☕ Good Wednesday morning.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Every mile, every block, every inch of pavement driven by a Tesla vehicle generates a trove of information that can reveal as much about you as about your car, Axios autonomous vehicles correspondent Joann Muller writes from Detroit:
Most modern vehicles have a cellular wifi connection that transmits basic telematics data from the car to the cloud.
But Tesla collects more information than most.
Teslas are constantly in record mode, using cameras and other sensors to log every detail about what they encounter while driving, even when Autopilot is turned off.
This "fleet learning" capability is an advantage that Tesla CEO Elon Musk says will help the company develop self-driving cars faster.
What you can do:
Tesla says its customers' privacy is of the highest importance to the company. It recently joined a host of American companies and government agencies to help define a new international standard for consumer privacy.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
With signs pointing increasingly to a 2020 presidential run by former Vice President Joe Biden, here's the case he'd make, based on our conversations with current and former advisers:
What Biden is thinking, according to friends: I have never been more confident of anything in my life that I can beat Trump, and beat him convincingly. And after all, isn't that what 2020 is all about?
Truth bomb: Biden's biggest fear is clearly that the Democratic Party isn't what it was even two years ago — that the politics, ideology and energy might have zipped by him.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
The Varsity Blues twist: Instead of paying recruits to attend schools, coaches and top athletic officials at some of America's finest universities were selling spots on their rosters, AP sports columnist Tim Dahlberg writes.
Two glimpses of "side door" admissions scams, via The Boston Globe:
Go deeper: Operation Varsity Blues
Heavy winter rains in California have produced a "super bloom" of wildflowers around the state, including these wild poppies blanketing the hills of Walker Canyon near Lake Elsinore, Calif.
[I]n early May , an aide to Gary Cohn, who had an office on the second floor of the West Wing, noticed a document on his printer. It appeared to be a letter from Trump, firing Comey. It also appeared to have been sent to the wrong printer. ...
Trump was livid about the attention the FBI investigation was attracting, but to fire the head of the FBI while it was investigating him was an extraordinarily risky move. ...
Cohn told his aide to take the letter straight to [then-White House counsel] Donald McGahn, who also had an office on the second floor of the White House (and whose printer it had clearly been meant for). Upon receiving it and realizing it had been printed in the wrong place, McGahn said, “Oh, f!@#!”
Amazon lobbied more federal entities last year than any other public U.S. company, pressing its case throughout the government when its power and reach were under a magnifying glass, Axios' David McCabe and Erica Pandey report.
The bottom line: In its filings last year, Amazon disclosed lobbying 40 different federal entities on 21 major issues, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Amazon's statement: "Amazon provides a wide range of products and services for our customers, and we’re always looking for ways to innovate on their behalf."
Forensics investigators and recovery teams collect personal effects and other material from the crash site in Bishoftu, Ethiopia. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
With the U.S. nearly alone among major countries in allowing 737 Max 8 jets to keep flying, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, made a personal appeal to President Trump, the N.Y. Times reports in its lead story.
Two U.S. airlines — Southwest and American — fly the 737 Max 8 aircraft and both said they planned to keep flying, per The Times.
Huawei is embedding itself into cable systems that ferry nearly all of the world’s internet data, The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription):
Why it matters: U.S. and allied security officials "say the company’s knowledge of and access to undersea cables could allow China to attach devices that divert or monitor data traffic — or, in a conflict, to sever links to entire nations."
Since Freddie Gray’s death in Baltimore police custody in 2015, violent crime has spiked to levels unseen for a quarter century. Alec MacGillis, who has lived in Baltimore for 11 of the past 18 years, spent more than a year reporting Charm City's unraveling for the cover story of The New York Times Magazine:
If you live in, say, New York or Boston, you are familiar with a certain story of urban America. Several decades ago, disorder and dysfunction were common ... Then came the great urban rebirth ...
Until 2015, Baltimore seemed to be enjoying its own, more modest version of this upswing. ... Because of the Johns Hopkins biomedical empire, the city’s busy port and its proximity to Washington, metro Baltimore enjoyed higher levels of wealth and income — including among its black population — than many former manufacturing hubs.
The subsequent regression has been swift and demoralizing. ... I have grown accustomed to scanning the briefs column in The Baltimore Sun in the morning for news of the latest homicides; to taking note of the location of the latest killings as I drive around town for my baseball coaching and volunteering obligations.
In 2017, the church I attend started naming the victims of the violence at Sunday services and hanging a purple ribbon for each on a long cord outside. By year’s end, the ribbons crowded for space, like shirts on a tenement clothesline.
Smart Brevity from Financial Times commentator Robert Shrimsley: "All Brexit outcomes remain possible: no-deal, a referendum, a softer Brexit."
Something new to see in NYC (and get in 2,500 steps)
The latticed network of 154 intricately interconnecting flights of stairs — almost 2,500 individual steps and 80 landings — have a vertical climb of nearly one mile above the Public Square and Gardens.