Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Caresse Haaser, Sarah Grillo / Axios

For years, people didn't mind handing their personal information over to social networks so they could chat with friends or take fun quizzes. That's changing in the wake of Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal.

What's next: There are lots of signals that data privacy rules of some sort are on the way — including congressional hearings and Mark Zuckerberg's acknowledgment that regulations may not be such a bad thing. The social network also faces state and federal investigations. Look for proposals on data portability, transparency and new opt-in rules. New privacy rules in Europe are also a template.

No federal law spells out what companies trading in personal information can do with user data. No federal agency has clear jurisdiction over writing rules for internet companies. And public concern about personal data falling into the wrong hands has only recently swelled.

Now lawmakers are feeling the heat, but they're far from a consensus on the right approach.

What we're hearing: Congressional aides tell Axios that Zuckerberg's testimony will help determine the next steps. A few options are getting attention:

  • Data portability: Giving consumers the ability to yank their data from any company at any time is getting some traction. The concept is modeled in part after the 1996 law that allowed people to keep their numbers when switching phone companies. Rep. David Cicilline, a top Democrat on antitrust issues, told Axios that he's looking at how to make data portability the law.
  • Transparency: Sweeping legislation with super-strict data use standards is unlikely. But there's enough public and media outrage that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle could go for a narrower approach, such as requiring companies to clearly disclose how they are collecting, using, and sharing consumers' data.
  • Opting in: Facebook has said it will give users more control over how information is shared with third-party apps and will clarify privacy settings. A regulatory approach could be to require companies to get opt-in consent for certain data-related behavior.
  • Europe's template: EU regulators view privacy as a human right and have much stricter views about data. A sweeping new law known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), taking effect in May, is intended to give consumers more control over their data. Congress will be watching how that law plays out, but a U.S. clone isn't seriously being discussed.
  • FTC investigation: The FTC could use its active investigation to look at Facebook's broader privacy practices, using its settlement of a previous investigation as a hook for digging in. A couple of options:
    • It could fine Facebook if it finds that the company violated a 2011 agreement to protect consumers' private information. Still, a fine isn't likely to be catastrophic for a company of Facebook's size.
    • The FTC can also hold Facebook to specific conditions for a certain period of time under a settlement.
    • A Republican congressional aide said GOP lawmakers could be more inclined to act if the FTC finds it doesn't have the jurisdiction to take action on wrongdoing in the case.

Yes, but: Previous attempts to take action on this issue have failed. Congress has shown sporadic interest in data security legislation, particularly after big data breaches or scandals, but has never been able to get a bill across the finish line. The Obama administration tried to push a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, but it ultimately died on the vine.

There are also limits to the approaches that could be considered this time:

  • In the past, telecom companies like AT&T and Verizon have balked at rules that apply only to them, as internet service providers, but not to their tech rivals. (They fought hard against the privacy rules the FCC passed in 2016, and celebrated when Congress struck them down last year.) These companies are less likely to fight privacy rules if regulations cover all companies dealing in data.
  • An "opt-in" consent requirement is a tough sell for companies: Their digital advertising businesses take a big hit if consumers opt out of data tracking and sharing.
  • The FTC can pursue companies for "unfair and deceptive practices," as it did when it reached the settlement with Facebook in 2011. But the FTC does not have the same ability as the FCC to write industry-wide, prescriptive rules. It acts on a case-by-case basis if it finds a company broke a promise to consumers.

What to expect: Tech industry lawyers tell us that policymakers — especially those seeking to rein in tech firms — see privacy rules as more straightforward than antitrust action.

  • "It's much easier to get your head around imposing a set of requirements about what you can and can't do with people's information," said one lawyer who works for tech clients. "And now there's a giant bullseye on Facebook."
  • Pressure is coming from both parties, suggesting a reasonable bill could actually move through Congress. "Privacy is suddenly a bipartisan issue again," said a regulatory lawyer working on data issues.

Ripple effects: Other online platforms won't get out of this unscathed. Regulatory proposals will drag in the likes of Google, Twitter, Snapchat, Amazon and Microsoft, who'll have to explain why they're different from Facebook.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

The next worker fight: Time off for Juneteenth

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Who gets paid time off to celebrate Juneteenth in the years to come will be uneven and complicated, if history is any guide.

Why it matters: Corporate America hasn't grappled with a new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was authorized almost 40 years ago. How they responded took years to evolve.

2 hours ago - World

UN assembly condemns Myanmar military coup

Protesters make the three-finger salute as they take part in a flash mob demonstration against the military coup. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

The UN General Assembly on Friday condemned Myanmar's military coup and called for an arms embargo against the country, AP reports.

Why it matters: The rare move demonstrates widespread global opposition to Myanmar's military junta, which overthrew the country's democratically elected government and seized power on Feb. 1.

Pakistan PM will "absolutely not" allow CIA to use bases for Afghanistan operations

Pakistan will "absolutely not" allow the CIA to use bases on its soil for cross-border counterterrorism missions after American forces withdraw from Afghanistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan tells "Axios on HBO" in a wide-ranging interview airing Sunday at 6pm ET.

Why it matters: The quality of counterterrorism and intelligence capabilities in Afghanistan is a critical question facing the Biden administration as U.S. forces move closer to total withdrawal by Sept. 11.