Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

CES , the consumer electronics trade show in Las Vegas this week, will see a battle play out to connect everything from refrigerators and cameras to toilets and showers.

The big picture: Today's consumers have a choice whether to allow voice assistants like those from Google and Amazon into their home — a choice that may vanish as more devices gain internet connection and as built-in voice assistants become routine add-ons. This means the time is now to set technical, legal and social standards.

What's happening: HS Kim, CEO of Samsung's consumer electronics business, has been working on the "smart home" notion since he was an engineer at the Korean tech giant 20 years ago.

  • "At the time, smart home wasn’t gaining a lot of traction because products and ecosystems weren't working together," he tells Axios. "But today, devices are talking to each other, and multiple ecosystems are connected. You’re even seeing meaningful collaboration between companies."
  • Already, Samsung has announced plans for its TVs to work with assistants from Amazon and Google and content from Apple. And more rivals are expected to embrace one another.
  • What was once the rare "smart" fridge or speaker will soon be the norm. Samsung has pledged to make all of its devices intelligent and connected by 2020.

Yes, but: Just connecting devices to the internet doesn't make them smart. To be sensible and practical, such devices also have to be secure and easy to use, which means more than just adding some wireless technology.

The bottom line: Standards need to be set — not just the technical and legal ones that let these devices interact but the social ones that dictate what is and isn’t appropriate, so that consumers have an altered, but intact, sense of privacy. 

  • But regulators are still struggling to manage privacy on the internet even as microphones and cameras are added to more devices.
  • "Just as the internet was not built with security as a guiding principle, and cybersecurity is now trying to address an imperfect architecture, we are on track to face a similar dilemma on smart homes," says Laura Rosenberger, director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy and a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”