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Archive for October, 2009

Privacy.net sues Microsoft, Cisco, Comcast and TRUSTe

The owner of Privacy.net and Network-Tools.com, Russ Smith, has filed a lawsuit against Microsoft, Cisco, Comcast and TRUSTe.

The lawsuit claims that Comcast, Microsoft, and Cisco collected information about Smith’s IP addresses and either put them on a “blacklist” or gave them a poor “Reputation Score.”  Comcast even blocked his communication link with a mail server he operates outside the Comcast network.  The suit claims that in order to collect this information in the first place Comcast, Cisco and Microsoft violated eavesdropping laws.  The suit goes on to claim that Comcast, Microsoft, and Cisco failed to adhere to their privacy policies.  When Smith tried to use the privacy policies of Comcast, Microsoft, and Cisco to correct the spammer accusations the companies balked.  Comcast even told him it didn’t matter what the privacy policy said, he wasn’t getting the information.  He filed complaints with the TRUSTe organization that verifies the privacy policies of Microsoft and Comcast but that did no good.

via Privacy.net sues Microsoft, Cisco, Comcast and TRUSTe – Privacy.net.

From time to time I will utilize the services of network-tools.com for troubleshooting &c. I was rather surprised to find a link to this lawsuit. Needless to say it is an interesting and important one. Good luck to Mr. Smith.

Wal-Mart, Amazon and Target have predatory book pricing

The American Booksellers Association asked the Justice Department’s antitrust division to investigate “predatory” pricing of books sold by Amazon.com Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp.

“We ask that the Department of Justice investigate practices by Amazon.com, Walmart and Target that we believe constitute illegal predatory pricing that is damaging to the book industry and harmful to consumers,” nine ABA board members wrote in a letter addressed to Christine Varney, the assistant attorney general for the antitrust division.

via Booksellers Seek Probe on ‘Predatory’ Amazon.com, Target Prices – Bloomberg.com.

This is just like everything else a big corporation would do when competing in the marketplace. They move in then undercut the competition with lower prices. When the competition is gone you will then see prices raised. It is unjust. Although with the online element of Amazon I would gather that their predatory pricing is capable of major damage.

After eight years the MSHA will actually do something…

Today, the U.S. Senate confirmed Joe Main—by unanimous consent—as the new leader of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration MSHA.Main is a longtime advocate for safety and health in the mining industry. He worked 22 years as director of Occupational Health and Safety for the Mine Workers UMWA. That’s a huge change from the Bush-era head of MSHA, coal-industry lobbyist Richard Stickler, who came under fire for failure to enforce mining safety laws.

via AFL-CIO NOW BLOG | New Mine Safety Chief: The Change We Needed.

Think of some of the recent mine disasters. You had the Sago Mine in West Virginia, the Darby Mine in Kentucky and of course the Crandall Canyon Mine in Utah (with that rotund fool of a mine owner all over TV after the incident). All of these disasters were made worse or could have been prevented if the MSHA under Bush did what it was supposed to do.

Of course the MSHA under Bush could not regulate mines. It was run by a former mining industry insider! Just with the US Senate confirming a new chief, miners are already safer. Joe Main hasn’t even done anything yet and he is already better than the previous head of MSHA. It’s hard to say who was worse in the Bush administration: Richard Stickler or Heckuva Job Brownie?

As if Nestle wasn’t doing enough wrong in the world

Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, is determined to stop the union representing workers at its Indonesian Nescafé factory from negotiating a collective agreement which includes wages. Nestlé has claimed that wages are a “commercial secret”, harassed union members and leaders, and created a fake union to weaken the IUF’s SBNIP. Indonesian Nescafé workers have been demanding and defending their collective bargaining rights for over 2.5 years. While claiming to cooperate with the home country government of Switzerland to resolve the conflict, Nestlé is acting to eliminate a union which is challenging autocracy at the workplace. The Panjang workers urgently need your support – use the form below to send a message to Nestlé: stop Nespressure and respect trade union rights!

via Stop Nespressure, Discrimination and Union-busting at Nestlé Indonesia!.

Don’t forget about their bottled water empire and what that is doing to local communities and the environment. Don’t forget to drink tap water and think outside of the bottle!

Heather Graham as the public option

The public option never looked so good! I have to admit that I also personally have a mini-fascination with Ms. Graham. There’s just something about her :)

The Modern Consumer Apocalypse

We can’t, however, only blame the quantity and quality of Chinese goods for the environmental and other consequences of this transoceanic factory-to-waste stream. For that we can blame the two horsemen of the modern consumer apocalypse: functional obsolescence and fashion obsolescence.

Functional, or planned obsolescence is the purposeful decision by designers and manufacturers to ensure things don’t last, so that consumers must buy new ones. Fashion obsolescence is the related decision to offer new features and aesthetic changes to entice consumers to discard their old items in favor of updated and supposedly better ones.

via Built to Trash — In These Times.

This is a really good article. When you hear about planned obsolescence going back decades it make one shudder. In the past it might have been tolerable when America was a manufacturing colossus. Now it poses great threats to the world. Personally, I hate when clothing I buy does not last but a few months! I want heirloom-design and long lasting products.

Another one leaves Da Chamber of Commerce

Mohawk Fine Paper is joining a growing number of companies quitting the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over climate change policies.

via Switchboard, from NRDC :: Pete Altman’s Blog :: Another Firm Bails on the US Chamber’s Extreme Climate Stance.

Well it’s not Apple but it is still significant.

California Sues State Street Bank for $200 Million

California’s attorney general, Jerry Brown, said Tuesday that he was suing State Street, the large Boston-based bank, accusing it of committing “unconscionable fraud” against the state’s two largest employee pension funds, Calpers and Calstrs. Mr. Brown said he was seeing to recover more than $200 million in overcharges and penalties.

Mr. Brown said that State Street overcharged the pension funds by adding a secret and substantial mark-up to the price of interbank foreign currency trades, totaling $56.6 million over eight years. The interbank rate is the price at which major banks buy and sell foreign currency.

via California Sues State Street for $200 Million – DealBook Blog – NYTimes.com.

Don’t you just hate these bankers?

Congrats to NYC for winning 105 million against Exxon Mobil

A federal jury on Monday found Exxon Mobil liable for contaminating groundwater in New York City and awarded the city $104.7 million in compensatory damages.

The city had sought $250 million in damages to finance construction of a treatment plant to make the water in five wells in southeastern Queens drinkable. But lawyers for the city called the jury’s decision a “total victory” for their side.

via City Awarded $105 Million in Exxon Mobil Water Contamination Suit – NYTimes.com.

Any blow to Exxon Mobil makes a happy day for me.

But the jury, which had been hearing the case since August and had already found against Exxon in two earlier stages of the trial, determined that Exxon knew of the potential for groundwater contamination when it added M.T.B.E. to gasoline and failed to warn government agencies, gas station owners and the public about the danger.

They are on the hook now. Take them to court and continue to give them legal beat downs.

Profits Rise at UnitedHealth Group – Wonder why they’re against healthcare reform?

UnitedHealth is seen by many analysts as a bellwether for the managed care sector. It is the largest U.S. health insurer by revenue, and the first to report earnings each quarter.

For the full year, UnitedHealth said it expects to earn $3.15 per share, at the high end of its previous guidance. Analysts expect $3.09 per share, on average.

via Profits Rise at UnitedHealth Group – NYTimes.com.

They’re making a killing literally and figuratively! No wonder they’re throwing gobs of blood money to lobbying and astroturfing against healthcare reform. UnitedHealth Group makes me sick.

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