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A Kazakhstani resident waves a flag at a 2016 auto rally. Photo: Patrick Baz via AFP/Getty Images

Google, Mozilla and Apple are taking a coordinated action to prevent the Kazakhstani government from using bulk surveillance on citizen web browsing.

The big picture: Web browsers use a system known as certificates to verify and encrypt communications with websites. Kazakhstan is reportedly forcing residents to circumvent that system by using a national certificate rather than the trusted certificates browsers normally use.

Why it matters: The national certificate would give the Kazakhstani government the ability to snoop or even change internet communications.

Google, Mozilla and Apple, makers of the Chrome, Mozilla and Safari web browsers, have agreed not to accept that national certificate, making it difficult for the national certificate scheme to work. Google and Apple's operating systems dominate the cell phone market, making their browsers the default web browsers of the mobile internet.

Between the lines: The three tech firms can pull this move off based on Kazakhstan's small market power and the relative lack of other options for web browsing and mobile operating systems.

  • But that could change as nations like China develop native options to expand their influence.
  • A confluence of geopolitical turmoil accelerated both China's attempts to create native alternatives to Western technology and international alliances against Western notions of a free and open internet. Western web browsing may not be a permanent check on governments like Kazakhstan.

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Rahm Emanuel floated for Transportation secretary

Rahm Emanuel. Photo: Joshua Lott for The Washington Post via Getty Images

President-elect Biden is strongly considering Rahm Emanuel to run the Department of Transportation, weighing the former Chicago mayor’s experience on infrastructure spending against concerns from progressives over his policing record.

Why it matters: The DOT could effectively become the new Commerce Department, as infrastructure spending, smart cities construction and the rollout of drone-delivery programs take on increasing economic weight.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden turns to experienced hands for White House economic team

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Joe Biden plans to announce Cecilia Rouse and Brian Deese as part of his economic team and Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: These are experienced hands. Unveiling a diverse group of advisers also may draw attention away from a selection of Deese to run the National Economic Council. Some progressives have criticized his work at BlackRock, the world's largest asset management firm.

Biden taps former Obama communications director for press secretary

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Jen Psaki, who previously served as Obama's communications director, will serve as President-elect Joe Biden's press secretary, the transition team announced Sunday.

The big picture: All of the top aides in Biden's communication staff will be women, per the Washington Post, which first reported Psaki's appointment.