Articles and Resources
Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: Oct 23, 2016 If your shampoo says “organic” on the label, it probably doesn’t mean anything (Buyer Beware)
QUOTE: for non-food items, such as shampoos, cosmetics, and textiles—there is no such certification process. The Federal Trade Commission has a “flexible” rule for industry, which requires marketers to have accurate and reliable science to back up their claims. But there is no formal definition for “organic” outside of food...
Quartz Jun 27, 2016 Dear Landlord: Don’t Rip Me Off When it Comes To Internet Access When building owners get kickbacks from big providers it’s the tenants who lose
QUOTE: Water and heat are regulated utilities. But when it comes to Internet access, people in apartments (called Multiple Dwelling Units, or MDUs) often have the worst of both worlds: all the limitations of a utility framework — no competition, no choices — with zero protections for consumers. That means unconstrained pricing. Network operators like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and AT&T, in cahoots with developers and landlords, routinely use a breathtaking array of kickbacks, lawyerly games of Twister, blunt threats, and downright illegal activities to lock up buildings in exclusive arrangements.
Backchannel May 17, 2016 White House Increases Overtime Eligibility by Millions
QUOTE: “For the past 40 years, overtime protections have been increasingly weakened,” Mr. Biden added, noting that more than 60 percent of salaried workers qualified for overtime in 1975 based on their salaries, but only 7 percent do today.
New York Times Aug 27, 2014 Put More Resources Toward Regulation
QUOTE: the Department of Justice shifted gears in 2003 to leverage resources by offering cooperating companies non–prosecution deals. While corporate fines have skyrocketed, only a handful of financial institutions have pled guilty to criminal behavior.
New York Times Aug 14, 2014 Founder Of One Laptop Per Child: Maybe Net Neutrality Isn’t Such A Good Idea After All
QUOTE: What we need, then, is some kind of middle ground, Negroponte suggests — but he also doesn’t quite suggest where that might be. Instead, he likens available bandwidth to a limited natural physical resource. If it’s immoral to use up all of the air, or water, or oil on frivolous things, is it perhaps also immoral to use up the internet?
Consumerist May 27, 2014 New Curbs Sought on the Personal Data Industry
QUOTE: The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday called on Congress to protect consumers against the unchecked collection and sharing of their digital data — from websites visited to their marital status — by providing people with tools to view, suppress and fix their information. The agency also said the little-known companies, called data brokers, that analyze and sell huge amounts of the consumer information for marketing purposes, needed to be reined in and more transparent to the public.
New York Times May 15, 2014 What preschoolers can teach Silicon Valley about “sharing”
QUOTE: At its most benign, calling things “sharing” that are actually no different from traditional commerce is just empty marketing....more perniciously, this semantic sleight of hand has been used to justify tax evasion and other kinds of law-skirting. Of course you shouldn’t have to pay hotel taxes if you’re just “sharing” your home!
Washington Post Dec 27, 2013 Academics Who Defend Wall St. Reap Reward
QUOTE: major players on Wall Street and elsewhere have been aggressive in underwriting and promoting academic work. The efforts by the financial players, the interviews show, are part of a sweeping campaign to beat back regulation and shape policies that affect the prices that people around the world pay for essentials like food, fuel and cotton.
New York Times Jul 30, 2013 Now That It’s in the Broadband Game, Google Flip-Flops on Network Neutrality
QUOTE: In a dramatic about-face on a key internet issue yesterday, Google told the FCC that the network neutrality rules Google once championed don’t give citizens the right to run servers on their home broadband connections, and that the Google Fiber network is perfectly within its rights to prohibit customers from attaching the legal devices of their choice to its network....So in Google’s version of net neutrality, the FCC was the right to force Apple to let iPhone users connect to their home servers, but the FCC has no right to force Google to let its broadband subscribers run a home server.
Wired Jun 30, 2013 Paid via Card, Workers Feel Sting of Fees
QUOTE: in the overwhelming majority of cases, using the card involves a fee. And those fees can quickly add up....For banks that are looking to recoup billions of dollars in lost income from a spate of recent limits on debit and credit card fees, issuing payroll cards can be lucrative — the products were largely untouched by recent financial regulations.
New York Times Mar 15, 2013 JPMorgan Executives Face Withering Questions at Senate Hearing
QUOTE: ...[Senator] Levin and a handful of colleagues questioned current and former executives about the bank’s risk management, oversight policies and pricing methods. The lawmakers took aim at JPMorgan for misleading investors and regulators about the disastrous bet, building off a scathing, 300-page Congressional report...
New York Times Mar 01, 2013 Will the “Six Strikes” Copyright Alert System Hurt Consumers And Small Businesses?
QUOTE: On Monday, the Copyright Alert System, or “Six Strikes”, went into affect across the five biggest ISPs in the U.S. The system hopes to catch those pirating content over P2P networks, and send them a notice detailing their infringement. The hope is that those who are caught will start using legal alternatives. To better understand the CAS, we have to look at what the Center for Copyright Information is doing with it. First, there are three tiers to the CAS that consumers should be aware of with each tier having two levels within it. The three tiers are as follows – educational alerts, acknowledgement alerts and mitigation measures.
WebProNews Feb 28, 2013 Breuer Reflects on Prosecutions That Were, and Weren’t
QUOTE: The 54-year-old prosecutor, with a Rolodex as thick as his Queens dialect, will leave the Justice Department on Friday, emboldened after mounting recent cases against banking giants. But Mr. Breuer, the department’s criminal division chief, also leaves somewhat bruised, having taken criticism for not throwing Wall Street executives behind bars after the financial crisis.
New York Times Jan 25, 2013 Court Rejects Obama Move to Fill Posts
QUOTE: In a ruling that called into question nearly two centuries of presidential “recess” appointments that bypass the Senate confirmation process, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday that President Obama violated the Constitution when he installed three officials on the National Labor Relations Board a year ago.
New York Times Jan 04, 2013 On Google, F.T.C. Set Rules of War Over Patents
QUOTE: The [FTC's Google-Ed.] action by no means spells the end of the smartphone patent wars, a global conflict in which major corporations including Apple, Samsung and Google have spent billions amassing patent portfolios and then suing and countersuing one another in courts around the world. But legal experts say Google’s settlement with the F.T.C. signals progress in clarifying the rules of engagement in high-tech patent battles, and thus could ease them.
New York Times Jan 04, 2013 Secret and Lies of the Bailout:The federal rescue of Wall Street didn’t fix the economy – it created a permanent bailout state based on a Ponzi-like confidence scheme. And the worst may be yet to come
QUOTE: Not only did [the 2009 banking system bailout--Ed.] prevent another Great Depression, we've been told, but the money has all been paid back, and the government even made a profit. No harm, no foul – right? Wrong. It was all a lie – one of the biggest and most elaborate falsehoods ever sold to the American people. We were told that the taxpayer was stepping in – only temporarily, mind you – to prop up the economy and save the world from financial catastrophe. What we actually ended up doing was the exact opposite: committing American taxpayers to permanent, blind support of an ungovernable, unregulatable, hyperconcentrated new financial system that exacerbates the greed and inequality that caused the crash, and forces Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to increase risk rather than reduce it. The result is one of those deals where one wrong decision early on blossoms into a lush nightmare of unintended consequences.
Rolling Stone Jan 03, 2013 Was The FTC Too Easy On Google? Too Hard? FTC will not take action on search practices
QUOTE: the FTC finally made an announcement regarding its investigation of Google for alleged anticompetitive conduct. The investigation is now closed. The Commission will not be pursing antitrust litigation, and Google escaped without fines, and will make some minor voluntary changes regarding its search business.... Google has agreed to change some of the business practices to resolve the FTC’s concerns including those related to patents and what the FTC alls its “misuse of patent protection to prevent competition.”
WebProNews Dec 18, 2012 F.T.C. Opens an Inquiry Into Data Brokers
QUOTE: as consumers conduct more of their personal and commercial lives online, that type of data collection has been steadily increasing, fueled by new online surveillance techniques and more sophisticated analytics. Some companies, for example, have compiled several thousand different pieces of information on a majority of adults in the United States. Regulators say they are concerned that such comprehensive data collection could be used to profile, score or segment consumers, with the potential to unfairly limit the kinds of financial, insurance, health, education or other marketing offers certain consumers receive.
New York Times Nov 29, 2012 Guardianship case in McLean illustrates lack of regulation for those caring for the elderly
QUOTE: raised questions among elder-care advocates and legislators about how a small number of paid guardians — both lawyers and non-lawyer professionals — are treating the aging and how states oversee the process.
Washington Post Nov 15, 2012 Wal-Mart Inquiry Reflects Alarm on Corruption
QUOTE: Wal-Mart on Thursday reported that its investigation into violations of a federal antibribery law had extended beyond Mexico to China, India and Brazil, some of the retailer’s most important international markets. The disclosure, made in a regulatory filing, suggests Wal-Mart has uncovered evidence into potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act...
New York Times Aug 14, 2012 A Giant Hospital Chain Is Blazing a Profit Trail
QUOTE: HCA’s emergence as a powerful leader in the hospital industry is all the more remarkable because only a decade ago the company was badly shaken by a wide-ranging Medicare fraud investigation that it eventually settled for more than $1.7 billion. Among the secrets to HCA’s success: It figured out how to get more revenue from private insurance companies, patients and Medicare by billing much more aggressively for its services than ever before; it found ways to reduce emergency room overcrowding and expenses; and it experimented with new ways to reduce the cost of its medical staff, a move that sometimes led to conflicts with doctors and nurses over concerns about patient care.
New York Times Jul 21, 2012 Into the Bailout Buzz Saw (Fair Game)
QUOTE: Thus the collision course was set between Mr. Barofsky and a crew of complacent, bank-friendly Treasury officials. He soon discovered that the department’s natural stance of marching in lock step with the banks meant that he had to question its policies and programs repeatedly to ensure that taxpayers weren’t at risk for fraud and abuse.
New York Times Jul 18, 2012 Capital One to pay $210 million in fines, consumer refunds
QUOTE: Cardholders who enrolled in a payment protection or credit monitoring product -- or who tried to cancel one of these products but were persuaded by a call center representative to keep it -- on or after August 1, 2010, will be refunded the money they paid for the product, as well as any finance charges, over-the-limit fees or interest paid....The latest action marks the first enforcement for the bureau since it began regulating credit cards, mortgages and consumer reporting agencies as part of the Dodd-Frank regulatory reform last year.
CNN/Money Magazine Jul 14, 2012 35 Questions Mitt Romney Must Answer About Bain Capital Before The Issue Can Go Away
QUOTE: In times of crisis, a strong candidate will come up with answers that satisfy the basic questions surround the controversy and will make people want to move on to another subject. Romney, however, could not seem to come up with basic messages that resolved the controversies. Many of his answers seemed evasive or overly legalistic. The biggest problem for Romney is that all of his interviews have only increased the questions that political observers, voters and the media have regarding he subject of Bain Capital.
Forbes Jul 14, 2012 This global financial fraud and its gatekeepers: The media's 'bad apple' thesis no longer works. We're seeing systemic corruption in banking – and systemic collusion
QUOTE: The notion that the entire global financial system is riddled with systemic fraud – and that key players in the gatekeeper roles, both in finance and in government, including regulatory bodies, know it and choose to quietly sustain this reality – is one that would have only recently seemed like the frenzied hypothesis of tinhat-wearers, but this week's headlines make such a conclusion, sadly, inevitable.
Guardian Unlimited Jul 05, 2012 Chesapeake Energy Cheat Sheet: What’s Been Uncovered So Far
QUOTE: Reuters took aim at [Chesapeake]’s flamboyant chief executive, Aubrey McClendon, in a series of articles, prompting his ouster as company chairman (he remains CEO) last month...The company was rocked anew last week when the news agency disclosed a series of email exchanges in which McClendon and other Chesapeake executives appeared to collude with officials at EnCana Corp., Canada’s largest natural gas company, to suppress the price of land leases in Michigan.
ProPublica Jun 19, 2012 Online credit card complaint database to debut
QUOTE: A new online database...created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will begin by posting grievances against credit card companies...."Disclosing every complaint, without any indication of the veracity of the complaint, is inherently misleading," wrote Fred R. Becker Jr., president of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions.
CNN/Money Magazine Jun 13, 2012 Owners May Not Be Covered When Hackers Wipe Out A Business Bank Account
QUOTE: Computer security specialists say these crimes, called “corporate account takeovers,” have become increasingly common...most banks do not take responsibility for unauthorized debits from business accounts. Unless the owners have fraud insurance, they must shoulder the losses alone.
New York Times Apr 26, 2012 Not just Wal-Mart: Dozens of U.S. companies face bribery charges
QUOTE: Deere, Disney, Hewlett-Packard, Qualcom and many others are also under investigation for violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
CNN (Cable News Network) Mar 19, 2012 At Heart of Health Law Clash, a 1942 Case of a Farmer’s Wheat
QUOTE: Mr. Filburn sued to overturn a 1938 federal law that told him how much wheat he could grow on his family farm and made him pay a penalty for every extra bushel. The 1942 decision against him, Wickard v. Filburn, is the basis for the Supreme Court’s modern understanding of the scope of federal power.
New York Times Feb 15, 2012 FCC set to impose new limits on automated telemarketing calls
QUOTE: Under the new rules, telemarketers would have to get permission in writing before placing an automated call to a consumer. Currently, companies that have an established business relationship with a particular consumer can call them without permission.
CNN (Cable News Network) Feb 08, 2012 States Negotiate $26 Billion Deal for Homeowners
QUOTE: After months of painstaking talks, government authorities and five of the nation’s biggest banks have agreed to a $26 billion settlement that could provide relief to nearly two million current and former American homeowners harmed by the bursting of the housing bubble, state and federal officials said. It is part of a broad national settlement aimed at halting the housing market’s downward slide and holding the banks accountable for foreclosure abuses.
New York Times Jan 30, 2012 Treasury Investigates Freddie Mac Investment
QUOTE: The Treasury Department is investigating a report that Freddie Mac, the mortgage giant, bet against homeowners’ ability to refinance their loans even as it was making it more difficult for them to do so...
New York Times Jan 30, 2012 F.T.C. Fines a Collector of Debt $2.5 Million
QUOTE: The Federal Trade Commission signaled on Monday that it would continue to crack down on debt collectors who harass consumers for money they may not even be legally obligated to pay...Asset Acceptance, one of the nation’s largest debt collection companies, had agreed to pay a $2.5 million civil penalty to settle charges that the company deceived consumers when trying to collect old debts.
New York Times Dec 16, 2011 Crippling the Right to Organize (Op-Ed)
QUOTE: three decades of Republican resistance to the board — an unwillingness to recognize the fundamental right of workers to band together, if they wish, to seek better pay and working conditions. But Mr. Obama is also partly to blame; in trying to install partisan stalwarts on the board, as his predecessors did, he is all but guaranteeing that the impasse will continue.
New York Times Nov 25, 2011 In Commodities World, Safe and Secure Sometimes Isn’t
QUOTE: regulators suspect that MF Global did not keep its clients’ money separate in its chaotic waning days, using some customers’ money, they believe, to meet its own obligations. And if the firm violated the rule requiring segregated accounts, investors say they are now concerned about the viability of commodities trading as it has been conducted in the United States for more than a century.
New York Times Oct 07, 2011 Checking Account Wars, Behind the Scenes (Your Money)
QUOTE: So the big banks make you pay, and the most aggressive of the little institutions want to pay you.... Even when nearly everyone had free checking several years ago, however, there were all sorts of questionable activities going on behind the scenes to pay for it.
New York Times Oct 06, 2011 Fired IT workers fight back against H-1B visa abuse: Hindi-only meetings and mass firings of experienced U.S. workers for cheaper foreign labor just as tech job demands grow
QUOTE: Skilled IT workers in the United States are fired and replaced with low-paid overseas employees and holders of H-1B visas....the story of Molina is a bit different than the usual outsourcing horror stories we hear all too often. Workers at Molina are fighting back with a lawsuit...
InfoWorld Oct 06, 2011 Charging for Debit Cards Is Robbery
QUOTE: When Bank of America told its customers recently that it would start charging them $5 a month to use debit cards, it argued that it was forced to make that change because of regulations that altered the economics of the cards....But the banks’ simplistic statements are merely an attempt to rationalize and obfuscate one of the largest illegal transfers of wealth from consumers to banks in American history.
New York Times Sep 09, 2011 Pipeline Spills Put Safeguards Under Scrutiny
QUOTE: The little-known federal agency charged with monitoring the system and enforcing safety measures — the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration — is chronically short of inspectors and lacks the resources needed to hire more, leaving too much of the regulatory control in the hands of pipeline operators themselves...
New York Times Sep 02, 2011 Obama Administration Abandons Stricter Air-Quality Rules
QUOTE: President Obama abandoned a contentious new air pollution rule on Friday, buoying business interests that had lobbied heavily against it, angering environmentalists who called the move a betrayal and unnerving his own top environmental regulators.
New York Times Sep 02, 2011 Federal Regulators Sue Big Banks Over Mortgages
QUOTE: A bruising legal fight pitting the country’s most powerful banks against the full force of the United States government began Friday, as federal regulators filed suits against 17 financial institutions that sold the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac nearly $200 billion in mortgage-backed securities that later soured.
New York Times Sep 01, 2011 Age bias in IT: Should you sue? Age discrimination lawsuits aren't easy to endure, but they can be won. Here's what you need to know.
QUOTE: Age discrimination complaints are on the rise....A 2009 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Gross v. FBL Financial Services, raised the bar for age discrimination cases, saying that plaintiffs, and not the companies being sued, bear the burden of proving a dismissal or reassignment of duties was due to age and not some other factor.
Computerworld Aug 31, 2011 Improving Fairness in Flight Delays
QUOTE: For fliers, the RBS-EP proposal would help those whose flights would have been given unfair assignments based on the current approach: based upon a new metric for defining fairness, they would receive earlier (and therefore more advantageous) departure slots.
Harvard Business Review (HBR) Aug 24, 2011 America’s Sweatshop Diplomacy (Op-Ed)
QUOTE: the J-1 visa Summer Work Study program, which allows foreign students to work in the United States for a few months, is meant to promote “lasting and meaningful relationships” between the students and Americans....Hershey’s business strategy is a microcosm of the downsizing and subcontracting that so many American companies have pursued during the past few decades in search of ever cheaper labor.
New York Times Aug 19, 2011 Antibacterial Chemical Raises Safety Issues
QUOTE: a battle over the active ingredient in Dial Complete and many other antibacterial soaps, a chemical known as triclosan...Several studies have shown that triclosan may alter hormone regulation in laboratory animals or cause antibiotic resistance...F.D.A. has already said that soap with triclosan is no more effective than washing with ordinary soap and water, a finding that manufacturers dispute.
New York Times Jul 28, 2011 Useless Studies, Real Harm (Op-Ed)
QUOTE: In an age of for-profit clinical research, this is the new face of scandal. Pharmaceutical companies promote their drugs with pseudo-studies that have little if any scientific merit, and patients naïvely sign up, unaware of the ways in which they are being used.
New York Times Jul 25, 2011 A Bonanza for Airlines as Taxes End
QUOTE: the agency no longer had the authority to impose the various federal taxes that airlines add to the price of each ticket. So as of 12:01 a.m. Saturday, the federal government began losing an estimated $25 million a day in tax revenue. But did airlines simply pass on this savings to customers? No, they did not.
New York Times Jul 15, 2011 After Long Battle, Safer Cribs
QUOTE: The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued new regulations for cribs that the authorities say are the toughest in the world....some manufacturers had not had all of their cribs certified by testing laboratories, frustrating some retailers who have been stuck with cribs that they are not permitted to sell.
New York Times Jul 13, 2011 Amazon Takes On California
QUOTE: Amazon said this week that it would push a voter initiative in California that could eliminate sales tax for virtual sellers with only a modest physical presence in the state. Its move instantly escalated the company’s long-running battle with many states over collecting sales tax, taking the question directly to voters. And it has sharply intensified its dispute with physical retailers like Wal-Mart Stores and Target, which have vowed to fight the measure.
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