Items tagged with California

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...
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