Jan 26, 2017

Report tags Peter Thiel as Trump’s man on antitrust

Venture capitalist Peter Thiel is in charge of the search for officials to be the nation's new competition regulators, according to BuzzFeed News' Will Alden and Hamza Shaban. They cited an earlier report from Global Competition Report in addition to their own sources. They echo two names that have emerged as consensus contenders to chair the FTC:

  • Joshua Wright, a former commissioner who has been involved with Trump's transition and is close to Google. BuzzFeed News reports that his selection is "unlikely."
  • Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, who previously said the FTC should consider reopening a probe into the search giant.

The key question: Will the new permanent FTC chair and the top antitrust official at the Justice Department agree with President Trump, who has called for aggressive antitrust enforcement in some cases?

And then there's this: Thiel actually doesn't have a big problem with a company dominating the competition. "All happy companies are different: Each one earns a monopoly by solving a unique problem," he wrote in 2014. "All failed companies are the same: They failed to escape competition."

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Kenan Thompson and Hasan Minhaj to headline White House Correspondents' Dinner

Kenan Thompson on "SNL" in 2018. Photo: Rosalind O'Connor/NBC via Getty Images

Kenan Thompson, the longest-tenured "Saturday Night Live" cast member, will host the White House Correspondents' Association dinner on April 25.

And Hasan Minhaj — host of Netflix’s "Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj," and the entertainer at the 2017 dinner — will return as featured entertainer.

"Billions": Season 2020

Mike Bloomberg speaks at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond, Va., on Saturday. Photo: James H. Wallace/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP

Money alone can’t buy a presidential election, but it surely gets you VIP access.

Why it matters: Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is duking it out with Billionaire Donald Trump, often on Billionaire Jack Dorsey’s Twitter and in ads on Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, all chronicled in Billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post. 

Biometrics invade banking and retail

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Banks have been quietly rolling out biometrics to identify customers — verifying them by their fingerprint, voice or eye scan — and retailers like Amazon are getting into the game.

Why it matters: These companies are amassing giant databases of our most personal information — including our gait, how we hold our cellphones, our typing patterns — that raise knotty questions about data security and privacy.