Sam Biddle joins The Intercept

New Plans and New Faces at The Intercept Betsy Reed June 13 2016, 4:52 p.m.

SOMEONE gets me on Uber labor issues (I bet air bnb housing shortages too)

I’M PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE that The Intercept’s new technology reporter is Sam Biddle. Biddle comes to us from Gawker, where his dogged reporting has exposed Uber’s subversion of American labor, Facebook’s data-­mining ploys, teenage hackers, and startup malfeasance. At The Intercept, Biddle will be focusing on the themes we care about — the need to hold powerful institutions accountable, the ways in which technology can undermine privacy — in a realm that has not received enough adversarial coverage: Silicon Valley.

more in link

“How “Silicon Valley” Nails Silicon Valley”

The New Yorker Andrew Marantz , June 9, 2016

“When Dick Costolo attended the University of Michigan, in the nineteen-eighties, his major was computer science, but he was surprised to find that he also had a knack for improv comedy. After graduation, he moved to Chicago and took classes at the Second City Theatre. Unlike some of his peers there—Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Adam McKay—Costolo was not asked to join the theatre’s house company, and his comedy career dried up. He fell back on his skills as a coder and founded a series of tech startups, one of which was eventually acquired by Google, for a hundred million dollars. In 2010, he became the C.E.O. of Twitter, earning about ten million dollars in his first year. At a charity event, he ran into Steve Carell, and they reminisced about their days as bohemian improvisers. “I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you,” Carell joked.”

more in link

Heirs Go Crazy: Prince’s Estate and Copyright’s Termination of Transfer

As if my purple heart were not broken enough.

Copyright On!

The fight over Prince’s estate will dig deep into copyright law for a very long time

PrinceSymbol_with_C

When Prince passed away on April 21, 2016, he left no will, and now his heirs appear ready for a long fight over his estate. Apparently, their first meeting about the estate ended in shouting. Heirs can battle over any substantial estate, and there are particular complications when it involves an artist.  Some of what Prince’s heirs are fighting over is the ownership of his works — his published and unpublished music compositions and recordings. Copyright law will have a significant impact on who has what rights, and for how long. Three particular areas affecting their rights are the termination of transfer (17 U.S.C. § 203), the term of copyright for published and unpublished works (17 U.S.C. § 302), and the contracts already in place.  The drafting of a will for an artist, or…

View original post 3,106 more words

The Law of Unintended Consequences: aka People Still Matter

I once had a 20-something pull my phone OUT OF MY HAND and try to explain to me how to get the Uber app when I said I was not interested.

Because I am of course a dumb old lady that can barely handle candy crush my kid put on for me, not an internet and labor and human rights activist. Amirite?

Kind of makes me understand why people cross-generational bash. Everyone makes assumptions about the other. And I had told her WHY I did not patronize UBER so who was the clueless one. Oh to be young again (NOPE.)

The Gig Economy Is Ripping Out Floor Below Middle Class

The impact will be ruinous, investigative reporter David Cay Johnston explains.

By Steven Rosenfeld / AlterNet
May 21, 2016

[excerpted]

What’s now called the “gig economy,” which encompasses companies like Uber where people use their cars to taxi others, property owners use firms like AirBnB to rent homes and rooms, and the well-off use firms like Instacart for on-demand shopping, not only erodes wage-based work and benefits, but it poses systemic risks to the economy as income becomes more erratic.

That was the takeaway from David Cay Johnston, the renowned investigative business reporter, in a talk at San Francisco Public Press, an independent non-profit outlet. Yet according to just-released findings by Pew Research Center in the first national survey about this corner of the “new digital economy,” most Americans have little idea of the changes underway. [emphasis mine]

“Imagine that you are a mortgage lender. Are you going to lend people money for 30 years if they don’t have the security of employment?” Johnston said, offering an example of how the successful push by the technology sector to undermine and overturn the labor laws created during the New Deal are tilting too far toward piecemeal purveyors and will create new instability.

People are working without salary, benefits, and the stability to buy a house and raise a family,” [emphasis mine]
he said, saying that the blame can be placed at the foot of high-tech lobbyists who have donated to congressional campaigns and federal officeholders who subsequently loosened federal laws to their benefit.

Meanwhile, according to Pew’s New Digital Economy report, 61 percent of Americans have never heard of “crowdfunding,” 73 percent are not familiar with the “sharing economy,” and 89 percent have never heard of the “gig economy.”” [emphasis mine]

I really do have a hard time remembering how thick of a tech and media bubble I live in, even 20 min out of town I am reminded every day. Not in a bad way, it’s just a different culture and I have to recalibrate. Imagine an hour away, or 1000 miles away. I can’t and I have people there. They don’t understand when I rant about air bnb and the urban housing crisis. But it isn’t their housing. They used air bnb once and it was cheap and neat. They discovered a new insider tip. Minimum wage jokes are an abstract cheap shot, not my real very real (and currently irrational) fear of homelessness.

It’s human nature to prioritize your immediate problems, and this has hit very localized communities – or that was true two years ago. It comes for us all eventually.

Compassion out of self-interest is good enough for me (and I suspect 70+ of us trying to be compassionate. Not counting the Fear of God population.)

But now look at how (techie but acutely socially aware) cities and towns like Austin TX have engaged with Uber/Lyft, just over freaking fingerprinting initially (which Uber has caved on before) but now I think it is just PERSONAL.

Sadly I am seeing more cities cave to money, especially little sleepy tourists towns I fear. All winter it seems that medallions are evaporating in my town. The chances of getting a cab have drastically lowered, response time significantly raised, and they don’t know their way around.

My friends say I’m just a sucker for sticking with taxis and not giving in to Uber. Screw that. At least give everyone a fair shot.

I support innovation. If you are reading here that is obvious. But I have supported labor rights about as long, and there are always effects. Unintended are usually scary. We have a moral responsibility to bring everyone along with us as we tap merrily on our phones and think how convenient and modern our lives are.

The disruptor class seems to be made up largely of the very fortunate among us, (yes you can be very smart and passionate and hard-working. So was your cousin who didn’t make it for whatever reason. As Obama said at Howard commencement, you earned this, but you were all still fortunate.)

So while many of these companies socially concerned, trying to express it and implement it can be very awkward in practice.

(It sounds so good, yet idealistic, simplistic, naive, and directionless: the motto than ‘DO NO EVIL” – leadership vision from the perspective of 20 something life experience. I wont call out any particular things I saw visiting any particular places.)

Sweeping changes are made without always understanding what ACTUAL IMMEDIATE AND LONG TERM social concerns are abut consequences of disruptions. (GO SEE BOSTON’S WEST END MUSEUM)

I talk to many, many excited intelligent people doing amazing things, but so narrowly trained, and not always part of the cultures they are disrupting, so they just don’t have the insight. From Bangladesh to Borneo to Back Bay.

STEM DIVERSITY (of all stripes) EFFORTS MATTER.

NPR: Priest’s Answer To Gang Life Faces Hard Times

You can’t tell people to straighten up and take responsibility for their lives, then provide no support for those giving the opportunity to do so.

If you teach a man to fish, right?

Priest’s Answer To Gang Life Faces Hard Times

from NPR.org

May 21, 201011:33 AM ET

Mandalit del Barco

“Civil rights attorney and gang prevention expert Connie Rice said the layoffs are a tragedy for what she calls the best gang recovery program in the country. “Greg Boyle is doing what our $8 billion corrections system fails to do, which is rehabilitate people so they don’t go back to crimes,” Rice said.”

“I remember the first time he ever told me he loved me,” Lizama said. “To me, it was, like, uncomfortable because I’m here looking at him like, ‘Man, how’s this white man gonna tell me he loves me when not even my own mom tells me that.’ But he just started showing me how to love, how to be loved.”

Jocelyn Esparza, 22, has been going to Homeboy Industries to remove the obscene tattoos she scrawled under her eyes.

“There’s generations and more generations that need help, you know? If Homeboys was to close, man, there’d be no more hope,” she said.

Hoping for a miracle, the homeboys and homegirls are now appealing to everyone with money they can think of. They even have a Facebook campaign to get Father G on Oprah.

“We’re gonna stick by Father G’s side,” Esparza said. “He helped us when we needed him, and now he needs us and we’ll be here till the wheels fall off.”