze found an opportunity that it seemed he had been preparing for throughout his career. He had been an IT executive who had worked well in companies where even members of the Finance or HR teams had technology backgrounds, and was able to make the case for the value that IT could create on behalf of the enterprise.

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Government recruitment turns to technology

California – One big bright hope for the new year is the decision of the Civil Service Commission and a number of government agencies to utilize technology for recruitment of staff. Does this signal the end of the political padrino system? I sure hope so, but it is too early to tell. Just before the Christmas break, five more government agencies signed a job-matching MOA with Kalibrr, a local tech start-up, to harness technology for government recruitment. They have received 38,000 applications for 3,800 job vacancies since May 2015, making government job vacancies more than 10 times oversubscribed. It was Cesar Purisima’s DOF, in cooperation with the Civil Service Commission, that spearheaded the move to professionalize government recruitment. If this works, it will be one really monumental accomplishment of the Aquino administration. This is a true Daang Matuwid project that’s tangible, not imaginary.

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Tech firms ready to work with US government to silence terrorists online

Silicon Valley met with the US government on Friday to discuss how to tackle online terrorist propaganda from the likes of IS. At a closed-door meeting, Tim Cook and representatives of Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and other tech firms spoke with White House officials to try to find a way to combat terrorists on the web. Joined by the likes of the NSA and FBI, the technology firms, and the Obama administration are seeking ways to stop terrorist propaganda being disseminated online. IS has already proved itself to be a masterful manipulator of the media, and has successfully used social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to get its message out. The mood of the meeting is in contrast to talks that have taken place about encryption. While US government is keen to be granted access to communications, the likes of Apple is warning about the dangers of weakening encryption or providing governmental backdoors to data. While technology firms stand at odds with the government over encryption, this meeting appears to have been rather more positive in tone, with Facebook saying:

“This meeting confirmed that we are united in our goal to keep terrorist and terror-promoting material off the internet.”

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Why We Don’t Need Backdoors to Move Ahead on Cybersecurity

I’m going to say this as plainly as possible, since the message doesn’t seem to be getting through: If we compromise the security of our computing devices in a misbegotten attempt to stem criminal behavior or terrorism—as some in law enforcement and government suggest we do—then, we deserve what will follow. It is a tempting proposition to think that if only companies such as Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google andMicrosoft Corp. would create so-called backdoors to encrypted data on our devices and networks that only law-enforcement or the government knows about, they could take action when needed.

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Vehicle-to-vehicle tech gets green light in U.S.

A major government announcement could dramatically reduce crashes on our roads. Equipping the country’s cars and trucks with the vehicle-to-vehicle technology, or V2V, will essentially allow vehicles to see each other and warn of a potential danger before a driver know it is there. The Department of Transportation has now taken a key step towards requiring the technology to be in every car in the U.S., reports CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave.”Our goal is to see this technology put in place as soon as possible. We know that it has the capability to help us avoid accidents that currently happen today,” said Transportation Secretary Antony Foxx. “We can expect the potential impact of up to 80 percent of crashes today avoided because of this technology.”

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Time Warner Cable Confirms Major Data Breach

Up to 320,000 Time Warner Cable customers may have had their email passwords stolen resulting from a variety of hacking methods, company officials confirmed this week. The Reuters news service reported the customers’ data may have been compromised through malware downloaded during phishing attacks or indirectly through other types of data breaches. Time Warner spokespeople have confirmed to various media outlets they were recently notified by the FBI in alerting them that email addresses, including passwords, may have been compromised as a result of the cyber attack.

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The best tech cars of CES 2016

This is the tipping point year the Consumer Electronics Show became the Car Electronics Show as well. In a decade, CES automotive went from the focus on car stereo add-on subwoofers and booth models to sophisticated car electronics, car CEO keynotes, and this year actual new car introductions that previously would have come a week later at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show. The CES introductions were for EVs, plug-in hybrids, and nearly self-driving concept vehicles. Here’s a look at the five most significant vehicles and car technologies of CES 2016.

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California Assemblymember Kristin Olsen Renews Push for a Vote on Transparency

This week, Assembly member Kristin Olsen (R- Modesto) submitted a letter to the Assembly Budget Committee requesting a vote on Assembly Constitutional Amendment 1, a bill that would improve legislative transparency by requiring all bills, including the state budget, to be in print for at least three days before being taken up for a vote.

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Data Tracker: Who pays California government’s bills?

When it comes to who’s paying for California government, certain regions of the Golden State stand out. The $122.6 billion general fund spending plan Gov. Jerry Brown released this week relies more than ever on revenue from the personal income tax. Its share of the estimated state revenue pie is 68 percent for the budget year beginning July 1, 20 percentage points higher than it was two decades ago.

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Synergy: Cloud Spending Tops $110 Billion, Led By IaaS/PaaS

2015 is officially being referred to as “The Year of the Cloud,” according to Synergy Research Group, which said last year marked the first time cloud services and infrastructure officially became mainstream in the eyes of enterprise customers. On Thursday, Synergy published the results of a study that measured the growth rates of six different cloud segments ranging from Unified Communications as a Service and Software as a Service to public and private cloud deployments.

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Office of Emergency Services Seeks Performance Audit of Public Safety Communications

The California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is seeking a firm to audit the performance of the state’s public safety communications functions and issue recommendations for improvement. The audit will encompass the Public Safety Communications Division, which oversees the state’s 911 system. According to Cal OES, the division “designs, installs, maintains and repairs the statewide microwave network and public safety radio communications systems the State’s public safety agencies’ first responders use” and oversees the “State Emergency Telephone Number Account (SETNA) that supports CA 911, and for the design development of the statewide network that supports delivery of CA 911 calls to the State’s 452 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs).

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Franchise Tax Board Launches Enhanced Online Self-Service

This month the Franchise Tax Board has launched its new enhanced MyFTB online service after taking a few extra months to implement new security features. MyFTB provides online access to account information and services for individuals, businesses and tax preparers. Registering for an account is required to use MyFTB. Users can look up their account balance, payment history, view California wage and withholding information, and more. A full list of features is here. “We realize the launch of our enhanced MyFTB online service may not be as exciting as the latest technology gadget on the market, but we are pretty proud of what this self-service tool has to offer you. MyFTB was designed to help you, taxpayers, businesses representatives, and tax preparers, get the information you need when you need it,” FTB said.

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Department of Finance Posting Budget Change Proposals Online in 2016

The California Department of Finance has launched a new searchable Web page where users can find Budget Change Proposals (BCP) submitted by state agencies and departments. Last fall TechWire first reported that the department planned to go live with the website in 2016, the first time BCPs have been put online in a single location. A BCP is a “is a proposal to change the level of service or funding sources for activities authorized by the Legislature, or to propose new program activities not currently authorized,” according to the department. BCPs sometimes include information about funding proposals for new and existing technology projects. On the Department of Finance’s new Web page for BCPs, users can search by department name or four-digit organizational code, and view BCPs by department or alphabetically.

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