How well-meaning, public-serving groups wound up as part of an alliance aimed at undermining state regulation of broadband and privacy laws.

BY CHRIS WITTEMAN AND TRACY ROSENBERG -NOVEMBER 24, 2019

Originally published in 48 Hills.

It’s not unusual for businesses to spend princely sums lobbying government to free them from regulations, which generally means consumer protections are reduced or eliminated. In a nutshell, that’s much of what goes on in the halls of government, as we’ve previously reported.

But it is a bit more unconventional when a self-described coalition of nonprofit organizations promotes the same agenda as large telecom companies…


Nowadays, do 94% of Americans agree on anything?

It sure doesn’t seem like it, but in fact there are a few things that we aren’t polarized about. One of these things is wanting tech companies to get our permission before they share our personal information.

Bowing to overwhelming consensus, California’s legislature enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in 2018, with an effective date of January 1, 2020.

But there’s something else that 94% of the population would also like. They would like to be able to take a tech company to court if that company violates their privacy rights.


In a much-heralded backroom deal to end all backroom deals, the State of California launched the California Consumer Privacy Act or CCPA, the “American GDPR” in June of 2018. Days before a statewide ballot initiative was to qualify for the ballot, with high poll numbers and a growing industry slush fund to fight it, California legislators Ed Chau, Bob Hertzberg, Bill Dodd and a few others huddled with real estate millionaire Alistair McTaggart, the initiative author, and decided what online privacy should look like.

The compromise they came up with has been equally lauded and criticized, depending where you sit…


Every year in September, around the anniversary of 9–11, Bay Area SWAT teams, along with occasional visitors from Bahrain, Hong Kong, Brazil or Israel, gather for the annual training exercise called Urban Shield. All around the Bay Area, they rappell, climb, tackle and shoot at terrorist actors in the nation’s biggest disaster preparedness exercise.

It’s been my privilege to be an observer at Urban Shield for two years running, which I wrote about here and spoke about here. But I didn’t observe one particular exercise last year when simulated improvised explosive devices (IED’s) were set off in a federally protected…


Intersectionality and Me: The Women’s March Suffering

Every once in a while something goes on in the world, and it has the interest level for you of a gory car crash; you can’t bear to watch and you can’t bear to look away.

So with this week’s Women’s March blow-up about intersectional feminism.

Before my last name overcomes the proceedings, let’s get a few things straight. Yes, I was born into the religion of Judaism. No, I don’t practice and except for a single visit tied to extreme grief and a search for spiritual solace after the loss of my…


Find us one more shot.

According to a lawsuit filed in the Western District of New York federal court, those are the instructions the Rochester Police Department sent to Shotspotter, a manufacturer of gunshot detection sensors, in the evening following the shooting of Silvon Simmons on April 1, 2016.

It had seemed like an uneventful night. Simmons headed out to a convenience store with his neighbor Detron Parker in a Chevy Impala. Their entire errand took all of 13 minutes. They left at 8:55pm and were back at 9:08pm. …


According to a number of experts, and most of us on the natch, the 2018 midterm election has been one of the most hostile and partisan in years. The polarization extends beyond the national two party duopoly and can also be seen in local Bay Area races where blue battles with bluer.

Reporters covering these races for local voters often cover a swath of allegations and counter-allegations. Many are fed by obscure PACS which collect money to advocate for or against candidates and are restricted only by their inability to coordinate with candidate’s official campaigns. With IE spending levels high…


Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean …..

It’s been a hell of a week. No doubt it was extra added if you happen to carry the last name that I was born with — Rosenberg. But virtually no one wants to be blown away for an identity that they can’t, and don’t want, to change. In the mad serial killer chants of “our people”, more and more of us are finding out we simply aren’t included.

The list of those whose existence is a threat to “our people” is ever-growing: immigrants, Muslims, transgender folk, black people, gay couples who want…


On September 7th and 8th, I attended the Bay Area’s police militarization expo, Urban Shield. Urban Shield is a competition for the Bay Area’s SWAT teams, fire departments, and hazmat and emergency operations teams and a law enforcement equipment expo, which is funded by the Department of Homeland Security’s UASI program as a counter-terrorism exercise. …


I didn’t grow up in California. Instead I grew up in the relatively staid brick-lined streets of the Northeast, where history looks like pilgrim hats. I understood Blazing Saddles better than Stagecoach.

But life can take you in some unexpected directions. I grew up to become a privacy advocate on the West Coast. And when I started to lobby my local government about the ways law enforcement surveillance and high-tech gadgetry were colluding to erode civil rights, I ran into the legacy of the autonomous sheriff in the “frontier” states.

Senate Bill 1186, currently in front of California’s legislature, grew…

Tracy Rosenberg

Executive Director, Media Alliance (www.media-alliance.org) and co-coordinator, Oakland Privacy (www.oaklandprivacy.org).

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