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Photo illustration: Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AT&T will tell the Federal Communications Commission it should craft rules to shrink tech's longstanding legal shield, the company said Monday.

Why it matters: AT&T is a telecom giant and, since buying Time Warner, a major force in media and entertainment — both industries that have butted heads with Silicon Valley. The company is now launching this fresh attack as tech is vulnerable in Washington.

Driving the news: AT&T in a Monday blog post previewed comments it will make to the FCC Wednesday on reinterpreting Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields tech companies from liability over content their users post.

  • The company will ask the FCC to modify Section 230 so that tech platforms don't get such broad immunity.
  • It will also argue that Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google should be forced to be more transparent about the decisions they "make on a daily basis," like how they rank search results and feature news stories.

What they're saying: Congress could not have known "this provision... would ultimately be wielded by the largest and most powerful companies in the world as a shield not just from unfair and frivolous lawsuits, but from what many consider to be every day responsibilities," writes AT&T policy executive Joan Marsh.

Context: The FCC is taking comments on potentially writing rules to modify Section 230 following a request from the Commerce Department, per an executive order from President Trump.

  • Section 230 has never fallen under the FCC's jurisdiction before. Trump recently pulled GOP Commissioner Mike O'Rielly's nomination to a second term after he objected to the FCC claiming the authority to tinker with Section 230.


Go deeper

Congress' year-end parting shots at Big Tech

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As Congress rushes to pass giant year-end funding bills, some members are taking last shots at the tech industry's giants by tacking on a range of measures the industry opposes.

The big picture: These funding bills are a favorite vehicle for advancing causes unrelated to government spending. This year, beating up on tech companies is a popular one — not just with Congress but with President Trump, who has campaigned relentlessly for legislators to use a must-pass defense spending bill to repeal a key tech-industry liability protection.

Updated 9 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker