Latest in Consumer News

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Protect Yourself While Shopping on Black Friday, and Beyond

Over the past year, so many data breaches at retail chains and restaurants have come to light that it’s hard to keep track. So what does that mean for shoppers, as the holiday season gets underway? Although it’s unnerving to have any sort of card information stolen – whether by hackers or through an old-fashioned pilfered wallet – consumer and security experts say the fallout may be less damaging if shoppers avoid debit cards and use credit cards instead.

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Preventable Deaths and Other ‘Adverse Events’ in Hospitals: News Reports on the Problem Include Murky Official Data

“Hospitals in California have reported 6,282 adverse events to the state in the last four fiscal years. They range from ‘death associated with an error,’ to ‘stage 3 or 4 decubitus ulcer,’ or bedsores,” the NBC Bay Area Investigative Team reported. Sacramento ABC affiliate News10′s own investigation yielded similar findings.

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The Creepy New Wave of the Internet

Apple offered a glimpse of how the Internet of Things actually might play out, when it introduced the company’s new smart watch, mobile payment system, health apps, and other, seemingly random, additions to its product line. As Mat Honan virtually shouted in Wired: “Apple is building a world in which there is a computer in your every interaction, waking and sleeping. … telling you how many steps you took, how high you climbed and how many calories you burned. … THIS IS THE NEW APPLE ECOSYSTEM. APPLE HAS TURNED OUR WORLD INTO ONE BIG UBIQUITOUS COMPUTER.”

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Leaked Transcript Shows Geico’s Stance Against Uber, Lyft

The largest insurer, State Farm, said it would not cover ride-service activities. “We do not insure livery use, therefore, customers should not depend on their personal auto insurance coverage to protect them while driving for a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft,” State Farm spokesman Sevag Sarkissian wrote in an e-mail. “A commercial auto insurance policy is needed to insure against livery use exposures.” Allstate, the third-largest, has a similar policy.

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Big Data, Big Money Collide with Privacy

The Chamber of Commerce and other trade groups opposing the bill spent $2.5 million on California campaigns in the 2013-14 election cycle, by my count. Three Internet companies that would have been affected, Facebook, Google and eBay, spent a combined $502,000 on California campaigns in 2013 and 2014. … Maybe some legislator will take it up in 2015. Members of Atkins’ new Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee might craft a thoughtful solution that guards consumers’ privacy. Or any protections will get buried beneath the mounds of money the industry can spend.