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Category Archives: Legislation

You Are Now Remotely Controlled – Privacy is not private

The New York Times Opinion By author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism.

…Privacy is not private, because the effectiveness of these and other private or public surveillance and control systems depends upon the pieces of ourselves that we give up — or that are secretly stolen from us. Our digital century was to have been democracy’s Golden Age. Instead, we enter its third decade marked by a stark new form of social inequality best understood as “epistemic inequality.” It recalls a pre-Gutenberg era of extreme asymmetries of knowledge and the power that accrues to such knowledge, as the tech giants seize control of information and learning itself. The delusion of “privacy as private” was crafted to breed and feed this unanticipated social divide. Surveillance capitalists exploit the widening inequity of knowledge for the sake of profits. They manipulate the economy, our society and even our lives with impunity, endangering not just individual privacy but democracy itself. Distracted by our delusions, we failed to notice this bloodless coup from above…The belief that privacy is private has left us careening toward a future that we did not choose, because it failed to reckon with the profound distinction between a society that insists upon sovereign individual rights and one that lives by the social relations of the one-way mirror. The lesson is that privacy is public — it is a collective good that is logically and morally inseparable from the values of human autonomy and self-determination upon which privacy depends and without which a democratic society is unimaginable…”

GAO – Trump administration violated the law by withholding Ukraine aid

GAO – Office of Management and Budget—Withholding of Ukraine Security Assistance. B-331564: Jan 16, 2020. In the summer of 2019, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) withheld from obligation funds appropriated to the Department of Defense (DOD) for security assistance to Ukraine. In order to withhold the funds, OMB issued a series of nine… Continue Reading

Facebook Said It Won’t Change Its Policies On Allowing Lies In Political Ads

BuzzFeedNews: “Facebook will not make any changes to its policies around political advertising, including ones that allow politicians to lie in ads and micro-target specific audiences, the company announced on Thursday. Facebook’s announcement follows intense pressure from lawmakers in the last few months over the company’s decisions to allow politicians to lie in Facebook ads.… Continue Reading

Washington’s New Anti-Robocall Law Won’t Stop the Calls

WSJ.com [article is paywalled but the 5 minute accompanying video is not, and well worth listening for the specificity of the explanation] “In a rare bipartisan achievement, Congress has moved to combat the scourge of robocalls inundating Americans. Just don’t stop the calls to stop coming any time soon..” Continue Reading

Trump Policy ‘Clarification’ All but Ends Punishment for Bird Deaths

The New York Times: “A new interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 2017 means that as of now, companies are no longer subject to prosecution or fines even after a disaster like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 that destroyed or injured about one million birds and for which BP paid $100… Continue Reading

An investigation into the smartphone tracking industry from Times Opinion

The New York Times – Twelve Million Phones, One Dataset, Zero Privacy – By Stuart A. Thompson and Charlie Warzel, December 19, 2019. “Every minute of every day, everywhere on the planet, dozens of companies — largely unregulated, little scrutinized — are logging the movements of tens of millions of people with mobile phones and… Continue Reading

Meet the American animals that bounced back in 2019

National Geographic – This year, a gecko, a songbird, and a minnow joined the short list of recovered American endangered species. “…The list of 27 (plus specific recovered populations of an additional five animal species) is modest when put into context. Since the Endangered Species Act took effect in 1973, 719 animal species native to… Continue Reading

Are you sharing too much about your kids online? Probably

Fast Company – “To save Neverland, Peter Pan fought the pirates. To save their childhood, youth today need us, their parents, to fight against our “sharenting” habits. Our kids need us to protect their privacy and, along with it, their protected space to play so that they can make mischief, make mistakes, and grow up… Continue Reading

Developing Systems to Summarize Legislation

Center for Data Innovation: “Researchers from FiscalNote Research, a technology firm based in Washington, DC, have released a dataset of U.S. Congressional and California state bills to advance the development of systems that can summarize legislation. The dataset contains more than 22,000 U.S. Congressional bills and summaries from 1993 through 2018 and more than 1,200… Continue Reading

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues December 7, 2019

Via LLRX – Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues December 7, 2019 – Privacy and security issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the… Continue Reading