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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Even as action on climate change has become mired in partisan debate, the wireless companies whose networks are threatened by hurricanes, floods, fires and other extreme weather are taking action.
Driving the news: The major carriers are trying to find new ways to adjust to more frequent disasters and factoring climate change into their long-term planning, Axios' Margaret Harding McGill reports.
"The most important thing is making sure the decisions today are anticipating what tomorrow brings, and that tomorrow may be a long way away."— Scott Mair, AT&T president of technology and operations
Where it stands: This year, Verizon began using the risk-analysis data used by insurance companies in its own model of how climate changes affects its network assets.
What's happening now: Wireless companies also review what worked and what didn't after every disaster to adjust their rebuilding plans.
As for the wildfires in California, both Verizon and AT&T say the preemptive power outages were more problematic than fire damage.
Between the lines: The private sector's climate preparation comes without much action from the federal government.
A dozen civil rights groups are banding together in an effort to push federal lawmakers to investigate Amazon over its privacy practices.
The big picture: Amazon is already under pressure from antitrust investigations, and it's facing growing scrutiny on the privacy front amid revelations of Ring's work with police agencies as well as concerns about the company's Rekognition facial recognition software.
Who's involved: The participating groups complain that "surveillance is at the heart of Amazon’s monopolistic business model."
What they're saying:
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Driven by fears of spying, the U.S. is taking dramatic steps toward weaning local, state and federal agencies off products made by DJI, the Chinese small-drone giant, Axios' Kaveh Waddell reports.
Yes, but: The company's defenders say the moves are motivated as much by hard-line politics toward China as an attempt to head off a genuine security threat.
Driving the news: A House bill introduced last week would bar federal agencies from buying Chinese-made drones and drones with certain Chinese components. There's a companion bill in the Senate.
What they're saying: "Under Chinese espionage and national security laws, companies like DJI are required to turn over data to the Chinese government," Sen. Rick Scott (R–Fla.), who sponsored the Senate bill, said in a statement to Axios. "Why take the risk? There are American drone companies that we should be purchasing from."
Yes, but: To some, the moves to bar DJI from the domestic market smack of politics.
Several government studies have cleared some DJI models for government use.
The bottom line: Even if DJI drones aren't shoveling sensitive data to Beijing, relying on a strategic adversary to supply a crucial technology is an "obvious fail in a great-power competition," says Peter Singer, a senior fellow at the think tank New America.
Intel is working with Taiwan's MediaTek to help take on Qualcomm in the emerging market for 5G-capable computers.
Why it matters: Cellular-connected laptops have yet to become much of a market, but if 5G is the thing that finally proves the tipping point, Intel wants to be prepared.
Yes, but: The first 5G-equipped laptops under the partnership aren't expected until early 2021.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you frigid temperatures, have a hair freezing contest.