Mar 19, 2018

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Situational awareness: An undercover investigation conducted by the UK's Channel 4 News revealed that Cambridge Analytica, the data firm that worked with Trump in 2016, claimed to have secretly campaigned in more than 200 elections around the world, using shady tactics that include bribery and prostitution in order to entrap politicians. See the video.

1 big thing: "The nightmare we had always worried about"

An Arizona pedestrian has been killed by an Uber in self-driving mode, marking the first known pedestrian fatality by an autonomous vehicle.

  • Quick details: The incident happened around 10 p.m. local time on Sunday, the N.Y. Times reports. The pedestrian was reportedly crossing the street outside the crosswalk.
  • For comparison: The Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in motor crashes in the U.S. in 2017.
  • Statement from Uber: “Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident."
  • The fallout: Uber has halted self-driving tests in Pittsburgh, Tempe, San Francisco and Toronto.

Why it matters, from Axios' Steve LeVine: Virtually every major car company on the planet, in addition to numerous startups and tech companies, are doing live testing of self-driving vehicles — and pushing policy officials to allow them to do so.

Raj Rajkumar, head of Carnegie Mellon University's leading self-driving laboratory, urged a freeze on the tech while companies figure out what's going on.

"This isn't like a bug with your phone. People can get killed. Companies need to take a deep breath. The technology is not there yet... This is the nightmare all of us working in this domain always worried about."
Raj Rajkumar to Axios' Steve LeVine
2. What you missed

A man walks among the vineyards covered in snow in the Champagne region of France. Tomorrow is the first day of spring. Photo: Francois Nascimbeni/AFP/Getty Images

  1. The Austin bombings: There have been four bombings in less than three weeks in Austin, Texas, with police now investigating what they consider to be a “serial bomber” situation. More.
  2. Negotiators for the U.K. and E.U. have reached a deal on key terms for the Brexit transition period. Details.
  3. The future of Toys "R" Us may be determined tomorrow in a Virginia bankruptcy court hearing that one source tells Axios' Dan Primack will be "explosive." The big picture.
  4. Twitter plans to ban most cryptocurrency-related ads in the next few weeks, as Sky News first reported and a source confirms to Axios.
  5. The judge hearing the Justice Department’s lawsuit against AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner is known for both high-profile rulings and a direct manner in the courtroom. Meet him.
3. 1 celeb thing

Cynthia Nixon, the actress who famously played Miranda on HBO's "Sex and the City," announced her candidacy for governor of New York in an afternoon tweet.

See her announcement video.

Mike Allen