Wednesday's technology stories

Lawmakers ready antitrust bills to take on Big Tech

In this screenshot taken from a congress.gov webcast, House Impeachment manager Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) speaks on the fifth day of former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol on February 13 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Handout/Getty Images

Drafts of bills about tech competition and antitrust, likely to be introduced by leaders of the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee soon, are circulating among Washington policy circles.

Why it matters: When the bills are formally introduced, it will be the next step in the subcommittee's antitrust investigation, which last year resulted in a sweeping report (along with a separate report from ranking antitrust member Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado) recommending changes to antitrust law to better keep up with the digital age.

EA tries again with a new "Battlefield" game

Image: EA

Electronic Arts unveiled its next "Battlefield" game Wednesday, as it aims to compete more effectively with Activision’s seemingly unstoppable "Call of Duty."

Why it matters: Multiplayer shooter games, fueled by "Call of Duty," "Fortnite" and more, constitute one of the most lucrative markets in gaming.

Ubisoft transitioning to "hybrid" approach for remote and office work

Photo illustration: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Ubisoft will take a "hybrid" approach as it prepares for developers to return to the office, according to a teamwide message shared by chief people officer Anika Grant.

The big picture: A year of working from home has changed the way we think about offices.

Jun 9, 2021 - Technology

Facebook ad chief Carolyn Everson departs

Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fortune

Carolyn Everson, Facebook's longtime head of global ad sales, has left the company, Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: Everson led Facebook through years of record ad growth, but also through intense scrutiny around Facebook's role in promoting nefarious content.

Jun 9, 2021 - Technology

Biden revokes, replaces Trump executive orders on Chinese-owned apps

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden signed an executive order Wednesday on ensuring the security of American user data in regard to foreign-owned apps such as TikTok, revoking and replacing three Trump-era executive orders to impose a more structured "criteria-based decision framework" for potential bans.

Driving the news: It's the latest in a series of China-related steps Biden is taking ahead of his first overseas trip to Europe, where curtailing Beijing's abuses will be a top agenda item in meetings with G7 and NATO leaders.

Jun 9, 2021 - Technology

Fastly says global internet outage was due to a software bug

A screen displays a holding page of the Gov.UK Government website portal on June 8 after Fastly's internet outage. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Fastly, the popular content delivery network (CDN) hit by a global internet outage Tuesday, chalked the episode up in a blog post Tuesday to a software bug triggered by a customer changing their settings.

The state of play: Fastly's outage caused a slew of popular websites — including The New York Times, CNN, Reddit, Spotify, Twitch, GitHub, gov.uk, Hulu, HBO Max, PayPal, Vimeo, Shopify — to crash.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Jun 9, 2021 - Technology

Scientific journal articles vulnerable to bots

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Scientific journals are easy targets of automated software that post links to social media, often with misinformation, according to a study published by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Why it matters: Automated disinformation campaigns that harness legitimate scientific research could further erode the public's understanding and trust in science, particularly around COVID-19.

Jun 9, 2021 - Technology

The EU privacy law's track record

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Today, most users know the EU's General Data Protection Regulation chiefly through the pain of having to click a box about cookie policies on every new website they visit.

Yes, but: Privacy experts tell Axios the EU's rules governing how corporations manage people's online data have had deeper impacts in three areas: company behavior, people's expectations and knowledge of how their data will be treated, and adoption by other nations and regions.

Jun 9, 2021 - Technology

Privacy tech industry explodes

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Businesses forced to comply with a patchwork of state and global privacy rules have turned what was once a cottage industry focused on data and privacy into a multi-billion-dollar sector.

Why it matters: As COVID-19 pushed consumers online in droves, companies — from Fortune 500 firms to the corner coffee shop — had to grapple with how to legally handle personal data. The privacy-tech companies who know how to do it have been raking in the cash.

How the U.S. got boxed in on privacy

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The federal government's failure to craft a national privacy law has left it to be squeezed on the issue by the EU on one side and California on the other.

Why it matters: Companies are stuck trying to navigate the maze of EU and state laws, while legislators in Washington have no choice but to use those laws as de facto standards.

El Salvador passes law to become 1st country to adopt bitcoin as legal tender

President Nayib Bukele during a May 25 event in San Salvador, El Salvador. Photo: AphotografiaP/Getty Images

El Salvador's legislature voted early Wednesday to make bitcoin legal tender.

Why it matters: El Salvador will become the first country to formally adopt the digital currency once President Nayib Bukele signs the legislation into law.