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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
We live in the era of Big Data. Online advertisers track user reading habits, search inquiries and online purchases.
Encryption is essential for survival in the 21st century digital world. It is the foundation for secure business and trusted streams of communication in the marketplace and society — yet it is not yet widely deployed within the digital economy.
Also in 2016, investment advisor Trillium Asset Management, which manages over $2 billion in assets for clients, filed shareholder proposals at two companies: software giant Adobe Systems Incorporated and Citrix Systems, which offers the GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar services.
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.
Today Google announced it will ban ads for payday loans and other predatory lending products. Payday loans are short-term, high-interest loans that create and perpetuate cycles of debt among low income communities. With its new policy, Google is taking a big step to curtail the harmful impact of predatory lending schemes on its users. Low income people — the primary targets of economically exploitative ploys both online and off — stand to benefit most from the policy change.
WASHINGTON — Twenty-two public interest organizations have sent a letter urging the Federal Communications Commission to deny Charter’s bid to take over Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. Late last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler may be planning to circulate a draft order approving the $90 billion merger.
In 2016, Open MIC worked with an Apple investor who submitted the first-ever shareholder proposal addressing racial diversity in the tech industry.
Investors Want AT&T to Clarify Policies on Surveillance Requests; Cite Documents Characterizing NSA Relationship as a “Partnership”
Open MIC has joined a petition to the Federal Communications Commission asking the agency to deny the merger of cable television company Charter Communications with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks as proposed unless a broad set of concerns are thoroughly addressed.
Comcast Corp. has called off its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable following careful scrutiny – and likely rejection - of the deal by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission.