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Sen. John Thune is chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

A group of companies including Apple, Google and AT&T will call for federal privacy legislation at a Wednesday Senate hearing.

Where it stands: Despite that agreement, expect the firms' differences to be in stark relief, as some of them look to differentiate themselves from the major ad platforms, Google included, that have led the way in monetizing user data.

What we’re hearing:

  • Google will defend its ad-supported business model while supporting federal regulations, its witness, Chief Privacy Officer Keith Enright, told us this week.
  • Apple will look to draw a contrast with companies that need to monetize user data to have a successful business.
  • ISP Charter Communications will call for privacy legislation that applies both to companies like itself as well as “edge” providers like the social platforms, according to a person familiar with the company’s plans. An AT&T spokesperson noted in a statement that it “long supported federal legislation to protect consumer privacy through a clear and consistent set of safeguards that apply equally to all platforms.”

Amazon and Twitter will also participate in the Senate Commerce Committee hearing, which comes as the panel tries to put together a legislative package on privacy.

  • That is unlikely to occur before the midterm elections, lawmakers say.
  • Companies are likely to push for federal legislation that preempts state rules, thanks to a privacy law that passed the California legislature this year and goes into effect in 2020.

The bottom line: The California law has brought companies and policymakers to the table. Now, industry wants to shape whatever national law emerges from that process.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: U.S. ahead of pace on vaccines.
  2. Health: Lessons for trapping the next pandemic.
  3. Tech: "Fludemic" model accurately maps COVID hotspotsVirtual doctor's visits and digital health tools take off.
  4. Politics: Harris breaks tie as Senate proceeds with lengthy debate on COVID relief bill — Republican governor of West Virginia says there's no plan to lift mask mandate.
  5. World: Canada vaccine panel recommends 4 months between doses — In AstraZeneca spat, EU fights hard for a vaccine its hardly using.
Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

In AstraZeneca spat, EU fights hard for a vaccine it's hardly using

Macron, Merkel and European Council President Charles Michel (R) at a summit in October. Photo: Yves Herman/Pool/AFP via Getty

Italy on Thursday blocked the export of 250,000 AstraZeneca doses to Australia, becoming the first EU country to exercise an export ban due to a vaccine shortfall in the bloc.

Why it matters: The controversial step exposes multiple major challenges to distributing vaccines — even among the world’s richest countries.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Global freedom continues steady decline: report

The global erosion of democracy has continued for a 15th consecutive year, according to an annual report from Freedom House.

Zoom in: The report calls particular attention to India, which slipped from “free” to “partly free” due to the government's “scapegoating of Muslims” and “crackdown on critics.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi is, according to the report, “driving India itself toward authoritarianism.”