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Technology & Telecommunications

Technology has seeped into nearly every aspect of modern life, from the food we eat to the ways we communicate. Consequently, telecommunications and technology coprorations have gained huge power over the past two decades. Cable companies bicker with telephone monopolies over the internet; customer support for ubiquitous laptop computers is offshored from Silicon Valley to Bangalore; obsolete electronics pile up in developing world landfills, exposing children to toxic metals; and multinationals tinker with the technology of nature to make a tomato that doesn't spoil on a grocery shelf. Ubiquity, especially when it melds into the background of daily life, is perhaps the most powerful tool of corporate power.

Nexa Investigated For Sale Of Surveillance Equipment Linked To Egypt Abuses
by Erin Gifford
January 22nd, 2018
The Paris High Court has opened an investigation into Nexa Technologies Inc., formerly known as Amesys, for the sale of surveillance technology to Egypt that was allegedly used for torture and enforced disappearances under the authoritarian regime of president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Uber Used Clandestine Technology Tool To Thwart Police Raids
by Pratap Chatterjee
January 17th, 2018
Uber, the global taxi technology company, has been using a clandestine tool named "Ripley"to thwart government oversight of the ride-sharing company by restricting access to company computers. Ripley is likely to increase scrutiny of the company by government authorities given Uber's questionable use of several other high-tech tools.

One in Ten Amazon Workers In Ohio Uses Food Stamps To Survive
by Pratap Chatterjee
January 5th, 2018
One in ten Amazon employees in Ohio needs government assistance to make ends meet, according to analysis conducted by Policy Matters Ohio, a Cleveland-based research group. This is despite the fact that, since 2014, the state has given Amazon over $125 million in subsidies to expand.

AT&T Developed Secret Program To Help U.S. Police Mine Client Phone Records
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
October 28th, 2016
Police departments across the U.S. pay AT&T, the telecommunications giant, over one hundred thousand dollars a year for special access to telephone records of clients without first obtaining a warrant. The program is called 'Hemisphere' and the company required buyers to keep its existence secret.

Garment Factories In Burma Often Violate Labor Laws
by Richard SmallteacherCorpWatch Blog
March 28th, 2016
A new report on garment factories in Burma issued by Action Labor Rights (ALR) estimates that nearly a third of workers were required to work 60 hours or more a week, with almost two thirds reporting that they had no choice in the matter.

VimpelCom Pays $795 Million To Settle Uzbekistan Bribery Investigation
by Richard SmallteacherCorpWatch Blog
February 18th, 2016
Netherlands-based telecommunications giant VimpelCom announced today that it would pay U.S. and Dutch authorities $795 million to end an investigation into bribery in Uzbekistan. While the settlement does not reveal the recipient of the bribes, most sources point to Gulnara Karimova, daughter of the Uzbek president.

Uber Plans to Track Users Should Not Be Allowed, Says Privacy Group
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
June 22nd, 2015
A formal complaint has been filed against Uber, the car ride company, by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a non-profit advocacy group. The NGO says Uber plans to use their smart phone app to access user’s locations at all times, and to send advertisements to user’s contact lists.

Retailer SportsDirect Accused of Sweatshop Like Conditions in the UK
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
June 1st, 2015
SportsDirect, a British sports merchandise retailer, has been accused of employing workers in sweatshop like conditions by Channel Four Dispatches, a UK TV program. The broadcaster aired undercover footage shot by a reporter at the company’s Shirebrook warehouse in northern England.

UNIQLO, Japanese Fast Fashion Label, Accused of Labor Violations
by Mayu ChangCorpWatch Blog
April 13th, 2015
Chinese factories in Dongguan and Guangzhou that supply UNIQLO - a “fast fashion” label owned by Fast Retailing Co. from Japan - have been accused of endangering their workers’ lives, according to a new report from Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM), a Hong-Kong based labor rights group.

Apple Agrees To Chinese Government Security Audits, Worrying Activists
by Mayu Chang
February 11th, 2015
Apple has agreed to allow the Chinese government run security audits on the new iPhone to prove that there is no back door access for the U.S. government. However, activists say that this agreement could have the opposite effect, allowing China to broaden spying on its own people.

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