The Pentagon is experimenting with the use of radars attached to high-altitude balloons this summer, sending up to 25 balloons across six Midwestern states to conduct surveillance on vehicles over a 25-mile swath under each balloon. (Photo: Tony Webster/Flickr/cc)
Millions of Americans across the Midwest this summer are being subjected to surveillance from above as the Pentagon experiments with the use of surveillance radars attached to high-altitude balloons.
As The Guardianreported Friday, the defense and aerospace contractor Sierra Nevada Corporation was authorized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to send up to 25 balloons across six states to track vehicles. Continue reading →
“Corporations zeroing out their tax bills or paying single-digit federal tax rates mean a substantial loss in federal revenue. Calls to cut critical programs and services in the wake of these corporate tax cuts are absolutely connected.”
Steve Mnuchin, Mike Pence and Gary Cohn watching the Senate vote on the 2017 tax bill. Photo: White House
A new analysis out Thursday shows that tax policy under the Trump administration is benefitting large corporations to such a degree that twice as many large companies will pay nothing in federal taxes for 2018 compared to previous years.
The report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, which comes less than a week before tax day in the United States on April 15, found that 60 companies—including Amazon, Netflix, Activision Blizzard, General Motors, and IBM—used “a diverse array of legal tax breaks” to bring their federal tax liability to zero. Continue reading →
Anti-Amazon demonstrators attended an Arlington County Board hearing Saturday to demand the board vote against $23 million in financial incentives for Amazon, which is planning to build a headquarters in Crystal City. (Photo: @hqpoo/Twitter)
Anti-Amazon protesters in Arlington County, Virginia were outraged Saturday after the county board dismissed outright their concerns over the corporate giant’s decision to build a headquarters in Crystal City—voting unanimously to approve $23 million in tax incentives for the company.
The 5-0 vote followed hours of testimony by Amazon representatives, supporters, and opponents of the plan, with critics arguing that the trillion-dollar company has no need for financial incentives and that its presence in Crystal City will negatively impact lower-income residents and public services. Continue reading →
“The taxpayer costs of these two deals is high, both in absolute terms and on a per-job basis, contrary to Amazon’s artful spin. Together, we believe they exceed $4.6 billion,” said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First. (Photo: Street Easy
City councilor among those who doesn’t understand why “a company as rich as Amazon would need nearly $2 billion in public money for its expansion plans at a time when New York desperately needs money for affordable housing, transportation, infrastructure, and education.”
Critics say Amazon has contributed to rising housing costs in Seattle as well as heavy traffic and income inequality. (Photo: Kiewic/Flickr/cc)
While business-friendly politicians applauded Amazon’s decision to establish two new headquarters in New York and just outside Washington DC, local officials, residents, and critics of the “race to the bottom” the $800 billion corporation held in its search for new office locations denounced the move on Tuesday, decrying the effects the new headquarters will likely have on the chosen cities.
After a 14-month-long process in which Amazon pitted cities against one another in a competition to see who would offer the company the most enticing tax incentives and other perks, the neighborhoods of Long Island City in Queens, New York and Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia were named as Amazon’s new second and third homes. Continue reading →
“When President Trump crosses the line and threatens to use his authority to punish the media, or actually does so, it is vital for the courts to step in and affirm that such threats and reprisals are unconstitutional.”
The lawsuit filed by PEN America and its partners seeks “to stop President Trump from using the machinery of government to retaliate or threaten reprisals against journalists and media outlets for coverage he dislikes.” (Image: PEN America)
Arguing that President Donald Trump has crossed the line from “verbal attacks on the press” that are protected under the his First Amendment rights into using his authority to punish journalists and media outlets he dislikes with threats of intimidation or reprisal, the literary rights group PEN America has announced a lawsuit against the president in order to bring an end to such attacks.
The lawsuit (pdf) brought in a Manhattan federal court on Tuesday—with PEN joined by the nonpartisan nonprofit Protect Democracy and the Yale Law School Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic—states that while Trump has constitutionally-protected rights and “is free to criticize the press vehemently,” the president “is not free to use the power and authority of the United States government to punish and stifle it.” Continue reading →
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 →
Apparently not satisfied with access to its users’ call history, text messaging data, and online conversations, Facebook has reportedly asked major Wall Street firms like JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo to hand over their customers’ sensitive financial data as part of the social media giant’s ongoing attempt to become “a platform where people buy and sell goods and services.”
And according to the Wall Street Journal—which first reported on Facebook’s plans on Monday—the social media behemoth isn’t the only tech company that wants access to Americans’ financial data. Google and Amazon have also “asked banks to share data if they join with them, in order to provide basic banking services on applications such as Google Assistant and Alexa,” the Journal pointed out, citing anonymous sources familiar with the companies’ ambitions. Continue reading →
Amazon Prime Day chaos as warehouse workers go on strike. Screenshot: YouTube
Amazon’s flagship annual sales event, Prime Day, encountered a tangle of difficulties starting Monday as aggrieved workers, boycotts, and a range of technical glitches brought new attention to the online retailer’s troubled internal regime.
For four years now, Prime Day has grown as the company’s top promotional event, bringing billions in revenue on a level comparable only to the holiday season’s Black Friday. For the past several weeks, the company has promoted the event widely across its site and various online media. The promotion is a 36-hour event. Continue reading →
This story was co-published with The New York Times.
Mark Edelstein, a social media marketing strategist who is also legally blind, says he never had serious trouble finding a job until he turned 50. (Whitney Curtis for The New York Times)
A few weeks ago, Verizon placed an ad on Facebook to recruit applicants for a unit focused on financial planning and analysis. The ad showed a smiling, millennial-aged woman seated at a computer and promised that new hires could look forward to a rewarding career in which they would be “more than just a number.”
Some relevant numbers were not immediately evident. The promotion was set to run on the Facebook feeds of users 25 to 36 years old who lived in the nation’s capital, or had recently visited there, and had demonstrated an interest in finance. For a vast majority of the hundreds of millions of people who check Facebook every day, the ad did not exist.
Verizon is among dozens of the nation’s leading employers — including Amazon, Goldman Sachs, Target and Facebook itself — that placed recruitment ads limited to particular age groups, an investigation by ProPublica and The New York Times has found.
The ability of advertisers to deliver their message to the precise audience most likely to respond is the cornerstone of Facebook’s business model. But using the system to expose job opportunities only to certain age groups has raised concerns about fairness to older workers.
Several experts questioned whether the practice is in keeping with the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which prohibits bias against people 40 or older in hiring or employment. Many jurisdictions make it a crime to “aid” or “abet” age discrimination, a provision that could apply to companies like Facebook that distribute job ads.
“It’s blatantly unlawful,” said Debra Katz, a Washington employment lawyer who represents victims of discrimination.