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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The government of Kazakhstan has started intercepting all of the secure HTTPS traffic within its borders.

Why it matters: The move is yet another example of the Balkanization of the once-global internet, as different countries seek to monitor or restrict what citizens can see. Authorities in China, Russia and other parts of Asia and Africa have all considered or imposed restrictions on their citizens' internet access.

"As [the] world accepts Chinese and Russian interpretation of Internet sovereignty and borders, this will more and more be the norm."
— James Mulvenon, a general manager at defense contractor SOS International and co-author of "Chinese Industrial Espionage," said via Twitter

How it works: Internet service providers in the country are being required to install a special government-issued certificate on customers' devices and web browsers, allowing authorities to decrypt and read secure web traffic, per ZDNet.

  • Beginning Wednesday, those in Kazakhstan trying to access the internet were interrupted with instructions on how to download the required certificate. The country tried, but backed off from, a similar move in both 2015 and 2016.

Go deeper: A world and web divided

Go deeper

Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults

A vaccination center installed at the Barbara Chapel of St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. Photo: Alex Halada/AFP via Getty Images

Austria's lower house of parliament voted on Thursday in favor of making COVID-19 vaccinations compulsory for most adults from next month.

Why it matters: The bill is expected to soon pass the upper house and be signed by President Alexander Van der Bellen in order for the law to take effect Feb. 1, per Reuters. It'd make Austria the first EU nation to impose such a sweeping mandate.

Hope King, author of Closer
Updated 4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Peloton pumps its brakes

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Peloton’s popularity is falling as swiftly as it shot up.

Why it matters: Not all pandemic habits stick around. Peloton's trajectory over the past two years exemplifies how challenging it's been for companies to gauge shifts in consumer demand — particularly in sectors heavily altered by the pandemic.

Mitch McConnell's remarks on Black voters raise ire

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during a Capitol Hill news conference earlier this year. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been widely criticized for comments he made this week about Black American voters.

Driving the news: When asked by a reporter Wednesday about concerns among voters of color, McConnell said "the concern is misplaced, because if you look at the statistics, Black American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans."