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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Already facing antitrust and privacy enforcement actions from governments around the globe, major tech companies are now grappling with a slew of new potential threats from individual states.

Why it matters: Local governments are more nimble and have higher levels of public trust than Congress, so they have more latitude to get laws passed quickly.

  • That's a problem for tech companies that are trying to shore up public trust while also fighting back an array of regulatory assaults.
  • "From a reputation perspective, you'd hate to have local officials who are generally more trusted gunning for you," says Washington lobbyist Bruce Mehlman.

The big picture: State attorneys general have been particularly active under the Trump administration, acting unilaterally to go their own way in some cases, and uniting to fight Washington in others.

  • Aggressive state AGs with an interest in tech often move into higher profile political roles — such as former Missouri AG Josh Hawley, who's now a Republican senator and a vocal critic of Big Tech.
  • There's also former California AG Kamala Harris, a presidential candidate who, as a senator, was tough on data privacy and election security.

At the state level, populist movements on the right and the left may converge on some tech-related issues, such as perceived partisan bias and and business market dominance.

  • Cities and states are also showing an appetite for intervening in the gig economy, which is expected to have ripple effects far beyond firms like Uber, Lyft and Doordash.

The bottom line: "There's so much change that people don't feel protected from, and the concurrent loss of trust in the establishment," Mehlman says. "So you have a rise of permission-less players who no longer think Washington should be the locus of global leadership."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

5 mins ago - World

U.S. announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

An Olympic-themed sculpture in Beijing on Dec. 1. Photo: Hou Yu/China News Service via Getty Images

The United States announced Monday that it will not send officials to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in protest of human rights abuses committed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Why it matters: The diplomatic boycott — which won't prevent American athletes from competing — marks a major escalation between the U.S. and China amid already heightened tensions over the CCP's treatment of Muslim minorities, military threats to Taiwan and economic tariffs.

Stuck jet stream brings blowtorch December in Lower 48, frigid Alaska

Short-term climate outlook for Dec. 13-19, 2021, from the Climate Prediction Center at NOAA. (NOAA/CPC)

The Lower 48 states have seen record-shattering warmth so far this December, with temperatures running as high as 35°F above average for this time of year. The warmth has been so pronounced that during the weekend, brush fires broke out in a snowless, unusually mild Denver metro area.

The big picture: The jet stream, which is a river of air that rides at about 30,000 feet along the temperature contrast between air masses, steering storms as it goes, has been stuck in a position well north of the continental U.S., keeping storms and cold weather at bay.

Ubisoft admits its handling of misconduct lost some workers' trust

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photos: Ubisoft, IGDB

Ubisoft management is acknowledging that its initial response to an ongoing and wide-reaching workplace misconduct scandal was flawed, even as it argues that its corrective actions were largely swift and correct.

Why it matters: Those comments, in an exclusive interview with Axios, come amid recent pushback from workers that the publisher of Assassin’s Creed and Just Dance hasn’t sufficiently addressed a cascade of #MeToo allegations since mid-2020.