Oct 6, 2017

Axios Login

Ina Fried

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Why tech figures so prominently in Milo Yiannopoulos' inbox

There were plenty of surprising details in BuzzFeed's big profile of Breitbart, Milo Yiannopoulos, and the rise of the "Alt Right."

But perhaps not that surprising is the revelation of just how many people in Silicon Valley were corresponding with Yiannopoulos, a list that included entrepreneur and academic Vivek Wadhwa and Dan Lyons, the former tech journalist and contributor to HBO's "Silicon Valley."

  • While Silicon Valley is known for generally progressive politics, those views are far from universal.
  • And while it may not be socially acceptable to publicly spout sexist views or question the Valley's liberal social policies, it is clear that many are looking for an outlet to share their perspectives.
  • It's evident in all the tales of sexual harassment that are at long last seeing the light. It's evident in the writings of former Google engineer James Damore.
  • And it's evident in the backlash against women in tech chronicled recently in the New York Times.

The big picture: Silicon Valley isn't immune from the culture wars. They just play out slightly differently here.

Scoop: Snapchat's new Facebook weapon is working

Snapchat has seen nearly 40% growth in Stories engagement since launching Snap Maps, Axios has learned. The Venice Beach company believes that Maps are a part of a tool set that empowers users to get creative and express themselves, which CEO Evan Spiegel thinks will drive the company to compete with rivals Facebook and Instagram in the long-term.

Why it matters: Investors have been concerned about Snapchat's value proposition ever since Instagram successfully launched a rival Stories feature last summer, which put a dent in Snap's user growth. But Snapchat thinks it can take on Instagram and its parent company Facebook with user engagement — spurred by camera creativity — which creates more opportunities for advertisers.

Read more of Sara Fischer's scoop here.

Online game lets you try your hand at driving an Uber

The Financial Times created an online game to let people see how they might fare as an Uber driver. We had Kia Kokalitcheva (our resident Uber expert) give it a try.

The result: The FT did its homework, Kia says. The game design is based on interviews with real Uber drivers. It offers a good glimpse into the long hours of driving and the complexities of the job, as the FT describes in this story.

Kia's take: The game is good at showing how drivers have to manage expenses, become familiar with traffic and business laws (don't forget that business license!), and constantly balance Uber's financial incentives and other pushes to increase driving with a need for sane and healthy hours.

Read more of Kia's story here.

Boom time ahead for tech lobbyists as policy threats intensify

While tech giants like Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Apple have already stepped up their lobbying efforts, there is a growing belief the companies will have to pay even more attention to policy in the coming years as regulators across the globe increase scrutiny, Axios' Kim Hart reports.

What we've heard: Prominent tech lobbyist Bruce Mehlman tells Kim that the industry giants face issues related to trade, security, privacy, market power and more. And it's not just those in Washington taking notice.

"So far states have been more aggressive than the federal government in regulating the internet," he said. Plus, there is growing global interest as well, including strict new European data protection laws due to take effect next year.

Read more of Kim's piece here.

Fight over controversial surveillance law kicks off

A House bill that would reauthorize a controversial surveillance law for six years and reform it is expected to be released Friday. Advocates say the restrictions don't go far enough, and the White House would rather make the law permanent and leave it untouched. With the law expiring at the end of the year unless Congress acts — this is a fight to watch in the coming months.

Go deeper: Bloomberg sets the scene.

Take note

On tap: Stanford is using an event today to launch a Global Digital Policy Incubator within its Institute for International Studies

Trading places: Autonomous vehicle startup Nauto has made two hires from larger tech companies: Jennifer Haroon, most recently head of business operations for Waymo, is joining as head of corporate development, while former Microsoft executive Sanket Akerkar will be a senior vice president overusing fleet and insurance issues. Both will report to CEO Stefan Heck.

ICYMI: It was another big day for big government security vulnerabilities. Politico reported that the White House believes chief of staff John Kelly's personal cell phone has been compromised for months, while the WSJ says hackers hired by the Russian government accessed sensitive NSA data on the laptop of a contractor, likely via Kaspersky's antivirus software (for more analysis on this, check out this ars technica story) ... Speaking of Russia, Facebook cut references to Russia out of an April report on election influence, according to the WSJ ... The Verge reports that Mattel has canceled plans for an AI-powered smart baby monitor with a built-in voice assistant after privacy concerns ... Data center operator Switch raised more than $500 million in a public offering, with shares priced above its expected range at $17, per MarketWatch ... And Apple is adding a bunch of emoji for the iPhone and iPad, including new gender-neutral characters, a sign language I love you, and some additional smileys; the new icons will debut with iOS 11.1 and start showing up in developer builds soon.

After you Login

I don't know about you. But after a week like this, I really just need some cute puppies.

Ina Fried