Trump Administration Holds Back Executive Order on Cyber-Security

Today's topics include Trump’s decision to withhold an executive order on cyber-security, the preview of Microsoft’s new Cortana Suggested Reminders feature, the addition of on-device machine learning technology to Android Wear 2.0, and Microsoft’s addition of an Instant Recovery feature to Azure Cloud Backup.

President Donald Trump's administration, which was stung by the failure of its executive order on immigration to pass legal reviews, has held up action on another major initiative, an order on cyber-security.

That executive order, something each administration has issued since the George W. Bush presidency, was withheld without explanation on the day it was supposed to be signed.

Examination of the original order obtained by the Washington Post and the subsequent revision obtained by Lawfare show substantial differences.

The new version of the EO does several important things, including making it clear that each agency head and each department secretary has the ultimate accountability for cyber-security. But it's still unclear when the Trump administration will issue the reviews cyber-security executive order.

A year ago, Microsoft previewed a new feature for Cortana that would help Windows 10 users honor the commitments they make via email. This week, the general public can finally take the technology, dubbed Cortana Suggested Reminders, for a spin.

The feature requires that users add their or Office 365 work or school email accounts to the Cortana notebook under Connected Services.

Once enabled, Microsoft's virtual assistant will keep tabs on those accounts in the background, helping users keep their word when they promise to do something.

"Using machine learning technology developed in partnership with Microsoft Research, Cortana automatically recognizes when you make a commitment in email messages and will proactively suggest a reminder to you to follow through at just the right time," explained Marcus Ash, partner group program manager at Microsoft Cortana.

Google's Android Wear 2.0 wearable computing operating system will be the first version that fully supports on-device machine learning technology.

The technology, developed by Google's Expander research team, will power smart messaging across Google applications as well as third-party messaging apps installed on wearable devices.

The feature will let users of Android Wear 2.0 wearables respond to incoming chat messages with a single tap and without having to be connected to a cloud service.

With Android Wear 2.0, Google has introduced a newly designed lightweight machine learning architecture for enabling Smart Reply on Android Wear and similar capabilities on other mobile applications installed on a device, Google staff research scientist Sujith Ravi wrote on the company’s Research Blog this week.

Microsoft has announced a new instant file recovery feature for Azure Backup. As its name implies, Azure Backup is a backup-as-a-service offering from Microsoft that customers can use to offload their data protection workloads to the cloud.

Now, the company has added a new Instant Restore feature that enables the service to perform double duty as a restore-as-a-service solution.

"With Instant Restore, you can restore files and folders instantly from cloud based recovery points without provisioning any additional infrastructure, and at no additional cost," the company stated in a blog post.