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Sen. Mark Warner. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee said Wednesday he thinks there's a mounting body of evidence that some major tech products can become addictive.

“I think there’s more and more evidence that there are addictive properties.”
— Sen. Mark Warner (Va.)

The bigger picture: Warner's concerns about tech have largely been focused with the potential for foreign election interference to take place online — not the public health effects of tech. But all of the conversations about the massive influence of online platforms are becoming linked.

The gritty details:

  • In a speech at a conference focused on health and technology, Warner cited the high rates at which people check their smartphones, which researchers have found can top more than 100 times a day for some users.
  • Warner also said the same tactics used by Russian operatives in their political disinformation campaigns can be used by fraudsters potentially targeting young people online.
  • He told reporters, however, that it wasn't clear that government should regulate Silicon Valley unilaterally. "I'd much rather do this in a collaborative effort with the companies but with the notion that if they don’t acknowledge this, I think public unease is going to dramatically undermine consumer’s trust," he said.
  • "This is a place where other nations are ahead of us. I think China has even kind of ... [initiatives to] try to diminish young people's addiction to some of their devices," he said.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.