Archive | Corporate Skeptics

Welcome to Life: The Singularity, Ruined by Corporations

It’s easy to fantasize about what the singularity could bring us. YouTube user Tom Scott has created perhaps the most likely — and most depressing — scenario of what our technological futures could hold.

You die. Your consciousness is uploaded to the Life Network and now you have to choose from three tiers.

Tier One — Uninterrupted simulation.
Tier Two — Advertiser supported offer. You may see targeted advertisements from sponsors in the sky and other places.
Tier Three — Value offering thanks to commercial partners. Complicated mental processes, such as creativity and self-awareness, may be dulled or disabled in times of high server activity.

And it only gets eerier…

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Stop CISA: Join EFF in a Week of Action Opposing Broad “Cybersecurity” Surveillance Legislation

How do you kill a zombie bill like CISA? Grassroots action. That’s why EFF and over a dozen other groups are asking you to join us in a Week of Action to Stop CISA.  The Senate is likely to vote on the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) in the coming weeks, and only you can help us stop it.

We keep hearing that CISA and the other “cybersecurity” bills moving through Congress are “must-pass” legislation. But just like the original version of CISA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), we think grassroots activism can stop this legislation in its tracks.

CISA is fundamentally flawed because of its broad immunity clauses for companies, vague definitions, and aggressive spying powers. Combined, they make the bill a surveillance bill in disguise. The bill may even make things worse for Internet users in several ways.

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Chrysler recalls 1.4 million vehicles due to hacking danger

We all pretty much saw this one coming. You have cars that can switch into automated drive. This poses a danger in which unscrupulous tech-wizards can hack vehicles while you’re driving. We have already seen cases where loan agents can disable an individual’s vehicle by smartphone if the owner of the vehicle misses a payment. We have seen the conspiracy theories that the death of journalist Michael Hastings was brought about by the CIA taking control of his car through computer devices and causing it to crash. Now here is a first — Chrysler recalls 1.4 million vehicles so their onboard computers can be upgraded for the purpose of reducing the chances they can be hacked.

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Healthcare ‘Oligopoly Wave’ Continues As Anthem Gobbles Cigna

Image from Maryland health care justice march in October 2013. (Photo: United Workers/flickr/cc)

Image from Maryland health care justice march in October 2013. (Photo: United Workers/flickr/cc)

This post originally appeared on Common Dreams. See more of Sarah Lazare’s articles here.

The health insurance giant Anthem announced Friday that it is buying its behemoth rival Cigna for $54.2 billion, launching the largest such merger the country has ever seen and reducing the number of major U.S. insurers to a paltry three.

Analysts and human rights campaigners warn that the move is poised to further slash access to healthcare and hike prices across the country, illustrating the problems with the for-profit model in terms of delivering vital services.

The mega deal comes less than a month after insurance giant Aetna acquired Humana for $37 billion, part of a nationwide push to consolidate in what the Wall Street Journal referred to earlier this year as an “oligopoly wave.”

The Anthem and Cigna merger is expected to be finalized in 2016, after which the joint company will provide coverage for at least 53 million people.… Read the rest

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Another Unethical For-Profit College Brought to Light

Students, parents, and all-around consumers and taxpayers are growing increasingly skeptical of the dubious for-profit college model that promises valuable degrees (and ultimately, jobs) but instead leave students with crippling debt and few career options upon graduation. Rising public scrutiny in the wake of lawsuits concerning predatory loans, lack of job placement assistance, misleading recruitment claims, and deceptive financial aid activities have begun to have an effect on this industry’s worst offenders. EDMC (parent company of the Art Institutes) was sued until their stock dropped so far they eventually delisted from the NASDAQ last November, while Corinthian Colleges is selling off or shutting down campuses as it faces lawsuits and investigations from multiple state and federal agencies.

At the Huffington Post, Kyle McCarthy writes about another culprit: Globe University and the Minnesota School of Business (MSB), part of the Globe Education Network responsible for more than 30 for-profit colleges with sky-high tuition, outrageous debt, low graduation rates, high default rates, and more than their share of dirty laundry.… Read the rest

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Electronic Frontier Foundation celebrates 25 years of defending online privacy

EFF Photos (CC BY 2.0)

EFF Photos (CC BY 2.0)

Maria Korolov via CSO Online:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the digital world’s top watchdog when it comes to privacy and free expression.

But while cops and firefighters are often ready to retire after 25 years on the job, protecting citizens, the EFF has a full agenda as it celebrates its 25th anniversary today.

The EFF was founded in 1990, when the Web still had just one webpage. Its first major case was one in which the U.S. Secret Service, hunting a stolen document, raided a company’s computers, computers that were also used to run an online bulletin board, and read and deleted those users’ messages.

The company, Steve Jackson Games, and some of the users of that bulletin board, thought that the government overstepped its warrant.

The situation inspired former Lotus president Mitch Kapor, Sun Microsystems employee John Gilmore and John Perry Barlow, cattle rancher and Greatful Dead lyricist to form the EFF and represent Steve Jackson Games and their users against the U.S.

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The Art of Breaking Chains and Taking Names

Brian Smithson (CC BY 2.0)

Brian Smithson (CC BY 2.0)

Gary Z McGee via Waking Times:

“The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, and intolerable.”H.L. Mencken

Here’s the thing: you are a force to be reckoned with. The question is, what kind of force are you? Are you a weak force or a strong force? Are you indifferent or cool with being different? Are you ordinary or extraordinary? Are you healthy or unhealthy? Are you a victim or a warrior? Are you codependent or independent? Are you a pawn or have you learned how to turn the tables on power? Are you a lamb afraid of wolves or are you a lion keeping wolves in check?

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The 10 Inventions of Nikola Tesla That Changed The World

"Tesla circa 1890" by Napoleon Sarony - postcard (radiographics.rsna.org). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Tesla circa 1890” by Napoleon Sarony – postcard (radiographics.rsna.org). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

This post was originally published on Activist Post

Nikola Tesla is finally beginning to attract real attention and encourage serious debate more than 70 years after his death.

Was he for real? A crackpot? Part of an early experiment in corporate-government control?

We know that he was undoubtedly persecuted by the energy power brokers of his day — namely Thomas Edison, whom we are taught in school to revere as a genius.  He was also attacked by J.P. Morgan and other “captains of industry.” Upon Tesla’s death on January 7th, 1943, the U.S. government moved into his lab and apartment confiscating all of his scientific research, some of which has been released by the FBI through the Freedom of Information Act. (I’ve embedded the first 250 pages below and have added a link to the .pdf of the final pages, 290 in total).… Read the rest

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Big Oil Knew. Big Oil Lied.

A new report, The Climate Deception Dossiers, chronicles how Exxon and other major fossil fuel companies did not take action to disclose or reduce climate risks in the ensuing years, but instead actively misled the public and policymakers about them. (Image: Union of Concerned Scientists)

A new report, The Climate Deception Dossiers, chronicles how Exxon and other major fossil fuel companies did not take action to disclose or reduce climate risks in the ensuing years, but instead actively misled the public and policymakers about them. (Image: Union of Concerned Scientists)

This post originally appeared on Common Dreams. See more of Jon Queally’s articles here.

They knew. They lied. And the planet and its people are now paying the ultimate price.

It’s no secret that the fossil fuel industry—the set of companies and corporate interests which profit most from the burning of coal, oil, and gas—have been the largest purveyors and funders of climate change denialism in the world.

Now, a new set of documents and a report released by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) answers the age-old question always asked when it comes to crimes of corruption, cover-up, and moral defiance: What did they know and when did they know it?Read the rest

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