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

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Ghislaine Maxwell pleads not guilty in Jeffrey Epstein case

Maxwell. Photo: Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Ghislaine Maxwell pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges brought earlier this month alleging that she conspired with billionaire Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse underage girls. A federal judge scheduled Maxwell's trial to begin July 12, 2021.

The big picture: Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss urged the judge to deny Maxwell bail, calling her an "extreme flight risk" whose wealth and lack of ties to the U.S. give her few reasons not to attempt to flee the country.

Updated 49 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden seeks $2 trillion clean energy and infrastructure spending boost

Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden expanded his energy and climate plans Tuesday with a call for spending $2 trillion over four years on climate-friendly infrastructure — a proposal the campaign is casting as part of a wider economic recovery package.

Why it matters: The plan, which is the focus of a speech Biden will deliver this afternoon, represents a long-anticipated plan to move his climate platform further left and make it more expansive.

2 hours ago - Health

4 former CDC heads say Trump's undermining of agency puts lives at risk

CDC director Robert Redfield and President Trump. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Four former directors of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention blasted the Trump administration's "repeated efforts to subvert" agency guidelines related to reopening schools, accusing the White House in a scathing Washington Post op-ed of undermining science with "partisan potshots."

Why it matters: Former directors Tom Frieden, Jeffrey Koplan and David Satcher and acting head Richard Besser served in parts of the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations. They said they "cannot recall over our collective tenure a single time when political pressure led to a change in the interpretation of scientific evidence."