Senator John McCain Appeals For Civility And Humility

May 1, 2018 by Domenico Montanaro; original article here.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, who is dealing with the effects of brain cancer, released an excerpt of his forthcoming memoir, The Restless Wave, that gives some of his philosophy on how to do it — and obliquely criticizes President Trump. The sometimes-cantankerous former presidential candidate and prisoner of war points out that he hasn’t at times lived up to his own standard, as he has "disagreed, sometimes too heatedly", with all of the six presidents he has served alongside.

McCain writes, humility is key:

"the self-knowledge that you possess as much inherent dignity as anyone else, and not one bit more. Among its other virtues, humility makes for more productive politics. If it vanishes entirely, we will tear our society apart"

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New Networks Institute Files to Halt Proposed Verizon-NY Settlement

NNI and the IRREGULATORS Call for a Continuation of the Investigation

April 27, 2018 by Bruce Kushnick; Original article here.

What’s At Stake

  • Billions in Cross-Subsidies: from the regulated State Wireline Telecom Utility to unregulated private Wireless companies
  • Rampant customer overcharging
  • Failure to upgrade cities’ Wireline infrastructure from copper to fiber optics
  • Decades of questionable tax losses

Governor Cuomo is implicated in eliminating these investigations. Learn More about this proposed settlement or Read Our Filing.

Summary

On March 2, 2018, a settlement was proposed between Verizon New York (Verizon-NY), the state-telecommunications utility, and the NY Department of Public Service, (NYPSC), joined by Communications of America, (“CWA”), and Public Utility Law Project), (“PULP”) to end an investigation that started in 2016, but was part of a series of proceedings over the last 5 years at the New York State Public Services Commission (NYPSC). This investigation consisted of two parts:

Part 1: Verizon has left NY state’s copper-based Wireline state utility networks to deteriorate and there has been a lack of upgrades to broadband or even maintenance of these existing wires.

Part 2: There has been massive financial shell game between the regulated Verizon-NY and the unregulated Verizon subsidiaries, especially Verizon Wireless.

The settlement includes some basic fixes to the neglected infrastructure for Part 1, but Part 2 has been eliminated from this proposed settlement.

Over the last 8 years New Networks Institute and the IRREGULATORS have uncovered a massive financial accounting shell game where billions of dollars have been charged to local phone customers, making the state utility networks a cash cow to fund the other unregulated Verizon businesses, including the build-out of the Verizon Wireless network. These cross-subsidies cost customers thousands of dollars extra and diverted billions in construction budgets to roll out the Verizon Wireless networks instead of upgrading cities’ Wireline infrastructure, among other harms.

These issues need to not only be investigated but the cross-subsidies need to immediately end.

The proposed settlement

  • Fails to even acknowledge the years of investigations by the State
  • Address any of the primary problems

In addition, Governor Cuomo’s fingerprints are all over the elimination of the investigations to help his broadband plan and to give other gifts to his corporate friends. Tucked away in the NY State budget was some Telecom-written wireless legislation that aids in the removal of city regulations and any examination of what the phone companies want to do for a non-existent wireless service, so-called “5G”.

Why is this Critical Now?

Most people do not understand that there is still state telecommunications utility, like water or gas or electricity and most people believe that the utility is just the aging copper wires.  They have been misinformed.

Fiber-to-the-Premises, (“FTTP”) for FiOS, and the wires used for the cell sites for Verizon Wireless, as well the Business Data Services , are ALL part of the state utility infrastructure and have been paid for mainly by Wireline customers.

  1. Verizon et al. have been dismantling the state utilities slowly for the last decade with the plan to remove any remaining public utility regulations or obligations and to hand over the State Telecom Wireline infrastructure to Verizon Wireless, making this infrastructure private property (which will block and harm competitors)

  2. The construction expenses for new infrastructure will remain mostly in the State Telecom Utility, but the perks of being a utility will be available to Verizon Wireless. At the same time, the pricing for service will move to the Wireless dollars-per-gigabyte plan, in order to make more money.

  3. This manipulation constitutes fraud. As we exposed, using manipulated accounting, Verizon et al. have made local service ‘appear’ unprofitable, but this has been artificial. The state utility now pays the majority of expenses, including construction, or “corporate operations” expense for all of the subsidiaries using the wires. And this manipulation means that they had major losses and major tax benefits, got the State to raise rates multiple times, and yet Verizon says that they can’t afford to upgrade rural areas or finish or even maintain cities. .

  4. Loss of Control Over Your Services. If you use your cell phone, if it is from Verizon, it goes to a cell site then to a Verizon wire, most of which are part of the State Telecom Utility. At home, Verizon’s plan is that your ‘high-speed’ cable TV will also become Wireless. But, ironically, Wireless requires a fiber optic wire, which would also be part of the State Telecom Utility — which remains conveniently unidentified in this scheme.

  5. Further Loss of Competition. Competitors who use these network wires will pay through the nose or not be allowed access. Net Neutrality, privacy, and all other aspects of communications are also in the cross-hairs. Getting rid of Net Neutrality allows Verizon to make the company’s other subsidiaries the priority, and getting rid of privacy allows you to be tracked and your information to be sold — similar to the recent Facebook debacle.

  6. This Is a Nationwide Problem: This is not just a Verizon-NY problem. Verizon, AT&T and CenturyLink holding companies control the state incumbent utilities, and they have used the same accounting and business practices. Verizon-NY just happens to be a fully documented model of the issues.

  7. The FCC has been captured and is helping Verizon, AT&T and CenturyLink in every possible way with 15–25 interlocking proceedings, like Net Neutrality, privacy, or ‘shutting off the copper’ and preempting state laws to give the companies complete control.

  8. This is the End Game. There are too many moving parts to explain here, but once the State Telecom Utility is confiscated in each state, one company per state would then control not only the infrastructure, but the other critical services using this infrastructure. These monopoly companies get to control the price of all services, including Wireless, and broadband. They can control and manipulate the speed to maximize profit, and they control who gets upgraded.

Read Our Filing. We’re calling for a halt to this Verizon NY gift and continued and expanded investigations because it exposes all of the financial flows of money and the cross-subsidies between Verizon New York and the affiliates. If we don’t do it, all of these next-step bad public policy actions will get worse.

Read a Summary of our Report: “Verizon New York’s 2016 Financial Annual Report: “Follow the Money: Financial Analysis and Implications”.

Need More Details? CLICK for a two-page Fact Sheet to see a few more details of this manipulated accounting. Here’s a few:

  • Verizon-NY Didn’t Pay Most Taxes: Since 2010–2016, Verizon NY lost $15.7 billion and didn’t pay most taxes; instead Verizon had tax benefits of $7.2 billion.
  • The Utility Illegally Funded the Wireless Networks. From 2010 to 2012, alone, Verizon NY paid about $2.8 billion to build out the fiber optic wires used by Verizon Wireless — and that money was charged to local phone customers.
  • Local phone customers paid over $1000.00 extra, per line, in rate increases since 2005. Worse, local phone customers have been paying around $500 extra a year; the actual costs to offer the copper-based services should have been in steep decline, and prices should have followed.
  • Low income families, seniors, small businesses — rural areas — all paid thousands of dollars extra.
  • There is no cable competition and the Verizon cut a deal with the cable companies to bundle wireless and/or let them rent the wireless networks.

CLICK TO PLEASE FILE “LATE” COMMENTS TO ENDORSE OUR PLAN:

NOTE: There was a comments period at the New York State Public Service Commission (NYPSC) which ended April 16th, 2018 and you (and everyone else) missed it. Thousands of people, companies, cities and politicians participated and testified in the previous related proceedings, but for this decision, NY State failed to properly notify these people and organizations — anyone — about this proceeding.

WE REQUEST:

  • We request an extension of the current comment period until July 15th, 2018 to examine the Verizon NY 2017 Financial Annual Report, published May 31, 2018.
  • We are calling for a halt to the proposed settlement between Verizon, NY, the NYPSC and parties, which has eliminated all mention of the investigation of the financial cross-subsidies between Verizon NY and Verizon’s subsidiaries
  • We are calling for the NYPSC to continue to investigate the billions of dollars in cross-subsidies between Verizon NY and Verizon Wireless and the other Verizon subsidiaries — then fix this ongoing financial shell game.

About Us: The IRREGULATORS is an independent consortium of senior telecom experts, analysts, forensic auditors, and lawyers who are former senior staffers from the FCC, state advocate and Attorneys General Office experts and lawyers, and former Telecom consultants. Members of the group have been working together, in different configurations, since 1999.

Click and visit our library of data, analysis, filings, etc. This is mostly dedicated to Verizon NY and the FCC’s current policies.

Sebastopol Planning Commission Apr 24 2018

The residents of Sebastopol showed up last night to ask the Planning Commission to set the priorities of the City Planning Department staff and the City Attorney when they work to update the existings, outdated Sebastopol Municipal Wireless code.

The Municipal Wireless code revision will be proceeding in parallel to the Planning Commission’s processing of an application by Epic Wireless to install two 4G/5G Close Proximity Microwave Radiation Antennas (CPMRA), one in a residential zone and the other in a commercial zone. It is unclear at this point if the code revision will affect the processing of the current application. You can learn more specifics about this application on the Sebastopol page of the My Street, My Choice! web site.

View Public Comments During the April 24, 2018 Sebastopol Planning Commission Meeting



  • 00:12:30–00:25:00 — Public Comments on Non-Agendized Items, Group A
  • 00:25:00–00:36:40 — Public Comments on Non-Agendized Items, Group B
  • 00:37:00–00:43:00 — Public Comments on Non-Agendized Items, Group C
  • 01:23:55–01:39:25 — Planning Director Presentation re: Wireless Municipal Code Update
  • 01:39:25–01:52:40 — Planning Commission Questions of Planning Director
  • 01:52:55–02:06:10 — Public Comments on Wireless Municipal Code Update, Group A
  • 02:06:10–02:13:10 — Public Comments on Wireless Municipal Code Update, Group B
  • 02:13:15–02:23:55 — Public Comments on Wireless Municipal Code Update, Group C

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I Made the Psychological Warfare Tool for Cambridge Analytica

March 18, 2018 The Guardian article by Carole Cadwalladr; Original article here.
Part of The Guardian series: The Cambridge Analytica Files

Go right now. Watch the video of Christopher Wylie here; then read the article there or continue here.

In the history of bad ideas, this turned out to be one of the worst. The job was research director across the SCL group, a private contractor that has both defense and elections operations. Its defense arm was a contractor to the UK’s Ministry of Defense and the US’s Department of Defense, among others. Its expertise was in “psychological operations” – or psyops – changing people’s minds not through persuasion but through “informational dominance”, a set of techniques that includes rumor, disinformation and fake news.

Start of article . . .

Christopher Wylie:

If you do not respect the agency of people, anything you do after that point is not conducive to democracy.

Paul-Olivier Dehaye:

it’s become increasingly apparent that Facebook is “abusive by design”. If there is evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, it will be in the platform’s data flows. Facebook has denied and denied and denied this. It has misled MPs and congressional investigators and it’s failed in its duties to respect the law. It has a legal obligation to inform regulators and individuals about this data breach, and it hasn’t. It’s failed time and time again to be open and transparent.”

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Facebook and Cambridge Analytica Face Class Action Lawsuit

The Guardian article by Owen Bowcott and Alex Hern April 10, 2018;Original article here.

British and US lawyers have launched a joint class action against Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and two other companies for allegedly misusing the personal data of more than 71 million people.The lawsuit claims the firms obtained users’ private information from the social media network to develop “political propaganda campaigns” in the UK and the US.

Facebook, it is said, may initially have been misled, but failed to act responsibly to protect the data of 1 million British users and 70.6 million people in America. The data, it is suggested, was first used in the British EU referendum and then in the US during the 2016 presidential election.

As well as Cambridge Analytica, the two firms named in the legal writ are SCL Group Limited and Global Science Research Limited (GSR). Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former campaign and White House adviser, led Cambridge Analytica in 2014, when the data was collected and extracted, the legal papers state. The Cambridge University neuroscientist Aleksandr Kogan, a founding director of GSR, is also named.

Cambridge Analytica was set up in 2013 as an offshoot of SCL Group, which offered similar services to businesses and political parties. All the companies and Kogan have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

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New Mexico Keeps Smart Meters Out

On 4/11/18, Arthur Firsrenberg from Cellular Phone Taskforce wrote:

Dear Friends,

Today we won a victory in the fight against radiation in New Mexico. The Public Regulation Commission has denied PNM’s application for Smart Meters. "The plan presented in the Application does not provide a net public benefit and it does not promote the public interest," wrote the Commission.

The Commission accepted the Hearing Examiner’s recommended decision without alteration. It ruled that:

  • PNM did not demonstrate that smart meters will save money.
  • PNM did not demonstrate that smart meters will produce energy efficiency.
  • PNM did not show that customers want smart meters.
  • PNM did not evaluate alternatives.
  • PNM did not say how it would protect customer data privacy.
  • Cybersecurity issues need to be addressed.
  • 125 good, high-paying jobs would be lost.
  • Proposed opt-out fees were unreasonable.
  • There was insufficient public input.
  • There was insufficient response by PNM to public objections.

Continue reading “New Mexico Keeps Smart Meters Out”

Cambridge Analytica CEO Steps Down

4/11/18 — by Brian Heater, Tech Crunch; Original article here.

While Mark Zuckerberg gets the grilling of a lifetime on Capitol Hill, the firm at the center of all of this is losing its top executive. As day two of the Facebook testimony was unfolding, Cambridge Analytica sent out a brief statement from its Board of Directors, noting that acting CEO Alexander Tayler was stepping down from the gig.

The two sentence press release thanked Tayler, “for his service in what has been a challenging time for the company.”

Well, yeah. Tayler will be sticking with Cambridge Analytica, however, returning to his former role as Chief Data Officer.

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Facebook, Social Media Privacy and Abuse of Data

Zuckerberg is taken out to the woodshed in Washington, DC by the House and Senate . . . the House Representatives were much better prepared than the Senators were the day before. View/read Rep. Frank Pallone’s opening statement.

4/11/18 House Energy & Commerce Committee Hearing

Facebook: Transparency and Abuse of Consumer Data

Mark Zuckerberg testified before Energy and Commerce on 4/11/18 at 10 am ET regarding Facebook’s abuse and lack of protection of users’ personal information. Click here for the details on the hearing, including livestream, witness testimony, and background memo.

  1. 2018-0411-Zuckerberg House Testimony
  2. 2018-0411-Background-Memo

4/10/18 Joint Senate Committee Hearing

2018-0410-Zuckerberg Senate Testimony

  • Senate Committee on the Judiciary,
  • Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

Date: Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Time: 02:15 PM
Location: Hart Senate Office Building 216
Live Webcast: https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/meetings/facebook-social-media-privacy-and-the-use-and-abuse-of-data

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary and Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing entitled: “Facebook, Social Media Privacy, and the Use and Abuse of Data” scheduled for Tuesday, April 10 at 2:15 p.m., will now be in Room 216 of the Hart Senate Office Building.

Why I Broke the Facebook Data Scam Story

April 7, 2018 The Guardian article by Christopher Wylie. Original article here.

In January, I told the British authorities that the app that was used to harvest data for Cambridge Analytica was likely to have pulled the profiles of British Facebook users. Last week Facebook confirmed it: it told the world that as many as 87 million profiles were collected. This included more than one million British records.

A couple of days later, early on Saturday, Facebook suspended AggregateIQ. This is important because AIQ was the Canadian data firm on which Vote Leave spent 40% of its budget during the EU referendum. But as I told parliament, I helped set up AIQ to support Cambridge Analytica. I also handed over documents showing AIQ’s ties to Cambridge Analytica.

At every step of this story, Facebook – from which I’m still banned – has lagged behind the truth. It was only when I came forward with documents – signed contracts and invoices – that proved Cambridge Analytica had funded the harvesting of Facebook profiles that it was finally forced to own up.

But then, there are certain facts that are hard to hear. And in the case of AIQ, Facebook might be slow, but it’s still managed to be ahead of many in Britain. Ten days ago I spent four hours testifying to the Fake News inquiry at parliament – and several more hours in private sessions.

Facebook has suspended AIQ while it investigates AIQ’s relationship with Cambridge Analytica and whether it had access to Facebook data. In Britain, on the other hand, Dominic Cummings, the former head of Vote Leave, called me a “fantasist charlatan”. Andrew Neil inferred that my testimony was “hearsay”. And while the national broadcaster in my home country, Canada, has covered the subject assiduously, on the day I appeared on BBC’s Today programme, it devoted more airtime to alleged ball tampering in Australian cricket than tampering with British democracy. I’m disappointed, but I also understand it.

It is extremely uncomfortable to consider that our democracy may have been corrupted. That potential crimes may have taken place – some of them on Facebook’s servers – that seem to be beyond the reach of law. It’s why I testified last week to parliament. It’s why I have given three binders of evidence about Vote Leave to the UK Electoral Commission and information commissioner’s office.

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Finally! Big Media Takes On Big Wireless

  • 4/4/18 Democracy Now, Part 1 Interview of Mark Hertsgaard, investigative editor for The Nation — How the Wireless Industry Convinced the Public Cellphones Are Safe & Cherry-Picked Research on Risks (transcript below)

  • 4/4/18 Democracy Now, Part 2 Interview of Mark Hertsgaard, investigative editor for The Nation — How Big Wireless War-Gamed the Science on Risks, While Making Customers Addicted to Their Phones (transcript below)

  • 4/5/18 NPR interview on WBUR’s On Point in Boston: The Connection Between Cellphones And Cancer with Mark Hertsgaard, investigative editor for The Nation and co-author of the magazine’s April 28 cover story, How Big Wireless Made Us Think That Cell Phones Are Safe: A Special Investigation and Jerry Phillips, biochemist and director of the Excel Science Center at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. (embedded audio file, below)

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