Do you work in a corrupt industry? The Daily Beast took a look at data gathered by Transparency International, a “global anti-corruption think tank,” and put together a list of America’s most corrupt professions. Everyone may be hating on Wall Street right now, but the worst offenders according to the criteria used are utilities. In second and third place were Wall Street and telecommunications, and media came in fifth, well before banking, insurance, or retail. [More]
Senator Charles Schumer is upset on your behalf over Facebook’s latest loosening of its privacy policies, and yesterday he called for the FTC to step in and provide some guidance, offering to introduce legislation if the agency feels it needs that extra authority. Specifically, Schumer wants three things: opt-out defaults should be switched to opt-in, sites should always disclose where the information is going, and there should be some general “guidelines for user privacy” that sites follow. [More]
The White House has released potions of a speech to be made by the president later today in NYC. In it Mr. Obama calls on banking industry lobbyists to halt their efforts to stop financial reforms that he feels are in the best interest of the market and the country. [More]
The consumer group Consumer Watchdog is planning to ask the Justice Department to “launch an antitrust action against the search giant and seek remedies including a possible break up,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The group will host a press conference in Washington, D.C. tomorrow where it will argue that there’s enough evidence to warrant antitrust action from the feds. [More]
The Washington Post reports that thanks to legislative compromise, banks and mortgage brokers may be the only financial institutions regulated by the proposed federal Consumer Financial Protection Agency–leaving entities that loan money but don’t hold bank charters, such as auto dealers, pawn shops, and payday lenders, unregulated by the industry. Now an unholy alliance of banking industry groups and consumer advocates are fighting the proposal, each for their own reasons. [More]
“Tobacco products today are really the only human-consumed product that we don’t know what’s in them,” the director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products said to the Associated Press. To address that, the agency has told tobacco companies to provide a list of the ingredients in their cigarette brands by June 2010. The FDA says it won’t publicize a lot of the data in order to protect trade secrets, but that by June 2011 it will publish a list of “harmful and potentially harmful” ingredients, at which point tobacco companies will have to start listing the amounts of each one on their products. [More]
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]
Despite the passage of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (“Credit CARD Act”), there are still fee traps out there waiting to snare you. [More]
The FDA says that companies have 30 days to convince them that caffeinated alcoholic beverages are safe and legal, because they don’t seem to remember approving them.
The SEC’s inspector general has released a jailhouse interview in which his royal Ponziness, Bernie Madoff himself, explains that he got away with his scheme because the SEC basically sucks.
In the net neutrality debate, there are a surprising number of grassroots organizations (well, surprising to me at any rate) that have filed statements against the FCC’s recent draft of rules. Matthew Lasar at Ars Technica just published an interesting article where he looks at some of these groups and tries to figure out whether AT&T is secretly influencing them, or whether they really do think net neutrality will hurt those they represent–frequently minority groups–in the long run.
Yesterday the FCC announced new, expanded rules enforcing net neutrality, and they’ve set aside the next 60 days for public debate. Get ready to hear all sorts of creative end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it arguments from opponents like AT&T. We’ve checked out the official document (pdf) and below we summarize the changes that are open to public discussion for the next two months.
A reader sent us a letter that AT&T sent to its employees asking them to tell the FCC they oppose net neutrality. This comes after the FCC announced plans to investigate and enact net neutrality rules that will ensure that internet service providers (like AT&T) treat all content equally. The letter and a rebuttal are inside.
As soon as next month, California may become the first state to implement energy consumption rule for big screen TV sets similar to the ones for refrigerators and air conditioners. A trade group has been adamantly opposing it, reports the Los Angeles Times, but hasn’t found much sympathy from the California Energy Commission, which may be able to avoid building a $600 million natural gas power plant if they can cut back on energy guzzling sets.
Before you bite into that juicy hamburger, you might want to better understand how the meat industry creates, tests (or doesn’t test), then distributes ground beef. A detailed investigation by Michael Moss at the New York Times proves eating it is “still a gamble. Neither the system meant to make the meat safe, nor the meat itself, is what consumers have been led to believe.”