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Hundreds Rally For Their Right To Not Vaccinate Their Children

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-02-09 17:34
CBS News reports that as Washington state confronts a measles outbreak which has sickened at least 56 people, "hundreds rallied to preserve their right not to vaccinate their children." They packed a public hearing for a new bill making it harder for families to opt out of vaccination requirements, reports The Washington Post: An estimated 700 people, most of them opposed to stricter requirements, lined up before dawn in the cold, toting strollers and hand-lettered signs, to sit in the hearing.... The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the nation's most vocal and organized anti-vaccination activists. That movement has helped drive down child immunizations in Washington, as well as in neighboring Oregon and Idaho, to some of the lowest rates in the country, with as many as 10.5 percent of kindergartners statewide in Idaho unvaccinated for measles. That is almost double the median rate nationally.... One activist who spoke Friday, Mary Holland, who teaches at New York University law school and said her son has a vaccine-related injury, warned lawmakers that if the bill passes, many vaccine opponents will "move out of the state, or go underground, but they will not comply." The sponsor of a similar bill in Oregon says that anti-vaxxers "have every right to make a bad decision in the health of their child, but that does not give them the right to send an unprotected kid to public school. So if they want to homeschool their kid and keep them out of other environments, that's their decision." But there are still 17 U.S. states that allow "personal or philosophic exemptions to vaccination requirements," reports the Post, "meaning virtually anyone can opt out." (Though some states are now considering changes.) "The enablers are state legislators in those states, that have allowed themselves to be played," complains Dr. Peter Hotez, a co-director of the Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. The World Health Organization estimates that measles vaccines have saved over 21 million lives since 2000. But last year in the European region's population of nearly 900 million people, at least 82,600 people contracted measles, reports Reuters. "Of those, 72 cases were fatal."

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Amazon's Home Security Company Is Turning Everyone Into Cops

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-02-09 01:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Neighbors is not just a social media app: it's a service that's meant to be used with Ring security cameras, a Wi-Fi-powered home security company that was acquired by Amazon last February in a $1 billion deal. Neighbors was launched in May 2018, three months after the acquisition. If you have Ring security cameras, you can upload video content straight from your security camera to Neighbors. [...] Beyond creating a "new neighborhood watch," Amazon and Ring are normalizing the use of video surveillance and pitting neighbors against each other. Chris Gilliard, a professor of English at Macomb Community College who studies institutional tech policy, told Motherboard in a phone call that such a "crime and safety" focused platforms can actively reinforces racism. In Amazon's version of a "new neighborhood watch," petty crimes are policed heavily, and racism is common. Video posts on Neighbors disproportionately depict people of color, and descriptions often use racist language or make racist assumptions about the people shown. In many ways, the Neighbors/Ring ecosystem is like a virtual gated community: people can opt themselves in by downloading the Neighbors app, and with a Ring camera, users can frame neighbors as a threat. Motherboard individually reviewed more than 100 user-submitted posts in the Neighbors app between December 6 and February 5, and the majority of people reported as "suspicious" were people of color. Motherboard placed the "home" address at the VICE offices in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and kept the default 5-mile neighborhood radius, meaning the neighborhood encompassed all of lower Manhattan, most of Brooklyn, and parts of Queens and Hoboken. According to the Ring Community Guidelines, the Neighbors app bans "direct threats against any individuals, bullying, harassment, and any posts that demean, defame, or discriminate," but it relies on Neighbors users to report posts that violate that rule. The guidelines also claim that only "crime and safety related content" is allowed. The guidelines do not define what qualifies as "safety," but they do encourage users to "consider the behavior that made you suspicious and whether such suspicion is reasonable." When asked if Ring moderates content on Neighbors or reviews posts for racism, a company spokesperson said, "The Neighbors app by Ring is meant to facilitate this collaboration within communities by allowing users to easily share and communicate with their neighbors and in some cases, local law enforcement, about crime and safety in real-time."

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Attacking a Pay Wall That Hides Public Court Filings

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2019-02-08 16:01
The federal judiciary has built an imposing pay wall around its court filings, charging a preposterous 10 cents a page for electronic access to what are meant to be public records. A pending lawsuit could help tear that wall down. From a report: The costs of storing and transmitting data have plunged, approaching zero. By one estimate, the actual cost of retrieving court documents, including secure storage, is about one half of one ten-thousandth of a penny per page. But the federal judiciary charges a dime a page to use its service, called Pacer (for Public Access to Court Electronic Records). The National Veterans Legal Services Program and two other nonprofit groups filed a class action in 2016 seeking to recover what they said were systemic overcharges. "Excessive Pacer fees inhibit public understanding of the courts and thwart equal access to justice, erecting a financial barrier that many ordinary citizens are unable to clear," they wrote. The suit accuses the judicial system of using the fees it charges as a kind of slush fund, spending the money to buy flat-screen televisions for jurors, to finance a study of the Mississippi court system and to send notices in bankruptcy proceedings.

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Australia Parliamentary Network Hacked In Possible Foreign Government Attack

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2019-02-08 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Sydney Morning Herald: National security agencies are continuing to scour the Parliament's computer network for threats to MPs' data after what is being described as a "sophisticated" hack attack that could be the work of a foreign government. Alastair MacGibbon, head of the Australian Cyber Security Centre, said the government's cyber experts would work over coming days and weeks to make sure all the breaches had been detected and the hackers' presence removed. The hacking comes just three months ahead of the federal election, prompting fears that if MPs emails or data were stolen they could be used to cause political interference of the style Russia perpetrated against the United States in the 2016 presidential campaign. Sources said the fact that Parliament had significantly upgraded its cyber defense since an attack by Chinese intelligence agencies in 2011 suggested the latest hackers were highly skilled, potentially pointing to a foreign government. Mr MacGibbon stressed it was too early to say who was behind the attack but said this part of the investigation. The network is used by all MPs, including ministers. House Speaker Tony Smith and Senate President Scott Ryan said in a joint statement there was "no evidence that any data has been accessed or taken at this time, however this will remain subject to ongoing investigation." They said they had no evidence the hack was an effort to "influence the outcome of parliamentary processes or to disrupt or influence electoral or political processes."

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Google Warns News Sites May Lose 45 Percent of Traffic If EU Passes Its Copyright Reform

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2019-02-08 12:00
Google's SVP of Global Affairs, Kent Walker, laid out Google's opposition to the EU's highly contested copyright reform rules. "Google warns Article 11 and Article 13 could have catastrophic effects on the creative economy in Europe by hampering user uploads and news sharing," reports The Next Web. From the report: Article 11 in its current form will limit news aggregators' abilities to show snippets of articles. According to Google's own experiments, the impact of it only showing URLs, very short fragments of headlines, and no preview images would be a "substantial traffic loss to news publishers." "Even a moderate version of the experiment (where we showed the publication title, URL, and video thumbnails) led to a 45 percent reduction in traffic to news publishers," Walker explained. "Our experiment demonstrated that many users turned instead to non-news sites, social media platforms, and online video sites -- another unintended consequence of legislation that aims to support high-quality journalism." "Article 11, called the 'link tax' by opponents, requires anyone who copies a snippet of text from a publisher's articles to have a license to do so," reports ZDNet. "Article 13 demands that online platforms filter and block uploads of copyright-infringing material." The European Parliament approved Article 11 and Section 13 in September. The finalized version may be passed in March or April of this year.

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Ex-Cons Create 'Instagram For Prisons,' and Wardens Are Fine With That

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2019-02-08 04:50
Bloomberg's Olivia Carville writes about three apps that are offering a cheaper way for families to connect with incarcerated loved ones. Here's an excerpt from her report: Pigeonly and its ilk have hit on a communication model -- a necessarily inelegant one -- that meets inmates' desire for a more tangible connection while serving the social-media habits of their loved ones. One of the apps, Flikshop, has been affectionately dubbed the "Instagram for prisons." It's an imperfect metaphor perhaps, but the app is the closest thing to the social network in prison, and Flikshop postcards are pinned up on cell walls across the U.S. Beyond giving prisoners an easier, cheaper and more fulfilling way to communicate, the men who started these apps also want to make inmates less likely to re-offend because they see there's a life to be lived on the outside. Decades of research show that recidivism rates fall when prisoners are in regular contact with family. Criminal justice advocacy groups and rehabilitation non-profits have already started using the apps to make the prison population aware of their services. Frederick Hutson, 34, started Pigeonly, Inc. in 2013, fresh from a five-year stint in federal prison for drug trafficking. "I saw first-hand how difficult and expensive it was to stay in touch," Hutson says. "I also saw how much of an impact that made on the person behind bars. I would see the guys that had the financial means to stay in touch and when they left prison I would hear that they were doing well, but those who didn't have the support network on the outside -- I'd see them coming back in." Pigeonly -- named for the pigeon post services of wartime fame -- wants to become a bridge between those who live in a digital world and those who are imprisoned in an analog one. Customers subscribe to the app for a monthly fee, ranging from $7.99 to $19.99, in order to send photos and messages and have access to cheaper online phone rates. Pigeonly has 20 full-time staff, half of whom were previously incarcerated themselves. Every day, they send up to 4,000 mail orders into county, state and federal penitentiaries across the country.

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NCTA Asks For Net Neutrality Law Allowing Paid Prioritization

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2019-02-08 03:30
DarkRookie2 shares a report from Ars Technica: Cable industry chief lobbyist Michael Powell today asked Congress for a net neutrality law that would ban blocking and throttling but allow Internet providers to charge for prioritization under certain circumstances. Powell -- a Republican who was FCC chairman from 2001 to 2005 and is now CEO of cable lobby group NCTA -- spoke to lawmakers today at a Communications and Technology subcommittee hearing on net neutrality. Powell said there is "common ground around the basic tenets of net neutrality rules: There should be no blocking or throttling of lawful content. There should be no paid prioritization that creates fast lanes and slow lanes, absent public benefit. And, there should be transparency to consumers over network practices." Despite Powell's claim of "common ground," his statement on paid prioritization illustrates a divide between the broadband industry and proponents of net neutrality rules. Obama-era Federal Communications Commission rules banned paid prioritization as well as blocking and throttling, while Trump's FCC overturned the ban on all three practices. Net neutrality advocates are trying to restore those rules in full in a court case against the FCC, and any net neutrality law proposed by Democrats in Congress would likely mirror the Obama-era FCC rules. Republican lawmakers are preparing legislation that would impose weaker rules. The report notes that Powell's proposal for paid prioritization is full of caveats: "There should be no paid prioritization that creates fast lanes and slow lanes, absent public benefit." "His testimony to Congress didn't explain how ISPs can charge online services for prioritization without dividing Internet access into fast lanes and slow lanes, and his statement seems to indicate that slow lanes would be allowed as long as the paid prioritization creates some 'public benefit,'" reports Ars. "How 'public benefit' would be defined or who would determine which paid priority schemes benefit the public are not clear."

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Apple Tells App Developers To Disclose Or Remove Screen Recording Code

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2019-02-08 02:50
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Apple is telling app developers to remove or properly disclose their use of analytics code that allows them to record how a user interacts with their iPhone apps -- or face removal from the app store, TechCrunch can confirm. In an email, an Apple spokesperson said: "Protecting user privacy is paramount in the Apple ecosystem. Our App Store Review Guidelines require that apps request explicit user consent and provide a clear visual indication when recording, logging, or otherwise making a record of user activity." "We have notified the developers that are in violation of these strict privacy terms and guidelines, and will take immediate action if necessary," the spokesperson added. It follows an investigation by TechCrunch that revealed major companies, like Expedia, Hollister and Hotels.com, were using a third-party analytics tool to record every tap and swipe inside the app. We found that none of the apps we tested asked the user for permission, and none of the companies said in their privacy policies that they were recording a user's app activity. Even though sensitive data is supposed to be masked, some data -- like passport numbers and credit card numbers -- was leaking.

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Green New Deal Bill Aims To Move US To 100 Percent Renewable Energy, Net-Zero Emissions

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2019-02-08 00:50
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: On Thursday morning, NPR posted a bill drafted by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) advocating for a Green New Deal -- that is, a public works bill aimed at employing Americans and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the face of climate change. A similar version of the bill is expected to be introduced in the Senate by Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.). The House bill opens by citing two recent climate change reports: an October 2018 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and a heavily peer-reviewed report released in November 2018 by a group of U.S. scientists from federal energy and environment departments. Both reports were unequivocal about the role that humans play in climate change and the dire consequences humans stand to face if climate change continues unchecked. The bill lists some of these consequences: $500 billion in lost annual economic output for the U.S. by 2100, mass migration, bigger and more ferocious wildfires, and risk of more than $1 trillion in damage to U.S. infrastructure and coastal property. To stop this, the bill says, the global greenhouse gas emissions from human sources must be reduced by 40 to 60 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, and we must reach net-zero emissions by 2050. [...] The Green New Deal specifically calls for a 10-year mobilization plan that would "achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers" by creating "millions" of high-paying jobs through investment in U.S. infrastructure. Specific kinds of infrastructure aren't listed, but general categories or works projects are outlined. Adaptive infrastructure tailored to communities, like higher sea walls and new drainage systems, would be included. NPR notes that the language is classified as a non-binding resolution, "meaning that even if it were to pass... it wouldn't itself create any new programs. Instead, it would potentially affirm the sense of the House that these things should be done in the coming years." Surprisingly, the bill doesn't mention fossil fuels at all. "In a draft version of the Green New Deal that had been circulated in December, a Frequently Asked Questions section did not preclude eventually calling for a tax or a ban on fossil fuels, but it noted that this was not what the bill was about," notes Ars Technica. "Simply put, we don't need to just stop doing some things we are doing (like using fossil fuels for energy needs)," the FAQ notes under the Green New Deal draft language. "We also need to start doing new things (like overhauling whole industries or retrofitting all buildings to be energy efficient). Starting to do new things requires some upfront investment."

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Apple Removes Useless 'Do Not Track' Feature From Latest Beta Versions of Safari

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-02-07 16:40
In the release notes for Safari 12.1, the new version of Apple's browser installed in iOS 12.2, Apple says that it is removing support for the "Do Not Track" feature, which is now outdated. From a news writeup: "Removed support for the expired Do Not Track standard to prevent potential use as a fingerprinting variable," the release note reads. The same feature was also removed from Safari Technology Preview today, Apple's experimental macOS browser, and it is not present in the macOS 10.14.4 betas. According to Apple, Do Not Track is "expired" and support is being eliminated to prevent its use as, ironically, a fingerprinting variable for tracking purposes. It is entirely up to the advertising companies to comply with the "Do Not Track" messaging, and it has no actual function beyond broadcasting a user preference.

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Facebook Ordered To Stop Combining WhatsApp and Instagram Data Without Consent in Germany; Company Says It Needs That Data To Fight Terrorism and Child Abuse

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-02-07 16:00
Facebook has been ordered to curb its data collection practices in Germany after a landmark ruling on Thursday that the world's largest social network abused its market dominance to gather information about users without their consent. From a report: The order applies to data collected by Facebook-owned platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram, but also third-party sources that Facebook uses to flesh out its advertising profiles, including those of non-users. The Bundeskartellamt, or Federal Cartel Office (FCO), has given Facebook one month to appeal the landmark decision, which comes after a three-year investigation. If the appeal fails, the tech company will have to ensure these data sources are not combined without consent within the next four months. Although the ruling only applies within Germany, the decision could influence regulators in other countries. Gizmodo adds: Facebook insists that combining all of that data is actually great. In fact, the company says, it's keeping everyone safe from stuff like terrorism and child abuse. From Facebook's statement this morning: "Facebook has always been about connecting you with people and information you're interested in. We tailor each person's Facebook experience so it's unique to you, and we use a variety of information to do this -- including the information you include on your profile, news stories you like or share and what other services share with us about your use of their websites and apps. Using information across our services also helps us protect people's safety and security, including, for example, identifying abusive behavior and disabling accounts tied to terrorism, child exploitation and election interference across both Facebook and Instagram."

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Many Popular iPhone Apps Secretly Record Your Screen Without Asking

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-02-07 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Many major companies, like Air Canada, Hollister and Expedia, are recording every tap and swipe you make on their iPhone apps. In most cases you won't even realize it. And they don't need to ask for permission. You can assume that most apps are collecting data on you. Some even monetize your data without your knowledge. But TechCrunch has found several popular iPhone apps, from hoteliers, travel sites, airlines, cell phone carriers, banks and financiers, that don't ask or make it clear -- if at all -- that they know exactly how you're using their apps. Worse, even though these apps are meant to mask certain fields, some inadvertently expose sensitive data. Apps like Abercrombie & Fitch, Hotels.com and Singapore Airlines also use Glassbox, a customer experience analytics firm, one of a handful of companies that allows developers to embed "session replay" technology into their apps. These session replays let app developers record the screen and play them back to see how its users interacted with the app to figure out if something didn't work or if there was an error. Every tap, button push and keyboard entry is recorded -- effectively screenshotted -- and sent back to the app developers. [...] Apps that are submitted to Apple's App Store must have a privacy policy, but none of the apps we reviewed make it clear in their policies that they record a user's screen. Glassbox doesn't require any special permission from Apple or from the user, so there's no way a user would know. When asked, Glassbox said it doesn't enforce its customers to mention its usage in their privacy policy. A mobile expert known as The App Analyst recently found Air Canada's iPhone app to be improperly masking the session replays when they were sent, exposing passport numbers and credit card data in each replay session. Just weeks earlier, Air Canada said its app had a data breach, exposing 20,000 profiles.

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Huawei Admits To Needing 5 Years, $2 Billion To Fix Security Issues

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-02-07 12:00
Bruce66423 writes: In a remarkable piece of honest self assessment, Huawei has produced a letter to a House of Commons committee member in response to security concerns raised by the UK Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC) in its annual report, a body that includes Huawei, UK operators and UK government officials. The firm pledged to spend about $2 billion over five years to resolve these issues. However they also claim that: "Huawei has never and will never use UK-based hardware, software or information gathered in the UK or anywhere else globally, to assist other countries in gathering intelligence. We would not do this in any country" -- a claim in sharp contrast to the ability of the Communist Party of China to suborn anyone into doing so. Good to see that Chinese firms still have a sense of humor. As The Economist puts it: "And China's leaders are tightening their grip on business, including firms such as Huawei in which the state has no stake. This influence has been formalized in the National Intelligence Law of 2017, which requires firms to work with China's one-party state."

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NYPD To Google: Stop Revealing the Location of Police Checkpoints

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-02-07 09:00
schwit1 shares a report from the New York Post: The NYPD is calling on Google to yank a feature from its Waze traffic app that tips off drivers to police checkpoints -- warning it could be considered "criminal conduct," according to a report on Wednesday. The department sent a cease-and-desist letter over the weekend demanding Google disable the crowd-sourced app's function that allows motorists to pinpoint police whereabouts, StreetsBlog reported. "Individuals who post the locations of DWI checkpoints may be engaging in criminal conduct since such actions could be intentional attempts to prevent and/or impair the administration of the DWI laws and other relevant criminal and traffic laws," wrote Acting Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters Ann Prunty in the letter, according to the website. My $0.02 is that the NYPD loses on first amendment grounds.

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Reddit, Banned In China, Is Reportedly Set To Land $150 Million Investment From a Chinese Censorship Powerhouse

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-02-07 02:03
Reddit is about to get a huge new round of investment of up to $300 million. As Gizmodo points out, "the first $150 million is reportedly expected to come from the Chinese tech giant Tencent, the first ever Asian technology company to pass a $500 billion market value." The investment is complicated since Reddit is banned in China via the Great Firewall of China. Also, "Tencent is not merely a resident of China's internet -- the company is one of the most important architects of the Great Firewall," reports Gizmodo. "It's an interesting source of cash for a Silicon Valley company whose product is essentially speech." From the report: Tencent is, at great cost and ultimately for great profit, literally reinventing censorship in China. The Great Firewall was not built by the Communist Party in Beijing, it's built by the tech giants all around China. This opaque but clearly powerful relationship between the $500 billion company and the Chinese government raises interesting and unanswered questions about Tencent's forays into the West, including questions about Reddit's future. The pending Chinese investment in Reddit, a social media company with relatively little Chinese-language community, is a richer twist on that old tale, and it's a part of Tencent's expanding global investment strategy. The Chinese company owns about 12 percent of Snap, for instance, even though Snapchat is banned in China. Tencent also owns a piece of the chat app Discord even though, you guessed it, Discord is blocked in China. If Tencent does kick in $150 million on a nearly $3 billion valuation for Reddit, as TechCrunch reports, it will be interesting if we ever find out exactly what it means. What kind of influence and position, if any, will Tencent gain at Reddit? Neither company responded to Gizmodo's questions.

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After Facing Class-Action Lawsuit, Instacart CEO Says It's Taking Steps To Ensure Tips Are Counted Separately From Wages

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-02-07 01:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: On the heels of a recently-filed class action lawsuit over wages and tips, as well as drivers and shoppers speaking out about Instacart's alleged practices of subsidizing wages with tips, Instacart is taking steps to ensure tips are counted separately from what Instacart pays shoppers. In a blog post today, Instacart CEO Apoorva Mehta said all shoppers will now have a guaranteed higher base compensation, paid by Instacart. Depending on the region, Instacart says it will pay shoppers between $7 to $10 at a minimum for full-service orders (shopping, picking and delivering) and $5 at a minimum for delivery-only tasks. The company will also stop including tips in its base pay for shoppers. "After launching our new earnings structure this past October, we noticed that there were small batches where shoppers weren't earning enough for their time," Mehta wrote. "To help with this, we instituted a $10 floor on earnings, inclusive of tips, for all batches. This meant that when Instacart's payment and the customer tip at checkout was below $10, Instacart supplemented the difference. While our intention was to increase the guaranteed payment for small orders, we understand that the inclusion of tips as a part of this guarantee was misguided. We apologize for taking this approach." For the shoppers who were subject that approach, Instacart says it will retroactively pay people whose tips were included in payment minimums. Previously, Instacart guaranteed its workers at least $10 per job, but workers said Instacart offsets wages with tips from customers. The suit alleges Instacart "intentionally and maliciously misappropriated gratuities in order to pay plaintiff's wages even though Instacart maintained that 100 percent of customer tips went directly to shoppers. Based on this representation, Instacart knew customers would believe their tips were being given to shoppers in addition to wages, not to supplement wages entirely."

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Ex-FCC Commissioner Advises T-Mobile, Sprint On $26 Billion Merger

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2019-02-06 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNET: Former FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn is working to help T-Mobile and Sprint get their $26 billion merger approved by regulators. Clyburn, a Democrat, confirmed she's working as a paid consultant to the carriers to advise them on their impending merger. The news of her involvement was first reported by Politico on Monday. The companies, whose merger was announced in April last year, need approval from the Federal Communications Commission and the US Department of Justice. "Affordable broadband access is a critical priority particularly for those Americans who are underserved or currently have no viable options at all," she said in an interview with CNET. "I am advising T-Mobile and Sprint as they seek to accelerate the creation of an inclusive nationwide 5G network on how best to build a bridge across the digital divide that currently exists in our country." Clyburn's involvement in advising the merger is interesting because she was part of the majority on the FCC in 2011 that rejected the merger between AT&T and T-Mobile, concluding that a reduction in the number of national carriers would harm consumers. When the idea of a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint was first floated in 2014, the Democratic-controlled FCC also signaled it wouldn't approve the deal for the same reason. [...] Executives for the companies say they will not raise rates on consumers. In a letter to the FCC on Monday, T-Mobile CEO John Legere made a personal pledge to regulators that the "New T-Mobile" would not raise prices on its service following the merger. Doing so, he said, would erode the relationship with T-Mobile customers.

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House Democrats Tell Ajit Pai: Stop Screwing Over the Public

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2019-02-06 02:10
slack_justyb shares a report from Ars Technica: The House Commerce Committee is "reassuming its traditional role of oversight to ensure the agency is acting in the best interest of the public and consistent with its legislative authority," Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-Penn.) said in an announcement yesterday. Pallone, Jr. and Doyle wrote a letter to Pai, saying that he has made the FCC too secretive and has repeatedly advanced the interests of corporations over consumers. They wrote: "Not only have you have failed on numerous occasions to provide Democratic members of this committee with responses to their inquiries, you have also repeatedly denied or delayed responding to legitimate information requests from the public about agency operations. These actions have denied the public of a full and fair understanding of how the FCC under your leadership has arrived at public policy decisions that impact Americans every day in communities across the country. Under your leadership, the FCC has failed repeatedly to act in the public interest and placed the interest of corporations over consumers. The FCC should be working to advance the goals of public safety, consumer protection, affordable access, and connectivity across the United States. To that end, it is incumbent upon the Committee's leadership and its members to oversee the activities of the FCC." On Thursday this week, the Communications Subcommittee will hold a hearing about the impact of Pai's net neutrality repeal on consumers, small businesses, and free speech. Witnesses who have been invited to testify at the hearing include former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, cable industry chief lobbyist Michael Powell (who is also a former FCC chairman), and representatives of Mozilla, Free Press, and Eastern Oregon Telecom.

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'You Need To Be Very, Very Cautious': US Warns European Allies Not To Use Chinese Gear For 5G Networks

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-02-05 22:10
The United States sees the European Union as its top priority in a global effort to convince allies not to buy Huawei equipment for next-generation mobile networks, a U.S. State Department Official said on Tuesday. From a report: After meetings with the European Commission and the Belgian government in Brussels, U.S. officials are set to take a message to other European capitals that the world's biggest telecommunications gear maker poses a security risk, said the official, who declined to be named. "We are saying you need to be very, very cautious and we are urging folks not to rush ahead and sign contracts with untrusted suppliers from countries like China," the official said. The United States fears China could use the equipment for espionage -- a concern that Huawei Technologies says is unfounded. The push to sideline Huawei in Europe, one of its biggest markets, is likely to deepen trade frictions between Washington and Beijing.

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DuckDuckGo Warns that Google Does Not Respect 'Do Not Track' Browser Setting

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-02-05 19:30
DuckDuckGo cautions internet users that companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter, do not respect the "Do Not Track" setting on web browsers. From a report: According to DuckDuckGo's research, over 77% of US adults are not aware of that fact. The "Do Not Track" (DNT) setting on browsers sends signals to web services to stop tracking a user's activity. However, the DNT setting is only a voluntary signal which websites are not obligated to respect. "It can be alarming to realize that Do Not Track is about as foolproof as putting a sign on your front lawn that says "Please, don't look into my house" while all of your blinds remain open."

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