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Silicon Valley

US Government Is World’s Worst Violator Of Freedom Of Press

The US government employs many strategies to try to justify its intervention in the internal affairs and violation of the sovereignty of foreign nations. Chief among these deceptive tactics is Washington’s weaponization of accusations that its adversaries violate the freedom of expression. This is quite ironic, given that the United States is the world’s leading violator of press freedoms, according to any consistent definition of the term. And unlike the countries that Washington claims supposedly repress the freedom of expression within their borders, US government censorship of independent media outlets and suppression of alternative voices is global, hurting people across the planet. The Joe Biden administration has in particular gone to great lengths to depict itself as a defender of civil liberties.

The Gig Economy Needs Worker-Owned Apps

That’s the idea! Presently, the so-called sharing economy often evades employee and consumer protection regulations, which is bad news for workers. But the underlying technology has its advantages: By cutting out the Silicon Valley middlemen, platform co-ops are putting a 21st century spin on worker-owned enterprises. The Drivers Cooperative, for example, began offering rides through its Co-op Ride app in New York City in 2021 and redistributes profits back to its driver-owners with an annual dividend. It also assists with auto loan refinancing. Hosts on Fairbnb, meanwhile, each rent out a single vacation property and direct 50 percent of booking fees to community projects.

The Trust Project: Big Media And Silicon Valley’s Weaponized Algorithms Silence Dissent

Given the Trust Project’s rich-get-richer impact on the online news landscape, it is not surprising to find that it is funded by a confluence of tech oligarchs and powerful forces with a clear stake in controlling the flow of news. After the failure of Newsguard — the news rating system backed by a cadre of prominent neoconservative personalities — to gain traction among American tech and social media companies, another organization has quietly stepped in to direct the news algorithms of tech giants such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft.

Engineers Say “No Thanks” To Silicon Valley Recruiters, Citing Ethical Concerns

Anna Geiduschek usually has no time to respond to recruitment emails that arrive in her inbox each week. But Geiduschek, a software engineer at Dropbox, recently made a point of turning down an Amazon Web Services recruiter by citing her personal opposition to Amazon’s role in hosting another tech company’s service used by U.S. government agents to target illegal immigrants for detention and deportation. "I'm sure you're working on some very exciting technical problems over there at AWS [Amazon Web Services], however, I would never consider working for Amazon until you drop your AWS contract with Palantir," Geiduschek wrote in her email response, which she shared on Twitter. Tech companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft have faced growing internal unrest from employees who raise ethical concerns about how the companies deploy their high-tech services and products.

How Silicon Valley Became The FCC Chair’s Scapegoat

By Joshua Brustein for Bloomberg - The debate over internet regulation has steadily morphed over the last few years from an insular fight between telecom experts into a standard-issue political screaming match. The process seemed to devolve fully over the last week, starting when Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai released his plan to roll back Obama-era open internet rules on Nov. 22, the day before Thanksgiving. The proposal was a logical candidate for a pre-holiday news dump. Significant public support has built over the last three years for net neutrality, the principle that internet providers shouldn’t give preferential treatment to certain websites and services. If internet providers have this power, the argument goes, they could smother views they don’t like, or services that compete with their own. The energy to prevent this is coming nearly entirely from the Democratic side, and resulted in the strongest-ever net neutrality protections in the form of the 2015 Open Internet rules. Most Republicans thought the rules were unnecessary, and hated that the FCC claimed greater regulatory power over companies like Comcast Corp. and AT&T Inc. in implementing them. For some reason, restoring the lost power of huge telecom companies hasn’t lit a fire in grassroots circles on the right, a point that Pai’s political allies have been acknowledging privately for months. So the FCC chair came back from Thanksgiving looking to create a spark.

Immigration Crackdown Sparks Silicon Valley Protests

By Dave Johnson for Nation of Change - The event, which attracted hundreds to downtown Palo Alto, was co-organized by Silicon Valley Rising, a coalition of community, faith-based and labor organizations that represent tech’s service workers. “We hope the event not only sends a message, but creates new opportunities for the low-wage, largely immigrant subcontracted janitors, security officers, cafeteria workers and shuttle drivers,” said Derecka Mehrens, Silicon Valley Rising’s co-founder. Participants carried signs like “Silicon Valley is powered by diversity” and “No ban, no wall -welcome all.”

Wolverton: Net Neutrality Should Be Silicon Valley’s Next Fight

By Troy Wolverton for The Mercury News - Net neutrality is in the crosshairs again. Ajit Pai, the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has made it clear that he’s no fan. He’s already halted a net neutrality-related investigation launched by his predecessor and recently reaffirmed his belief that, one way or another, the “days are numbered” for the Open Internet rules. Pai was not available for comment, but advocates on both sides of the net neutrality debate believe it’s only a matter of time before he tries to undo the rules. If the courts or Congress don’t overturn them, Pai will, said Berin Szoka, president of Tech Freedom, a group that advocates against regulations affecting the technology and telecom industries, at a forum in Menlo Park on net neutrality on Tuesday.

Immigrant Youth In The Silicon Valley: Together We Rise

By Staff of UCLA Labor Center - Undocumented youth are concentrated in service sectors, such as food and retail, construction, administrative work, and waste management. Undocumented young workers are 50% more likely to be “front-line” workers. Front-line jobs are low-wage, entry-level jobs, such as the floor positions in retail stores, counter staff at a fast food restaurant, and nonsupervisory positions at the construction site. Undocumented youth earn 28% less than other youth and earn less than what is needed to live in the area. Undocumented youth are diverse and a core part of the Silicon Valley community.

Silicon Valley And Police Create COINTELPRO For Tech Age

By Staff of Tele Sur - The most widely-used social media platforms have collaborated with law enforcement to track Black Lives Matter activists, providing police agencies with data that is unavailable to the broader public, the American Civil Liberties Union revealed Tuesday. Indeed, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all gave “special access” to Geofeedia, a Chicago-based social media monitoring company whose marketing materials have referred to labor unions and activists as “overt threats.”

Low-Wage Workers Propose A Good Work Code For Silicon Valley

By Laura Flanders for Truthout - By some estimates, as many as 53 million people living in the United States are now self-employed. Many work as independent contractors or freelancers, hired and fired at the click of an app. With flexibility comes a measure of freedom but also of insecurity; a measure of independence but also of isolation. Digital sector workers may not stand on a speeding production line or operate deadly machines, but they still can still face danger on the job. Subjective feedback or "ratings" systems are open to abuse.
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