Sep 25, 2017

FTC Democrat is interested in tech's “foundational platforms”

The Federal Trade Commission's building in Washington, DC. Photo: Alex Brandon/AP

Terrell McSweeny, the only Democrat on the Federal Trade Commission, said Monday that she's interested in questions around platforms that serve as "the foundation for other platforms — if you think about an app store, for example — whether there are features of those that are unique that include, perhaps, barriers to entry that are formed because of their unique status and what their obligations would be if they are also competitors for other companies in that space."

Why it matters: There's renewed pressure on antitrust authorities to look at big web platforms like Facebook and Google, although McSweeny named no individual companies in her comments to reporters.

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Kenan Thompson and Hasan Minhaj to headline White House Correspondents' Dinner

Kenan Thompson on "SNL" in 2018. Photo: Rosalind O'Connor/NBC via Getty Images

Kenan Thompson, the longest-tenured "Saturday Night Live" cast member, will host the White House Correspondents' Association dinner on April 25.

And Hasan Minhaj — host of Netflix’s "Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj," and the entertainer at the 2017 dinner — will return as featured entertainer.

"Billions": Season 2020

Mike Bloomberg speaks at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond, Va., on Saturday. Photo: James H. Wallace/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP

Money alone can’t buy a presidential election, but it surely gets you VIP access.

Why it matters: Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is duking it out with Billionaire Donald Trump, often on Billionaire Jack Dorsey’s Twitter and in ads on Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, all chronicled in Billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post. 

Biometrics invade banking and retail

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Banks have been quietly rolling out biometrics to identify customers — verifying them by their fingerprint, voice or eye scan — and retailers like Amazon are getting into the game.

Why it matters: These companies are amassing giant databases of our most personal information — including our gait, how we hold our cellphones, our typing patterns — that raise knotty questions about data security and privacy.