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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Cellphone numbers have become a primary way for tech companies like Facebook to uniquely identify users and secure accounts, in some ways becoming a proxy for a national ID, Axios' Scott Rosenberg writes.
Why it matters: That overreliance on cellphone numbers ironically makes them a less effective and secure authentication method. And the more valuable the phone number becomes as an identifier, the less willing people will be to share it for communication.
Driving the news: Facebook faced criticism this week for its handling of phone numbers that users provide for the purpose of two-factor authentication (2FA) — in which a person's login is protected by both a password and a device like their smartphone.
The big picture: American culture and law are hostile to establishing any sort of national ID, leaving businesses and organizations to find substitutes.
Background: The internet lacks its own identity system. Email addresses were long a popular but imperfect choice.
What's next: Cellphone numbers are becoming Americans' latest quasi-identity system.
To be sure: Since so many of us carry a phone at all times and use it as a wallet and a diary, it's natural for it to be treated like a set of keys as well.
Be smart: The more people use phone numbers to unlock things, the less widely they'll want to share them, which makes them less useful for connecting people.
Fortnite is still the darling of the video game industry, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue per month.
Buzz: However, a month-old game called Apex Legends is growing far faster than even Fortnite did, at least as measured by signing up users.
Yes, but: Registered users is one measure, but long-term value comes by ensuring users remain active to generate revenue.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi said that Congress will introduce a bill on Wednesday to restore net neutrality protections, according to The Hill.
Why it matters: While states have proposed their own laws, the national open internet rules created under the Obama administration were revoked by the FCC back in 2017.
Yes, but: Details of the bill have yet to be released. And any bill would not only have to pass a divided Congress, but also gain the approval of President Trump.
Huawei's booth at CES 2019. Photo: Ina Fried/Axios
Huawei has launched a global ad campaign aimed at convincing the world that accusations of fraud, espionage and theft against it are invalid, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.
Details: A full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal last week even went so far as to urge U.S. journalists to visit the telecom giant’s headquarters in China.
“Don’t believe everything you hear,” it states. “Come and see us."
Between the lines: Long-simmering tensions between U.S. regulators and Huawei have boiled over in recent weeks. The company is reportedly preparing to sue the U.S. government soon over an equipment ban to U.S. government agencies, according to the New York Times.
Why it matters: Huawei's campaign is reminiscent of corporate ad efforts by Uber and Facebook over the past 2 years.