Remember when we thought we were going to make the world a better place?
In the city where Jello Biafra once ran for mayor on a platform that would have required businessmen to wear clown suits, recently graduated engineers arrived wearing jeans and pocket-tees. Like the countercultural icons who came before them, they thumbed their collective noses at the stuffy protocols that had come to dominate the white collar workforce. While New York’s business elite had members-only clubs, local tech CEOs kept a kegerator in the office — right next to the ping-pong table and bean bag chair lounge. The Silicon Valley “campus,” complete with outdoor shopping centers and arcades, replaced the corporate headquarters, and open floor plans dismantled the sterile grid of cubicles.
This was the Left Coast. On this side of the country, the son of a teen mom and a cuban immigrant could rise to become the world’s first trillionaire and a couple of bearded, shaggy college dropouts could build a world-conquering personal computer company while pledging to Think Different.
15 prominent privacy groups (including Media Alliance) sent a letter to the CA Legislature encouraging them to strengthen California’s state privacy law (CCPA), the only statewide comprehensive consumer privacy legislation in the county, and prevent industry gutting it prior to 2020, when the law is scheduled to take effect.
The privacy groups stated “We urge you to keep the focus on strengthening protections for your constituents, and to reject
efforts to diminish Californians’ privacy and security protections.” Continue reading Strengthening CCPA→
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.
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
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.
by Peter Maiden. Originally published at Central Valley Indy Bay
The California Public Utilities Commission held a public hearing January 15 on the question of the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint. Tracy Rosenberg of Media Alliance was there and gave an interview.
original image (1296×864)On January 15 a public hearing of the California Public Utilities Commission was held at Fresno City Hall on a proposed merger of Sprint and T-Mobile. The merger would create the third largest wireless provider, with 60% of the market for prepaid mobile phones. Media Alliance has been instrumental in bringing consumers into the conversation about corporate mergers. I spoke to Tracy Rosenberg of Media Alliance after the event.
“When I got to the motel where I’m spending the night down here, the desk clerk who was checking me in asked me why I happened to be in Fresno, so I told her that I´m coming to this hearing at City Hall, and it was about the T-Mobile Sprint merger. I didn’t express my position on it … and the first thing that Debbie the desk clerk said to me was ‘Don’t let those two companies combine, because they’ll raise all the prices!’
“But when we come to CPUC hearings … we find a number of different, what I would call ‘interested parties’ participating, and that includes company employees, and a number of Chamber of Commerce and business type groups. [Here they] were talking about rural broadband access, even though this merger is really unlikely to improve service in rural areas. It was kind of a company talking point.”
Sprint and T-Mobile say they will initiate a 5G network, a systemic improvement, but Tracy said that could also be an empty promise, as many promises made in the course of mergers are broken.
Tracy continued, “It was good to see an auditorium full of people. I appreciated the fact that the Communications Workers of America brought some of their folks out, and I think they made some of the strongest statements of fact that we heard this evening. But it always breaks my heart that when there is an opportunity for public comment that it’s often dominated by those who have a really tight and close interest to the merger rather than the random folks who essentially are not involved in the merger but are going to bear the impact of it.”
The only Commissioner, of five altogether, who heard the comments at the meeting, was Cliff Rechtschaffen. He is assigned to oversee this merger procedure. He was previously an aide to Governor Brown.
“If you want to participate in meetings such as this, Tracy said, “you don’t have to be an expert, that’s not what these hearings are for. What you just have to be an impacted person. Speak from the heart: this is how I use my cell phone, this is how I use my wireless service, this is what I’m afraid might happen, this is what I struggle with, this is how much I can afford to pay, here’s what would happen if it doubled.
“People can write down their feelings, whether they’re an expert or not, and send that at any time to the Commission’s Public Advisor, it’s public.advisor [at] cpuc.ca.gov”