Situational awareness: Rep. Jerry McNerney (D- Calif.) will be the next co-chair of the Congressional Artificial Intelligence Caucus, co-chair Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) announced this morning at an Axios event on AI. McNerney replaces Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) who is stepping down to focus on his presidential campaign.
As I reported earlier this morning, Apple plans to build a new, $1 billion campus in Austin, Texas, adding thousands of jobs, while also setting up new large offices in Seattle, San Diego and the Los Angeles area.
The big picture: Apple said in January that it would look for a new area to set up shop outside of California and Texas. For now, though, the company is doing most of its growing in those 2 states, while also adding and expanding smaller offices elsewhere.
The bottom line: Apple is more than fulfilling its pledge to create jobs and expand domestic operations, even if the details have shifted a bit from the January plan. The company has added 6,000 U.S. jobs this year and is on track to reach the goal it set out in January of adding 20,000 domestic jobs by 2023.
Tax breaks: Apple is getting some incentives for the Austin expansion in the form of a $25 million grant from the state of Texas and what's likely to be tens of millions of dollars in local property tax abatements. However, that's a fraction of what Amazon sought and got for its HQ2 moves in Virginia and New York.
History lesson: Apple has been in Austin since 1992, when it had fewer than 100 jobs there. Currently, with 6,200 jobs, it's Apple's largest center of employment outside of the Cupertino, California, headquarters. With the planned expansion, Apple is on track to be Austin's largest private employer.
Our thought bubble: For all the talk of how the smartphone market has peaked and Apple iPhone sales are hurting, the company is expanding at a pace that suggests it expects to keep growing.
Uber logo on car. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
Uber and Getaround, a startup known for its peer-to-peer car rental service, are extending a partnership that rents cars to ride-hailing drivers, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports.
The joint effort, which debuted in the Bay Area last year, is expanding to Los Angeles and San Diego, and soon to D.C. and Philadelphia.
The bigger picture: Driver supply has long been a problem for Uber. The company has experimented with various ways to provide vehicles to potential drivers, including its now-defunct car leasing division and its partnerships with Hertz, General Motors and Getaround.
Yes, but: While Getaround's own service lets customers rent cars from car owners who want to make a bit of money when they're not using their own vehicles, the cars Uber drivers rent are actually owned by Getaround itself.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
A Federal Communications Commission decision on Wednesday gives wireless carriers like AT&T and Verizon more power to block text and multimedia messages, Axios' David McCabe reports.
Why it matters: The Republican-led FCC says that it's just empowering the companies to block spam texts. Its critics say it opens the door to censoring other kinds of text messages, too.
Between the lines: If texting had been classified as a "telecommunications service," as public interest groups requested more than a decade ago, providers would be subject to strict rules meant to prevent discrimination between messages from different parties.
What's new: The FCC voted along party lines for a ruling that treats text messaging as an "information service" under the law.
What they're saying:
The big picture: This is another example — like last year's net neutrality repeal — of regulators grappling with the boundaries of web services and the infrastructure that delivers them to consumers. And, again here, Republicans are leaning toward more deregulation and a freer hand for big providers.
A group of 15 senators introduced a privacy bill Wednesday that would require apps, websites and other services that collect data to protect customer information and be subject to fines for misusing data.
“People have a basic expectation that the personal information they provide to websites and apps is well-protected and won’t be used against them. Just as doctors and lawyers are expected to protect and responsibly use the personal data they hold, online companies should be required to do the same. Our bill will help make sure that when people give online companies their information, it won’t be exploited."— Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii)
Why it matters: Federal lawmakers are under pressure from industry to pass a law that would preempt a patchwork of state privacy rules before California's go into effect in 2020.
Yes, but: Schatz's co-sponsors are all Democrats and Republicans still control the Senate and White House.
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