Items tagged with California

California, a state that is known for its tough talk on privacy regulations, is coming under fire for its own actions regarding the misuse use of drivers’ personal information. Thanks to an inquiry by Motherboard, it's been discovered that the California Department of Motor Vehicles has been selling private records to third parties, and has been pulling in quite a bit of money in the process over the past decade. According to the report, during the fiscal 2017/2018 period alone, the California DMV pulled in over $52 million by selling this data. Personal information within the records contains drivers’ full name, physical address, and car registration. However, the... Read more...
Remembering when texting messaging was generally capped, and it would cost extra to go over your monthly allotment? For the most part, cellphone plans come with unlimited texting these days, though residents in California may still have to pay a bit extra as a part of a proposed tax on text messaging. Say what? That's right folks, California has this kooky idea that a text messaging tax will fly with residents. And it might, depending on how it gets implemented. Rather than taxing individual text messages, or a set number of texts, the proposal calls for a predetermined fee to be added to a user's monthly cellphone bill. The purpose of the tax is to fund programs that subsidize phone service... Read more...
In recent years, we've seen a number of garden variety consumer electronics devices -- including routers and webcams among others -- that have been sucked into zombie botnets to wreak havoc around the globe. Many of those devices were accessible due to extremely weak passwords that were enacted by default by their manufacturers. California, however, is looking to change this and has passed a law that would require all internet-connected device sold in the state to have a unique "strong" password. This unique password would be obtained in one of two ways as outlined by the "Information Privacy: Connected Devices" bill. Manufacturers can choose to give each individual device... Read more...
The debate surrounding net neutrality is going to court.The United States Justice Department is suing the state of California over their new net neutrality law. The lawsuit will decide whether federal or state governments can enact laws that affect national telecommunication companies.    The suit was filed on Sunday with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a bill that prevents companies like Verizon and AT&T from slowing or blocking Internet traffic. Companies are also unable to allow unlimited access to certain sites while blocking others. The bill is intended to protect consumers and undo the laws enacted... Read more...
California is attempting to push through legislation that would requires smartphone makers and other electronic gadget manufactures to provide consumers with diagnostic and repair information, as well as equipment or service parts. The proposed "Right to Repair Act" is in response to the growing difficulty of do-it-yourself repairs, both on the part of product owners and independent repair shops. "The Right to Repair Act will provide consumers with the freedom to have their electronic products and appliances fixed by a repair shop or service provider of their choice, a practice that was taken for granted a generation ago but is now becoming increasingly rare in a world of planned obsolescence,"... Read more...
One thing that Google and automakers such as General Motors and Volkswagen can all agree on is that California's proposed rules on self-driving cars, while perhaps penned with good intentions, would hamper efforts to develop and test potentially life saving autonomous vehicle technologies. They could also lead to skewed reports regarding the safety of self-driving cars. For example, one of the rules (PDF) California proposed is that police wouldn't need a warrant or subpoena to extract any self-driving data within 24 hours. That one was one of many rules Google and automakers with vested interested in autonomous vehicles questioned and ultimately opposed, as the data would typically only be collected... Read more...
We’ve seen some obvious cases of companies fleecing (or at least attempting to fleece) the American people and the U.S. Government in the past, but AT&T appears to be going for bonus points with its newest proposal to hook up parts of California with outdated DSL service. And AT&T isn’t going to provide the infrastructure for DSL service out the goodness of its heart; it’s asking California taxpayers to fork over upwards $100 million to get the job done. That’s right, AT&T is asking taxpayers to foot a $100 million bill for Internet service that at best will get customers 10Mbps down and 1Mbps up. The California Advanced Services Fund (CASF), provides grants to Internet service providers... Read more...
Google isn't feeling the love from California's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), which drafted a set of rules on autonomous vehicles that set several restrictions on their use. As currently conceived, driverless cars would be required to have a steering wheel, pedals, and a licensed driver behind the wheel in case something goes awry. It sounds reasonable on the surface, but from Google's vantage point, the DMV is essentially placing a ceiling on autonomous driving technology. Google is looking to totally transform the driving experience and has designed vehicles that, when finished, would lack a steering wheel or pedals. Part of the thinking behind that approach is to make the technology... Read more...
Californians who want to complain on Yelp about a bad experience dealing with a business are free to do so without fear of being fined. That wasn't always the case -- businesses have gotten into the dubious habit of inserting non-disparagement clauses into contracts to prevent peeved customers from leaving a negative online review, but such practice is now outlawed thanks to what's known as the "Yelp Bill." The official name is Assembly Bill 2365, but that's a bit boring, don't you think? Whatever -- Shakespeare taught us that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and in this case, the thorny bill prohibits businesses from pricking customers with sometimes hefty fines for writing negative... Read more...
Tesla’s proposed “gigafactory”, a massive production facility that would make batteries for the company’s electric cars, is looking for a state to call home, and you can count California among those campaigning hard to be chosen. According to USA Today, the California state legislature is working on a bill to speed an approval process to persuade Tesla to come to the state; this follows an earlier measure designed to give Tesla property tax breaks. Model S Other states in the mix include Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas. KTVU in Concord, CA reports that one nagging problem for California is that one area where the gigafactory could be built is actually a Superfund... Read more...
Usually, technological advances substantially outpace legislation to manage them, but give a tip ‘o the cap to the California DMV for drawing up regulations for autonomous cars before the vehicles become widespread. In two separate “packages”, the DMV has rules both for testing autonomous vehicles by manufacturers and deployment for the public operation of vehicles on roads. A vehicle that has driver assistance or automatic safety features but not the ability to actually drive the vehicle without human control is not considered “autonomous”. Manufacturers must do their own testing and run driver training programs, and drivers must be employees of the manufacturer.... Read more...
Thinking about punching in updated directions on your smartphone while cruising in California? Think again. Over the years, states have been marching towards a highway system that's devoid of any texting, phone holding, etc. And that's a good thing, given that distracted driving can (and does) lead to far too many accidents. But if you're a smartphone owners, chances are high that you've taken a risk a time or two by punching in new directions on a GPS app while still in motion, or perhaps at a stoplight if you're one of the dutiful citizens of the road. Now, however, a court ruling in California is making it illegal to use a mobile phone to check a GPS program. In other words, it may soon be... Read more...
Amazon.com is using California's initiative process to try to get a law requiring Amazon.com to collect sales tax in the state repealed, and as part of its process, the company is campaigning in front of physical storefronts. As part of its attempt to repeal the law, Amazon must gather over 500,000 signatures in order for a Proposition to be put on the ballot.  In what must be seen as a truly ironic move, (and probably frustrating and annoying for brick-and-mortar stores that must collect sales tax), signature gatherers are using planting themselves in front of high-traffic retail areas.  Naturally, quite a few of these retailers have lost sales to Amazon. Bill Whalen,... Read more...
California voters prepare: Amazon.com Inc. has announced that the California Attorney General's Office has approved its petition for a referendum that will let voters decide whether or not to overturn a new law that forces online retailers to collect sales taxes in the state. There has been a large amount of criticism pointed towards Amazon as of late for simply abandoning their affiliates and branches located in California in the face of this law. The law forces online retailers, like Amazon, to collect California sales taxes by expanding what it means to have a physical presence in the state. This includes cases where an online retailer has a related company, such as a marketing arm or... Read more...
A few weeks ago, Amazon.com dropped associates in California due to a new sales tax law. Needless to say, this action made many loyal Amazon users and sellers unhappy. Many people blamed the state of California while others placed blame on Amazon. Regardless of which party you chose to blame, the fact is, the accounts for Amazon associates in California have been terminated. Now, Amazon.com is seeking a ballot initiative that could repeal the California law that requires online retailers such as Amazon to collect sales tax. The California attorney general's office received a petition on Friday. Next, the attorney general's office will prepare a title and summary for the initiative. The initiative... Read more...
Faster than an Amazon Associate could blink, Amazon.com sent out notices on Wednesday, telling Associates that due to California's new budget, which includes a new sales tax on Amazon.com purchases, their accounts would be terminated, IF the sales tax was signed into law (which it has). The state of California is following the example of many other states, passing an "Amazon Tax." In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled in Quill vs. North Dakota that unless a retailer had a "physical presence" in a state, it could no be required to collect sales tax on purchases made in that state. Amazon.com does not have a warehouse or any other physical location, but what Californian and other states have done is... Read more...
The state of California is currently considering a bill (SB761) that, if passed in its current form, would require websites to ask visitors for permission before tracking them via cookies. While there are already apps and add-ons that allow web surfers to manually control what cookies they accept or refuse, the new bill would require companies to explicitly ask visitors if they wanted to be tracked. Google and Facebook have jointly sent a letter to the government claiming that passage of the bill would have disastrous consequences. The relevant text is as follows: [The bill] would require a... person or entity doing business in the state of California that collects, uses, or stores online data... Read more...
It seems impossible to escape advertising, and California, looking for any possible way to close its budget gap, may make it still more difficult. The state is considering electronic license plates. The reason for the digital-age change, though, is strictly monetary: advertising. The plates would appear to be standard license plates when the vehicle is moving, but when the vehicle is stopped for more than four seconds, either in traffic or at a stop light, would switch to digital messages. The number wouldn't vanish completely; it would still be visible in the corner of the plate. In emergencies, the license plates could be used to broadcast Amber Alerts, traffic information, or emergency instructions.... Read more...
Love the Earth? Sure, we all do--after all, we live here. Love it enough to throw out your current TV and buy one that meets heightened energy requirements? Um....Just this week California regulators adopted the "nation's first energy-efficiency standards for televisions," with hopes of reducing energy drain during a period where many Americans are looking to buy larger, more energy-dependant sets. Of course, the Golden State has always been one to watch energy usage, and the 5-0 vote by the California Energy Commission isn't all that surprising. Reportedly, the new rules will be phased in starting in 2011, and given that California residents purchase around 11% of the TVs sold each year in America,... Read more...
With data theft seeming to be increasing in frequency (read this and this), a California legislator has introduced a bill that would make companies report more information to people affected by the breaches.State Sen. Joe Simitian's bill would require companies involved to report to the state attorney general any data breach that affected more than 500 California residents. The proposed law also details what the companies have to tell their customers about the breaches.He spoke at the University of California - Berkeley about a symposium on the topic and suggested too many companies don't make things clear enough:While some breach notification letters do a good job of telling users what happened... Read more...
We feel like we've been here before, and in fact, we have. Sort of, at least. The same hotly debated video game law in California has come to the forefront of attention once more, with a federal appeals court striking down the law that sought to bar minors from purchasing or renting games that were deemed too violent. The 9th United States Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the original 2005 law "violates minors' rights under the Constitution's First and 14th amendments." The three judge panel's unanimous ruling upholds an earlier ruling in the United States District Court. If it would have passed, the law would have prohibited the rental or sale of "violent" (who determines that, we wonder?)... Read more...
Text messaging may be more popular then making phone calls, but as of the New Year, California drivers have to resort to the old school style of talking to people, at least while driving. In September of 2008 California banned text messaging while driving, effective Jan. 1, 2009. Lest California drivers forget, they still need to use a hands-free setup or headset while behind the wheel, as well. Studies have shown as many as 30% of cell phone users text while driving. And before BlackBerry users get their hopes up, emailing counts as well. A violation will result in a $20 fine for a first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense. Yes, yes, it's such a low fine that some will probably ignore... Read more...
1 2 Next