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Seattle Chief Privacy Officer Ginger Armbruster and Axios Managing Editor Kim Hart. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Axios' Kim Hart and Mike Allen hosted a conversation Tuesday on responsible innovation as the techlash continues to unfold. To hear from both the private and public sector perspective, they spoke to:

  • The Honorable Mark Warner, Senator (VA), United States Senate
  • Ms. Megan Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Shift7 & Third Chief Technology Officer, United States
  • Ms. Ginger Armbruster, Chief Privacy Officer, City of Seattle

Why it mattered: Some companies that harbor an abundance of data, like Facebook, are under fire for misusing or mishandling it. This event covered how tech companies can continue innovating while internalizing this wave of criticism.

Shift7 CEO & Third U.S. CTO Megan Smith and Kim Hart. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios
"Tech isn't inherently good or bad; it just is. [...] We bring whatever we have as humanity to it."
— Shift7 CEO & Third U.S. CTO Megan Smith
Shift7 CEO & Third U.S. CTO Megan Smith and Kim Hart. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Smith on diversity in tech:

  • "The idea of culture fit rather than culture add is a huge problem in these companies."
  • "If you have lopsided teams you’re missing out on human values, and these challenges require humanities, social sciences, technology, and people from all different walks of life and perspectives."
Seattle CPO Ginger Armbruster and Kim Hart. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Armbruster discusses how cities can strike a balance with data—using it to improve citizen services while also respecting data privacy.

  • Armbruster's message to lawmakers in DC: “We need to take a close look at how we frame laws that make sense even at a local level.”
  • Why it matters: As cities collect more and more data on their inhabitants, Seattle is often recognized as the leader when it comes to citizen data privacy making it a role model for other urban tech hubs .
Senator (VA) Mark Warner and Mike Allen. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Senator Warner acknowledged Congress' shortcomings when it comes to dealing with issues in tech, imploring tech companies to help Congress help them. "Work with us. [...] If you leave it to us, we're going to mess it up."

Why it matters: Senator Warner argues that public-private partnerships are particularly crucial since the Trump administration seems to be "asleep at the switch" when it comes to tech, with no Chief Science Officer and a lack of cybersecrutiy experts.

Senator (VA) Mark Warner and Mike Allen. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Senator Warner addressed the N.Y. Times revelation that Facebook gave four Chinese electronic companies access to Americans' data, saying Facebook should "come clean with the whole story in the first 24 hours." He added that has "some very serious questions, particularly because of the ongoing threat that these Chinese telecom companies pose."

The big picture from Axios Chief Technology Correspondent Ina Fried in Wednesday morning's Axios AM:

  • What D.C. doesn't get: The partnerships Facebook had with phone makers were pretty standard at the time, as phone makers looked to build support for services from Facebook, Twitter, Google and others into their devices. Nor were they a secret.
  • What Facebook doesn't get: The company has very little credibility in D.C., especially when the topic is sharing data with others. Throw Huawei's name in the mix and things go from toxic to radioactive.
🥑🍞 Responsibly innovated toast. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Thank you to our guests for joining us and thank you to IBM for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

America on borrowed time

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Economic recovery will not be linear as the world continues to grapple with the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Why it matters: Despite being propped up by an extraordinary amount of fiscal stimulus and support from central banks, the state of the global economy remains fragile.

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.