The worst part of Davos is all the name dropping. Anyway, sorry Login is a little late, I got stuck in a panel with Jane Goodall, Susan Wojcicki and Marc Benioff, and you know how that goes....
Today's Login is 1,466 words, a 5-minute read.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Facebook's role in the 2020 election puts it at the very center of the partisan storm. But, as Axios' Sara Fischer and Scott Rosenberg report, the company needs to worry not just about election interference or fake news, but also what a Democrat in the White House could mean for its business.
Why it matters: The Obama administration's warm embrace of Big Tech is no longer shared by many Democratic policymakers and presidential hopefuls. Many of them hold Facebook responsible for President Trump's 2016 victory, assail it for allowing misinformation to spread, and have vowed to regulate it or break it up.
Driving the news: Democratic contenders responded with visceral dislike to mentions of Facebook during the New York Times' recent on-camera endorsement process.
Between the lines: Tech issues have driven campaign talk during this Democratic primary season more than ever before.
Be smart: Criticism of Big Tech is coming from both parties. But Republicans and conservatives have historically opposed regulating industry and challenging monopolies, while for Democrats, it's home base.
The big picture: Facebook has leaned on its conservative connections under the Trump administration, while its relationship with Democrats has become more hostile.
Yes, but: Facebook's Silicon Valley-based workforce almost certainly leans liberal, and its chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, is a vocal Democrat.
Our thought bubble: Presidents don't have the power to break up companies on their own — that's up to the Justice Department and the courts. But a president can certainly make a company's life miserable.
The bottom line: Big companies of a sufficient size generally avoid becoming associated with a political party because they want to attract customers across the political spectrum and they want to profit under presidents of either party.
Apple has come under fire this week for holding onto encryption keys to iCloud backups.
But Apple's practice is nothing new — and it's not a sign the company is capitulating to law enforcement in the encryption debate.
Why it matters: Apple has come under criticism from all corners, with President Trump and others criticizing the company for not giving the government a "back door" into iPhones, and others saying Apple has offered law enforcement too much access.
In reality, Apple has staked out somewhat of a middle ground between the extremes, but falls far closer to the pro-encryption end of the spectrum.
How it works: With iMessage, Apple allows users to fully encrypt their messages, so they can't be seen or recovered by Apple. When it comes to the iPhone, the device itself is fully encrypted — meaning without the passcode, no one (not even Apple) has access to the information stored inside.
Yes, but: With iCloud backups of the data to the phone, Apple made the decision to hold onto the encryption key — largely so that if consumers lose their password, there is still a way to recover their data.
Between the lines: Apparently, many law enforcement agencies don't fully understand they can get much of what they want from iCloud backups and instead seek to pressure Apple to crack open iPhones instead.
Our thought bubble: Apple isn't pleasing everyone, clearly. But it is offering customers who want full encryption a means to do so, while, in many cases, not leaving law enforcement empty-handed.
Meanwhile: Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke at a meeting between President Trump and tech leaders in Davos on Wednesday, as I reported yesterday. Shortly after, Trump issued a somewhat convoluted statement on Apple, during an interview with CNBC. You can read the full comments here, but suffice it to say he still wants more from the iPhone maker.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
A local election in Washington state is about to break new ground by letting residents vote by smartphone.
Why it matters: The U.S. suffers from chronically low voter turnout, but experts are concerned that internet voting is vulnerable to hacking and manipulation.
The big picture: There's a world of difference between federal elections and more local races, and this is definitely the latter.
Between the lines: The officials plan to make copies of the votes for auditing, but this wouldn't solve manipulation before votes are cast.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos tweeted Wednesday a photo from an Istanbul memorial to murdered Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. As Axios' Ursula Perano reports, the tweet comes amid allegations that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) played a significant part in hacking the tech mogul's phone.
The big picture: Bezos, the owner of the Washington Post, had his phone hacked by an account apparently owned by MBS in 2018. UN investigators believe that MBS, who the CIA has concluded ordered Khashoggi's death, may have been seeking to "influence, if not silence, [the Post's] reporting on Saudi Arabia."
Someone made lights out of those colorful old G3 iMacs. WANT!