It’s not unusual for businesses to spend princely sums lobbying government to free them from regulations, which generally means consumer protections are reduced or eliminated. In a nutshell, that’s much of what goes on in the halls of government, as we’ve previously reported.
But it is a bit more unconventional when a self-described coalition of nonprofit organizations promotes the same agenda as large telecom companies, putting consumers at the short end of the stick.
Sports enthusiasts heading to Tokyo for the 2020 Summer Olympics beware: Japan intends to install hundreds of thousands of facial recognition cameras to identify everyone in attendance. The software, initially used when Tokyo hosted the Paralympic games in 2018, is meant to weed out, in real time, people suspected of being potential terrorists — and anyone with a criminal record or questionable immigration status.
Protesters blocked the entrance to Silicon Valley tech company Palantir’s cafeteria on Friday, denouncing its work aiding the US government’s immigration crackdown and urging employees to speak out.
About 70 protesters swarmed Palantir’s Palo Alto, Calif. headquarters in the early afternoon, bearing signs criticizing the company for doing business with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and chanting slogans.
“Immigrants are welcome here, time to cancel Palantir,” the protesters shouted. “Dirty data company, drop ICE contracts, that’s our plea,” they sang.
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.
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.
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 FAIR.org/counterspin/.
Tina Vasquez, immigration reporter at Rewire.news, 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.
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”
Facial recognition software allows cops to feed in images of people and look them up in real time. For instance at a protest or any kind of public gathering. One of the new planned technical innovations is to put the software onto the body cameras many police now carry, turning cops into walking facial recognition programs.