Maine's new ISP privacy law has both California and New York beat

The Great State of Maine, having jettisoned its far-right lunatic "government" and replaced it with a responsive, progressive, evidence-based one, is now set to pass the nation's most stringent ISP privacy law, going further than both New York and California. Read the rest

Facebook execs are worried that Zuck's emails show he never took his FTC privacy obligations seriously

In 2012, Facebook settled an FTC privacy investigation by promising a host of privacy protections (that they never delivered on); now, the FTC is probing Facebook's noncompliance and they've demanded that the company let them look at Zuck's email, which prompted the company's legal team to have a look therein, and they really didn't like what they saw. Read the rest

Chrome-derived browsers threaten to fork from Google, refuse to eliminate ad-blocker features

Google's decision to restrict access to the Chrome API needed for full ad-blocking to paid enterprise customers was especially worrisome because Chrome's free/open derivative, Chromium, is the basis for many other browsers, including Microsoft's Edge, as well as Opera and the privacy-focused Brave. Read the rest

A non-aboriginal business has licensed the copyright on Australia's aboriginal flag, and are making copyright claims against aboriginal businesses

In 1971, the Australian indigenous artist Harold Thomas created the iconic Australian Aboriginal Flag which has since been named one of the "official flags of Australia," which resulted in Thomas successfully suing to assert copyright over the design. Read the rest

Amazon's facial recognition fear crusade ramps up: now they're paying Facebook to show you pictures of suspected criminals to scare you into getting a surveillance doorbell

Amazon's Ring doorbells are surveillance devices that conduct round-the-clock video surveillance of your neighborhood, automatically flagging "suspicious" faces and bombarding you and your neighbors with alerts using an app called "Neighbors"; it's a marriage of Amazon's Internet of Things platform with its "Rekognition" facial recognition tool, which it has marketed aggressively to cities, law enforcement, ICE, businesses and everyday customers as a security measure that can help ID bad guys, despite the absence of a database identifying which faces belong to good people and which faces belong to bad people. Read the rest

68% of "ordinary Facebook investors" voted to fire Zuckerberg

Every year, activist investors try to get Mark Zuckerberg to resign for the good of the company, citing his incompetent handling of the company's endless string of privacy scandals and his inability to steer the business towards a scandal-free, sustainable future: in 2018, 51% of the company's "ordinary investors" (shareholders apart from Zuck, his board and his employees) voted to fire Zuckerberg; this year, the bloc calling for his resignation represented $3B in Facebook investments. Read the rest

Patronscan wants cities to require bars to scan your ID with its service so it can maintain a secret, unaccountable blacklist

Patronscan is the leading provider of ID-scanning/verification services to bars and restaurants, and one of its selling points is that it allows its customers to create shared blacklists of undesirable customers who can then be denied services at every other establishment that uses its services. Read the rest

Blood testing giant Quest Diagnostics lost 12,000,000 patients' personal, financial and medical data

Quest Diagnostics is one of America's biggest medical testing companies; they have warned securities regulators that they lost 12,000,000 customer records (credit card numbers, bank account information, medical information, Social Security Numbers, and other personal information) due to a breach at ACMA, a collection agency they used. Read the rest

The New York Privacy Act goes even farther than California's privacy legislation

In 2015, California enacted groundbreaking privacy legislation and in 2018, the state took up the matter again with even tougher rules that have been fought tooth-and-nail by Big Tech companies, many of whom are headquartered in the state. Read the rest

Rumor: DoJ is going to investigate Google for antitrust violations

According to a widely reported rumor -- first published by the WSJ -- the DoJ is preparing to launch an antitrust probe of Google, though it's not clear on what basis such a probe would proceed. Read the rest

To reduce plastic packaging, ship products in solid form

There's no one way to solve the plastic waste problem, but in the packaged goods sector, an enormous amount of plastic is used in order to surround and protect simple solutions of some agent dissolved in water, from toothpaste to window cleaner to shampoo. Read the rest

For the first time since the 70s, New York State is set to enshrine sweeping tenants' protections

There isn't single county in the nation where a minimum-wage worker can afford to rent a two-bedroom home; and although LA has the worst homelessness crisis in the country, New York state is catching up, with homelessness growing by 46% since the financial crisis -- the fastest rate in the nation. Read the rest

Now that Uber and Lyft are public, their inevitable financial collapse is much clearer

Veteran transportation economics Hubert Horan has consistently published the best-informed, deepest critiques of Uber and Lyft, explaining how the companies can never, ever be profitable, and warning investors away from becoming the "greater fools" that allow Uber/Lyft's early investors to cash out at their expenses, while cataloging the many ways that Uber and Lyft's legislative strategy, coupled with predatory pricing, is destroying the cities they operate in. Read the rest

Chinese environment ministry finds widespread pollution coverups and corruption at the local government level

The Chinese central environment minister has released a report detailing thousands of instances of corruption and coverups from local governments in ten provinces last year: the report details instances of fabricated meetings, imaginary progress on remediating toxic waste spills, and falsified claims that polluting factories had been shut down. Read the rest

Mark Zuckerberg: More, Grow, More, More, Grow (a supercut)

Video artist Benjamin Grosser on his freakish supercut titled "Order of Magnitude:"

As the founder and CEO of the world’s largest social media corporation, what does Mark Zuckerberg think about? While we get clues from his posts on Facebook and elsewhere, a primary window into this question is through his public video recorded appearances. Covering the earliest days of Facebook in 2004 up through Zuckerberg’s compelled appearances before the US Congress in 2018, these recordings reveal what’s changed and what hasn’t changed about the way he speaks and what he says. For ORDER OF MAGNITUDE, I viewed every one of these recordings and used them to build a supercut drawn from three of Mark’s most favored words: “more,” “grow,” and his every utterance of a metric such as “two million” or “one billion.” The result is a nearly fifty minute film that reveals primary topics of focus for the tech CEO, acting as a lens on what he cares about, how he thinks, and what he hopes to attain.

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Business schools are shuttering full-time MBA programs, citing low enrollment, millennials

MBA programs are the origin node of a lot of ugly, exploitative business trends over recent decades (see this excellent documentary for more), and their star is in decline, with MBAs commanding a much lower wage premium after graduation, leading to declining enrollment in full-time MBA programs. Read the rest

AT&T's dystopian advertising vision perfectly illustrates the relationship between surveillance and monopoly

AT&T has come a long way from the supernormative, feel-good messages of its You Will ads; now CEO Randall Stephenson predicts a future where his company will dynamically alter your TV ads based on what it thinks you will buy; and chase you with that ad from your TV to your computer to your phone, and then spy on your location to see whether you go to a retailer to buy the thing you've had advertised to you; and use that intelligence to command high advertising rates from advertisers. Read the rest

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