Jul 31, 2017

The open Internet had a tough weekend

Dmitri Lovetsky / AP

Separate moves by China and Russia to crack down on VPNs came this weekend that are designed to further prevent citizens in both countries from accessing the full internet.

The trend here is towards major governments tightening their grip on the web. It's part of a wider balkanization of how access to content is regulated around the world. On the other end of the spectrum, for example, are the "right to be forgotten" rules that have empowered European users who want certain content about them removed from search results.

Our thought bubble: Where do companies draw the line? Watch how American tech giants respond to these new regulations, starting with the Russian law that goes into effect in November. They can accommodate governments, as Apple did in China, and keep those markets open — or they can skip town and take the hit.

The changes in Russia and China:

  • Russia: "President Vladimir Putin signed a law Sunday prohibiting technology that provides access to websites banned in Russia," Reuters reports. "The law, already approved by the Duma, the lower house of parliament, will ban the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) and other technologies, known as anonymizers, that allow people to surf the web anonymously."
  • China: Per the WSJ, "Apple has removed software from its app store in China that allowed users to circumvent the country's vast system of internet filters [to comply with new rules requiring VPN providers to get a license]. … Those orders came days after a luxury hotel in Beijing, the Waldorf Astoria, said in a letter to guests that it had stopped offering VPNs 'due to legal issues in China.'"

Go deeper

Fed temporarily lifts Wells Fargo's growth restrictions

Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve said Wednesday it will temporarily lift Wells Fargo’s growth restrictions, which were put in place following the bank’s customer abuse scandals.

Why it matters: The Fed’s only reason for lifting the cap is so Wells Fargo can dole out more loans to struggling small businesses as part of the government’s coronavirus aid package. Earlier this week, the bank said it could only lend a total of $10 billion, thanks to Fed restrictions that it can’t grow its assets beyond $1.95 trillion.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 1,450,343 — Total deaths: 83,568 — Total recoveries: 308,617Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 399,979 — Total deaths: 12,912 — Total recoveries: 22,539Map.
  3. Business updates: Roughly one-third of U.S. apartment renters didn't make April payments.
  4. Federal government latest: The U.S. has begun to see "glimmers of hope" despite its highest recorded number of deaths in 24 hours, Anthony Fauci said.
  5. Public health latest: Surgeon General Jerome Adams highlighted the disproportionate impact the illness is having on African-American communities.
  6. World latest: Indians look to Taiwan amid China's coronavirus missteps
  7. 🚌 Public transit: Systems across the country are experiencing ridership collapse, squeezed funding streams and slow recovery from the pandemic.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Bernie Sanders suspends presidential campaign

Photo: ANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Wednesday that he is suspending his presidential campaign.

The big picture: It's an end to the campaign of the leading progressive in the race — and the candidate who seemed to be the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination just a few months ago. It also makes Biden the presumptive Democratic nominee four months before the party's convention in Milwaukee.