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Technocapitalism: Our Dystopian Present—And Future?

We are living through an incipient technological revolution. AI, blockchain, cryptocurrencies, commercial space travel, and other innovations are rapidly transforming everything from the workplace to the financial architecture of the global economy. While many of these technologies hold vast potential to benefit the social good, the multinational corporations and financial oligarchy that drive innovation and own its products are solely motivated by private profit. The consequences are unfolding all around us. As technology and the power of the oligarchy advances, the misery and disenfranchisement of the majority grows.

CHIPS Ahoy For Stock Buybacks R Us!

Intel, the largest chip maker in America, with 2023 revenues of $54 billion, has just been awarded an $8.5 billion grant from the federal CHIPS and Science Act, plus $11 billion in favorable loans. In addition to badly needed microchips, Intel produces totally useless stock buybacks. On its website the company proudly proclaims to have spent $152 billion on stock buybacks since 1990. That’s not a typo — $152,000,000,000. Which is why I call it Stock Buybacks Я Us. Intel took $152 billion of its revenues, some portion of which could have been used for R&D and building new microchip facilities in the U.S.

Global Censorship In The Name Of Democracy

A report from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) outlines how the government agency has been encouraging governments, tech platforms, establishment media outlets and advertisers to work together to censor huge swaths of the Internet. The 97-page “disinformation primer,” obtained by conservative firm America First Legal under the Freedom of Information Act, purports to be fighting fake news. However, much of the organization’s focus appears to be on preventing individuals from finding information online that challenges official narratives and leads to increased questioning of the system more generally.

US TikTok Ban Aims To Weaken China And Protect Tech Monopolies

The US government has for years threatened to ban TikTok, one of the most popular social media apps in the country. It’s now looking like this might actually happen. This March, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to pass legislation called the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act”. This bill states that it “prohibits distributing, maintaining, or providing internet hosting services for a foreign adversary controlled application (e.g., TikTok)”. It passed with an overwhelming majority of 352 votes in favor and just 65 votes against.

Adidas Exposed By Impostors At Tech Conference

This Wednesday, an "adidas executive" named "Aristide Feldholt" (actually Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men) announced to a huge, standing-room-only crowd at Web Summit — the self-described "largest tech conference in the world" — that adidas would reward tens of thousands of underpaid sweatshop workers, many of whom are owed significant backpay and severance by letting them frolic in a deeply weird VR world called the "adiVerse," paying for it with a cryptocurrency generated by a tiny chip implanted into their bodies. "Aristide" was joined onstage by the multi-platinum "DJ Marshmello" (actually Mike Bonanno of the Yes Men), who dropped his new single, "All Day I Dream (About Back Pay)."

The Google Employee Who Helped Edward Snowden In Hong Kong

Early on the morning of 10 June 2013, Hong Kong time, the journalist Glenn Greenwald and film-maker Laura Poitras published on the Guardian site a video revealing the identity of the NSA whistleblower behind one of the most damning leaks in modern history. It began: “My name is Ed Snowden.” William Fitzgerald, then a 27-year-old policy employee at Google, knew he wanted to help. But he didn’t yet know how. Snowden was arguably the most wanted man in the world. The confidential documents he shared with Greenwald, Poitras and the Guardian’s Ewen MacAskill detailed a sweeping US government surveillance program that was global in reach and involved some of the world’s best known tech companies.

Flexible Work Without Exploitation

Digital platform companies like Uber, Lyft, Instacart, and DoorDash are waging increasingly aggressive campaigns to erode long-standing labor rights and consumer protections in states across the country. Though they rely on the labor of millions of workers to provide their services, platform companies have established a business model on the premise that they employ no one. This business model has been built by denying workers fundamental rights and protections through outright refusal to follow existing laws, widespread misclassification of workers as “independent contractors,” payment of subminimum wages, and shifting of primary risks and costs of doing business onto individual workers, consumers, and public safety net programs.

Tech Layoffs Are About Punishing Workers And Driving Down Wages

In January, amid mass layoffs across the tech industry, Google laid off 6 percent of its workforce, or about 12,000 workers. In protest, dozens of tech workers crowded the sidewalk outside of Google’s Chelsea offices on February 2, sharing stories of laid-off coworkers and urging each other to join the union. The protest took place while executives at Alphabet (Google’s parent company) were on an earnings call with investors, announcing billions in profits. The workers highlighted the cruelty of how workers were told they’d lost their jobs. One anonymous worker shared that they were laid off via email while eating breakfast in the office.

Social Media Is Filled With Spooks!

In this latest edition of “Behind The Headlines”, Lee Camp sat down with Mike Papantonio. Papantonio is one of the most successful lawyers in the U.S., and has built up a reputation for holding corporate America accountable. He has also hosted successful TV and radio shows, such as “Ring of Fire.” In this interview, the two discuss the power and influence of social media. Papantonio’s work has shown that social media is far more nefarious than most of us believe. “The empirical data is very clear. What’s happening right now is that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and all of them have figured out the formula for making a kid stay on their network for as long as possible,” he said. “The studies that these tech companies did were to figure out how to make that kid feel that they aren’t good enough. How do you make them feel like they don’t [shape] up with their peers?

We Need A New Approach To Giant Tech Firms Like Google

Since the 1970s, economists buying into the Chicago School of Antitrust have waved off the dangers of lax antitrust policies, professing that “the market” would sort out issues of competition and punish companies that abuse size and power. The Chicagoans’ narrow focus on direct consumer costs as the sole measure of harm didn’t consider the impact of consolidation on small businesses, start-ups, workers, or, for that matter, democratic norms. Nor did it raise red flags for tech platforms that were touted as “free” for users (while monetizing our attention and personal data). A growing number of critics argue that these basic assumptions are both wrong and outdated, as evidenced by the fact that in many industries, particularly technology, companies have been growing to gargantuan proportions and, as anybody who owns a smartphone is painfully aware, they seem free to gobble competitors, hinder innovation, and serve up crappy, overpriced products.

Former Israeli Spies Work Top Jobs At Google, Facebook And Microsoft

A MintPress study has found that hundreds of former agents of the notorious Israeli spying organization, Unit 8200, have attained positions of influence in many of the world’s biggest tech companies, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon. The Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) Unit 8200 is infamous for surveilling the indigenous Palestinian population, amassing kompromat on individuals for the purposes of blackmail and extortion. Spying on the world’s rich and famous, Unit 8200 hit the headlines last year, after the Pegasus scandal broke. Former Unit 8200 officers designed and implemented software that spied on tens of thousands of politicians and likely aided in the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Big Tech: Knowledge And Information Gatekeepers

At the end of July, Microsoft and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, presented their latest and relatively disappointing economic results blaming it on the macroeconomic distress. What may have gone unnoticed is that both companies referred to their clouds as the main engines of growth. The cloud was also responsible for Amazon’s better-than-expected quarterly results. The cloud refers to computing services, including software, hardware, and platforms offered as services through the Internet instead of running locally on individual computers. By 2025, 45% of the world’s data storage will be on the cloud. We are constantly storing information and accessing online applications through the cloud. Moving operations to the cloud is also crucial for companies.

No Tech For Apartheid

Tech workers held actions in multiple cities Sept. 8, demanding Big Tech drop its Project Nimbus contract with the apartheid police state of Israel. Project Nimbus is a $1.2 billion-dollar contract Amazon and Google have with the Israeli government and military for “cloud computing” that aids in surveillance and persecution of the Palestinian people through artificial intelligence. Actions were held in Seattle, New York City, San Francisco and Durham, North Carolina. In Seattle, activists spoke about reasons why workers will not support the Zionist project and oppose the cooperation of Israeli forces with the Seattle Police Department. The Palestinian people face untold horrors of oppression by the Israeli government.

Court Rejects Google’s Attempt to Dismiss Rumble’s Antitrust Lawsuit

California - A federal district court in California on Friday denied Google's motion to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that the Silicon Valley giant is violating federal antitrust laws by preventing fair competition against its YouTube video platform. The lawsuit against Google, which has owned YouTube since its 2006 purchase for $1.65 billion, was brought in early 2021 by Rumble, the free speech competitor to YouTube. Its central claim is that Google's abuse of its monopolistic stranglehold on search engines to destroy all competitors to its various other platforms is illegal under the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, which makes it unlawful to “monopolize, or attempt to monopolize…any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations.”

Three Examples Of Large Tech Co-ops

The most valuable companies in the stock market today can be found in the technology sector. The first publicly traded company in history to reach a $1 trillion valuation was Apple in 2018. While it took the company more than 40 years to reach that milestone, less than four years later its valuation has increased by a further two trillion, reaching another record breaking $3 trillion. The “trillion dollar club” has also since expanded to include three more companies - all of them in the technology sector. However, the markets appear to be falling out of love with the big tech . Earlier in 2022 Facebook lost $230bn in value in the biggest one-day stock plunge in history. It has since been overshadowed by several similar collapses that have (as of today) erased more than $2.6 trillion from the value of the five largest tech companies since the start of the year.
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