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On June 4, digital privacy rights activists demonstrated at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park. Facebook is under renewed scrutiny after it was revealed that smartphone manufacturers were given access to the private information of Facebook users and their friends. Apple, Samsung, and Huawei are among dozens on the list of companies with access to personal data, including user religious and political affiliation.
Sun Apr 8 2018 (Updated 04/17/18)
Facebook CEO Faces Government/Public Scrutiny
When Facebook security tried to shut them down, protesters at the social media giant used their best delaying tactics and continued shouting and singing in front of the "Like" sign at the entrance of the corporate campus on April 5. Under pressure from lawmakers, the media, and the public, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before Congress about Cambridge Analytica’s breach of Facebook data. Meawnwhile, buried in a company announcement, Facebook admitted that most of its 2 billion users have had their personal data scraped by "malicious actors."
On March 14, thousands of San Francisco Bay Area students participated in a national walkout against gun violence, with 1,500 marching in the suburb of Menlo Park alone. However, not all went smoothly for some Bay Area students seeking to express themselves. One district superintendent in the South Bay accused students of not thinking things through, and stated that “Organizations have their own agendas and they’re using kids as pawns."
On March 8, protesters gathered in front of Visa headquarters in Foster City. They called on the credit card company to block sales of assault weapons. Shortly after they delivered 150,000 signatures on a petition to company representatives, VISA issued a statement to the press saying “We do not believe Visa should be in the position of setting restrictions on the sale of lawful goods and services." Protestors returned to renew their demands one week later.
Wed Dec 13 2017 (Updated 01/02/18)
National Day of Action in Defense of Net Neutrality
UPDATE: In sweeping act of deregulation, the FCC has voted to repeal Net Neutrality
Protests to save net neutrality burst upon the San Francisco Bay Area scene on December 7. The proposal at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to roll back Obama era rules would fundamentally change the internet by favoring carriers over internet content providers. In Palo Alto, a "March on Verizon" started in Lytton Plaza, where "Digital DNA", a sculpture inviting the viewer to question how technology can enslave us, is slated for removal because of its political message. Demonstrations on the national day of action targeted Verizon because FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is a former Verizon lawyer.
On November 16, the Public Art Commission of Palo Alto voted unanimously to remove the artwork of Adriana Varella from the city’s public art collection. "Digital DNA", a seven foot tall egg shaped sculpture made of recycled circuit boards, imparts a political message—that technology generated by Silicon Valley has a far-reaching impact. It conveys that modern technology can enslave us, and reminds the viewer that technology is also used for warfare. In protest of the commission's decision, the artist has created a more than 5 foot wide collage titled "Censorship Committee of Palo Alto" that is currently on display at an art show about censorship in New York City.
Sun Nov 19 2017 (Updated 11/28/17)
Police Action in East Palo Alto Displaces RV Dwellers
Seventy-five protesters blocked a street in East Palo Alto to protect families at a police action at 8 a.m. on November 15. A tow truck pulled up to haul away a dozen RV's occupied mostly by working people, some with children. The RV residents received less than 24 hours notice of an emergency eviction ordinance put in place by the city. That same evening many of the protesters and about 200 residents showed up to a Public Works and Transportation Commission meeting to face off with city staff and commissioners. On the agenda: a potential long term or permanent ordinance on RV parking on Weeks Street and a ban on all oversized vehicles on city streets.
Oakland will spend $75,000 on a study to examine the feasibility of establishing a public bank in the city. The impact on the cannabis industry would be huge, because most corporate banks do not conduct business with the cannabis trade even where their operations are legal. Without bank credit card services, business transactions must be conducted in cash. Even filing taxes with the IRS is problematic. Nearly all large corporate banks are involved in unethical practices of one kind or another. A public bank would also allow people of conscience to bank without supporting unconscionable investments.
Late in the evening on October 8, the Diablo Winds blew into Santa Rosa, resulting in five fires. The rapidly spreading fires caused dozens of deaths and burned thousands of homes and other structures to the ground. Beyond those directly effected, the Santa Rosa firestorm, and other fires in the North Bay have polluted the air across the entire region. The elderly and children are at greatest health risk from the smoke of the wildfires in Sonoma, Napa, Yuba and Mendocino Counties. On October 16 a new wildfire started in unincorporated Santa Cruz County, spurring evacuations. Concerns remain about the origin of the fires; one theory being that high winds caused power lines to collapse, raising questions about PG&E's culpability.
Thu Aug 24 2017 (Updated 09/02/17)
DOJ Demands User Data from Anti-Trump Website
Federal prosecutors say DisruptJ20.org was used to plan a violent anti-Trump riot on Inauguration Day in Washington, D.C. Initially, the Department of Justice (DoJ) demanded that the site’s web host, DreamHost, turn over extensive data including 1.3 million IP addresses. After DreamHost and activist organizations complained that the warrant was an abuse of government authority, the DoJ narrowed the scope of the warrant on August 21, dropping IP addresses but still seeking information on private groups that organized via the website. On August 24, the court ruled that DreamHost still needs to disclose some information about the operators of disruptj20.org.
Right-wing protest organizer Jack Posobiec cited “credible alt-left terrorist threats” as the reason for postponing an extreme right march at Google headquarters in Mountain View scheduled for August 19. Cause célèbre for the extreme right, former Google software engineer James Damore inspired the protest when he was fired for penning an internal memo in which he argued that the low number of women in technical positions was a result of biological differences. Despite the postponement of the alt-right demo, demonstrators carried on with a counter protest on August 19.
Mon Jul 31 2017 (Updated 08/01/17)
Push for Single Payer Plan as Lives Are on the Line
Last week, the Senate blocked a proposal by Republicans to repeal much of the the Affordable Care Act, but many people in the U.S. worry Republicans in Congress remain determined to take away health care. A recent study shows a majority of Americans say it is the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage; a growing number now supports a single payer plan. On Saturday, July 29, demonstrators called the win in the Senate a “temporary victory." and said they are not waiting for the next Republican attack.
Tue Apr 18 2017 (Updated 04/23/17)
Tax Day Protests Demand Trump Release His Taxes
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump said he would release his taxes, but that he couldn't until a supposed IRS audit concluded. Trump continues to refuse to release his tax returns, despite mounting questions regarding conflicts of interest and how much he might be beholden to those representing foreign powers such as Russian oligarchs. Protesters gathered in over 150 cities on April 15, the traditional tax filing deadline, to demand that Trump release his taxes. In Northern California, Tax Day protests were held in Santa Cruz, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Walnut Creek, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Ukiah, and other cities.
iCal feed From the Calendar:
Swift Reaction in Silicon Valley as More Facebook Fouls Exposed Renewed Protest at Facebook HQ in Menlo Park Tue Jun 5th 11:57pm
How Much Do Bay Area Companies Make From Pentagon Contracts? Fortress Bay Area Fri May 11th 6:22pm
Facebook Should Apologize to Black America with $100 Million Paul Cobb, Oakland Post Publisher (1 comment) Tue Apr 10th 3:59pm
Protesters Booted from Facebook Campus Mary DeShaw/R. Robertson Fri Apr 6th 3:05am
Protest at Facebook HQ: Demand Data Protection Raging Grannies Action League Sat Mar 31st 4:47am
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