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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios 

Technology companies will confront bigger business challenges next year in an environment shaped by new regulations, public controversies and investor jitters.

Why it matters: Despite an onslaught of bad headlines in 2018 about privacy problems, data breaches and political bias, most tech companies didn't feel the pain. But like other rising industries before it, the technology sector will eventually need to comply with new standards.

What we're watching: The legislative fight over new laws could expose flaws and weaknesses in ways that eat away at consumer trust and loyalty.

The bottom line: New standards of conduct could force tech companies — particularly those like Facebook and Google that monetize user data through advertising — to revise their business models, and change can be costly.

Go deeper: Yes, some companies actually want to be regulated

Go deeper

17 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Border Democrats want migrants vaccinated

Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Tex.) Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Some Democrats representing border districts want President Biden to vaccinate migrants crossing into the U.S. — especially if he lifts public health restrictions that have prevented them from claiming asylum on American soil.

Why it matters: Inoculating migrants treads a fine line of protecting the U.S. population while possibly incentivizing more migration with the offer of free COVID-19 vaccines. Republicans are likely to pounce on that.

17 mins ago - World

State Dept. fears Chinese threats to labor auditors

A space for media is designated by Chinese authorities near a mosque in the Xinjiang region of China. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department is concerned organizations performing supply-chain audits in China are coming under pressure from Chinese authorities.

Why it matters: U.S. law prohibits importing products made through forced labor, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to verify whether products from China are tainted.

By the numbers: States with most new guns

Data: USA Facts, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The president unveiled his anti-crime plan Wednesday following a surge in violent crime across the country — particularly in big cities.

Why it matters: Part of the administration's plan involves cracking down on gun dealers. The U.S. has witnessed mass shootings on a weekly basis this year, according to Gun Violence Archive data.

By the numbers: Kentucky and Illinois were the top two for most firearm background checks in 2020, both numerically and per capita. Those checks are one of the best metrics for measuring gun buying in the U.S.

  • A record number of people were blocked from buying guns because of the background check system last year, at more than 300,000, the AP reported.
  • The number of background checks conducted each month has risen over the years, and March set a new record at nearly 4.7 million.

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