Tag Archives: technology

Over Apple’s Objections, Oregon Governor Signs Nation’s Strongest Right to Repair Law

“Oregon becomes the first state to ban ‘parts pairing,’ which let companies like Apple decide when and how you replace parts.”

By Julia Conley. Published 3-27-2024 by Common Dreams

Genius bar. Photo: Christian Rasmussen/flickr/CC

In a move that advocates said will save Oregon residents money while supporting small businesses and reducing waste of electronic devices, Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek on Wednesday signed the Right to Repair Act, a law that passed earlier this month despite Apple’s lobbying efforts.

The Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), applauded the signing of the bill, which requires manufacturers to provide Oregonians and small repair businesses with access to the parts, tools, and information needed to fix personal electronics and household appliances.

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Pentagon Urged to Just Say No to AI-Powered Killer Robots

“The Department of Defense should declare its opposition to the development and deployment of autonomous weapons.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 3-26-2024 by Common Dreams

Predator B Drone. Photo: Jonathan Cutrer/flickr/CC

The watchdog group Public Citizen on Tuesday led a letter urging Pentagon leaders “to clarify that the Replicator Initiative will not involve the development and deployment of autonomous weapons systems,” also known as “killer robots.”

Last September, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks “asserted that the development of all-domain, attributable autonomy systems (ADA2) is an essential way for the Pentagon to maintain its comparative cutting-edge and keep up with the technological advancements of other states,” notes the letter, which was addressed to her and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

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Generative AI could leave users holding the bag for copyright violations

By Anjana Susarla, Michigan State University. Published 3-22-2024 by The Conversation

Image: rawpixel.com

Generative artificial intelligence has been hailed for its potential to transform creativity, and especially by lowering the barriers to content creation. While the creative potential of generative AI tools has often been highlighted, the popularity of these tools poses questions about intellectual property and copyright protection.

Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT are powered by foundational AI models, or AI models trained on vast quantities of data. Generative AI is trained on billions of pieces of data taken from text or images scraped from the internet.

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Greenpeace Says Ban Deep-Sea Mining, Not Our Right to Protest Against It

“How can Greenpeace’s activists paddling on kayaks be a threat to the environment, but the plundering of the oceans be a solution to the climate catastrophe?”

By Brett Wilkins. Published 3-18-2024 by Common Dreams

Greenpeace kayaktivists hold up a sign reading “stop deep-sea mining” during a November 2023 protest near a Nauru Ocean Resources Inc. exploration ship in the Pacific Ocean. (Photo: Martin Katz/Greenpeace/X)

As the International Seabed Authority kicked off its annual summit in Jamaica on Monday to discuss rules for extracting minerals from the ocean floor, Greenpeace—which could be expelled from the United Nations body over a demonstration targeting a mining company—is urging the ISA to “stop deep-sea mining, not protests.”

Representatives of 167 nations are gathering in Kingston to draft the regulatory framework for deep-sea mining, which ISA member states agreed to work out by July 2025. Although there are no current commercial deep seabed mining operations, the ISA has issued exploration licenses to state-owned companies and agencies in China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, and South Korea, and to private corporations including U.K. Seabed Resources, a subsidiary of U.S. military-industrial complex giant Lockheed Martin.

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‘North Sea Fossil Free’: Activists in 6 Countries Protest ‘Unhinged’ Oil and Gas Development

“Going full steam ahead with new North Sea oil and gas is a sure fire route to the worst climate scenarios,” one campaigner said.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 3-16-2024 by Common Dreams

The “oil slicks” performance artist group demonstrates the impacts of a potential oil spill on Scotland’s Moray Firth as part of a North Sea-wide day of action on March 16, 2024. Photo: Extinction Rebellion Scotland/X

Climate activists in six North Sea countries came together on Saturday to carry out acts of civil disobedience in protest of their governments’ continued fossil fuel development.

Demonstrators in the United KingdomNorway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands blockaded roads, ports, and refineries; dropped banners; and held solidarity concerts as part of the North Sea Fossil Free campaign to demand that their governments align their plans for the shared body of water with the Paris agreement goal of limiting global heating to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels.

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‘Disturbing’: Intel Chair Used Schumer Protests to Push Warrantless Spying

“If any lawmakers were still on the fence and waiting for a smoking gun, THIS IS IT,” said one advocate of reforming Section 702.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 3-12-2024 by Common Dreams

Jewish opponents of Israel’s genocidal war on the Gaza Strip protested outside the Brooklyn residence of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on October 13, 2023. (Photo: Jewish Voice for Peace NYC/X)

Privacy advocates issued fresh calls for changes to a historically abused U.S. spying program on Tuesday after Wired reported that a top Republican congressman privately tried using peaceful protests as proof of the need to block long-demanded reforms.

“If you care about the First Amendment, please stop everything and read this Wired article,” Elizabeth Goitein, senior director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty & National Security Program, said on social media, sharing the piece.

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‘Omen of the Future’: Off-The-Charts Hot Oceans Scare Scientists

After 2023 was the hottest year in human history, experts warn that 2024 “has strong potential to be another record-breaking year.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 2-27-2024 by Common Dreams

Coral bleaching. Photo: blamethepeople/flickr

While global policymakers continue to drag their feet on phasing out planet-heating fossil fuels, scientists around the world “are freaking out” about high ocean temperatures, as they told The New York Times in reporting published Tuesday.

A “super El Niño” has expectedly heated up the Pacific, but Times reporter David Gelles spoke with ocean experts from Miami to Cambridge to Sydney about record heat in the North Atlantic as well as conditions around the poles.

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Ticker Shows Climate Inaction Cost US Nearly $3,000 Per Second in 2023

“This exorbitant price tag, driven by an unparalleled number of weather and climate disasters, reinforces the urgent need for the Biden administration to use every tool at their disposal,” said one campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 2-23-2024 by Common Dreams

Road sign on U.S. Route 101 in Windsor warning of severe weather during the atmospheric rivers in January 2023. Photo: Sarah Stierch (CC BY 4.0)

After an unprecedented number of billion-dollar extreme weather disasters across the United States last year, advocacy groups on Friday released an updated “Cost of Inaction Ticker” estimating the price of not tackling the fossil fuel-driven climate emergency.

Launched by the Climate Action Campaign and other groups in 2022, the ticker is based on data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which found that 2023 was the hottest year on record and the 28 disasters that caused at least $1 billion in damage collectively cost Americans at least $92.9 billion, or $2,945.84 per second.

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GOP House Intel Chair Urged to Resign Over Russian Space Nuke Scare

“In a time where trust in government is at a historic low, Chairman Turner should resign so that maybe, just maybe, some of that trust can begin to be restored.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 2-17-2024 by Common Dreams

U.S. House Intelligence Chair Mike Turner (R-Ohio) . Photo: UGLC/flickr/CC

Advocacy groups who support changes to a U.S. government spying program that targets foreigners but sweeps up Americans’ data on Friday joined calls for Congressman Mike Turner to step down from his leadership role in the House of Representatives after the Ohio Republican made moves suspected as an attempt to kill bipartisan surveillance reform efforts.

In a letter to Turner first reported by Politico, Demand Progress, Due Process Institute, FreedomWorks, and Restore the Fourth called for his resignation as chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), writing that “it appears you exploited your privileged access to intelligence to scare your colleagues in an effort to undermine reform of warrantless surveillance laws—and in so doing have undermined your credibility, your committee, and national security.”

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Privacy Advocates Alarmed as House Resumes Spying Powers Fight

Rights groups are particularly concerned about reporting that parts of the debate could be held in “secret session.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 2-12-2024 by Common Dreams

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Privacy rights advocates and experts are sounding the alarm this week as members of the U.S. House of Representatives dive back into a contentious battle over reforming warrantless government surveillance powers that historically have been abused and consider closed-door debate.

House Republicans on Monday unveiled the Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act and announced that the Committee on Rules will meet Wednesday to discuss the bill, which combines two previously competing proposals focused on Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

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