Why it matters: From the Valley to D.C., Big Tech players like Facebook, Google and Amazon are under more scrutiny than ever as new technology develops and privacy and antitrust concerns grow in lockstep with companies’ ambitions.

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Activision worker strike ends pending union recognition

Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare video game. Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Employees at Call of Duty developer Raven Software have ended their strike after nearly seven weeks.

The details: Workers announced the news over the weekend on Twitter, noting that the strike has ended "pending the recognition of our union."

Fan-made games can't escape Nintendo

Image courtesy of Dragon_GameDev of the game in question.

A fan-made first-person shooter version of Pokémon has met a predictable fate, with The Pokémon Company International getting videos and images of it removed due to copyright claims.

Why it matters: The Pokémon Company is tied to Nintendo to create its namesake series, a company with a quick trigger finger on sending any fan-made games or projects cease-and-desist notices.

States, D.C. allege Google deceives users to obtain location data

Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Attorneys general in Washington, D.C., Texas, Indiana and Washington state are suing Google for allegedly deceiving consumers to obtain their location data.

Driving the news: The lawsuit alleges that Google uses "dark patterns, including repeated nudging, misleading pressure tactics, and evasive and deceptive descriptions of location features and settings, to cause users to provide more and more location data (inadvertently or out of frustration)."

Ina Fried, author of Login
9 hours ago - Technology

IRS face recognition program raises hackles

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The IRS' move to require some taxpayers to use facial recognition to identify themselves is reigniting a debate over how the government should use such technology.

Why it matters: Critics warn that, without sufficient guardrails, information collected by one agency for a seemingly benign purpose could easily be re-used in other ways.

12 hours ago - Technology

Wall Street braces for new streaming reality

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Analysts are forecasting a difficult year ahead for subscription streaming companies in response to a massive selloff of Netflix shares last week that was prompted by weak subscriber growth forecasts.

Why it matters: Wall Street has grown accustomed to equating paid subscriber growth at major media firms to market value, but Netflix's decline "calls into question the end-state economics of these businesses," wrote Michael Nathanson, a top media analyst, in a note to clients.

Updated Jan 23, 2022 - Technology

3D printing's next act: big metal objects

Chief Scientist Andy Bayramian makes modifications to the laser system on Seurat's 3D metal printer. Photo courtesy of Seurat Technologies.

A new metal 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way large industrial products like planes and cars are made, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of mass manufacturing.

Why it matters: 3D printing — also called additive manufacturing — has been used since the 1980s to make small plastic parts and prototypes. Metal printing is newer, and the challenge has been figuring out how to make things like large car parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.

Updated Jan 23, 2022 - Technology

Mayors see cryptocurrency as a way to address income inequality

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

At the U.S. Conference of Mayors' meeting in D.C. this week, there's buzz around the idea of giving cryptocurrency accounts to low-income people.

Why it matters: Cities have been experimenting with newfangled ways to address income inequality — like guaranteed income programs — and the latest wave of trials could involve paying benefits or dividends in bitcoin, stablecoin or other digital currencies.

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