Feb 27, 2018

Axios Login

By Ina Fried
Ina Fried

D.C. readers — have breakfast with Mike Allen tomorrow as he hosts a series of conversations on the future of 5G and transportation. He'll be interviewing Congressman Greg Walden, the chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Senator Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and Chris Urmson, the CEO of self-driving car startup Aurora. RSVP here

Microsoft's Brad Smith on eve of Supreme Court hearing

Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith. Photo: Microsoft

One of the oddities about Microsoft's appearance before the Supreme Court Tuesday is that nearly everyone involved is hoping the issue being raised will soon be moot.

That includes Microsoft president Brad Smith, who is optimistic even this divided Congress might pass a pending bill before the high court rules.

Still, Smith said, today's argument before the Supreme Court "remains very important." He notes that tech giants are caught in the middle of an increasingly tense balance as governments seek to force companies to hand over information stored elsewhere while banning other governments from doing the same.

The bottom line: Axios' Joe Uchill reports that Microsoft will argue that this could put American companies in jeopardy. In a blog post published Tuesday morning, Smith writes:

"If customers around the world believe that the U.S. Government has the power to unilaterally reach into data centers operated by American companies, without reference or notification to their own government, they won’t trust this technology."

A different approach: Instead of trying to have their cake and eat it too, Smith suggested (in his conversation with Axios earlier) that they adopt a different saying: What's good for the goose is good for the gander (though he acknowledged he is a bit fuzzy on just what a gander is.)

  • I was confused too, thinking that a gander is a group of geese. Actually, the goose is the female of the species and the gander is the male. So it's all about gender equity in waterfowl.
How Facebook and newspapers are becoming frenemies

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

The newspaper industry is working with Facebook to launch a new project to help local papers beef up their digital subscription efforts, Axios has learned.

But that doesn't mean they've made peace.

Buzz: In fact, the News Media Alliance — a newspaper trade group that's working with Facebook on the subscription project — is simultaneously launching a political action committee designed to help the industry better compete against Facebook and Google for ad dollars.

Go deeper: Sara Fischer has more here.

Ex-Bolivian president warns of overregulation of social media

Twitter logo seen on a portable device before Facebook screen. Photo illustration: Jaap Arriens / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former Bolivian president Jorge Fernando Quiroga had a warning Monday for U.S. legislators rushing to regulate the big social media companies:

"If you can regulate it in the U.S, you can regulate it anywhere," Quiroga said, speaking at the NewCo Shift Forum in San Francisco. "Whatever happens here can be applied and interpreted in very pernicious ways. Think of us [other countries] when you’re making rules here."

Why it matters: Political activists have long used social media, which has been especially helpful in regimes where the media is controlled by the state. However, overly zealous regulation in the U.S. in response to the Russian meddling could give a green light to authoritarian regimes to clamp down on social media within their own borders.

Scoop: FCC commissioner to lay out steps to streamline 5G deployment

FCC commissioner Brendan Carr. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

FCC commissioner Brendan Carr plans tomorrow to lay out a plan to speed the process of getting wireless infrastructure approved, agency officials tell Axios' David McCabe.

The details: Carr, a Republican, will discuss a plan to streamline the review process for placing wireless transmitters on federal lands, including vetting for potential environmental and historic preservation issues. His comments will come during an event held by the Consumer Technology Association.

  • Wireless carriers have pushed recently for the permitting requirements to be updated.

What's next: The FCC is expected to take action on the issue soon. The deadline for getting proposals on the agency's March meeting agenda is coming up on Thursday.

Why it matters: It’s one small part of a bigger picture as American officials try and keep pace with other countries that are racing towards 5G. FCC chair Ajit Pai announced Monday that it would hold multiple auctions to open up more airwaves for the technology.

Testing your password's uniqueness

Password manager 1Password is helping customers see just how creative they are, by checking to see if passwords have ever been used before by anyone in the world.

The details: Thanks to lots of breaches, hackers have a pretty good corpus of commonly used (and therefore easy to guess) passwords. To help deal with this, 1password now integrates with the breach awareness site “Have I Been Pwned” to check if a password was used in any of half a billion stolen credentials from breaches shared with the site. 

  • It won’t tell you if “P@SSW0RD” is associated with your email address.
  • Rather, it can tell whether any person anywhere has been caught using an identical password in the past.  (Spoiler alert: That one's been used.)

But but but: To avoid becoming yet another potential security weak point, Joe notes that the effort only uploads the first few characters of a password to the servers. The servers return a list of matching passwords seen in the wild and then check to see if the password is a full match.

Take Note

On Tap

  • NewCo Shift continues in San Francisco
  • Morgan Stanley's Technology, Media & Telecom Conference also continues in SF.
  • The House is slated to vote on an anti-sex-trafficking bill that has been the subject of considerable consternation among tech companies concerned with being held liable for user-generated content.

Trading Places

  • Hollar, an online mobile dollar store recently valued at $200 million, is looking for a new CEO, according to Recode.


  • Apple is launching its own health clinics to serve the medical needs of employees, CNBC reports.
  • Fitbit shares tumbled more than 10% after both revenue and device shipments came in below what some analysts expected, per TechCrunch.
  • Facebook settled a shareholder lawsuit over its IPO for $35 million, or 11 cents per share, according to Reuters. Including possible legal costs, the deal could amount to just 7 cents per share.
  • Driver satisfaction at Uber is up, despite a year of scandals.
  • California regulators approved new rules that will allow the testing of fully driverless cars on state roads as soon as April.
  • EU competition secretary says EU is eying Google.
After you Login

While e-sports seems like a recent phenomenon, as Quartz' Mike Murphy points out, video games have been a spectator sport for a while.

Ina Fried