Mar 9, 2019

Congress is playing catch-up in the race to regulate tech giants’ data practices

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

While Europe has taken the lead on imposing strict privacy rules, online platforms enjoy lighter oversight in the U.S.

What's happening: States are stepping up to fill the void. Silicon Valley is most panicked about California's privacy law that takes effect next year. Washington state, New York and others are drafting their own rules.

Tech giants have made it clear that their top priority is persuading Congress to pass legislation that overrules, or "pre-empts," state laws.

  • Democrats on Capitol Hill see an opening to impose some tough requirements — like giving the Federal Trade Commission more authority or making web platforms more liable for data leaks — as part of that bargain.
  • At least three privacy bills have been introduced so far in Congress the year and more will probably be re-introduced from the last session. There will also be new proposals, including one on kids privacy from Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.).

The clock is ticking: This year is the most likely window for bipartisan legislation, as passing laws during the 2020 election year will be tough.

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Debate night: Candidates' last face-off before Super Tuesday

Sanders, Biden, Klobuchar and Steyer in South Carolina on Feb. 25. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders wanted to keep his momentum after winning contests in New Hampshire and Nevada, while former Vice President Joe Biden hoped to keep his own campaign alive. The other five candidates were just trying to hang on.

What's happening: Seven contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination were in Charleston, South Carolina, for the tenth debate, just days before the South Carolina primary and a week before Super Tuesday. They spoke, sometimes over each other, about health care, Russian interference in the election, foreign policy the economy, gun control, marijuana, education, and race.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

4 takeaways from the South Carolina debate

Former Vice President Joe Biden, right, makes a point during Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders listens. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The 10th Democratic debate was billed as the most consequential of the primary thus far, but Tuesday night's high-stakes affair was at times awkward and unfocused as moderators struggled to rein in candidates desperate to make one last splash before Saturday's primary in South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

The big picture: After cementing himself as the Democratic favorite with a sweeping win in Nevada, Sen. Bernie Sanders came under fire as the front-runner for the first time on the debate stage. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who will be on the ballot for the first time next Tuesday, was a progressive foil once again, but he appeared more prepared after taking a drubbing at the Nevada debate.

Coronavirus spreads to Africa as U.S. soldier in South Korea tests positive

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

A 23-year-old American soldier stationed at Camp Carroll in South Korea has tested positive to the novel coronavirus, as the outbreak spreads to more countries.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 80,000 others, mostly in mainland China. Public health officials confirmed Tuesday the U.S. has 57 people with the novel coronavirus, mostly those repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health