Top US tech companies formed employer cartel on wages and salariesThursday, January 16, 2014
THE REGISTER. London. 16 January 2014. Employees at top Silicon Valley companies can sue bosses accused of entering a secret pact that kept salaries down, a judge in California has ruled.
The lawsuit claims that between 2005 and 2007 Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, Pixar and Lucasfilm entered into non-compete agreements to end the practice of poaching of staff with promises of fatter paychecks and other benefits. Five software engineers sued after a Department of Justice investigation unearthed evidence of recruitment shenanigans.
The accused firms sought to have the case dismissed – a request denied on Wednesday by Judge Lucy Koh.
Al Shabaab bans the internetTuesday, January 14, 2014
ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION. San Francisco. 13 January 2014. Somali rebel group (and US-designated terrorist organization) Al Shabaab has reportedly banned the use of the Internet through mobile handsets and fiber optic cables throughout Somalia, giving telecommunications companies 15 days to comply with the order.
SumOfUs's lesson for new unionismThursday, January 9, 2014
NMIC. Manchester. 9 January 2014. A Washington Post piece by Hayley Tsukayama, datelined 8 January and reproduced below, suggests that a new approach to e-petitions may have more impact than the scattergun techniques pioneered by 38 Degrees, Avaaz and Change.org.
SumOfUs (sumofus.org) describes itself as "a movement of consumers, workers and shareholders speaking with one voice to counterbalance the growing power of large corporations". It bases its activities on a kind of 'market testing' to ensure that its petitions are targetted and relevant, but it's the nature of its targets that must be most interesting to unions and the labour movement - they include Carlsberg, Google, Apple, TopShop and Trader Joe's and the issues dealt with include collective bargaining, labour agreements, fair trade and sourcing of raw materials - classic 'progessive' issues, as the Post points out.
UGC checking - the latest growth area for journalismWednesday, December 18, 2013
Barot's advice is 'source, check and stay on top of technology'
DRM kills e-salesWednesday, December 18, 2013
TELEREAD. Philadelphia. 17 December 2013. Coverage courtesy of Ron Miller in Computerworld has brought to light a research paper published last month which brings fresh data points to the anti-DRM debate.
Put simply: All DRM does is kill your sales. That’s all. It doesn’t protect you against piracy; it doesn’t preserve your revenues. The only thing it does is drive customers away. And if you want an easy sales hike – all you have to do is remove it.
The workers united give Amazon an Xmas presentTuesday, December 17, 2013
GEEKWIRE. Seattle. 16 December, 2013.
“We are humans, not robots!”
That was the message Monday morning (16 December) at the heart of Amazon.com’s Seattle headquarters, as about 50 people gathered to protest ... unfair working conditions and wage inequality inside Amazon’s fulfillment centers in Germany, Amazon's second biggest market outside the US where the company employs 9,000 workers.
Nancy Becker, a warehouse worker from Bad Hersfeld, Germany, made the trip to Seattle to help organize Monday’s protest. She’s worked inside Amazon warehouses since November 2001 and is frustrated with what she calls unfair treatment in her workplace.
“I’m looking to support the American workers, and ask that the American workers support the European workers,” she said.
This protest coincided with ... strikes at Amazon facilities in Germany (at Bad Hersfeld, Leipzig, Graben and Werne) that took place on Monday, just as holiday sales ramp up. The actions are being organized by the German labour union Ver.di, of which Becker is a member. Ver.di argue that Amazon workers should be paid on the higher scales that characterise retail, not as logistics workers, which is Amazon's approach.
The not-so-great gameMonday, December 9, 2013
GAMESINDUSTRY INTERNATIONAL. Brighton. 9 December 2013. An extensive report by the Guardian has claimed that there is evidence that both GCHQ and the NSA are involved in heavy monitoring of online games and networks, including World of Warcraft and Xbox Live, according to the website GamesIndustry International's Dan Pearson.
The piece, which cites unreleased information which came as part of the secret dossiers obtained and leaked to the paper by Edward Snowden, says that the agencies have collaborated heavily on information gathering processes which have targetted online gaming communities. The agencies, it is claimed, have been using them to identify and track suspects, as well as form pictures of their social networks and recruit embedded agents of their own.
Rescuing the local newsMonday, December 9, 2013
A new report (downloadable here) from the Carnegie UK Trust and Co-operatives UK argues that new forms of ownership and innovative business models are needed to secure the future of the UK's 1,100 local newspapers.
Local newspapers are disappearing at a rate of more than 30 a year, with 250 papers closing in the last eight years. Fresh approaches could help improve the outlook of local news outlets.
The 'Make Your Local News Work' report found that demand for high quality, local news remains as strong as ever and that closures don't have to signal the death of local papers.
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