All posts by Midnightschildren

Movement Technology Congress – Oakland


A conversation about technology and movement work. Last year nearly 1,000 activists participated in almost 20 sessions focused on discussing how movement activists and technologist across the country understood and prioritized the politics of technology through our Technology and Revolution Conversations.

In an attempt to develop a conversation that holds space for the many different perspectives and representations in tech and activist spaces we are traveling across the country as part of the Defend Our Movement Tour bringing back similar conversations and hoping that you will come join us. We all use technology. Many of our organizations even depend on it to do powerful and impactful work in our communities.

Our conversation on 1/26/19 will focus on uncovering the ways in which technology offers solutions to our work but also holds vast amounts of vulnerabilities considering the people and the communities we serve. We will be looking to expand and inform a unified strategy around how we use technology, how we protect both the technology we utilize and us as users, and how we identify our needs of technology for the future and security of our movement work.

Hosted by MayFirst/PeopleLink and the Center for Media Justice.

Saturday, 1/26/19

10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Greenlining Institute

360 14th st. 2nd floor

Oakland, CA 94612

You can register HERE. If you have additional questions, please feel free to reach out to me or Kyla, our Digital Justice Fellow and event facilitator at


Best of Counterspin 2018


MA’s ED is very pleased to have been included in Counterspin’s 2018 “Best of” wrap-up show and we encourage you to listen to the whole compilation.

Counterspin – Best of 2018

Each week, CounterSpin looks behind the headlines, asking what context is missing, what assumptions glossed over…and who is being excluded who might challenge that. It’s not a rhetorical exercise: Understanding the limits of the dialogue possible in the elite but influential press is crucial to understanding our political lives…and the importance of maintaining spaces where we can openly debate and challenge a status quo that is harming millions of people and the planet. We hope all of our shows advance that effort; in our annual year-end review, we can only revisit a very few—what we call the Best of CounterSpin 2018. You’ll find the whole year’s worth online at

Featured interviews:

  • Tina Vasquez, immigration reporter at, on family separation and abuses at the border.
  • Marjorie Cohn, law professor and author, on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.
  • Andrew Pulrang, cofounder of #cripthevote, on the 28th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Teresa Basilio Gaztambide, director of Resilient Just Technologies, on Puerto Rico’s communications infrastructure and hurricanes Irma and Maria.
  • Tracy Rosenberg, executive director of Media Alliance and co-coordinator of the group Oakland Privacy, on  surveillance technologies.
  • Shireen Al-Adeimi, peace activist, on US support for the Saudi-led war on Yemen.
  • Howard Bryant, senior writer for, on black athletes and the politics of patriotism.

CA Privacy Act: Protection Or A Slippery Slope?


The good news is that California has passed the country’s first comprehensive consumer privacy law (CCPA). It goes into effect in 2020.

The bad news is that while CCPA will let you find out if companies are selling the personal information you give them to third parties, the law currently lets companies give better prices to customers who don’t opt out of such sales. Which can mean higher prices if you choose to protect your privacy.

Think about it. How many big companies do you engage in transactions with every year that collect some identifying data on you? Think about all those companies sending you opt-out notifications with a charge attached? 

Even if it is only $10 or $20 a year, how many of those would it take before your budget was busted and you lost interest in emptying your pockets to protect your privacy?

If you’d like to say the quantity is not unlimited, Media Alliance has a quick targeted action to write to the AG privacy team and say you can only pay so much for your privacy. Click here to take action.

You can also come to the January 8th public forum on the implementation of the Privacy Act. The Bay Area forum will be held on January 8th at 10am at the Milton Marks Auditorium at 455 GoldenGate Avenue in San Francisco.

The slippery slope the new law can create is privacy-haves and privacy have-nots, with the wealthy safe and secure and the poor and struggling middle awash with “rights” they can’t afford to exercise. 

Media Alliance sent in organizational comments and recommendations on privacy that Californian’s can afford.



Black Agenda Report: The People v. The Information Monopolies: Case Continued


Democrats failed to get enough votes to repeal the FCC’s undoing of net neutrality, but there’s still time to change some member’s votes.

“Verizon literally slowed access to the net when people were fleeing forest fires and checking their cell phones for updates on routes they should take.”

Some members of Congress are still attempting to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to stop the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality, which is meant to protect us from the financial motives of Internet Service Providers controlling the pipes that data travels through. I spoke to Tracy Rosenberg, the Executive Director of Media Alliance about what’s next.

Ann Garrison: Tracy, could you explain the CRA and how some Congress members have been trying to use it to prevent enactment of the repeal of net neutrality?

Tracy Rosenberg: Yes. The CRA permits Congress to take action to repeal what a regulatory agency has done. The use of the CRA to save neutrality passed the Senate some time ago, then sat in the House. We had a deadline of December 14 to get from 179 to 218 House votes, and we only got to 180, but the deadline has now been extended to the end of the Congressional session. So, what people can do is go to Battle for the Net,, where there’s a scorecard that will show you the representatives who have signed on and those who haven’t.

AG: Congress may extend its deadline to adjourn because Trump’s still pandering to his xenophobic base by demanding billions of dollars to turn the border fence into a wall. Is there any chance net neutrality could still be saved before Christmas?

TR: Procedurally yes, but it’s very unlikely. We’d still have to get 38 more votes. But pressuring any House members holding out is still a good thing to do because it demonstrates the will of the public and the majority of Congress.

AG: And what’s the next step if this fails?

TR: There are a number of different things going on that can bring us closer to saving net neutrality, aka an open internet. The lawsuit against the FCC is in court. It’s in the Third Circuit in D.C., and arguments will start in February of 2019. There are about 18 lawsuits that have been consolidated.

In the 2019 Democratic House, we should also have a very clear majority, so it is possible that new legislation can be put forward in both the House and the Senate to make net neutrality the law of the land. Congress has always had the power to overrule the FCC, so we can legislatively do what we were unable to do by repealing the FCC’s decision.

AG: There’ll be four more Republican Senators in January. Could they become a roadblock? Or is the Senate majority large enough to be secure?

TR: Republican Senators Collins and Kennedy flipped to our side last time. Assuming they don’t change their positions again, we’ll need to get a few more votes in the new, even more Republican Senate. On the other hand, the new Democratic House shouldn’t compel us to flip any votes, so our lobbying effort will precisely target the new Republican Senators.

AG: OK, lastly, could you remind us of what will happen if we lose net neutrality?

TR:We have lost it, unless you are a resident of one of the states that have passed statewide net neutrality laws. Those state laws should take effect if the courts kick back the FCC’s pre-emption lawsuits. So far, because the loss of net neutrality is being litigated and legislatively challenged, the telecoms and cable companies have been careful not to shut down the open internet too fast, but we’re getting occasional glimpses of what that will be like with Sprint throttling Skype, and Verizon slowing service to customers during catastrophic forest fires unless they upgraded service.

AG: OK, I want to make sure we fully understand that. Are you saying that Verizon literally slowed access to the net when people were fleeing forest fires and checking their cell phones for updates on routes they should take or help they might get from emergency responders?

TR: Yes, Verizon slowed wireless access in fire stricken areas. This meant slowed service not only to people fleeing the fires, but also to people still in their homes but checking for updates to see whether or not they needed to flee. Customers would see a button on their screens that they could press to upgrade. The same thing happened in Florida during hurricanes.

If the legal and legislative challenges to net neutrality fail, there’ll be more throttling and internet service providers will demand that consumers pay more for unfettered internet access.

Tracy Rosenberg is a social justice activist and the Executive Director of Media Alliance in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Ann Garrison is an independent journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, she received the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for her reporting on conflict in the African Great Lakes region. She can be reached at


16 Privacy Groups Tell The Feds Not To Pre-Empt The States


16 privacy and civil rights groups told the US Congress that the federal government should not interfere with efforts by the states to legislate strong local privacy regulations. 

Among the states that have passed privacy protective laws are Illinois which passed a Biometric Information Privacy Act, Vermont which regulates data brokers and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

The letter states:

Our organizations favor federal baseline privacy legislation that ensures a basic level of protection for all individuals in the United States. We will oppose federal legislation that preempts stronger state laws. Not only will preemption leave consumers with inadequate privacy protections, it will likely result in their being worse off than they would be in the absence of
federal legislation. The states are the “laboratories of democracy” and have led the way in the development of innovative privacy legislation

Read the rest of the letter below. 



Urban Shield/UASI Task Force – Selected Recommendations


Alameda County’s Urban Shield/UASI Task Force has been charged with “ending Urban Shield as we know it” and rethinking the County’s use of the Homeland Security monies it receives for disaster preparedness training.

On December 14, the five-person task force will debate and vote on over 60 recommendations developed by task force members and received via community input,  and decide what to put in their final report.  Continue reading Urban Shield/UASI Task Force – Selected Recommendations


TechDirt: Man Shot By Cops Claims Shotspotter Found Phantom ‘Gunshot’


Originally published by Tim Cushing at TechDirt


Man Shot By Cops Claims Shotspotter Found Phantom ‘Gunshot’ To Justify Officer’s Deadly Force

from the so-are-cops-still-losing-the-tech-race-or-whatever? dept

A lawsuit originally filed early last year makes some very disturbing allegations about police officers and their relationship with their vendors. New York resident Silvon Simmons was shot three times by Rochester Police Officer Joseph Ferrigno. Simmons was unarmed, but was hit with three of the four bullets fired by Ferrigno as he ran way from the officer.

Shortly before being shot. Simmons had been engaged in “Minding Your Own Business,” which can apparently be nearly-fatal. Returning from a trip to a convenience store shortly after 9 pm, Officer Ferrigno cut in front of him, hit Simmons with his spotlight, exited his car with his gun drawn, and opened fire when Simmons began running. According to Simmons’ amendment complaint [PDF] filed in August, Ferrigno never stated he was police officer before opening fire. Simmons, blinded by the spotlight, was unsure who was shooting at him. Even if he had known it was cop, he still would have had no idea why he was being stopped, much less shot at.

The number of bullets fired matters, as Tracy Rosenberg of Oakland Privacy reports. Something seriously messed up happened after the shooting. A gun was found in the yard several houses away from where Simmons was stopped. Cops tried to tie this weapon to Simmons to justify Ferrigno’s deadly force use, despite the gun being located in the opposite direction of Simmons’ flight path.

Continue reading TechDirt: Man Shot By Cops Claims Shotspotter Found Phantom ‘Gunshot’


FCC Threatens Governmental and Public Channels


Trump’s FCC chair Ajit Pai is a busy guy.  Every month or two, a new piece of the precious little public interest media regulation we have left,  goes on the chopping block.

The current victims are governmental, educational and public channels given to local communities as a benefit for a monopoly on using the cable infrastructure.

The FCC’s proposed rules would let cable companies count in-kind benefits as payments towards franchise fees, basically taking a huge chunk out of the funds that pay for governmental and public access TV and forcing cities and counties to make up the difference out of their general funds, or reduce services.

Comcast doesn’t need a discount on the pitifully small amount they provide in public benefits in exchange for the rights of way.

So we need to say hell no.

File a comment here. Enter proceeding # 05-311.

Comment deadline closes on December 14.

Here are our comments

Media Alliance Reply Comments 05-311

Continue reading FCC Threatens Governmental and Public Channels