Today's Login is 962 words. The Gettysburg Address was only 272, so I still have some work to do.
Sen. John Thune. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
Lawmakers have focused for close to a year on what consumer data platforms like Google and Facebook collect. Now, another question is becoming increasingly central: How do they get that data in the first place?
Why it matters: As Axios' David McCabe and I report, policymakers are digging into how so-called "dark patterns" and opaque algorithms affect the experience of people using the platforms, putting a spotlight on design practices many view as deceptive.
The backdrop: The term "dark patterns" can describe various interfaces used to manipulate or trick users into taking actions they wouldn't take if they had clear options and informed consent.
Driving the news: A Senate Commerce Committee hearing this morning is looking into the ways "algorithmic decision-making and machine learning on internet platforms influences the public."
What they're saying: "User consent remains weakened by the presence of dark patterns and unethical design," according to prepared remarks from Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a sponsor of the anti-dark patterns bill along with Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.). "Curbing the use of dark patterns will be foundational to increasing trust online."
The big picture: This is another sign that lawmakers are moving beyond the "notice and consent" approach that has dominated privacy regulation for years.
The bottom line: These proposals could strike at the heart of Silicon Valley platforms' business models, and the way today's tech products are built.
Bill Gates says he doesn't really understand the calls by some presidential candidates to break up Big Tech.
"It's unclear to me what benefit you want to gain," he told Axios' Amy Harder and Ben Geman on Monday in an interview, following his appearance at the Economic Club in Washington, D.C. "If your problem is bullying or privacy, does splitting companies apart — you have to really think of what the problem is."
And Gates knows a thing or two about antitrust regulation, having endured the Justice Department's effort to break up the company during the 1990s as well as additional enforcement actions by regulators in Europe.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, Gates told the audience at the Economic Club that Microsoft's big misstep was not managing to be what Android became in mobile — the open, widely adopted alternative to Apple.
My thought bubble: It's not like Microsoft didn't try, both before and after the iPhone, to land a place powering the smartphone.
Photo: Courtesy of Ad Hoc Labs
The makers of Burner, an app that lets cellphone owners pass out alternate phone lines, has a new approach to tackling robocalls.
How it works: The app, dubbed Firewall, takes a fairly drastic approach: Sending all unknown calls to voicemail.
Cohn isn't sure the app will take off among the broader public, but it proved to be a hit internally among employees fed up with unwanted calls.
Details: The service debuts today for iOS, with a 14-day free trial. After that, it's $3.99 a month. If it takes off, Cohn said, there will be an Android version too.
Carbon CEO Joe DeSimone holding a football helmet with 3D printed inserts from the L1 printer. Photo: Ina Fried/Axios
Carbon, which has a unique means of 3D printing, has raised another $260 million in funding, led by Baillie Gifford and Madrone Capital Partners, the family office of Rob Walton, son of Walmart founder Sam Walton.
Why it matters: By quickly building 3D objects from a pool of liquid resin (a la "Terminator 2"), Carbon's approach is suitable not just for prototyping, but also for mass customized production. It's already being used in Adidas sneakers, Riddell football helmets and various automotive and medical applications.