Tag Archives: technology

ACLU Sues CIA, DOJ, and NSA for Records About Warrantless Spying on Americans

The legal group argues that information about the surveillance program “is key as Congress considers reauthorizing Section 702—the law used to defend this unconstitutional spying.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 2-3-2023 by Common Dreams

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee Screenshot: C-SPAN

The ACLU on Friday filed a federal lawsuit against top U.S. intelligence agencies that have failed to respond to public records requests for information about a “sweeping law that authorizes the warrantless surveillance of international communications,” including those of Americans.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, targets the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Department of Justice (DOJ), National Security Agency (NSA), and Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Continue reading

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EPA Allowing Vast Oil Refinery Waste to Pollute US Waterways

“It’s high time for EPA to crack down on the toxic pollution from oil refineries that’s threatening both wildlife and human health,” said one environmental justice advocate.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 1-26-2023 by Common Dreams

Exxon Mobil Refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Photo: WClarke/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is failing to uphold its legal obligation to regulate the nearly half-billion gallons of toxic wastewater that petroleum refineries dump into the nation’s waterways on a daily basis, according to an exhaustive study published Thursday.

The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), a watchdog founded by former EPA enforcement attorneys, analyzed publicly available records and found that in 2021 alone, the 81 refineries across the U.S. that discharge into rivers, streams, and estuaries released 1.6 billion pounds of chlorides, sulfates, and other dissolved solids harmful to aquatic life; 15.7 million pounds of algae-feeding nitrogen; 60,000 pounds of selenium, which can cause mutations in fish; and other pollutants, including cyanide; heavy metals such as arsenic, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, and zinc; and petrochemicals like benzene. Continue reading

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‘Deeply Sinister’: Emails Reveal Big Pharma Pushed Twitter to Silence Vaccine Equity Voices

“At a time when online mobilizations were one of the few forms of protest available to the public, Twitter was seemingly asked to shield the powerful from criticism,” said one campaigner. “That should worry all those who care about accountability.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 1-16-2023 by Common Dreams

lobal Justice Now and The People’s Vaccine projection campaigning for global vaccine equality in London on March 8, 2021. (Photo: Jess Hurd/Global Justice Now via Flickr)

Drugmaker BioNTech and the German government pushed Twitter to “hide” posts by activists calling on Big Pharma to temporarily lift patents on Covid-19 vaccines—a move which would have given people the Global South greater access to the lifesaving inoculations, a report published Monday by The Intercept revealed.

Twitter lobbyist Nina Morschhaeuser “flagged the corporate accounts of Pfizer, BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca for her colleagues to monitor and shield from activists,” according to The Intercept‘s Lee Fang. An email from Morschhaeuser said the German Federal Office for Information Security also contacted Twitter on behalf of BioNTech, whose spokesperson, Jasmina Alatovic, asked the social media giant to “hide” activist tweets targeting her company’s account for two days. Continue reading

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House GOP Scraps Consumer Protection Panels in ‘First of Many Gifts’ to Wall Street

Republican Chair Patrick McHenry “wasted no time seeking payback on behalf of his biggest donors by scrapping key subcommittees dedicated to consumer protection and preventing industry discrimination,” said Accountable.US.

By Julia Conley  Published 113-2023 by Common Dreams

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) speaks at the Brookings Institute in 2017. Photo: Brookings Institution/flickr/CC

The U.S. committee tasked with overseeing the financial sector on Thursday “dispelled any doubt of their intent to do the bidding of the financial industries over the interests of everyday families,” said a government watchdog group as the panel signaled it will significantly scale back its efforts to push for consumer protections on Wall Street.

House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) Chair Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) announced the new Republican subcommittee chairmanships, with new panels including the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Monetary Policy—tasked with overseeing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)—and the Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology, and Inclusion, headed by pro-cryptocurrency Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.). Continue reading

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‘Nail in the Coffin’: Study Shows Exxon Accurately Predicted Warming Decades Ago

“Our analysis shows that ExxonMobil’s own data contradicted its public statements, which included exaggerating uncertainties, criticizing climate models, mythologizing global cooling, and feigning ignorance,” said lead author Geoffrey Supran.

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 1-12-2023 by Common Dreams

Exxon Mobil Refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Photo: WClarke/Wikimedia Commonns/CC

“This is the nail in the coffin of ExxonMobil’s claims that it has been falsely accused of climate malfeasance.”

That’s what University of Miami associate professor Geoffrey Supran said about a peer-reviewed study on the fossil fuel giant’s global warming projections published Thursday in the journal Science, which he began work on as a Harvard University research fellow. Continue reading

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UN Report Shows Ozone Layer Recovery Effort ‘Sets a Precedent for Climate Action’

“Our success in phasing out ozone-eating chemicals shows us what can and must be done—as a matter of urgency—to transition away from fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gases, and so limit temperature increase,” said one expert.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 1-9-2023 by Common Dreams

From the Pittsburgh Earth Day Climate Strike on 4/22/2022. Photo: Mark Dixon/flickr/CC

An assessment released Monday by leading science agencies highlights the effectiveness of an international treaty intended to protect the stratospheric ozone layer as well as the power of taking action now to limit global heating driven by human activity.

The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer was signed in 1987 and entered into force in 1989. The landmark treaty regulates nearly 100 synthetic chemicals known as ozone-depleting substances (ODSs)—including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used in air conditioners and refrigerators. Continue reading

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Concerns Over Disinformation Grow After Musk Relaxes Twitter Ban on Political Ads

Critics expressed concern about the social media giant serving as “a major new forum for massive amounts of money to be spent to influence politics.”

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 1-4-2023 by Common Dreams

As advertisers depart Twitter in the wake of Elon Musk’s recent takeover, the billionaire owner continues to shake up the social media platform, which on Tuesday relaxed a ban on political and issue-based advertising put in place for over three years.

When then-CEO Jack Dorsey announced the ban in October 2019, he explained that “this isn’t about free expression. This is about paying for reach. And paying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle.” Continue reading

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Pharma Giants to Hike 350+ US Drug Prices in the New Year: Analysis

“Why? Because they can. Big Pharma does not care about us.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 12-30-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Images Money/flickr/CC

Global pharmaceutical giants plan to hike U.S. prices for hundreds of drugs next month in anticipation of the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, which will allow Medicare to negotiate the cost of certain drugs starting in 2026, an analysis published Friday revealed.

The analysis, conducted by the healthcare research company 3 Axis Advisors and reported on by Reuters, said that Big Pharma corporations including Pfizer, AstraZeneca PLC, and Sanofi SA are set to raise the list prices—which do not include any rebates—on over 350 drugs early in January. Continue reading

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Human Rights Expert Sounds Alarm Over Israeli Firm’s ‘Dystopian’ Video-Altering Tech

“A scenario in which someone is accused of something and doesn’t know if the evidence presented against them is real or not is truly dystopian.”

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 12-27-2022 by Common Dreams

Leon Panetta and Ehud Barak at the Pentagon in 2012. Photo: US Secretary of Defense/flickr

A human rights attorney raised alarm Monday over the expansion plans of Toka, an Israeli cyber firm that sells hacking technologies capable of finding, accessing, and manipulating security and smart camera footage.

Co-founded by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) cyber chief Yaron Rosen, Toka “sells technologies that allow clients to locate security cameras or even webcams within a given perimeter, hack into them, watch their live feed, and even alter it—and past recordings,” Haaretz reported, citing internal documents it obtained and reviewed with a technical expert. Continue reading

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Temporarily Passing Paris Climate Targets Could ‘Significantly’ Raise Tipping Point Risk: Study

“To effectively prevent all tipping risks, the global mean temperature increase would need to be limited to no more than 1°C—we are currently already at about 1.2°C,” noted one scientist.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 12-23-2022 by Common Dreams

Fire in the Amazon Photo: Luísa Mota/flickr/CC

Surpassing the global temperature targets of the Paris climate agreement, even temporarily, could dramatically increase the risk of the world experiencing dangerous “tipping points,” according to research published Friday.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines tipping points as “critical thresholds in a system that, when exceeded, can lead to a significant change in the state of the system, often with an understanding that the change is irreversible.” Continue reading

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