Miss a day, miss a lot. Subscribe to The Defender's Top News of the Day. It's free.
How the Tech Giants Work for the Security State
The United States proudly believes in its uniqueness as the one nation in this corrupt world that remains dedicated to the freedom of its citizens. That belief is part of the nation’s founding myth. Americans see their nation as representing an ideal, a model for all other nations to emulate. They continue to believe that their government is committed to their own unassailable freedom, even after the increasingly visible stranglehold over all of its institutions by the military-industrial complex, a process already well underway when President Dwight Eisenhower denounced it 60 years ago.
The takeover has been confirmed by numerous events, including a series of costly and futile wars in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Despite the obvious lessons of recent history, Washington’s political class consistently demonstrates its inability to oppose policies that lead to more failed wars or to rein in an ever-expanding military budget. It would be more accurate to call the USA the UCA, the United Complex of America. Militarism in body and spirit defines its unity.
Gov. Newsom: A Vaccination Verification System Is Coming ‘Very Shortly’
Trying to stay away from the phrase “vaccine passport,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday that California is on the cusp of releasing an electronic system that will allow businesses to confirm that their customers have received their shots.
During a news conference held at Vista Community Clinic, after completing the second of three vaccine lottery drawings, the governor said that such a system is very much in the works when asked about verification language included in the state’s latest masking guidance released Wednesday.
Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook Targeted by New Pack of Antitrust Bills
U.S. lawmakers unveiled a wide-ranging antitrust agenda Friday, aiming to rein in the competitive power of giants like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google with five bipartisan bills that would represent the most meaningful refashioning of antitrust laws in decades. The result of more than a year investigating competition in the digital marketplace, the bills target what lawmakers call the “unregulated power wielded” by Big Tech.
The bills are aimed at the four tech titans, which collectively influence almost every aspect of online life, as well as the broader industry. If eventually passed into law, the bills would make it easier for the government to break up dominant companies, prevent them from snuffing out competition through preemptive acquisitions and crimp them from wielding different businesses with conflicts of interest.
#EyesOnAmazon: Campaign Fights Amazon’s Push for World ‘Dominated by Total Corporate Surveillance’
To mark the one year anniversary of Amazon‘s extended temporary moratorium on sales of its controversial Rekognition facial identification software to law enforcement agencies, more than 20 advocacy groups and more than 10,000 supporters last week launched Protest Amazon, a digital demonstration that’s part of the #EyesOnAmazon week of action.
Led by the digital rights group Fight for the Future, Protest Amazon is joined by Color of Change, Demand Progress, Free Press, MPower Change, Public Citizen, Presente.org, RootsAction and other organizations demanding Amazon permanently divest from what campaign organizers call “racist surveillance tech” and “police state” surveillance. The campaign is also calling on the company to end its complicity in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportations.
Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Brought by Texas Healthcare Workers Forced to Get COVID Vaccine or Lose Jobs
A federal judge in Texas on Saturday dismissed a lawsuit by healthcare workers who accused their employer of “unlawfully forcing its employees” to receive the COVID vaccine.
Jennifer Bridges and 116 other plaintiffs said Houston Methodist Hospital is forcing employees to get COVID vaccines that are “experimental and dangerous.” Firing employees for refusing the vaccine is “wrongful termination,” the plaintiffs said.
The hospital last week suspended nearly 200 employees who refused the vaccine.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes ruled Texas law only protects employees from being fired if they are asked to commit an illegal act that carries criminal penalties. According to the judge’s ruling, “receiving a COVID-19 vaccination is not an illegal act, and it carries no criminal penalties.”
YouTube Suspends Sen. Johnson for COVID-19 ‘Misinformation’
The Wisconsin Republican’s removal stems from statements he made during a June 3 Milwaukee Press Club event, which were posted to YouTube. He criticized the Trump and Biden administrations for “not only ignoring but working against robust research (on) the use of cheap, generic drugs to be repurposed for early treatment of COVID,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
WhatsApp Boss Decries Attacks on Encryption as Orwellian
Government attacks on WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption are akin to demands that an Orwellian telescreen be installed in every living room, the app’s head has said as it launches a major advertising campaign in defence of privacy.
Will Cathcart told the Guardian in an interview that the abstract nature of digital communications can obscure huge violations of personal freedom.
“Imagine there was a proposal from the government to put a video camera in every living room in a country hooked up to the internet, so the government can turn it on when they’re investigating a crime,” he said.
Amazon Faces Privacy Backlash Over New Sidewalk Technology
Amazon launched new technology called Sidewalk that connects supported devices together with your neighbors using a small part of your internet connection. But it has led to questions concerning consumer privacy. Meg Oliver reports.
Amazon Fails to Quash Investigation Into Its Indian Selling Practices
The Indian competition commission is to relaunch an investigation into Amazon’s selling practices, which will examine the company’s £1bn-a-year joint venture with UK chancellor Rishi Sunak’s billionaire father-in-law.
The investigation, originally announced in January 2020, will proceed after an Indian court on Friday dismissed pleas by Amazon and its rival – the Walmart-owned Flipkart – to quash its investigation into the business practices of the huge U.S. retailers.
One of the largest sellers on Amazon.in is a company called Cloudtail, a £1bn revenue business that is 76% controlled by Sunak’s wealthy in-laws, the Murthy family. The remaining quarter of Cloudtail is owned by Amazon.
Vaccine Passports: Why Europe Loves Them and the U.S. Loathes Them
Back in 1992, Yiannis Klouvas converted an old cinema into the Blue Lagoon restaurant, which garnered a strong reputation for live music. There is no music now. The business, like so many others on the Greek island of Rhodes, is struggling due to the pandemic’s restrictions on travel.
“If we see a tourist on the street these days,” he says, “we take a photo to remember them.”
Mr. Klouvas is now banking on the EU Digital COVID Certificate, also known as the “green passport,” to save the summer. Starting July 1, all EU member states will accept the certificates as proof of COVID-19 vaccination, a recent negative test, or recovery from the disease. The plan got a resounding yes at the European Parliament on June 9. All EU member states, Liechtenstein, and Norway will implement the passport.