Category Archives: Technology

Corporate Tech Giants Invited, But Consumer Advocacy Groups Shut Out of Senate Hearing on Data Privacy

“The absence of consumer representatives all but ensures a narrow discussion, focused on policy alternatives favored by business groups.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-19-2018

More than two dozen consumer groups are urging the Senate Commerce Committee to reconsider its witness list—which only includes industry representatives—for an upcoming hearing on data privacy policy. (Photo: Blogtrepreneur/flickr/cc)

While representatives for Apple, AT&T, Amazon, Charter Communications, Google, and Twitter are all slated to testify at a Sept. 26 Senate hearing about safeguarding consumer data privacy, the nation’s leading consumer advocacy groups weren’t invited—and they’re not happy about it.

In a letter (pdf) to the leaders of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation on Wednesday, 28 groups expressed their “surprise and concern that not a single consumer representative was invited to testify” and called on committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) to reconsider the witness list. Continue reading

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After Cutting All UNWRA Humanitarian Aid, US to Award Israel with $3.3B/Year in Military Aid

The bill, combined with even more aid given to Israeli missile defense, would give $38 billion to Israel over the next ten years, roughly equivalent to $23,000 for every Jewish family living in Israel over the next decade.

By Whitney Webb. Published 9-14-2018 by MintPress News

President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at the United Nations General Assembly. Photo: White House

A massive spending bill, which would deliver $3.3 billion dollars in military aid to Israel over the next year, passed the House on Wednesday under cover of a media blackout. The U.S. Senate had passed a different version of the same bill in early August, a vote that also went largely unreported.

Now, after the House’s passage of a slightly altered version of the Senate’s spending bill, officially titled the “Ileana Ros-Lehtinen United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018,” all that remains is for the two chambers of Congress to reconcile their versions before the product is sent to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law. According to Skopos Labs, the bill now hasa 90 percent chance of being enacted. If enacted, the bill will be the largest aid package in American history. Continue reading

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Nuclear Plants, Toxic Waste Sites Under Threat as Florence Readies ‘Mike Tyson Punch to Carolina Coast’

As new pathway of storm predicted, National Hurricane Center calls looming storm “very large and incredibly dangerous”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-12-2018

Satellite image of Hurricane Florence swirling in the Atlantic Ocean as it approaches the U.S. coastline in the early hours of Wednesday morning. (Photo: CIRA/RAAMB)

With reports of skyscraper-likes waves out at sea, the potential for historic coastal surges and rainfall, and severe threats to vulnerable nuclear plants and other industrial waste sites—a behemoth Hurricane Florence is fast-approaching the southeastern U.S. coast on Wednesday as weather experts and emergency management officials intensify their warnings about the dangers the “once-in-a-lifetime” storm poses.

With state governments in South Carolina and North Carolina issuing evacuations along the coast and other potential flood zones, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has said that it is mobilizing for a storm that could knock out power for weeks and lead to the displacement of tens if not hundreds of thousands of residents across multiple states. Continue reading

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Facebook Will Fail to Solve #FakeNews

Zuckerberg needs to step back for his company to succeed

By Juan Ortiz Freuler. Published 8-28-2018 by Common Dreams

“It has amassed such power that experts and public opinion refer to it as the digital public square: the place where people protest, sign up for public events, get information about politics, and more.” (Photo: Legal Loop)

Every policy-tweak Facebook attempts to roll out is faced with public criticism. This signals a structural problem: Facebook developed quicker than its own systems of governance and now struggles to carry its own weight. In other words, Facebook seems to lack the legitimacy to exercise the huge power it has amassed over the years.

If the user base were smaller, Facebook would have a group of like-minded individuals that could be more easily catered to. But Facebook has become very big and diverse. With over 2 billion active monthly users, it’s bigger and more diverse than any community we’ve ever seen. Continue reading

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Worldwide #RiseForClimate Events Kick Off to Demand Action on Crisis of Warming Planet

“Climate change is the defining issue of our time,” say 350.org’s executive director. “It is a crisis of democracy, justice, and human rights.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-7-2018

Activists gathered in Melbourne, Australia on Friday as part of the weekend’s global #RiseForClimate movement. (Photo: @350Australia/Twitter)

Building up to a mass mobilization planned for hundreds of cities across the globe on Saturday, campaigners have already kicked off #RiseForClimate demonstrations that aim to raise awareness about the climate crisis, encourage urgent action from policymakers to keep fossil fuels in the ground, and call for a full transition to renewable energy.

More than 800 actions are planned throughout the world and in the United States, from smaller towns and cities like Portland, Maine, to the Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice event in San Francisco—expected to draw thousands for the West Coast’s largest ever climate march. Those interested in participating can locate events using the movement’s map and searchable database. Continue reading

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House Democrats Praised for New War Powers Resolution to End US Support for ‘Catastrophic War in Yemen’

“The U.S. must stop aiding those that deliberately conduct illegal attacks on weddings, hospitals, and children in school buses.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-6-2018

April’s Vigil for Yemen. Photo: Felton Davis/flickr

As the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition admitted for the second time this week that its bombing campaign in Yemen last month killed dozens of children and adult civilians, peace advocates praised a group of Democratic lawmakers on Thursday for announcing a new effort to revoke American support for the “catastrophic” conflict that has produced the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Led by Rep. Ro Khanna (Calif.), Reps. Adam Smith (Wash.), Mark Pocan (Wis.), Jim McGovern (Mass.), Jan Schakowsky (Ill.), Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii), Michael Capuano (Mass.), Yvette Clarke (N.Y.), Ted Lieu (Calif.), Barbara Lee (Calif.), and Adriano Espaillat (N.Y.) revealed that they plan to invoke the War Powers Resolution of 1973 to withdraw U.S. Armed Forces from all involvement in the war. Continue reading

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‘Massive Victory for the Whole Internet’ as California Passes Nation’s Strongest Net Neutrality Bill

“AT&T and Comcast spent enormous amounts of money lobbying to kill SB 822. They almost succeeded more than once, but we fought back.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-31-2018

“We did it. We passed the strongest net neutrality standards in the nation,” Democratic state Senator Scott Wiener, the primary author of SB 822, said in a statement. (Photo: Fight for the Future)

In a major victory for the open internet that could have ripple effects throughout the United States, the California Senate on Friday thwarted aggressive lobbying by the telecom industry and passed the strongest, most comprehensive net neutrality bill in the nation.

“The passage of SB 822 in California has huge implications for our fight to restore neutrality nationwide,” declared the advocacy group Fight for the Future (FFTF) following Friday’s vote. “We also need to harness the momentum from this huge victory to put pressure on our elected officials in Congress.” Continue reading

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Legal Analysis Exposes Kavanaugh’s Long History of Siding With Corporate Power Over the Common Good

“The most eye-catching conclusion,” says the author, is the Trump nominee’s inconsistent reasoning coupled with an “overwhelming tendency to reach conclusions favorable to corporations.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-29-2018

Critics of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh protested at Foley Square in New York City on Aug. 26. (Photo: Ivan Pereira/Twitter)

Bolstering calls for the Senate to block President Donald Trump’s deeply unpopular U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, an analysis out Wednesday reveals that Kavanaugh has overwhelmingly sided with corporate power over public interest while serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit over the past 12 years.

The new report (pdf), authored by Public Citizen president Robert Weissman, found that Kavanaugh ruled against public interest 87 percent of the time for more than 100 split-decision cases involving consumer and regulatory issues and administrative law, environmental protection, worker rights, alleged police or human rights abuses, and antitrust enforcement. Continue reading

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California Fire Dept Says Verizon Throttling During Deadly Wildfire ‘Has Everything to Do With Net Neutrality’

“It shows that the ISPs will act in their economic interests, even at the expense of public safety. That is exactly what the Trump administration’s repeal of net neutrality allows and encourages.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-22-2018

Satellite image of the Mendocino Complex Fire. Photo: NASA

As California lawmakers prepared on Wednesday for a key committee vote on their state’s net neutrality bill—which, in its current form, would restore the protections repealed by the FCC in December—the Santa Clara County Fire Department accused the telecom giant Verizon of dramatically cutting its data speed as it recently fought the largest recorded wildfire in California’s history.

After Verizon admitted that it slowed the fire department’s data—a despised practice known as throttling—but claimed it was a simple mistake that “has nothing to do with net neutrality,” Santa Clara County Counsel James Williams responded in a statement on behalf of the fire department on Wednesday that “Verizon’s throttling has everything to do with net neutrality.” Continue reading

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Senate Dems Threaten Suit to Get Kavanaugh Records as Poll Shows Trump Nominee Least Popular in Decades

“Not only is Brett Kavanaugh extreme, he’s wildly unpopular. The momentum is on our side, and we’re not done yet.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-16-2018

While Senate Democrats continue to fight for records pertaining to President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaughthreatening on Thursday to sue the National Archives for documents detailing his time working for the second Bush administration—a new poll from CNN revealed Kavanaugh is the least popular nominee in more than three decades.

The survey (pdf), conducted by SSRS and published Thursday, found that only 37 percent of Americans want the Senate to confirm Kavanaugh, which CNN noted “is the lowest in polling dating back to Robert Bork’s nomination by President Ronald Reagan in 1987.” Forty percent of those polled said they oppose Trump’s nominee, while 22 percent said they have no opinion. Continue reading

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