Privacy Advocates Sue Virginia Police Over Data From Automatic License Plate Scanners

Privacy Advocates Sue Virginia Police Over Data From Automatic License Plate Scanners

By itself, your license plate doesn’t say much except in what state, month, and year you registered your car. But start tracking where and when that license plate goes, and you’ve suddenly got a whole huge pile of personal data about all the comings and goings in someone’s life. We’ve reported before that license plate scanning by public and private entities is both widespread and unregulated. Now, the ACLU is suing police in one state to get them to stop. [More]

Congress Has One Month Left To Change Or Renew Controversial Bulk Phone Data Surveillance Program

Congress Has One Month Left To Change Or Renew Controversial Bulk Phone Data Surveillance Program

It’s been two years since we found out that the NSA has been quietly scooping up basically everyone’s phone records, willy-nilly, without warrants. The revelations of widespread surveillance freaked plenty of people out, but under existing law, the agency has acted legally. To get change, then, you’d need to change the law… and Congress has 33 days remaining in which to do exactly that. [More]

(Josh Bassett)

Lawmakers Receiving Anti-Net Neutrality Messages From People Who Never Sent Them

In the wake of the FCC’s vote to adopt the new net neutrality rule, Americans of every stripe have bombarded their lawmakers with feedback. Some applaud the rule; others condemn the action. And that is all well and good: it’s the American system of democracy at work, exactly as designed. [More]

Lawmakers Want To Know Who’s Tracking You Online, And Where The Info Goes

Lawmakers Want To Know Who’s Tracking You Online, And Where The Info Goes

Everything you do online — on your phone, on your computer, with anything — leaves a digital wake. Put those trails together and you’ve got one massive big data industry that can (and does) track it all and sell it to the highest bidder. After decades of digital detritus building up, regulators and Congress both are contemplating some steps that would help protect consumers’ info. [More]

(Steve)

FCC Officially Votes To Protect Net Neutrality, Reclassify Broadband

In a landmark decision today, the FCC voted 3-2 to create enforceable, bright-line rules protecting the open internet using their Title II authority to reclassify broadband internet as a telecommunications service. [More]

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler speaking at the FCC's Open Meeting on February 26, 2015.

FCC Votes To Allow Cities To Expand Broadband Networks

As expected, the FCC today has confirmed an order permitting two cities to expand their existing municipal fiber broadband networks despite state-level laws that block them from doing so. [More]

Why Big Companies Spend So Much Money On Washington: It Works Even Better Than You Think

Why Big Companies Spend So Much Money On Washington: It Works Even Better Than You Think

That money talks in Washington is conventional wisdom for a reason. Corporations, industries, and a handful of extraordinarily wealthy individuals spend big bucks on campaigns and on lobbying not for fun, but because they expect to get something back in return. And while adding up all those expenditures is comparatively straightforward, finding out who gets how much back has been harder… until now. A new study finds that billions of dollars might go into D.C., but trillions are coming back out. [More]

Tim Wu speaking at a net neutrality rally outside the FCC on May 15.

Originator of “Net Neutrality” Running For Office In New York, Hopes To Prevent Comcast/TWC Merger

The academic who coined the term “net neutrality,” and who has been among its most vocal advocates, is now running for office in New York. Tim Wu hopes to become lieutenant governor after what he describes as a “start-up campaign,” and he’s running with a tech-focused message: that New York needs to act against the merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable. [More]

(carlylutzmann)

FCC Chairman: FCC Should Preempt State Laws That Ban Or Restrict Municipal Broadband

Broadband competition in the United States stinks. One alternative is for local entities — cities and municipalities — to create their own public networks, when big companies like Comcast don’t or won’t serve them. But in 40% of states, there are laws on the books implicitly or explicitly forbidding public broadband. This week, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler appears to be making good on his earlier remarks and is directly challenging those state laws. [More]

Caught In A Never-Ending Torrent Of Political Spam

Caught In A Never-Ending Torrent Of Political Spam

Somehow, a political group Jeff happens to disagree with got hold of his e-mail address, and started sending him junk mail. Then another got his address. And another. He’s not sure how he got on the lists, but he wants right-wing groups to stop sending him stuff and sharing his e-mail address with each other. How? [More]

Election Day Robocall Barrage Takes Out Comcast Phone
Service In New England

Election Day Robocall Barrage Takes Out Comcast Phone Service In New England

Political robocalls annoy the hell out of just about everyone, but on Election Day Eve this year in New England, things somehow got even worse. A barrage of last-minute automated calls to voters in New Hampshire and part of Massachusetts actually took down Comcast’s phone network. “Between 5:30 pm and 7pm, whenever I tried to call out on Comcast VOIP the phone either would not dial or there would be a message saying all circuits were busy,” writes David, who lives in the affected area. “I know – I should cancel the landline!” Only if the robocallers have your number. [More]

In-Store Dance Protest Hits Target, To The Tune Of "People Are People"

In-Store Dance Protest Hits Target, To The Tune Of "People Are People"

Wondering how that Target boycott is going? Here’s a video of an in-store protest complete with dance routine and Improv Everywhere type theatrics, set to the tune of Depeche Mode’s “People are People.” [More]

Are Travel Boycotts Hurting Arizona Hotels? Will They?

Are Travel Boycotts Hurting Arizona Hotels? Will They?

The controversial immigration law passed by Arizona’s government back in April has lead to over 20 organizations (including cities, towns, school districts, churches and universities) joining a travel boycott of the state. But is it hurting business? Too soon to tell, says USAToday. [More]

More Than 40 Experts Issue Call For More Government Stimulus And Tax Credits

More Than 40 Experts Issue Call For More Government Stimulus And Tax Credits

Online news site The Daily Beast is apparently tired of this whole “floundering economy” thing, so it got more than a dozen economists and historians to come together and issue a manifesto yesterday calling on the U.S. government to “reboot America.” By the end of the day, the number of experts supporting the manifesto increased to more than 40. They argue that the government has to help return lost purchasing power to the unemployed and must use tax cuts and stimulus to boost overall demand, or we’ll never make it out of this slump. [More]

Actually, You're Paying The Lowest Amount Of Taxes In 60 Years

Actually, You're Paying The Lowest Amount Of Taxes In 60 Years

It may not feel like it, but it turns out that you are paying really low taxes right now, the lowest in 60 years, in fact, according to a new analysis of Federal data. [More]

Pay Your Doctor In Chickens

Pay Your Doctor In Chickens

Sue Lowden, a senate candidate in Nevada, says if you want to combat health care costs you should consider bartering with your doctor. In an appearance on a local political talk show yesterday, she clarified her proposal: [More]

This Is How You Debate Health Care Reform, Brooklyn Style!

This Is How You Debate Health Care Reform, Brooklyn Style!

“The Republican Party is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the insurance industry.” So said Rep. Anthony Weiner of Brooklyn last month in front of Congress. As we move towards a historic vote on health care reform, let’s take a moment to throw some gas on the fire and revisit some of the awesomely incendiary rhetoric of this statesman on revamping our health care system. Now this a healthy health care debate! [More]

Consumer Financial Protection Agency On The Chopping Block

Consumer Financial Protection Agency On The Chopping Block

According to the Wall Street Journal, Senator Chris Dodd, a Democrat from Connecticut, has offered to abandon the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) proposal in exchange for Republican support on other legislation. Nobody is saying anything official right now, but the WSJ reports that “the offer is conditional on the creation of a stronger consumer protection division within another federal agency.” [More]