GeekWire posted last month that Portland, Oregon quietly launched a controversial mobile location data project with partner Sidewalk Labs (a subsidiary of Alphabet–which is the parent company of Google). In this year-long pilot program, the city has authorized that people, who have smartphones, will be tracked without their consent or knowledge.
Portland is using software called Replica that cost nearly $500,000 and expects to determine how people actually move in the metro and surrounding counties. The city claims the software will use de-identified mobile location data, but in a NY Times article late last year reporters were able to debunk the premise of anonymity with this kind of location tagging.
Pam Dixon, executive director of the Oregon-based World Privacy Forum, said:
“If a city is going to use a system, it has a responsibility to have full transparency about where all of the data is coming from, how it is being deidentified and to what level, and if that data is reused again or stored by Replica or Sidewalk or passed to its parent company. There’s too much that we don’t know.”
Other cities on deck for Sidewalk Labs’ Replica testing include Chicago and Kansas City. Sidewalk Labs has already been working with the city of Toronto on a smart cities project which has not been without controversy.
Researchers at the International Data Corporation or IDC released a report last month titled Surveillance Avenue—Urban Mobility and Addressing the Erosion of Privacy which concluded that it is becoming more difficult for people to use public transportation systems without giving up some personal data. They showed how easy it is now using various surveillance technologies such as facial recognition cameras, license plate readers, and mobile phone data in combination with other datasets to paint a detailed picture of the movements of individuals.
Mark Zannoni, IDC’s Worldwide Urban Mobility Program researcher wrote:
“As increasing amounts of data are collected, we are faced with the issue that one must exchange personal privacy for the use of publicly funded transportation networks or assets. Whether initially personally identifiable or anonymous, individual data from urban mobility can be deanonymized, which is not only invasive but also enables potentially dangerous situations.”
The IDC report urged the federal government to put in place measures to protect people’s privacy, particularly specific movement-related data of individuals. This would provide a framework for local governments to build privacy protections into their own regulations.
Personal data held by companies and governments are often at risk to cyberattacks. Even worse, some sell that information outright without the consent of those whose privacy is being invaded.
Another example of privacy intrusion is the use of facial recognition technology. The FBI has access to over 641 million photos in their database that have been culled from driver’s licenses, passports, and mugshots. The US House Committee on Oversight and Reform recently discussed the issue of regulating facial recognition. Chairman Elijah Cummings said in an opening statement on June 4th: “There are real concerns about the risks this technology poses to our civil rights and liberties and our right to privacy.”
Earlier in June, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) led 60 other privacy, civil liberties, civil rights and other groups in urging Congress to put a moratorium on facial recognition for law and immigration enforcement. The coalition issued a letter asking that the use of this technology be stopped until Congress debates and determines how this technology (that we do not give consent for) can be used.
Privacy rights issues have also been taken up by local governments. The San Francisco, California Board of Supervisors adopted in May 2019, a ban on facial recognition by police and local government agencies. This has brought more awareness to the privacy issue, but many are skeptical that either this will not be enough or it is a mistake to take these kind of devices out of commission. Nearby Oakland passed in 2018, a Surveillance and Community Safety ordinance which the Electronic Frontier Foundation or EFF has declared the gold standard.
Civic engagement on the local level is important in bringing transparency to this situation. This 2018 The Nation post entitled: Mass Surveillance begins at the Local Level. So does the Resistance explains what groups are doing to fight back against this exploding surveillance landscape.
The NMA encourages members to become involved in supporting privacy laws on a local, state, and national level. We will keep you informed of further developments.
*Jarheads Motorcycle Club is a club consisting of active duty or honorably discharged Marines and FMF Corpsmen. We ride and serve veterans and veteran families in our committees, with chapters in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.
Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG) said Friday it will recall approximately 46,000 motorcycles in the U.S., citing a potential oil leak that has been linked to two crashes.
The recall includes certain 2017 Electra Glide, Road Glide, Road King and Street Glide bikes. The affected motorcycles were built between July 2, 2016 and May 9, 2017.
The bike maker said an oil line may come loose, causing oil to leak onto the rear tire’s path. There have been nine reports of displaced oil lines. Harley is aware of two crashes and one minor injury due to the issue.
Dealers will repair a clamp on the engine oil cooler line at no extra cost to owners.
It’s an awesome new video promoting our Stylin N Sturgis contest.
To enter go to www.lawtigers.com/win And win a complete Sturgis Motorcycle Rally vacation package worth over $21,000! Free airfare, cabin & Harley-Davidson motorcycle rental plus exclusive prizes and products like a AR-15 from Sturgis Guns and $1500 to spend at NightRiders Jewelry!
Contest ends July 15th, 2019
Check the website to enter: www.lawtigers.com/win
–The Law Tigers Team
Two webinars to explain proposed changes
The U.S. Forest Service formally proposed revisions June 13 to its National Environmental Policy Act or NEPA regulations. That announcement followed an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking in January 2018, which resulted in the submitting of 1,229 unique comments that have been integrated into the current proposal, along with input from other stakeholders and agency personnel. Nearly all public comments supported NEPA streamlining, the Forest Service said.
Central in the proposed change is the agency desire to address inefficiencies in its use of human and financial resources — limited by urgent issues, such as wild fires — while still completing complex NEPA requirements. The Forest Service faces a backlog of more than 5,000 applications for new or renewed special use permits and an annual average of more than 3,000 such applications.
The AMA has received complaints from members about bureaucratic delays and applauds this opportunity for the association and its individual members to weigh in. Permits for annual OHV events are among the most obvious example of efficiencies suggested and supported by the AMA.
Two webinars have been scheduled to explain the proposed changes. Each session will provide the same information, and a recording will be available.
To submit comments, the Forest Service has offered three options. The preferred option is the public participation portal (www.regulations.gov). Enter “84 FR 27544” in the search box at the upper right of the webpage. Another option is email to firstname.lastname@example.org The third option is the U.S. mail:
NEPA Services Group
c/o Amy Barker
USDA Forest Service
125 S. State St., Suite 1705
Salt Lake City, UT 84138
Comments Deadline: Aug. 12
3:30-5 p.m. ET on Tuesday, June 25. Audio feed at (877) 369-5243 or (617) 668-3633. Access Code: 0524699##. Adobe Connect URL: https://usfs.adobeconnect.com/neparule-1000/
3:30-5 p.m. ET on Friday, July 12. Audio feed at (877) 369-5243 or (617) 668-3633. Access Code: 0849770##. Adobe Connect URL: https://usfs.adobeconnect.com/neparule-1000/
For more information, visit the USFS project webpage here, or contact Christine Dawe, director, ecosystem management coordination at (406) 370-8865.
Thank you in advance for providing comments and/or attending a webinar. Please forward this alert to your friends and ask them to do both as well. If you do submit comments, please forward a copy to us at email@example.com.
It is crucial that you and your riding friends become members of the AMA.
The AMA hasn’t always been a friend to freedom, but now more that ever all motorcycle rights groups work together. Seriously consider joining a motorcycle rights group nationally or near you.–Bandit
Super-secure and easy to use, the SLIDE accommodates devices up to 7-3/8″ side (minimum 4-3/4″) so it’s great for GPS or phones.
Side arms come in various sizes and lock into place where you need them. Ultra-Swivel feature gives you multiple left/ right and up/ down options.
Featured in photo: Urban SLIDE for Round Bar (Chrome). Also available for brake/clutch, mirror stem and more.
DAVID SHEPARDSON, Auto News
WASHINGTON — Trump administration officials defended their controversial proposal to freeze fuel efficiency requirements at 2020 levels at a congressional hearing on Thursday and said the proposal would be submitted to the White House for final review in the coming weeks.
The administration has rebuffed requests from automakers and some lawmakers to make a last-ditch effort to reach a deal with California to extend national standards after it ended talks in February. The administration plans in the coming months to finalize a dramatic rewrite of fuel efficiency standards through 2026 that would also strip California, the most populous state, which wants stricter rules to fight climate change, of the right to set its own, tougher emissions rules.
The final regulation potentially faces a multi-year legal battle that could leave automakers in limbo about future emissions and fuel efficiency requirements and ultimately decrease the number of U.S. electric vehicles offered by automakers.
At a joint five-hour hearing of two House of Representatives Energy and Commerce subcommittees, Democrats cast the administration plan as a blow against efforts to combat climate change and a boon for oil companies. Republicans said it would reduce vehicle prices and rein in California.
The Trump administration plan aims to roll back emission standards set by former Democratic President Barack Obama. The Obama administration had made a dramatic jump in fuel efficiency requirements a key part of its climate agenda, and said it would save motorists $1.7 trillion in fuel costs over the life of the vehicles, but cost the auto industry about $200 billion over 13 years.
Earlier this month, 17 major automakers including General Motors Co, Volkswagen Group and Toyota Motor Corp. urged the White House to resume talks with California to avoid a lengthy legal battle. Automakers warn that the lack of a deal could lead to “an extended period of litigation and instability.”
The carmakers urged a compromise “midway” between the Obama-era standards that require annual decreases of about 5% in emissions and the Trump administration’s proposal. Reuters reported in April that officials expected the final rule would include a small increase in the yearly fuel efficiency requirements.
Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., whose district is home to many auto plants, implored officials to return to the bargaining table with California. “I am really not interested in a pissing contest between California and this administration,” she said at the hearing.
Deputy National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief Heidi King was skeptical of Dingell’s idea. “I don’t know whether that would achieve the goal,” she told Dingell.
EPA Assistant Administrator Bill Wehrum said the agency was moving forward to finalize the rules “as soon as possible” after it had engaged in talks with California for about a year.
Trump administration officials argued its plan — which it says will eventually boost U.S. oil consumption by 500,000 barrels of oil daily — will save lives because it will reduce the forecasted cost of new vehicles and prod more people to sell older, less safe models. Environmentalists and others disagree.
Representative Frank Pallone, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, called the Obama standards “our single most important action taken to combat climate change.”
“So, naturally, the Trump administration is trying to gut those standards as part of its reckless anti-climate agenda,” he said.
‘We like big things’
Transportation accounts for 30 percent of U.S. greenhouse emissions, with light cars and trucks accounting for 60 percent of that figure.
Republicans cast the issue as a divide between rural areas that use more trucks and urban areas where people are more likely to buy electric vehicles.
We like big things.
We like big trucks. We like big engines,” said Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., whose district covers a heavily rural swath of the eastern part of the state.
The Obama-era rules called for a fleetwide fuel efficiency average of 46.7 miles per gallon by 2026, compared with 37 mpg under the Trump administration’s preferred option.
Mary Nichols, who heads the California Air Resources Board, told lawmakers Thursday the Trump proposal will cost Americans millions in fuel costs, kill jobs, add smog, undermine the auto industry and worsen the climate crisis.
“We have been open to accommodations that would adjust compliance timing and flexibility, that would create new paths to promote innovative technologies and zero emission vehicles, and that would benefit the public,” she said.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a letter to lawmakers on Thursday that California did not negotiate in good faith and said Nichols’s written testimony was “false” — a claim she strongly denied.