Category Archives: Accountability and Representation

When the media does us wrong and community accountability

Industry Threatens To Neuter CCPA

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A California state senator representing the Hayward-Fremont-Milpitas area is saying he will sink a bill (Senate Bill 561) that gives Californians the right to sue if companies break the law.

Senate Bill 561, authored by Hannah Beth Jackson and sponsored by CA’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra, lets state residents take independent legal action if any of the rights granted to them by the new law are violated, including the right to know where their personal information is being sold and to withhold consent for data sales. Without the bill, consumers will have little recourse if some companies don’t voluntarily comply.

Senator Wieckowski’s office refused to meet with a group of constituents in his district, a meeting Media Alliance and Oakland Privacy offered to convene, saying the entire legislative staff was “too busy” to meet every single day from May 6 to May 15.

When asked what a constituent should do if a company ignores their request to opt out under CCPA, the senator’s legislative director Heather Resetarits replied: ” I understand your frustration and the Senator understands the arguments for the merits of the policy contained in the bill.”

Wieckowski, one of four Democrats on the Senate Appropriations committee whose vote will be required to advance SB 561, says he is loyal to “a deal” struck with real estate developer Alastair MacTaggart in 2018 to remove McTaggart’s initiative from the 2018 ballot. The ballot initiative, which was supported by 600,000 Californians, had a right to sue or a private right of action. It was taken out in the “deal”, which happened in a back room without the permission of those 600,000 Californians or the other 39 million Californians who were having their privacy rights trimmed.

The right to privacy is enshrined in the California state constitution. The preamble to the California Privacy Act states:

It is the intent of the Legislature to further Californians’ right to privacy by giving consumers an effective way to control their personal information, by ensuring the following rights:(1) The right of Californians to know what personal information is being collected about them.(2) The right of Californians to know whether their personal information is sold or disclosed and to whom.(3) The right of Californians to say no to the sale of personal information.(4) The right of Californians to access their personal information.(5) The right of Californians to equal service and price, even if they exercise their privacy rights.

Rights you can only exercise if a company voluntarily agrees aren’t rights, they are requests. Unenforceable requests. Attorney General Becerra, in sponsoring Senate Bill 561 said: “I urge you to provide consumers with a private right of action under CCPA”. A March 2019 poll said 94% of California voters want to be able to take a company to court if the company violates their privacy rights.

Senator Bob Wieckowski is telling you he is going to ignore 94% of the voters, make your constitutional rights unenforceable, and won’t meet with his own angry constituents because of a backroom deal with the the one percent to protect companies that won’t comply with the law. Who is he representing?

Here is how to reach him: Sacramento: (916) 651-4010 Fremont:
(510) 794-3900

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No PVE In California

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A 70-strong coalition of social justice and civil rights groups led by M-Power Change, Asian-Americans Advancing Justice and CAIR California (including Media Alliance) sent a letter to CA Governor Gavin Newson asking him to end the reinstatement of a washed-over version of the DHS Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program, now repackaged as a California state program called Preventing Violent Extremism. (PVE).

The letter states “PVE programs are deceptively framed as public health and youth programs that offer social services to marginalized communities. Such a framing masks the true objectives; to surveil, profile and collect intelligence on Muslim, immigrant and Black and Brown communities…. These programs stigmatize the very communities they purport to help, making them less likely to seek legitimate social services for fear it will lead to unwarranted law enforcement scrutiny.

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The Downfall of Roundup

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By Darian Carrow

The world’s most popular yet most controversial weed killer, Roundup, has been under severe scrutiny as consumers allege that the product has caused their various health issues and cancers. The active ingredient that reportedly causes these complications, glyphosate, has been deemed “probably carcinogenic for humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Since this classification, thousands of consumers have sought legal assistance to go against manufacturer Monsanto, newly acquired by pharmaceutical giant Bayer, for selling a product they knew could be dangerous to their customers.

It was recently revealed that more than 13,400 consumers have filed lawsuits against Bayer and its subsidiary Monsanto for its Roundup product. So far, three heavily covered lawsuits have gone through American courts, all resulting in huge losses for the manufacturing company. These notable cases have paved the way for the rest of the pending suits and for consumers who have suffered because of Roundup.

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Politico Pro: Privacy Bills Go Straight to Senate Floor

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This report first appeared on POLITICO California Pro on Aug. 15, 2019.

SACRAMENTO — Soon after lawmakers returned to the Capitol this week, a slate of Privacy Act bills originally set to be heard by the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee instead went straight to the Senate floor, closing off a well-worn backchannel for end-of-session deal-making.

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Astroturf Nonprofit Group Guns For Privacy-Friendly State Senator

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In a shocking letter, a newly incorporated group calling itself the Nonprofit Alliance has called for the removal of jurisdiction over statewide privacy legislation from the California State Senate’s Judiciary committee, chaired by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson.

The request, which Senate Speaker Toni Atkins says “is not being considered”, called for the realignment due to the committee’s amendments of industry bills to weaken California’s consumer privacy act. CCPA is the only comprehensive statewide consumer privacy legislation in the country. Often referred to as America’s GDPR, the CCPA is scheduled to go into effect in 2020.

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Tsuru For Solidarity Pilgrimage To Close The Camps

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125,000 paper cranes to DC in June 2020 for Tsuru for Solidarity’s
“National Pilgrimage to Close the Camps”

From Tsuru For Solidarity’s Press Release:

Japanese Americans from across the country will gather next spring in Washington, D.C. on June 5-7, 2020 for a “National Pilgrimage to Close the Camps.” We plan to bring 125,000 paper cranes, or tsuru, as expressions of solidarity with immigrant and refugee communities that are under attack today. The 125,000 cranes represent the members of our community who were rounded up and incarcerated in U.S. concentration camps during World War II, including both Japanese Americans and Japanese Latin Americans.

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Anti-Muslim Hate Group Uses Same Name as State-Funded PVE Program

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California’s new counter-terrorism via social services program, Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE), which is a state version of the federal Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program, has run into a big problem.

A hate speech problem. A group called the Clarion Project, identified by both the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Center for American Progress as an Anti-Muslim hate group, has decided to get in on the preventing extremism project.

Clarion announced their *own” Preventing Violent Extremism program, a 21-city community outreach program focused on schools and targeting some of the same Southern California communities in San Bernardino and Orange County that will have state-funded programs with the same name.

The Clarion Project is most well-known for two things: hyperbolic documentary films and its Fox News security analyst, Ryan Mauro. One of Clarion Project’s documentaries Obsession, Radical Islam’s War on the West made national headlines when 28 million DVD copies were distributed in 70 print newspapers in battleground states in 2008, just weeks before the presidential election that year. Most observers considered it a political ploy to attempt to tie then candidate Barack Obama to Islamic fundamentalism.

Clarion’s “security analyst” Ryan Mauro, who doubles as a Fox News contributor, made claims in 2013 on national news about Muslim “no-go zones” in Europe and the United States. His discredited claims later led to a foiled bomb attack on a Black Muslim community in upstate New York.

California’s vendors include HADI, a long-time NSA contractor, the Orange County Human Relations Commission, San Diego 2-1-1 and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

CVE/PVE wasn’t a good idea before it got co-opted by an anti-Muslim hate group. Now it’s worse.

Letter-Regarding-the-Clarion-Project

Coalition-Letter-to-Governor-Newsom

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National Park Service Proposed Limits on White House Protests

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New proposed rules from the National Park Service would make it substantially harder to hold rallies, demonstrations or protests in Washington and specifically on the streets and sidewalks surrounding the White House.

Among the changes suggested are a prohibition on 80% of the public area outside the White House, including Lafayette Park, a traditional site for protests for more than a hundred and fifty years. The NPS also proposes charging event organizers for the costs of monitoring and interfering with their protests, including charging  enhanced fees for barricades and surveillance and changing the permitting process to not require an answer until as little as 40 days beforehand, making it very difficult to organize large nationwide protests.

The comment period closes on Monday October 15th at 11:59PM EST, so there is still time to make your voice heard here.

The First Amendment requires the government to permit us to petition to redress our grievances and for no undue burdens be placed on us to prevent that. These proposed regulations fail the test.

Here are our comments (jointly signed with Oakland Privacy).

Media Alliance and Oakland Privacy Comments on Proposed National Park Service Rules

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