Archive | Corporate Skeptics

Talking to Students at Bangkok’s Hunger Games Protest

imagesvia Vice:

​The Hunger Games movies have become a sym​bol of covert defiance and political expression for protestors in Thailand against the military junta running the country. The newest film opened at the box office this week, and by the end of its first day, three activists had been arrested and the Deputy Prime Minister had to get involved.

Shortly after the Thai army staged a coup d’état on May 22—the 12th successful coup in the past century—protesters began flashing the three-finger salute seen in the Hunger Games to show their opposition to the military takeover. Characters in the Hollywood blockbuster also raise the salute as an act of rebellion against an authoritarian regime, but as anti-coup activists in Thailand will tell you, the struggle here is quite real.

Since seizing power, Thailand’s military government has banned all political protests and criticism of the regime.

On Wednesday, three student activists were arrested during their effort to organize a mass viewing of the movie’s latest instalment [sic], The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I, which opened in theaters across Thailand.

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Walmart Workers Chain Massive Food Donation Bin Outside Home Of Alice Walton

(photo: @other98)

(photo: @other98)

via Consumerist:

Just days after another Walmart launched the holiday giving season by placing a food donation bin for employees to help out their co-workers in need, some workers have placed a much larger bin outside the home of someone who makes a little bit more than $10/hour from the nation’s largest retailer — Alice Walton.

Alice is the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton. And while the business is publicly traded, the Walton family owns more than half of that stock, making Alice one of the world’s wealthiest people.

Read More: http://consumerist.com/2014/11/24/walmart-workers-chain-massive-food-donation-bin-outside-home-of-alice-walton/

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‘Tactics as Dirty as Their Oil': Leaked Docs Reveal TransCanada’s Propaganda Plan

Keystone XL demonstration, White House, 8-23-2011 Josh Lopez, CC BY 2.0

Keystone XL demonstration, White House, 8-23-2011
Josh Lopez, CC BY 2.0

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

Internal strategy documents prepared by a public relations firm on behalf of Canadian pipeline giant TransCanada reveal details of an enormous and well-organized effort by the oil industry to neutralize the transnational grassroots movement which has grown up around the industry’s effort to expand tar sands mining and the building of huge infrastructure projects designed to get “the world’s dirtest fuel” to market.

Obtained by Greenpeace and given to The Guardian newspaper, the documents show that TransCanada—which has proposed building a pipeline called Energy East to bring tar sands from Alberta to New Brusnwick through the largest such pipeline ever built—is aligned with other oil and gas companies placing serious resources of time, money, and personnel into countering the growing climate justice movement which has so far successfully delayed building the Keystone XL pipelein and affirmed its commitment to stopping similar projects in the name of fighting global warming and the resulting threat of climate change.

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Mall threatens to fine stores $200 an hour for being closed on Thanksgiving

Tim Sackton (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Tim Sackton (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via The Week:

So much for being home for the holidays.

A shopping mall in upstate New York has apparently threatened to fine retailers the insane sum of $200 an hour if they aren’t open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

Walden Galleria, the Buffalo mall in question, has more than 200 stores, and the mall apparently revealed the fine in a meeting of store managers last week. This year marks the first that Walden Galleria is opening in the middle of Thanksgiving, managers told The Huffington Post.

Read More: http://theweek.com/speedreads/index/271965/speedreads-mall-threatens-to-fine-stores-200-an-hour-for-being-closed-on-thanksgiving

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Unlike Other Tech Giants, Amazon Doubles Down on Coal

Zhao !  (CC BY 2.0)

Zhao ! (CC BY 2.0)

via Cleantechnica:

“Use the Web? Congrats! You’re an environmentalist.” So said a headline in the Washington Post last week, and with good reason: some of the biggest names behind the internet are powering their data centers with wind and solar power.

That’s important because the internet uses a lot of electricity. If the internet were a country, its electricity demand would rank as the sixth largest in the world.

The Washington Post story focused on search engines, and indeed Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft are increasingly powering their data centers with wind power in places like Iowa, Oklahoma, and Texas. But it’s not just search: Apple is powering its data centers, replete with all of our iTunes, with 100% renewable energy from wind, solar, geothermal, and microhydro power. Facebook is aiming for the same goal, and is purchasing massive quantities of wind power in Iowa to power our likes and shares in its data center there.

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Google just removed the biggest obstacle to its real-world surveillance system’s spread

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 9.49.33 PM

via Pando Daily:

Nest plans to offer its smart thermostat to Irish consumers for free when they sign up for a two-year contract with Electric Ireland. Nest chief executive Tony Fadell said at the Web Summit in Dublin that the deal could put his company’s thermostats in up to 1.6 million homes, according to CNET, and claimed that similar deals would be announced for other countries in the future.

It makes sense for Nest to give away its thermostat. Most consumers are unlikely to spend $250 on an Internet-connected thermostat, but they might be willing to have one installed if one is offered for free whenever they sign a contract with a utilities company. (Though they might also do what Samsung’s customers did when it offered free smartwatches and try to resell them online.)

This is a familiar tactic. It’s probably how you purchased your smartphone: You signed on for a two-year contract with a wireless carrier, purchased a subsidized device, and paid it off as part of your inflated monthly payments.

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Former employee protests Amazon tactics, vows to hold vigil at HQ for ‘days, weeks, months, or longer’

kivin

via Geekwire:

Kivin Varghese, a former Amazon employee involved in a protracted legal dispute with the company, says he will protest outside Amazon’s Seattle headquarters for six to ten hours a day until the company addresses his allegations of deceptive and unethical business practices, as laid out in a 29-page letter from Varghese to CEO Jeff Bezos and the Amazon board.

“I don’t care whether it takes days, weeks, months, or longer,” says Varghese, pictured here as he began what he described as a “quiet vigil” this morning at Amazon HQ in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood.

In his letter and lawsuit, Varghese alleges that his former manager and Amazon executives covered up problems that caused an Amazon advertising customer, Discover, to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars on a Kindle advertising campaign.

He alleges that he was fired in retaliation for raising the issues internally — using backdated and falsified performance reviews to justify his termination — and that his manager was subsequently promoted despite evidence that her own resume contained false information.

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Secret Manuals Show the Spyware Sold to Despots and Cops Worldwide

elhombredenegro (CC By 2.0)

elhombredenegro (CC By 2.0)

via First Look:

When Apple and Google unveiled new encryption schemes last month, law enforcement officials complained that they wouldn’t be able to unlock evidence on criminals’ digital devices. What they didn’t say is that there are already methods to bypass encryption, thanks to off-the-shelf digital implants readily available to the smallest national agencies and the largest city police forces — easy-to-use software that takes over and monitors digital devices in real time, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.

We’re publishing in full, for the first time, manuals explaining the prominent commercial implant software “Remote Control System,” manufactured by the Italian company Hacking Team. Despite FBI director James Comey’s dire warnings about the impact of widespread data scrambling — “criminals and terrorists would like nothing more,” he declared — Hacking Team explicitly promises on its website that its software can “defeat encryption.”

Read More: https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/10/30/hacking-team/

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