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+ - IT worker's lawsuit accuses Tata of discrimination->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: An IT worker is accusing Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) of discriminating against American workers and favoring "South Asians" in hiring and promotion. It's backing up its complaint, in part, with numbers. The lawsuit, filed this week in federal court in San Francisco, claims that 95% of the 14,000 people Tata employs in the U.S. are South Asian or mostly Indian. It says this practice has created a "grossly disproportionate workforce." India-based Tata achieves its "discriminatory goals" in at least three ways, the lawsuit alleges. First, the company hires large numbers of H-1B workers. Over from 2011 to 2013, Tata sponsored nearly 21,000 new H-1B visas, all primarily Indian workers, according to the lawsuit's count. Second, when Tata hires locally, "such persons are still disproportionately South Asian," and, third, for the "relatively few non-South Asians workers that Tata hires," it disfavors them in placement, promotion and termination decisions.
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+ - Ten U.S. senators seek investigation into the replacement of U.S. tech workers->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: Ten U.S. senators, representing the political spectrum, are seeking a federal investigation into displacement of IT workers by H-1B-using contractors. They are asking the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and the Labor Department to investigate the use of the H-1B program "to replace large numbers of American workers" at Southern California Edison (SCE) and other employers. The letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and the secretaries of the two other departments, was signed by U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has oversight over the Justice Department. The other signers are Sens. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), a longtime ally of Grassley on H-1B issues; Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), David Vitter (R-La.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.). Neither California senator signed on. "Southern California Edison ought to be the tipping point that finally compels Washington to take needed actions to protect American workers," Sessions said. Five hundred IT workers at SCE were cut, and many had to train their replacements.
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+ - Indiana University computer science grad explains why new law hurts ->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: Indiana University (IU) Bloomington computer science grad Patrick Kozub, class of 2014, explains why the big data business he is creating with three other grads won’t be located in Indiana. "I won't go to a place and contribute economically when my interests are not protected, and my interests do not hurt anybody else," he said. "I never had issues of people not accepting me," said Kozub, who came out as gay while a high school student in Indiana. "I'm very proud of the fact that I was there and made so many wonderful friends and learned so many good things." He said he knows no one who would approve of such discrimination he believes is allowed under the state’s “religious freedom” law. Meanwhile, an Indy Big Data conference in May has lost seven sponsors, including Oracle and EMC, in response to the law. “This law is having an immediate and definite negative impact on technology in the state of Indiana,” said conference organizer Christine Van Marter.
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+ - The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists introduces the Doomsday Dashboard->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick writes: You probably know the hand on the Doomsday Clock now rests at 3 minutes to midnight. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has launched a pretty cool little interactive Dashboard that lets you see data that the Bulletin's Science and Security Board considers when making the decision on the Clock's time each year. There are interactive graphs that show global nuclear arsenals, nuclear material security breaches, and how much weapons-grade plutonium and uranium is stored (and where). The climate change section features graphs of global sea level rise over time, Arctic sea ice minimums. atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and differences in global temperature. There's also a section for research on biosecurity and emerging technologies. A fun little interactive feature.
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+ - Ted Cruz, the presidential candidate who wants to increase the H-1B cap by 500%->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: It's going to be hard for the Republicans to field a presidential candidate as enthusiastic about the H-1B visa as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Cruz, who is announcing his presidential bid this morning, once proposed an immediate increase in the base H-1B cap from 65,000 to 325,000. Cruz offered the H-1B increase as an amendment in 2013 to the Senate's comprehensive immigration bill. Cruz's amendment was defeated by the Senate's Judiciary Committee, which approved an 180,000 H-1B cap increase in the comprehensive immigration bill.
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+ - Electrical engineering employment declines nearly 10%, but developers up 12%->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: The number of people working as electrical engineers declined by 29,000 last year, continuing a long-standing trend, according to government data. But the number of software developers, the largest IT occupational category, increased by nearly 12%,or a gain of 132,000 jobs. There were 1.235 million people working as software developers last year, and 271,000 electrical engineers, according U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
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+ - Clinton regrets, but defends, use of family email server->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that, in hindsight, her decision to use a private email server to conduct official business was not the best one. But she is defending it and said the system was secure. Clinton, at news conference in New York, said the email server that she used had been set up for former President Bill Clinton. The system had "numerous safeguards" and is on home property protected by the U.S. Secret Service, she said. "There were no security breaches," said Clinton. "I think the use of that server, which started with my husband, proved to be effective and secure," she said. It still remains unclear about just how appropriate Clinton's system was. As a general rule, government IT policies don't give federal employees the option of using their own email accounts to exclusively conduct government business.
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+ - Obama administration says there are 545,000 IT job openings->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: The White House has established a $100 million program that endorses fast-track, boot camp IT training efforts and other four-year degree alternatives. But this plan is drawing criticism because of the underlying message it sends in the H-1B battle. The federal program, called TechHire, will get its money from H-1B visa fees, and the major users of this visa are IT services firms that outsource jobs. Another source of controversy will be the White House's assertion that there are 545,000 unfilled IT jobs. It has not explained how it arrived at this number, but the estimate will likely be used as a talking point by lawmakers seeking to raise the H-1B cap.
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+ - So. Cal. Edison's IT layoffs 'heartless,' says Sen. Grassley->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: Southern California Edison's decision to cut 500 of its IT workers and replace them contractors from two large H-1B using India-based IT services firms, is getting the ire of U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). He said the case illustrates how some employers "are potentially using legal avenues to import foreign workers, lay-off qualified Americans, and then export jobs overseas.” Grassley, chair of the Sen. Judiciary Committee, said “I don't intend on allowing legislation to move through this body without reforms to the H-1B visa program that protect the American worker." Meanwhile, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Iowa), and the leader of an effort to significantly raise the H-1B cap, was critical of Grassley’s view, and told The Hill: "It's absurd to think that in this global marketplace we can maintain an insular, protectionist workforce.”
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+ - Southern California Edison IT workers 'beyond furious' over H-1B replacements-> 1

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: Information technology workers at Southern California Edison (SCE) are being laid off and replaced by workers from India. Some employees are training their H-1B visa holding replacements, and many have already lost their jobs. The IT organization's "transition effort" is expected to result in about 400 layoffs, with "another 100 or so employees leaving voluntarily," SCE said in a statement. The "transition," which began in August, will be completed by the end of March, the company said. The H-1B program "was supposed to be for projects and jobs that American workers could not fill," said one SCE worker who requested anonymity. "But we're doing our job. It's not like they are bringing in these guys for new positions that nobody can fill. "Not one of these jobs being filled by India was a job that an Edison employee wasn't already performing," he said.
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+ - One-in-five developers now works on IoT projects->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: Evans Data Corp., which provides research and intelligence for the software development industry, said that of the estimated 19 million developers worldwide, 19% are now doing IoT-related work. A year ago, the first year IoT-specific data was collected, that figure was 17%. But when developers were asked whether they plan to work in IoT development over the next year, 44% of the respondents said they are planning to do so, said Michael Rasalan, director of research at Evans.
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+ - Sen. Sessions, calls STEM shortage a hoax, appt to head immigration->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: The Senate's two top Republican critics of temporary worker immigration, specifically the H-1B and L-1 visas, now hold the two most important immigration posts in the Senate. They are Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who heads the Senate's Judiciary Committee, and his committee underling, Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who was appointed by Grassley on Thursday to head the immigration subcommittee. Sessions was appointed one week after accusing the tech industry of perpetuating a "hoax" by claiming there is a shortage of qualified U.S. tech workers. "The tech industry's promotion of expanded temporary visas — such as the H-1B — and green cards is driven by its desire for cheap, young and immobile labor," wrote Sessions, in a memo he sent last week to fellow lawmakers. Sessions, late Thursday, issued a statement about his new role as immigration subcommittee chairman, and said the committee "will give voice to those whose voice has been shut out,” and that includes “the voice of the American IT workers who are being replaced with guest workers."
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+ - IRS warns of downtime risk as Congress makes cuts-> 1

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: Successive budget cuts by Congress are forcing the Internal Revenue Service to delay system modernization and improve its ability to prevent fraud. In telling of the problems ahead, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen almost sounded desperate in a recent memo to employees. The IRS is heavily dependent on technology, and the impact of the budget reduction to IT this year was put at $200 million. It will mean delays in replacing "aging IT systems" and "increasing the risk of downtime," Koskinen said. A new system to protect against ID theft will be delayed, and other IT cost-efficiency efforts curbed.The budget cuts have been so deep IRS employees are being warned of a possible shutdown for two days before this fiscal year ends in October. It would be a forced furlough for agency workers. The IRS employed 84,189 last year, down from 86,400 in 2013. When attrition is considered, the IRS says it lost between 16,000 and 17,000 employees since 2010. The agency has also been hit with a hiring freeze, and appears to be hiring very few people in IT compared to other agencies.
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+ - Cuba's pending tech revolution->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: The White House order last week lifting economic sanctions against Cuba specifically singles out technology, from telecommunication networks to consumer tech. There's much potential and many obstacles. Cuba has an educated population craving technology, but it has little income for new tech. The Cuban government wants to trade with the U.S., but is paranoid about the outside world and has limited Internet access to 5% to 10% of the population, at best. "The government has been very reluctant to have open Internet access," said Harley Shaiken, chairman of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. But "there is real hunger for technology," and with the easing of the embargo, the government "will be facing new pressures," he said. The country needs a complete technology upgrade, including to its electric grid, and the money to finance these improvements. "Markets like Cuba, which will require a wholesale construction of new infrastructure, don't come along often, if ever," said Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of CompTIA, a tech industry trade group. "The flood of companies lining up to get in should be quite substantial," he said. Cuba has a population of about 11 million, about the same size as the Dominican Republic, which spends about $1 billion annually on technology and related services, according to IDC. But capital spending today on IT in Cuba may be no more than $200 million annually.
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