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Robin Groulx / Axios

In a move to limit the impact of the FCC's sweeping net neutrality rules, Chairman Ajit Pai is pausing part of the broadband privacy rules that were supposed to go into effect next week.

The gritty details:

  • FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has asked the commission to stay, or prevent from going into effect, a section of the rules that requires carriers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T from taking "reasonable measures to protect" customer data, such as web search history, according to an FCC spokesperson.
  • Those data security requirements were set to take effect on March 2.

Why this matters: It's another sign that Pai intends to aggressively roll back the rules put in place by his predecessor, Democratic Chairman Tom Wheeler. The commission noted in a statement that Pai "has advocated returning to a technology-neutral privacy framework for the online world and harmonizing the FCC's privacy rules for broadband providers with the FTC's standards for others in the digital economy" — a central argument by Republicans and industry groups.

What's next: If commissioners don't vote on the stay before March 2, the agency can stay the requirements at the staff level, according to a statement from the commission. This is a test for Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who'll likely be the lone dissenting vote on a stay — but Pai is signaling that he'll move forward with or without her vote.

Go deeper

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Netflix tops 200 million global subscribers

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix said that it added another 8.5 million global subscribers last quarter, bringing its total number of paid subscribers globally to more than 200 million.

The big picture: Positive fourth-quarter results show Netflix's resiliency, despite increased competition and pandemic-related production headwinds.

Janet Yellen plays down debt, tax hike concerns in confirmation hearing

Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen at an event in December. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Janet Yellen, Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, pushed back against two key concerns from Republican senators at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday: the country's debt and the incoming administration's plans to eventually raise taxes.

Driving the news: Yellen — who's expected to win confirmation — said spending big now will prevent the U.S. from having to dig out of a deeper hole later. She also said the Biden administration's priority right now is coronavirus relief, not raising taxes.