Category Archives: Uncategorized

Virtual Assistants Such As Amazon’s Echo Break US Child Privacy Law, Experts Say

by Mark Harris, The Guardian

boy with stuffed toys reading

An investigation by the Guardian has found that despite Amazon marketing the Echo to families with young children, the device is likely to contravene the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, set up to regulate the collection and use of personal information from anyone younger than 13. Read More ›

The 3 Myths Banks Are Using To Defend Their ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ Cards

by Chris Morran, Consumerist

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Very few lawyers will take on a single consumer’s arbitration dispute because it’s not worth their time. Some arbitration clauses also force the customer into arbitrating their case in a specific venue, so you could have to travel all the way across the country for the possibility of minimal rewards. Arbitration also sets no legal precedent, so even if one customer prevails, another customer might fail using the exact same evidence. Read More ›

AB 2395: AT&T Wants To Disconnect Millions Of California Landlines

Woman on corded phone at home

According to the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee, about 16.5 million traditional copper land lines remain in service in California. AT&T’s bill would create a pathway for phone companies to abandon residential land lines in 2020, even in areas where an adequate alternative phone option does not exist. While many consumers now have cell phones or IP phones as well as land lines, about 2.3 million Californians live in a home that only has a landline. AB 2395 will eliminate both customer choice and the current requirements for Carriers of Last Resort that ensure all Californians have access to reliable essential phone services. Read More ›

Why A Staggering Number Of Americans Have Stopped Using The Internet The Way They Used To

by Andrea Peterson, Washington Post

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Nearly one in two Internet users say privacy and security concerns have now stopped them from doing basic things online — such as posting to social networks, expressing opinions in forums or even buying things from websites, according to a new government survey released Friday. … When asked to list their biggest concerns, nearly two out of three respondents cited identity theft, while nearly half brought up credit card or banking fraud. About one in five listed data collection by the government. Read More ›

State Regulators Reopen Case On San Onofre Nuclear Plant

by Ivan Penn, Los Angeles Times

San Onofre nuclear plant

The ruling follows a $16.7-million fine in December [against Southern California Edison] … imposed because of Edison’s failure to report back-channel communication between Edison representatives and commission representatives. … The closure led to a settlement agreement approved by the utilities commission. Under the deal, the plant’s owners — Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. — would pay $1.4 billion in reactor closing costs; their customers were left on the hook for an additional $3.3 billion. Read More ›

Lawmakers Sweat Details Of Consumer Health Privacy

by Cheryl Miller, The Recorder (San Francisco)

Fitbits from Samsung Creative Commons feed

“We are in total agreement with the intent of the bill and believe that it’s very, very important that this information be given strong privacy protections,” Richard Holober, executive director of the Consumer Federation of California, told the Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee. But “we’ve had a lot of experience over the years with various privacy laws and how courts interpret those laws and … we want to be very precise about how a bill is written to make sure that it’s being interpreted by the industry and the courts as it was intended,” Holober said. Read More ›

Why More Widowed Homeowners Are Struggling To Prevent A Foreclosure

by Andrew Khouri, Los Angeles Times

canstockphoto.com

The state Senate Judiciary Committee [voted] Tuesday on a bill designed to give surviving spouses, domestic partners and children the same protections borrowers have in the Homeowner Bill of Rights, including the right to sue to stop a foreclosure or for economic damages after one occurs. The bill, SB-1150 … would prevent servicers from moving forward with a foreclosure before requesting “reasonable” documentation of the borrower’s death and the identity of the survivor. Read More ›

Corinthian Colleges Students Unlikely To See $1.2 Billion Judgment

by Roxana Kopetman and Mark Muckenfuss, Orange County Register

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Experts said recovery of the judgment is unlikely. And some students and their advocates said they haven’t yet gotten what they really need: release from school-loan debts. In California, 13,000 students were attending Corinthian schools when the doors shut. … The bankrupt Corinthian closed its for-profit schools last year amid accusations that the chain falsified grades, attendance and job-placement rates. Students complained of deceitful practices that often targeted low-income students by promising a lot but offering very little. Read More ›

Got A Health Care Grievance? There’s A Place To Complain

by Claudia Buck, Sacramento Bee

surgical team seen from perspective of a patient on a gurney

[MyPatientRights.org is] intended to provide an easy link to the state Department of Managed Health Care, which handles consumer complaints with the state’s 122 licensed health plans. … Last year, the help center received more than 102,000 requests for assistance. … Requests for help jumped by 60 percent compared with 2013, largely because of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to the department. Read More ›

Lyft Drivers, If Employees, Owed Millions More – Court Documents

by Dan Levine and Heather Somerville, Reuters

Lyft car on city street

Drivers who worked for ride-hailing service Lyft in California during the past four years would have been entitled to an estimated $126 million in expense reimbursements had they been employees rather than contractors, court documents show. … The judge asked for the estimates as part of his oversight of a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit filed by California drivers. … Lyft agreed to settle the class-action lawsuit in January. Under the proposed deal, Lyft would pay $12.25 million, with drivers receiving an average of $56 each after attorneys’ fees and other expenses, documents show. Read More ›

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