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VICE News rundown: 5 reasons Big Tech should be worried

How anti-BDS laws are killing a local paper, you gotta be swol to join the Army now, Paul Manafort would be getting more time if he’d dealt crack.

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When Mark Zuckerberg announced his “privacy-focused vision” for Facebook last week, he cast it as serving the evolving needs of users. But there’s also some self-preservation at play: The weight of the federal government is coming down on Big Tech in a way not seen since the Microsoft antitrust battles nearly two decades ago. Privacy legislation is coming in the Senate. A working group of four senators — Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) — is hashing out a privacy bill that could sharply limit how platforms like Google and Facebook gather data. “We have to develop that — we don’t have a statutory right to privacy,” Schatz said. Congress is still angry about last summer. A litany of data breaches, the Cambridge Analytica scandal, perceived broken promises, and Zuckerberg’s own testimony before Congress are still fresh in the minds of members. “There is more and more bipartisan feeling that something has to be done,” said Blumenthal. States are moving their own privacy bills. California’s privacy law takes effect next year, and Washington and New York are expected to follow suit. Newly minted California Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a law that would require platforms to pay users a dividend for their data. A patchwork of 50 state laws would be far worse for Big Tech than one consistent federal law. Democrats want heavy regulation. Democrats in the Senate want a bigger enforcement role for a beefed-up FTC. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) is working on legislation that would require Big Tech to report the value of their data to users. Then there’s 2020 candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who laid out her case Friday for a breakup of big companies for anticompetitive behavior. Is Congress smart enough to regulate Big Tech? Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is skeptical, so he’s championing a proposal that would require the FTC to come up with guidelines for Congress and give lawmakers a window of time to enact them. “The question really becomes whether Congress has the expertise to sort of, not just to write the rules, but to adjust them in a rapidly developing industry,” he told VICE News. Read the full story from VICE News’ Matt Laslo here.


The fitness test for the Army just got way more intense

For the first time in nearly 40 years, the United States Army is changing how it measures the physical fitness of its soldiers. Since 1980, the test has been simple: two minutes of sit-ups, two minutes of push-ups and a two-mile run. But after decades of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army felt the need to find a test that more accurately measured the combat-readiness of its troops. Now it’s a 50-minute test, administered in six stages. VICE News’ Alzo Slade headed down to Fort Eustis in Virginia, to see if he measures up. Watch our segment, which originally aired on VICE News Tonight on HBO.

This Arkansas newspaper is fighting the state’s anti-BDS law

Some 26 states around the country have passed “anti-BDS” laws that require businesses in the state to affirm they aren’t participating in a boycott of Israel. The laws, largely championed by Republicans, punish companies participating in the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, which seeks to pressure Israel to change policies on Palestinians. Newspaperman Alan Leveritt doesn’t personally support BDS, but he doesn’t think his paper, the Arkansas Times, should have to sign a pledge not to engage with it if he wants to do business with the state, as the law currently requires. He’s suing the state over the law, with the help of the ACLU, in a bid to keep his paper both independent and financially viable. Watch our segment, which originally aired on VICE News Tonight on HBO.


ICYMI from VICE News

SCOOP: The CEO of Southwest Key, the largest network of shelters for migrant children in the U.S., has resigned.

Leaked chats show a white nationalist group's attempts to infiltrate Turning Point USA.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg doesn't think he's too young to be president.

Paul Manafort got a lighter sentence than he would have for dealing crack. Trump’s 2020 budget sets up another big fight over the border wall. Jussie Smollett has been indicted on 16 counts for allegedly staging a hate crime. An aide to Kirsten Gillibrand reportedly resigned over the way the senator’s office dealt with a staffer accused of sexual harassment. How ICE outmaneuvered a town that tried to close a detention facility. South Korea thinks North Korea might start launching test missiles again. Boeing 737 jets are being grounded around the world after two recent crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia. Tucker Carlson said some really sexist stuff on Bubba the Love Sponge’s radio show. He’s not apologizing. You’d be way happier if daylight saving time were year-round.

What we're reading

The government will be scanning your face at the 20 busiest U.S. airports. (BuzzFeed News) Video footage shows that Nicolas Maduro’s guards did not burn a U.S. aid convoy, as Trump officials have said they did. (New York Times) Democrats are pushing to make Washington, D.C., the 51st state. (New Yorker) The U.S. is ramping up airstrikes in Somalia. (New York Times) For some reason, Trump lied about saying “Tim Apple.” (Axios)

Cover image: A lit sign is seen at the entrance to Facebook's corporate headquarters location in Menlo Park, California, on March 21, 2018. (Photo: JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)