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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

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From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 16 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.

Updated 16 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Europe, U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Health officials in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany announced on Saturday that they've detected the first known cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The discoveries come as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.