Big Tech’s power growing at runaway speed

first_imgHow do you regulate a business you don’t understand?It’s a problem the U.S. government has not resolved or even faced, said experts at a Harvard Kennedy School forum, and until it does, big technology’s power “to shape our politics and even our public policy” will continue to grow unchecked.“Anyone who’s been paying attention to news in the past year or so has woken up to the power of digital platforms and large technology companies,” said Nicco Mele, director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy and moderator of “Big Tech and Democracy” on Wednesday evening. Just as bad, “if you asked members of Congress to articulate the problem, you’d get a wide range of views,” he said. Harvard Law School Professor Susan Crawford said the largest tech companies are already powerful enough to have their own infrastructures, from Amazon’s private internet service to the health care systems now in the works at Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan Chase.“And at a time when the U.S. subway system is falling apart, Amazon is building a heliport. Health care, transit, communication … these are all essential for America, yet these giant companies can build around them.” It illustrates something “profoundly wrong” with American government, she said.Digital communication, especially, is “the most powerful and pervasive platform in the history of this planet,” said Shorenstein senior research fellow Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the FCC from 2013 to 2017. But currently the companies controlling it “are making the rules in their own best interest,” he said. “We’re not talking about bad people, but [tech companies] are being presented with the opportunity to make their own rules, and nobody has repealed the laws of human nature.” — Dipayan Ghosh “If you have this underlying infrastructure that is essential to the operation of the 21st century, shouldn’t the public be represented in the rules of its operation?” Wheeler asked. “So far we have been letting it take care of itself, feeling that we will break the magic if we touch this. Well, it is time to touch it.”Significantly adding to the government’s hands-off attitude has been the fact that digital savvy is scarce among members of Congress, the panelists pointed out. Only about 15 percent of the current Congress is technically trained, said Laura Manley, director of the Technology and Public Purpose Project at the Belfer Center, and when they need to make decisions on technological oversight, their staff members are likely to go to tech lobbyists for information.Dipayan Ghosh, the Pozen Fellow at the Shorenstein Center, pointed out that many tech companies make money selling data about their customers’ use patterns, and have questionable records of respecting privacy rights. He noted that although Apple has said that it doesn’t collect data from customers in the U.S., it has no qualms working with the Chinese government to collect data on its citizens.“It’s not as though they follow human rights values consistently through all their business practices,” Ghosh said. People don’t even have to go online to have their data collected, said Ghosh, a former global privacy and public policy adviser for Facebook. When customers walk into a car dealership in Boston, he said, what they look at is tracked from the moment they come in, and their contact information is used to sign them up for a newsletter and then sold to a major data broker.“I would argue for a policy regime that treats those areas in a way that protects the American consumer,” Ghosh said.The panelists said there are no easy fixes: pricey lawyers can find loopholes in regulations, and even without those, effective competitors to the major digital companies aren’t likely to appear soon. “We’re not talking about bad people,” Wheeler said. “But they are being presented with the opportunity to make their own rules, and nobody has repealed the laws of human nature.”But responding to an audience question about how government can keep up, Crawford did have one solid recommendation: “The older people need to leave. It really is a generational issue at this point.”“Big Tech and Democracy” was sponsored by the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School.last_img read more

Watch This Year’s Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

first_imgWatch This Year’s Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: By: The Office of Governor Tom Wolf Holidays,  The Blog,  Videos The Annual Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, arranged by the Department of General Services (DGS) in cooperation with various organizations, is always a highlight of the yuletide season in Central Pennsylvania.The Rotunda tree is Douglas Fir, standing 22-feet tall decorated with 800 LED lights and more than 500 ornaments hand-crafted and graciously donated by members of senior centers throughout Pennsylvania. The wooden toys and train displayed under the Rotunda tree were handcrafted many years ago by the talented DGS employees of the Carpentry Shop and Sign Shop.Each holiday season, electricians, carpenters and groundskeepers, and DGS employees, decorate the tree, rotunda, and other areas around the capitol. We want to thank everyone involved for making our Capitol a bright and cheery place this holiday season.Take a look at this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony: HOLIDAYS SHARE TWEET SHARE Email Facebook Twitter December 09, 2016last_img read more


first_imgEDUCATION: The corridors in Letterkenny Youthreach are currently still and quiet, as staff and learners are busy completing assessments and putting the final touches to portfolios. With just four weeks left until the summer assessment deadline this is one of the busiest times of the Centre’s calendar.The Youthreach Programme, which offers certified training and education for early school leavers, caters for forty young people aged 15 – 20years. The programme operates from September to July and the young people who attend can receive training, meal and travel allowances where appropriate. One young person describes the programme “Youthreach is a bit like school.We attend classes and work towards our FETAC but it’s different to school too, it’s more relaxed and we get paid to come here and the teachers are very supportive”.But there is one time of the year that all of the learners and staff look forward to most and that’s the busy summer programme.The Centre’s Coordinator, Gillian Kennedy, explains what happens during this time of the year “once we have our major assessments over us in May, the staff and learners here shift gears and we get ready for a whole new programme. Kennedy said, “The summer programme is an opportunity to reward everyone for all their hard work during the year, and we plan four packed weeks of summer fun.“This year we will be holding barbeques, community games, planning hikes, excursions, a two night residential, a deep sea fishing trip, a hair and beauty session, fashion styling sessions, cinema trips, cycling trips as well as a road safety workshop and customer service training.“Everyone in the Centre makes suggestions as to what they’d like to do and we agree a programme that has something for everyone.“It’s a very special time of the year. And sure where else would you get it, being paid to have such fun?!”“Another young learner recalls what they loved best about last year’s summer programme “the summer programme here is fantastic. “Last year we did so many things but by far my favourite was the three day residential away in Connemara, all the water sports activities and the zips lines and that were brilliant”.The Centre has been operating on the Kilmacrennan Road since 1990 and this October will spark the beginning of a year of exciting activities to mark their milestone anniversary.Kennedy added, “This year to mark our twenty-fifth anniversary we are planning a series of celebratory events including an art exhibition, a special gathering of alumni, creating a DVD, and even the possibility of a foreign trip, it’s an exciting time in the life of the programme and we want to celebrate all that we have achieved over the years.“We will be asking people who have completed the programme to get in touch, return for a big celebration and to feature in our special DVD to help mark our achievements”. “You can check out the centre’s Facebook page to keep up to date with centre activities.If you are interested in joining Letterkenny Youthreach please contact the centre for an application form. Tel. 074 9122585 or email – [email protected] YOUTHREACH GETS SET FOR EXCITING SUMMER PROGRAMME was last modified: May 12th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:BusinesseducationFeaturesnewsYOUTHREACHlast_img read more

VT League Finals

first_imgIn a big day of Touch Football action, the league will play its elimination finals, semi finals and grand finals on Saturday in both the Men’s and Women’s divisions. The Women’s elimination finals will start the day at 1.00pm, with the Casey Cougars taking on the Melbourne University Northern Blacks, while the Eastern Falcons will go straight through to the semi finals. The semi finals will be played at 3.00pm, with the winner of the Cougars versus Blacks game playing the team that finished the season on top of the ladder, the Melbourne City Lions. In the second semi final, the Eastern Falcons will meet the second placed team of the season, the Bayside Vipers. The winner of the two semi finals will progress through to the grand final to be played at 6.00pm.The Men’s elimination finals will be played at 2.00pm and will see the Melbourne City Lions play the Casey Cougars, while the Bayside Vipers will meet the Eastern Falcons. The winners of these two games will face the Melbourne University Northern Blacks and the Western Dodgers in the semi finals at 4.00pm, with the two sides finishing the season in first and second places respectively. The Men’s grand final will be played at 7.00pm and will be followed by the official presentations at 8.00pm. The day will also feature the ‘Dash for Cash’ and a high ball competition which is open to all and is sure to entertain. For more information, please visit the Touch Football Victoria and VT League read more

NRL Touch Premiership: ladder update

first_imgThe results from this weekends games were:Men’s:2 Titans v 0 BroncosWomen’s: 8 Broncos v 7 TitansBelow are the NRL Touch Premiership Ladders, as they stand following this weekend’s games.Make sure you get to the next games:Tigers v Knights at ANZ Stadium (21 July 2018)Grand Final at CBus Super Stadium (29 July 2018)last_img

13 days agoEverton STUNNER! UK government blocked sensational Ferenc Puskas deal

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Everton STUNNER! UK government blocked sensational Ferenc Puskas dealby Paul Vegas13 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveIt’s been revealed Everton made a sensational attempt to sign Hungarian and Real Madrid great Ferenc Puskas.The move is confirmed in Gavin Buckland’s book on Everton in the 1960s “Money Can’t Buy Us Love”.The Liverpool Echo reports the book reveals that John Moores, the benefactor of the Mersey Millionaires, tried to use his financial muscle to sign the Real Madrid magician in 1960, the year Puskas scored four goals in the famous European Cup final against Eintracht Frankfurt at Hampden Park.Moores’ words delivered to Everton shareholders in December 1960 are published:”It is no use people telling us to go out and buy world-class players like Real Madrid can do. The League rules will not allow it.”If I had offered Puskas a £15,000 signing on fee when he left Hungary, and made him a director of Littlewoods at £10,000 a year, I still could not have signed him for Everton because the Home Office would not have admitted him into the country as an alien, the Players’ Union would have objected and the League would have vetoed it too.”The Everton chairman then bitterly fired off his frustrations to Mike Langley of the Daily Express in August 1962.”Real Madrid, with naturalised Hungarians and Argentinians, are almost helped by the Spanish government to build the world’s best team.”Our government has no interest in football apart from taking millions in pools money out of the game and putting none of it back.” last_img read more

Video: Former Baylor President Botches Interview, PR Woman Comes To His Aid

first_imgJust when you thought former Baylor president Ken Starr couldn’t possibly look any worse, he goes and botches a television interview in the worst kind of way. During an interview with KWTX News 10 Thursday, an answer he gave regarding a victim’s email led to a communications specialist he brought with him to stop the interview, pull him aside and suggest that he use a different response. Starr then sits down and looks to the specialist once again for help before providing the new, scripted response. The entire thing was caught on camera, and KWTX posted the video to its Facebook page.Baylor continues to make things worse for itself, and Starr isn’t helping. He may no longer be president, but the university might have to take it a step further and separate itself completely.last_img read more

Feds commit cash to preserve Inuit art and culture in Winnipeg

first_imgMatt Thordarson APTN National NewsThe federal government has made a major commitment to conserve Inuit art and culture in Winnipeg.Canada is putting millions of dollars into a centre to give people in the south a chance to learn more about their northern neighbours.Matt Thordarson reports.last_img

Ontarios craft brewers pan Doug Fords buckabeer plan as unaffordable

first_imgMany of Ontario’s craft beer brewers refuse to sacrifice quality and lower their prices to a loonie per can despite the new Progressive Conservative buck-a-beer plan.Instead, consumers may soon be paying more for small-batch suds as brewers adjust to higher prices for cans amid a trade war with Canada’s southern neighbour.“I would argue that no one in Ontario — at least no one in the Ontario craft brewing market — can possibly afford to sell their beer at that price and make … any money,” said Matt Gibson, manager of corporate sales and marketing for Burlington, Ont.-based Nickel Brook Brewing.The brewery’s least expensive product now retails at $3.05, well above the new minimums set to take effect August 27.Premier Doug Ford announced Tuesday his government would lower the minimum price of a bottle or can of beer with an alcohol volume below 5.6 per cent to $1 from $1.25. The provincial government will offer a number of non-financial incentives, like prime spots in Liquor Control Board of Ontario stores and advertising in flyers or inserts, to companies that participate.A number of the province’s craft brewers decried the policy — a highly publicized campaign promise — on social media, saying they could not afford to participate without sacrificing the quality of their product.Nickel Brook Brewing would have to skimp on ingredients, fire some employees to reduce labour costs or accept the product as a loss leader to be able to charge a loonie, said Gibson, adding all three options are non-starters.The sole brewery that will reportedly offer a $1 beer so far is Barley Days Brewery, where Ford made the announcement. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment.It’s unclear how the larger brewers will respond. Molson Coors Canada, the country’s second largest industry player according to a recent report by market-research firm IBISWorld, does not publicly comment on pricing, said spokesman Josh Stewart in an email. The other two largest companies, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Moosehead Breweries, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.The government incentives for companies that can afford to participate, like prime shelf space, concern Nickel Brook Brewing and many other craft brewers.The brewery regularly pays thousands of dollars for such benefits and they tend to result in a sales uptick, he said. If Nickel Brook Brewing can’t participate in as many of these programs because they’re being given away, he said, that will inevitably impact sales.Muskoka Brewery, which operates out of Bracebridge, Ont., also can’t lower its prices while maintaining beer quality and paying their employees a living wage, said president Todd Lewin, who added there’s some shock and surprise over how the government plans to roll out the policy.“For sure, it’s a concern that the playing field isn’t level,” he said.Companies like his “invest quite heavily” in participating in those kinds of programs, Lewin said, and seeing others get that space for free “just doesn’t feel very fair.”That’s potentially problematic for an industry already grappling with recent aluminum tariffs.U.S. President Donald Trump imposed a 10 per cent fee on metal imports in early July. That decision resulted in longer wait times for can orders for breweries like Nickle Brook, said Gibson, as larger companies that need cans for their products placed much larger orders.The brewery’s lead time for orders jumped from eight weeks to 20 weeks or more, he said. The company’s been forced to use cans for less popular beers to house its better-selling brews and slap stickers on them indicating what’s inside.“We’re using whatever cans we have on hand right now to keep up with demand,” Gibson said. “If we don’t put cans out, we go out of business.”Some breweries will really struggle over the next couple of months because they’ll be unable to get any product out, he predicted.Higher prices for consumers will start to show up in stores soon, he said, as companies pass on at least part of the increased cost for cans onto beer drinkers.For now, Muskoka Brewery is eating the extra cost, said Lewin.“It’s just something that affects the bottom line,” he said, adding the company reviews its pricing quarterly and will do so again in the fall based on a multitude of factors, including the new aluminum tariff.“I think it’s still up in the air a little bit.”Follow @AleksSagan on Twitter.last_img read more