Open MIC Joins Coalition in Urging Companies and the Dept. of Homeland Security to Avoid Risky, Dangerous “Extreme Vetting Initiative”

Open MIC joins a coalition of over 50 civil society organizations – advocates for civil rights, civil liberties, government accountability, human rights, immigrants’ rights, and privacy – in urging the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to immediately halt a new “Extreme Vetting Initiative” on the grounds that it will be inaccurate, biased, and a threat to constitutional and human rights.

Facebook, Google and Twitter Investors Demand Answers and Accountability Following 2016 Election Interference

Shareholders in Facebook, Google and Twitter with assets worth more than $25 billion have filed proposals with the companies in the last week demanding answers and accountability related to  foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election, as well as threats posed by the growth of hate speech and disinformation on the three platforms.

Open MIC Signs Coalition Letter to Attorney General Sessions on AT&T-Time Warner Merger

Open MIC has joined a coalition of fourteen civil rights, media justice, and tech policy and privacy organizations in signing a letter urging the Department of Justice to protect consumers by rejecting the proposed AT&T-Time Warner merger. Specifically, the letter cites the major threats to innovation and pro-consumer competition posed by the merger. 

Investors Representing $190 Billion in Assets Oppose FCC’s Proposed Changes to Net Neutrality Rules

A group of 20 investment advisors, investment management firms and foundations with broadly diversified stock portfolios today called upon the FCC to maintain current rules that support the principle of network neutrality on the Internet. The investors, representing approximately $190 billion in assets and Assets Under Management (AUM), argued in a filing with the FCC that a rulemaking proposed in April 2017 - which would gut net neutrality protections - is “fundamentally flawed.” 

Microsoft Acts to Curb Predatory Lenders

Following months of pressure by Open MIC and a coalition of tech, civil rights and policy groups, Microsoft has now quietly released new rules that will curb predatory lenders on its Bing search engine in the U.S. The policy changes are a win for all Bing users, and particularly for low income users who are the intended targets of misleading ads for predatory financial products and services. 

Data Suggests Digital Redlining by AT&T in Cleveland

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) today reports "strong evidence" that for the past decade, AT&T has systematically discriminated against poor residents in Cleveland in its deployment of home Internet and digital technologies. An analysis of FCC broadband data by digital inclusion groups NDIA and Connect Your Community suggests that AT&T has engaged in "digital redlining." 

Open MIC Releases New Report Showing Lack of Racial Diversity in Tech Could Mean Lower Returns for Investors

A new report released by Open MIC today finds that the lack of racial diversity in the tech industry undermines financial performance, demanding investors’ attention. The report titled, “Breaking the Mold: Investing in Racial Diversity in Tech,” highlights existing data showing that black, Latino, and Native Americans are unrepresented in the tech industry by 16-to-18 percentage points compared to their presence in the U.S. labor force overall. The report provides recommendations intended to address significant shortcomings with respect to workforce data transparency as well as increasing diversity at all levels of the industry.

Fake News Is Focus Of New Shareholder Advocacy Push At Facebook And Google

Concerned that long-term shareholder wealth may be at risk if Facebook and Google do not do enough to “address fake news and hoaxes,” Arjuna Capital, in partnership with Baldwin Brothers, Inc., is asking the two tech giants (proposals to Google here and Facebook here) to evaluate the impact fabricated content is having on their platforms and businesses. 

Shareholders Call on AT&T and Verizon to Report on Efforts to Protect Customer Privacy

The AT&T proposal follows recent news reports that AT&T provided U.S. law enforcement agencies routine access to customer data through a sweeping program called Hemisphere. The proposal at Verizon comes on the heels of the company’s proposed acquisition of Yahoo. Subsequent to the company’s July announcement, Verizon learned of a data breach involving an estimated 500 million Yahoo accounts while Reuters reported that Yahoo had secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers' incoming emails for specific information flagged by U.S. intelligence officials.

Investors Challenge AT&T on Digital Equity for Low-Income Americans

Shareholders of AT&T Inc. are pressing the company to “review and publicly report on AT&T’s progress toward providing Internet service and products for low-income customers,” after the company committed to offering an affordable access program for low-income customers last year. The shareholder proposal, filed by Zevin Asset Management and co-filed by Arjuna Capital, points out the stark digital divide that exists throughout America today, stating that 34 million Americans still do not have access to fixed high-speed Internet, with the majority of affected residents being poor, people of color, elderly, or rural residents.

Open MIC Signs Public Interest Letter to FCC Urging Action on Set-Top Boxes, Privacy, and Zero Rating

Open MIC joined a coalition of 76 public interest organizations in signing on to a letter to the Chairman and Commissioners of the FCC urging the agency to take action on three important issues: the set-top box rulemaking, the broadband privacy rulemaking, and the zero rating investigation. Public interest organizations view action on these issues as necessary to make internet, cable, and satellite services more affordable and open, and to preserve internet users’ privacy. 

Investors Press Apple on Racial Diversity; Cite “Business Risk” to the Company

Shareholders of Apple Inc. are calling on the company to “adopt an accelerated recruitment policy” to increase diversity of its senior management and board of directors. In a proposal intended to be voted on at Apple’s 2017 annual meeting, the investors say the company’s senior management and board “presently fail to adequately represent diversity and inclusion (particularly Hispanic, African American, Native American and other people of color).”

Open MIC Signs Letter of Concern on Racial Bias in "Predictive Policing"

Open MIC joined a coalition of 17 civil rights, tech policy and privacy organizations in signing a letter of concern about racial bias in "predictive policing" technology. The letter, which accompanied the release of a report by Upturn about the civil rights implications of policing technology, emphasizes the disturbing lack of transparency among both law enforcement and the increasing number of companies who profit from "predictive policing" technology. 

20 Organizations Call for Political Parties to Broaden Tech and Internet Policy Discussions

As both the Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee’s platform committees hold meetings in Washington, D.C. this week, Open MIC joined 19 other public interest organizations in a letter to both parties asking that they include public-interest and affected community groups in discussions on internet access, the open internet, and online privacy. The full letter can be found here.