Yes, there is indeed an Apple event today and I'll be there. I'll be covering it live for Axios starting around 10 a.m. PT and will share some more thoughts in tomorrow's Login.
I'll also be doing a Reddit AMA tomorrow covering the new iPhones and whatever else Apple announces. (Feel free to send questions to me directly, too.)
Situational awareness: E.U. lawmakers approved a new copyright law that could require automated filtering for rights violations and payments for news aggregation.
Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images
Google’s strategy of keeping its head down in Washington while lawmakers brutalize Facebook and Twitter — one that until now has been successful — is facing new tests as pressures mount from federal legislators and state authorities.
The big picture: While the other Silicon Valley giants are likely happy for a break from the spotlight, the fates of all of the online platforms have always been intertwined.
Regulation for one could be regulation for all, and scrutiny of individual companies' privacy practices or moderation failures in the past has drawn attention to industrywide issues.
Driving the news: Tuesday brought Google a cascade of new troubles, Axios' David McCabe reports.
Our office has been working on this civil investigation for quite some time. While we cannot confirm the company or companies at the center of this probe, we decided to move forward and retain outside counsel after a series of troubling news reports, including a recent story that highlighted Google’s alleged tracking of consumer movements even if consumers attempt to opt out of such services.
Yes, but: Scrutiny of Facebook and Twitter will continue as well — and they share with Google many of the same issues that have drawn criticism and inquiries.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Federal regulators want more time to examine the proposed merger between Sprint and T-Mobile, which was first announced back in April. They have paused the so-called "shot clock," a non-binding, 180-day review period.
The FCC writes in a letter to the companies:
Additional time is necessary to allow for thorough staff and third-party review of newly submitted and anticipated modeling relied on by the Applicants.
Meanwhile, the companies responded with a joint statement...
The additional review time is common to FCC merger reviews and we recently supplied a large amount of data to the FCC that they want sufficient time to assess. We are confident that this transaction is pro-competitive, good for the country and good for American consumers, and we look forward to continuing to work with the FCC as they evaluate our plans.
Why it matters: This deal — which came together after previous starts and stops — would combine the country's third- and fourth-largest cellphone service providers, helping them better compete with market leaders Verizon and AT&T.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The FTC this week kicks off the first broad examination of competition in the technology industry in more than two decades — a sign that the tech giants could be in for stronger public oversight.
Why it matters: The FTC's public hearings, the first of which happens Thursday, will provide the first structured conversation about realistic policy tools that federal regulators need to police the internet economy, Axios' Kim Hart reports.
The Big Tech debate over the past year has focused on using antitrust measures to, for example, clamp down on the treasure troves of data controlled by Google, Facebook and Amazon — and to prevent them from getting any bigger with new acquisitions.
Joe Simons, the relatively new FTC chairman, is aiming for a constructive conversation — but it runs the risk of becoming politically charged in the current environment.
The backstory: The last time the FTC held a series of public hearings on an issue was in 1995, when then-chairman Robert Pitofsky convened experts to discuss competition in still-nascent areas such as "marketing in cyberspace" and "interactive television." Those hearings culminated in a series of reports that recommended ways for the FTC to promote competition.
The bottom line: The ambition of this fall's hearings are to "chart a course forward in the same way," said an FTC staffer. "I think they have the potential to set the agency on a path for the next decade."
5G talk is expected to dominate Mobile World Congress in LA this week. Ahead of the event, CTIA's Meredith Baker (the wireless industry’s top lobbyist) talked to Axios' Kim Hart about the industry's progress.
The industry says Wall Street is warming up to the amount of capital expenditure 5G networks will take. As Verizon Wireless' EVP Ronan Dunne told Sara Fischer at the show:
"Wall Street wasn’t sure 12 months ago about it, but it's now clear that the conversation has moved from "what will work?" to "how quickly will it start to impact the numbers?"— Ronan Dunne, Verizon Wireless
What's next: The FCC is set to vote this month on an order that would limit the fees cities can charge wireless companies to deploy small cell equipment on city property. It would establish a "shot clock" for that approval, with the goal of speeding up the 5G deployment process.
Amid growing interest from legislators — and continued regulatory uncertainty — the crypto-asset and blockchain industry is forming its own DC-based lobbying group: the Blockchain Association.
Why it matters: U.S. regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission have made few pronouncements about the laws that govern crypto-assets. And yet an industry servicing investors and traders continues to grow, notes Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva.
Another one? The Blockchain Association isn’t the only organization in D.C. focused on these topics—Coin Center has been around since 2014. But as Coin Center executive director Jerry Brito said about the news, his group is focused on “your right to build and use cryptocurrency and open blockchain networks,” while the Blockchain Association represents the industry’s interests.
A Domino's franchisee in Russia promised free pizza to anyone who got a tattoo of the company's logo in a visible place. Turns out too many people said yes.