Posts Tagged 'california'

Apple: the modern day sweatshop

David Walsh, a former Network Engineer that worked at Apple from 1995 to 2007, is suing the company for violating California labor laws.

Filed in the United States District Court, Southern District of California, the complaint focuses on the fact that employees were required to work more than 40 hours a week or eight hours in a workday. Walsh’s suit says that Apple then denies the employees proper compensation for that work.

Walsh claims that Apple has created several job levels so they can make them exempt from receiving overtime wages. One example given is the use of “Senior” before the title “Network Engineer,” even though all Network Engineers perform the same duties. (link)

Google adds privacy link to homepage

Bowing to criticism from privacy groups, Google added a “privacy” link to its homepage over the holiday weekend, even axing its own name from the page’s copyright notice so as to keep word weight in check.

Google is (in)famous for its adherence to a spartan aesthetic, and nowhere is that design sensibility more apparent than on the Google home page. The goal is to keep the word count low, which means that only the absolutely most important words—like “advertising programs” and “business solutions”—make the cut. But “privacy”? Nowhere to be found. Hey, you can always Google for it!

This, in fact, was Google’s response when it was criticized earlier this year by privacy activists who claimed that California law required a link to the privacy policy on the home page. It was also the response given a bit later when it emerged that Google was bucking the common practice of the Network Advertising Initiative (a trade group that includes Yahoo and Microsoft) by not including the notice. Google had nothing to hide, it said, it just cared deeply about the purity of the page. (link)

Woman uses RootsWeb to steal identities … of dead people

Authorities have unearthed a California woman’s plot to steal the identity of the recently deceased. She executed her alleged criminal undertaking by first employing Internet genealogy software to reap the Social Security numbers of dead individuals, and then using the numbers and other information collected on the Internet to convince credit card companies to change the mailing addresses associated with the accounts to the addresses of her rented mailboxes.

Tracy Kirkland and her cadre of fictitious aliases stand accused of mail fraud, fraudulent use of unauthorized access devices, aggravated identity theft, unauthorized possession of access devices, misuse of social security numbers, and exceeding authorized access to a protected computer to further a fraud. According to the indictment filing, the scheme began in 2005 and has since allowed Kirkland to accumulate over 100 accounts. (link)

Proposed bill to criminalize violent video game sales to minors

In 2005, California passed a law that prohibited the sale of violent or sexually explicit video games to minors. Since then, as in every other state where this sort of law has been attempted, the legislation was found to be unconstitutional. It was hit with an injunction preventing its enforcement before being completely blocked back in 2007. Gov. Schwarzenegger appealed that decision, and this week Media Coalition filed an amicus brief to oppose the law and hopefully end this back and forth in the courts.

Amicus curiae means “friend of the court,” and the term describes briefs filed by groups with pertinent information or insights into cases that they are directly involved in. Media Coalition, the group behind the new amicus filing (PDF), not only includes groups related to video games but also the Association for American Booksellers, The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the Motion Picture Association of America, and the Recording Industry Association of America, among others.

The reason for the brief is a simple one: once the California government has set that precedent that it can legally censor or control violent content, the business of every member of Media Coalition would be at risk. (link)

LinkedIn going after BusinessWeek

LinkedIn, an Internet social network for professionals, will open up its service on Monday to outside software developers, starting with BusinessWeek magazine, to transform itself from an online contacts and referral database into an indispensable daily tool for business users.The Mountain View, California, company faces stiff competition from the much larger Facebook, which has attracted a zealous base of users from college students and teens to corporate professionals seeking to connect with their business networks.

Unlike Facebook or News Corp’s more entertainment-driven MySpace, the Web’s largest social network, LinkedIn targets professionals. (story)

Feds get criminal’s email despite being “secure”

Criminals have plenty of reasons for wanting to encrypt their e-mail, and services like Hushmail offers such encryption in a strong form; not even the company can view the messages sent through its systems. Under most circumstances.

But there are cases when it can read the messages, and when that happens, those messages can then be subpoenaed by law enforcement. An alleged California supplier of anabolic steroids found that out the hard way earlier this year when Drug Enforcement Agency officers collected his supposedly “secure” e-mail from Hushmail. (story)

AT&T demands $300 for receiver burned in CA wildfires

When this Azola couple got back from their honeymoon, they had about an hour of matrimonial bliss before being forced to flee as their house was engulfed in flames. So you can understand they had some things on their mind other than the status of their AT&T | Dish receiver as they ran for their lives. When they called to cancel service, the customer service rep asked if they had “remembered to pick up the receiver” as they left the house…After the couple said no, AT&T told them they would have to pay $300 for the receiver and would not put any forbearance on the bill as the couple tried to get their life back together. Escalating to a supervisor yielded the same result. You would think AT&T would allow for some extenuating circumstances CONSIDERING THE WHOLE PLACE IS ON FIRE OF FEDERAL EMERGENCY PROPORTIONS! Still, AT&T has a right to recoup it’s property… which makes us wonder if the couple’s homeowner’s insurance will cover it, as the receiver isn’t actually theirs. Just an unfortunate situation all around.

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