Tag Archives | Corporation Watch

No Fare!

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Monday

As usual, the weekend off messed with my circadian rhythm and I have not had a wink of sleep, even with my generic iPhone harp alarm set to a late 5 o’clock. But the hour later setting was not an attempt at extending my sleepless bed time for a chance that I might actually get some. It was in the hopes that Tony will call me preemptively from the Citizen’s Cab office asking if I want to take the day off and get covered by one of the (now defunct) Arrow Cab transplants hoping to go out. Tony has gotten wise to my all too frequent call-ins on Mondays asking to get covered, on account of lack of sleep. Hence, he’s taken to sometimes calling me first, around 5. Anyway, the last thing a cabbie wants is to start out a 10-hour shift on the cutthroat streets of San Francisco tired and set like a trap ready to spring.

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Cell Phone Radiation Is Probably Cooking Your Brain and Balls (and What You Can Do About It)

mobilize

Via Midwest Real

Kevin Kunze is the filmmaker behind Mobilize, an investigative documentary exploring the negative long-term health effects of cell phone radiation. The film examines recent scientific research, follows national legislative efforts, and exposes the influence that technology companies have on public health.

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This is an unfortunate rabbit hole my friends, because I love me some technology. I’m constantly ranting about it, tweeting about it, or manipulating it in some manner. It’s certainly not lost on me that without it, this show and this site wouldn’t even exist in the first place. I’ll even go out on a limb and say that technology and the insatiable, uniquely human, desire to continually lift our circumstances is intimately intertwined with the destiny of mankind (if that’s a thing).

As Terence McKenna put it:

“Technology is the real skin of our species… We take in matter that has a low degree of organization; we put it through mental filters, and we extrude jewelry, gospels, space shuttles.

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Who owns your face?

Screen shot via.

Screen shot via.

Jeff John Roberts via Fortune:

In a fateful moment for privacy, Facebook’s “Moments” uses facial recognition to expose where people went and who they were with.

What a bad week for privacy. Consumer watchdogs gave up on government talks over facial recognition software after industry groups appeared to reject even basic restrictions on face-scanning. Meanwhile, Facebook rolled out a new service called “Moments” that expands the use of the company’s powerful “faceprint” technology.

This doesn’t mean the privacy apocalypse is upon us; for now least, the Facebook “Moments” tool is just one more creepy-but-useful social media innovation. But if loss of liberty happens gradually, June of 2015 could be a watershed we look back on with regret. It marks a time when we took new steps towards accepting the use of our very faces as a universal ID card – without deciding on the rules for using it.

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Retailers want to use facial recognition technology without your permission

Justin Pickard (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Justin Pickard (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Privacy advocates left a government organized meeting after corporation advocates “refused to concede that there was any scenario during which a person’s consent to scan their face was needed.”

Cyrus Farivar at Ars Technica:

After more than a year of discussions, all nine privacy advocates have stormed out of a government-organized “multi-stakeholder process” to sort out details around the best practices for facial recognition technology.

The sticking point was that corporations apparently refused to concede that there was any scenario during which a person’s consent to scan their face was needed.

“When we came in [last] Thursday, [we proposed] that in general, there will be exceptions, but the default for identifying unknown people is that you get permission before you identify them using facial recognition,” Alvaro Bedoya, one of the nine participating advocates and a law professor at Georgetown University, told Ars. 

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CETA, the corporate lobby and the new transatlantic economy

corporate-charterThe Council of Canadians says corporations have direct influence over the terms of the Canada-EU trade deal and have used it to introduce policies that favour them over the public.

Sujata Dey, Trade Campaigner for the Council of Canadians says, “The push for multilateral trade deals is (though they say it’s for lower tariffs and more economic opportunity) usually because business interests are pushing the deals. There’s a huge amount of lobbying going on.”

Dey says that not only are businesses pushing for free trade policies, but are then often involved in writing the terms of the agreements between states.

Dey says, “There are all kinds of lobby groups working on the deal. It’s nebulous because it’s impossible to put our finger on who’s doing what, but groups like Business-Europe are very involved in lobbying, even the NGO tables and half of the NGOs are industry associations. It’s a horrible process that reflects the interest of the corporate agenda.”

Dey continues, “The people around the table are the people who make the decisions.… Read the rest

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AI: Coming to a Sexbot Near You

Robotica

Aaron Krumens Via Extreme Tech:

While the cynical among us knew it was only a matter of time before the rise of the sexbots, the partnering of RealDoll — maker of high end sex mannequins — with Hanson Robotics has moved that eventuality one step closer to reality.

This new venture has been dubbed Realbotix by founder and CEO Matt McMullen of RealDoll. The goal is to endow the RealDoll line of sex figurines with some basic animation, transforming them from immobile mannequins to full on androids that can follow commands and verbally respond to the user. This advanced line of sex dolls will come equipped with animatronic heads, capable of blinking and opening their mouths suggestively. The dolls will reportedly also make use of a mobile app and a virtual reality headset, whereby the physical doll provides haptic feedback for interactions taking place within the virtual reality console.

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Humans are Infinitely more Dangerous than Robots

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Michael Lee Via IEET/World Future Society:

Innovator Elon Musk was widely reported in the media when he described artificial intelligence (AI) as probably the most serious threat to the survival of the human race. [1] But while artificial intelligence systems will certainly take over an increasing range and number of jobs formerly carried out by people, humans will remain infinitely more dangerous than robots for generations to come.

It is humans who have masterminded organised crime and its global empire of fraud and sex slavery. It is people who are behind today’s worldwide scourge of domestic violence. It was two brothers who raided the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical weekly magazine, in which 12 people were killed. It was a young man with suicidal inclinations who co-piloted the Germanwings plane into the French Alps at 430mph, killing all 150 people on board. It was Al-Shabaab gunmen who stormed the residences of the Garissa University College in Northern Kenya while the students were sleeping, murdering at least 148 people in cold blood and injuring 79 others.

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Reason Magazine Subpoena Stomps on Free Speech

Stephen Melkisethian (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Stephen Melkisethian (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Virginia Postrel Via Bloomberg View:

Wielding subpoenas demanding information on anonymous commenters, the government is harassing a respected journalism site that dissents from its policies. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York claims these comments could constitute violent threats, even though they’re clearly hyperbolic political rhetoric.

This is happening in America — weirdly, to a site I founded, and one whose commenters often earned my public contempt.

Los Angeles legal blogger Ken White has obtained a grand jury subpoena issued to Reason.com, the online home of the libertarian magazine I edited throughout the 1990s. The subpoena seeks information about commenters who posted in response to an article by the site’s editor Nick Gillespie about the letter that Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht wrote to Judge Katherine B. Forrest before she sentenced him to life in prison without parole. Ulbricht was convicted of seven felony charges, included conspiracies to traffic in narcotics and launder money, and faced a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.

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An 8-year-old Falls Into One of Mexico’s Most Contaminated Rivers. 18 Days Later, He’s Dead.

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At Fusion, Steve Fisher reports on how many companies (mostly US owned) dump toxic chemicals in Mexico’s rivers:

It was a warm sunny afternoon in 2008 in the dusty suburb of La Azucena. Eight-year-old Miguel Ángel Lopez Rocha was kicking a ball with his friends. A group of boys were playing near the Ahogado Canal, a tributary to the Santiago River and a recipient of factory discharge, that cuts through one of the most prosperous industrial zones in Mexico, located in El Salto, Jalisco.

Someone kicked the ball into the canal. It was Lopez Rocha’s turn to retrieve it. As he reached down to pick it up, he tripped and fell directly into the backwaters of the canal.

Later that night, feeling dizzy, Lopez Rocha stumbled into the bathroom. He was vomiting profusely. His mother rushed him to a hospital in nearby Guadalajara, where doctors quickly determined that the young boy was suffering from arsenic poisoning.

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