Category Archives: Technology

Looming US Supreme Court Climate Decision Could ‘Doom’ Hope for Livable Future

“The immediate issue is the limits of the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases,” said one scientist. “The broader issue is the ability of federal agencies to regulate anything at all.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 6-27-2022 by Common Dreams

A coal fired power plant on the Ohio River just West of Cincinnati, Photo © 2013 Robert S. Donovan Licensable under the Creative Commons license.

Amid widespread outrage over recent rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue another decision this week that legal experts and activists warn could imperil the Biden administration’s climate goals and thus, the planet itself.

West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—one of the few remaining cases from this term—is “the most consequential climate case in decades,” Sierra Club said Monday. Continue reading

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Calls to ‘Stop the Deal’ as US Military Contractor Moves to Buy NSO Group

“NSO Group should not be rewarded for its facilitation of human rights violations and dangerous business practices with a lucrative offer from a U.S. defense contractor,” said one campaigner.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 6-14-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: NSO Group/Facebook

Digital rights advocates sounded the alarm on Tuesday following reports that U.S. military contractor L3Harris Tech plans to acquire NSO Group, a private Israeli firm widely condemned for selling surveillance technology to repressive governments across the globe.

NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware has been used to crack down on dissidents and journalists, worsening “human rights abuses around the world, from Palestine to El Salvador to Poland,” advocacy group Access Now said in a statement urging U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration to “stop the deal.” Continue reading

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‘Worrying Trend’: Global Nuclear Stockpile Set to Grow for First Time Since Cold War

“The risk of nuclear weapons being used seems higher now than at any time since the height of the Cold War,” said the director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 6-13-2022 by Common Dreams

The world’s stockpile of nuclear warheads is expected to expand in the coming years for the first time since the 1980s and the catastrophic threat of those weapons being used is escalating, a leading arms watchdog said Monday.

“If the nuclear-armed states take no immediate and concrete action on disarmament, then the global inventory of nuclear warheads could soon begin to increase for the first time since the Cold War,” Matt Korda, an associate researcher with the Weapons of Mass Destruction Program at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, said in a statement released alongside SIPRI’s annual report. Continue reading

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Why are so many big tech whistleblowers women? Here is what the research shows

The vast majority of high-profile big tech whistleblowers in recent years have been women.
Elke Meitzel/Image Source via Getty Images

Francine Berman, UMass Amherst and Jennifer Lundquist, UMass Amherst

A number of high-profile whistleblowers in the technology industry have stepped into the spotlight in the past few years. For the most part, they have been revealing corporate practices that thwart the public interest: Frances Haugen exposed personal data exploitation at Meta, Timnit Gebru and Rebecca Rivers challenged Google on ethics and AI issues, and Janneke Parrish raised concerns about a discriminatory work culture at Apple, among others.

Many of these whistleblowers are women – far more, it appears, than the proportion of women working in the tech industry. This raises the question of whether women are more likely to be whistleblowers in the tech field. The short answer is: “It’s complicated.” Continue reading

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Did the assault weapons ban of 1994 bring down mass shootings? Here’s what the data tells us

The Clinton-era ban on assault weapons ushered in a period of fewer mass shooting deaths.
AP Photo/Dennis Cook

Michael J. Klein, New York University

A spate of high-profile mass shootings in the U.S. has sparked calls for Congress to look at imposing a ban on so-called assault weapons – covering the types of guns used in both the recent Buffalo grocery attack and that on an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Such a prohibition has been in place before. As President Joe Biden noted in his June 2, 2022, speech addressing gun violence, almost three decades ago bipartisan support in Congress helped push through a federal assault weapons ban in 1994, as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. Continue reading

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Reported End to Facebook’s ‘Murky’ Deals With News Giants Sparks Call for ‘Truly Fair Marketplace’

“We can’t allow our free press to be captured by tech monopolies,” warned one advocate.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 6-10-2022 by Common Dreams

Image: Simon Steinberger/CC

Press freedom and antitrust advocates on Friday derided both Facebook and corporate media beneficiaries of the tech titan’s multimillion dollar spending spree following reporting that the company is rethinking its investments amid increasing regulatory pressures and a shift away from news partnerships.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook in recent years has annually paid an average of more than $15 million to The Washington Post, as well as $20 million to The New York Times, and over $10 million to the Journal. The Journal deal is part of a larger $20 million agreement. Continue reading

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To Combat Insulin Price Gouging, California Looks Into Generic Drug Production

“Everyone who cares about the future of U.S. domestic policy should pay attention to this effort in California to build a public option for prescription drug manufacturing,” said one expert. “Potentially game-changing.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 6-8-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Brian J. Matis/flickr/CC

With insulin prices in the United States so astronomical that experts have accused the federal government and pharmaceutical industry of violating human rights, California is exploring a plan to produce its own generic version of the lifesaving medicine and make it accessible to millions of people with diabetes.

“Everyone who cares about the future of U.S. domestic policy should pay attention to this effort in California to build a public option for prescription drug manufacturing,” Steph Sterling, vice president of the Roosevelt Institute, a progressive think tank, said Tuesday. Continue reading

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Pushed by Progressives, Biden Invokes Defense Production Act to Boost Renewable Energy

“We hope this use of the Defense Production Act is a turning point for the president, who must use all his executive powers to confront the climate emergency head-on,” said Jean Su with the Center for Biological Diversity.

By Andrea Germanos  Published 6-6-2022 by Common Dreams

Photovoltaic solar panels mounted on roof in Berkeley, CA. Photo: Alfred Twu/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The White House announced on Monday executive actions to help “create a bridge” to a “clean energy future” including invoking the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of U.S.-made solar panels.

The actions, first reported by Reuters, come as the Build Back Better’s climate provisions remain stalled in the Senate and amid the threat of new tariffs the solar industry has blamed for dampening domestic projects. Continue reading

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‘Racing at Top Speed Towards Global Catastrophe’: NOAA Says CO2 Levels Highest in Human History

“We have known about this for half a century, and have failed to do anything meaningful about it,” said one NOAA researcher. “What’s it going to take for us to wake up?”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 6-3-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Gerry Machen/flickr/CC

There is more carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere than at any time in the past four million years, as the world’s continued dependence on fossil fuels keeps humanity hurtling toward a “global catastrophe,” officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned on Friday.

NOAA reports its Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory in Hawaii measured CO2 levels averaging 420.99 parts per million (ppm) in May, an increase of 1.8 ppm over levels at this time last year, while scientists at the San Diego-based Scripps Institute of Oceanography, which also tracks atmospheric CO2, calculated a monthly average of 420.78 ppm. Continue reading

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Global Climate Movement Warns Nations Have Just 6 Months to End Fossil Fuel Finance

“The pandemic has shown that governments can rapidly mobilize massive sums of public money,” says one campaigner. “This is the moment to do it, and accelerate the transition.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 5-19-2022 by Common Dreams

Clean energy advocates march in an anti-fossil fuel protest in San Francisco. (Photo: Greenbelt Alliance/flickr/cc)

More than 120 civil society groups from around the world on Thursday warned that nations have only six months left to meet a collective commitment made at last year’s United Nations Climate Conference to end public financing of fossil fuels.

The organizations detailed steps nations must take as soon as possible to comply with their obligations under the Glasgow Statement on International Public Support for the Clean Energy Transition, a product of last year’s COP26 summit. Continue reading

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