FCC To Vote On July 2021 Deadline Mandating Carriers Provide Robocall Blocking Services

from 9to5 Mac The Federal Communications Commission has announced that it will vote later this month on rules that would require all carrier and cable companies provide call blocking technology to customers. This comes after Congress passed the Traced Act, and President Trump signed it into law. The law requires the FCC to come up with rules to require voice providers implement the Shaken/Stir protocol to authenticate calls. CNET details the backstory: In June, the FCC proposed and sought public comment on whether it should require providers to use the Shaken/Stir protocol that carriers can implement to authenticate the origin […]

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Justices To Consider Constitutionality Of CFPB Structure

from SCOTUSblog The congressional commission that investigated the 2008 financial crisis concluded that the United States’ consumer-protection system was “too fragmented to be effective.” In response to that finding, in 2010 Congress created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as part of the Dodd-Frank Act. The CFPB – whose website describes the bureau as a “U.S. government agency that makes sure banks, lenders, and other financial companies treat you fairly” – is led by one director appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate to serve a five-year term; once the director has been confirmed, the president can only remove […]

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Susan Fowler: Why I Wrote the Uber Memo

from NYTs On Feb. 18, 2017 — three years ago almost to the day — I sat at my kitchen table, my laptop open, my mind racing. In the two months since I’d quit my job as an entry-level software engineer at Uber, I’d tried to forget what I’d experienced and witnessed there, but it was impossible. In my year at the company, I’d been propositioned over company chat by my new manager on my first day on his team; when I reported the harassment, I was told it was his first offense, but later learned that it wasn’t (he […]

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Even When Weed Is Legal, Employees Face Risks

from Fast Company As more states legalize or move toward legalizing medicinal or recreational cannabis, many may assume that they’re free to partake in accordance with the law. But, for employees, smoking or otherwise ingesting marijuana could possibly lead to disciplinary action or termination by your employer—even if you get high on your own time. According to the National Cannabis Industry Association, 33 states have laws legalizing medical cannabis, and 11 of those also have legalized recreational use. But, even if it’s legal at the state level, federal law still prohibits cannabis use. That can lead to complicated compliance issues, […]

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FCC Accuses Carriers Of Being “Gateways” For Foreign Robocallers

from ars technica The Federal Communications Commission is asking phone carriers for help blocking robocalls made from outside the US and is implementing a congressionally mandated system to trace the origin of illegal robocalls. The FCC yesterday sent letters to seven US-based voice providers “that accept foreign call traffic and terminate it to US consumers.” Tracebacks conducted by the USTelecom trade group and the FCC found that each of these companies’ services is “being used as a gateway into the United States for many apparently illegal robocalls that originate overseas,” the FCC’s letters to the companies say. The FCC letters […]

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Oh Sure, Big Tech Wants Regulation—on Its Own Terms

from NYTs Last week, a global gaggle of billionaires, academics, thought leaders, and other power brokers gathered in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum’s signature annual event. Climate change! The global economy! Health! The agenda was packed with discussion of the most pressing issues of our time. True to form, much of the musing ventured away from root causes. Climate change—barring strong words from Greta Thunberg and other activists—was customarily discussed in the context of financial markets and the economy. Rising inequality was predictably repackaged as a threat to “already-fragile economic growth.” It was an echo of Davos 2019, […]

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Can the Members of the Electoral College Choose Who They Vote For?

from The Brennan Center Every presidential election brings renewed debate about the Electoral College. The discussion resonates even more this year, since Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016 despite losing the popular vote by nearly 3 million. Most of the Democratic presidential candidates want to abolish the Electoral College to ensure the person with the most votes always wins. Changing to direct election of the president could be accomplished through a constitutional amendment or, less permanently, a method such as the National Popular Vote Compact, an agreement among states to award their electoral votes to the candidate who wins […]

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Google Fires Four Employees At Center Of Worker Organization Efforts

from ars technica Tensions between Google parent company Alphabet and its workers are again on the rise, as four employees at the forefront of an organization movement within Google have been fired. The firings came Monday in the wake of an employee rally at Google’s San Francisco office that took place last Friday. The rally was in support of employees Rebecca Rivers and Laurence Berland, both of whom had been placed on administrative leave in the wake of their previous protests against the company. Bloomberg obtained a memo sent to all Google employees on Monday about the firings, which described […]

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The Hong Kong Protesters Aren’t Driven by Hope

from The Atlantic For months now, I’ve been told that Hong Kong’s protests would end soon. They’ll end when school starts, I heard during the summer. School did start, but the protests wore on, only now I saw high-school students in crisp school uniforms joining the protesters’ ranks. Next, the mask ban of early October was supposed to slow protesters down, but the very first day after that ban, I watched streams of protesters in masks and helmets make their way to their usual haunts on Hong Kong Island The government shut down many of the subway lines that day, […]

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Baltimore Officials Pitched On Putting Three Surveillance Planes In The Sky At Once, Covering Most Of City

from The Baltimore Sun The head of an aerial surveillance company is pitching Baltimore officials on flying not one but three camera-laden planes above the city simultaneously, covering most of the city and its violent crime, he said in emails obtained by The Baltimore Sun. A pair of Texas donors have stepped forward to help fund three planes and extra police, 40 local analysts and oversight personnel if there is city buy-in, the records and interviews show. The effort aims to “demonstrate the effectiveness” of such an all-seeing surveillance system in fighting crime in the city. The enlarged scope of […]

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Recent Decision: D.C. Circuit Rules That OPM Breach Victims Have Standing to Sue

from Lawfare With data breach incidents on the rise, federal courts are grappling with the issue of standing in class action lawsuits arising from data breaches. As Lawfare has covered previously, there is arguably a circuit split over whether plaintiffs can establish an “injury in fact,” one of three constitutional standing requirements, on the grounds that a breach has put them at a heightened risk of identity theft. In a 2-1 decision this past summer titled In re: U.S. Office of Personnel Management Data Security Breach Litigation, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit weighed in on that […]

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N.C.A.A. Athletes Could Be Paid Under New California Law

from NYTs It has been a bedrock principle behind college sports: Student-athletes should not be paid beyond the costs of attending a university. California threatened that standard on Monday after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill to allow players to strike endorsement deals and hire agents. The new law, which is supposed to take effect in 2023, attacks the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s long-held philosophy that college athletes should earn a degree, not money, for playing sports. That view, also under assault in several other states and on Capitol Hill, has held up even as the college sports industry swelled […]

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Google Antitrust Investigation Outlined by State Attorneys General

from NYTs The state attorneys general from four dozen states officially declared on Monday that they were beginning investigations into the market power and corporate behavior of big tech companies. The formal declaration, delivered from the steps of the United States Supreme Court by a bipartisan group of state officials, adds investigative muscle and political momentum to the intensifying scrutiny of the tech giants by federal watchdog agencies and Congress. The states are focusing on two targets: Facebook and Google. More here.

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How the U.K. Supreme Court’s Rebuke to Boris Johnson Remakes British Law

from NYTs Britain’s all-consuming debate over Brexit has dragged another of its respected institutions into uncharted territory, as the Supreme Court struck down Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament, an extraordinary intervention by the judiciary into a political dispute. The unanimous decision, handed down on Tuesday, is an unalloyed defeat for Mr. Johnson and will propel Britain into a fresh round of political turmoil. But it is even more significant for what it says about the role of the country’s highest court, which has historically steered clear of politics. By ruling that Mr. Johnson acted unlawfully — and doing […]

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How Big Data Could Help Make It Easier For Landlords To Evict You

from Fast Company It’s easy to track prices of some things: Drive down any major street and you’ll only have to pass a few gas stations to know roughly how much gasoline costs in your area. Turn on the news during the workday, and you’ll quickly learn how the big stock market indexes are faring. Go shopping every week, and you’ll soon know how much bananas or eggs cost at your local supermarket. Real estate is more complicated, partly because so many uncertain factors go into determining prices. Buying or selling a house always involves a bit of gambling on […]

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An Artificial-Intelligence First: Voice-Mimicking Software Reportedly Used In A Major Theft

from WaPo Thieves used voice-mimicking software to imitate a company executive’s speech and dupe his subordinate into sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to a secret account, the company’s insurer said, in a remarkable case that some researchers are calling one of the world’s first publicly reported artificial-intelligence heists. The managing director of a British energy company, believing his boss was on the phone, followed orders one Friday afternoon in March to wire more than $240,000 to an account in Hungary, said representatives from the French insurance giant Euler Hermes, which declined to name the company. The request was “rather […]

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What’s Going to Happen with a Challenge to North Carolina’s Congressional District Partisan Gerrymander? Two Significant Hurdles to a Lawsuit.

from Election Law Blog Democrats are now pondering a state court challenge to North Carolina’s partisan gerrymandering of the state’s 13 congressional districts, following a state court ruling that the state legislative districts are a partisan gerrymander. The U.S. Supreme Court in the Rucho case rejected a challenge to North Carolina’s congressional districts based on the U.S. constitution but that would not preclude a state constitutional challenge. But there are two significant hurdles. More here.

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Who’s at Fault? Read the Fine Print to Make Sure You’re Not at Risk

from NYTs If the old printer at his golf club had not been replaced, Ray Mantle probably would not have realized that he and his friends had been signing a liability waiver that could expose them to expensive litigation and damages. Mr. Mantle, a retired New York lawyer whose specialty was intellectual property, said he had noticed something on the back of the receipt for a golf cart rental at his club, Queen’s Harbour Yacht and Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla., that alarmed him. Appearing clearly in black ink on white paper, thanks to the new printer, was an agreement […]

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‘Blurred Lines’ on Their Minds, Songwriters Create Nervously

from NYTs It’s not easy to be a songwriter in the pop world these days. Listeners rarely see your name. For anything but a giant hit, royalties from streaming are infinitesimal — and big tech companies seem to want to keep it that way. And then there’s the shadow of “Blurred Lines.” Four years after the copyright trial over that No. 1 song — in which Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, its primary writers, were ordered to pay more than $5 million for copying Marvin Gaye’s disco-era hit “Got to Give It Up” — the case still looms over the […]

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