Jan 4, 2017

Requests to rollback privacy rules signal trouble for net neutrality

Internet providers like Comcast and AT&T have spent almost two years pushing back against strict net neutrality rules from the Federal Communications Commission.

They just caught a break.

Their lobbyists in Washington have asked the FCC to reconsider privacy rules for broadband providers that were triggered by the net neutrality order, just weeks before Republican commissioners sympathetic to their cause are slated to take over the agency.

Why it matters: This signals the start of a fight over net neutrality that will involve major players in tech and media. The elimination of these privacy regulations would also make it easier for internet providers to compete with Facebook and Google in the battle for digital ad dollars.

Our thought bubble: This won't take down the whole net neutrality house of cards. The FCC's action here would only apply to the specific privacy rules, not the broader and more-established net neutrality regulations. It will take a separate, longer effort to dismantle net neutrality protections.

What's next: The battleground expands. The FCC's incoming Republican majority is expected to move quickly to quash, or at least drastically weaken, the broader rules, and Congress may get involved as well. Consumer groups who've been vocal supporters of the need for privacy and net neutrality rules vowed to fight the carrier's campaign to dismantle them.

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Biden formally secures Democratic presidential nomination

Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University's student cente on June 5. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the formal Democratic presidential nominee on Friday evening, per AP.

The big picture: Biden has been the presumptive frontrunner to take on President Trump since Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in early April.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.