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GDPR

Facebook and Google have been hit with a raft of lawsuits accusing the companies of coercing users into sharing personal data on the first day of Facebook and Google have been hit with a raft of lawsuits accusing the companies of coercing users into sharing personal data on the first day of GDPR enforcement. The lawsuits, are seeking fines against Facebook 3.9 billion and Google 3.7 billion euro (roughly $8.8 billion in dollars),  filed by Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, a longtime critic of the companies’ data collection practices.

GDPR requires clear consent and justification for any personal data collected from users, and these guidelines have pushed companies across the internet to revise their privacy policies and collection practices. But there is still widespread uncertainty over how European regulators will treat the requirements, and many companies are still unprepared for enforcement. Both Google and Facebook have rolled out new policies and products to comply with GDPR.

Kentucky’s Workforce Took A Deep Dive Due To The Opioid Crisis

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As businesses struggle to find and retain workers, the opioid crisis is making their challenges even greater.

The Kentucky Chamber, in a 2017 report, took a deep dive into Kentucky’s low workforce participation rate and found that the opioid epidemic, and incarceration due to drug charges, are leading factors in Kentucky’s lack of workers.

Five state chamber presidents sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other members of Congress, encouraging them to find a policy solution that focuses on treatment with a specific goal: getting people on the path to recovery and back into the workforce.

Following the business community’s recommendation, Sen. McConnell introduced the CAREER Act, which will ensure patients in recovery have the resources they need to return to healthy, productive lives and reenter the workforce.

The CAREER Act proposes a five-year pilot program in five states that have been hit hardest by the opioid epidemic to offer wrap-around support services for individuals transitioning out of treatment programs and back into the workforce. These services will include workforce training and transitional housing.

U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., is also championing a critical piece of legislation, the Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers Act, to make sure people have access to all the available treatments they need to beat opioid addiction. Together, these forward-thinking policies will help address the opioid epidemic from treatment through recovery and reintroduction into the workforce.

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Workforce Shortage due To Opioid Addiction

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First there’s a shortage due to lack of technological skills now it’s opioid addiction.

A provision in a bipartisan Senate package, the Opioid Crisis Response Act, addressing the workforce shortage created by the addiction crisis was secured Tuesday.

The provision is based on legislation U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced earlier this month called the Collectively Achieving Recovery and Employment (CARE) Act. The bipartisan package passed out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Tuesday.

The Opioid Crisis Response Act is a wide-ranging, bipartisan package aimed at stemming the tide of the nationwide opioid crisis. The bill includes a provision based on Brown and Capito’s CARE Act that targets federal workforce training grants to address the workforce shortages and skill gaps caused by the opioid epidemic.

The FCC Voted To Eliminate Net Neutrality

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The Federal Communications Commission has voted to deregulate the broadband industry and eliminate net neutrality rules that prohibit Internet service providers from blocking and throttling Internet traffic.

The repeal of net neutrality rules came about a year ago when Donald Trump won the presidency and appointed Republican Ajit Pai to the FCC chairmanship. Pai and Republican Commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Brendan Carr provided the three votes necessary to overturn the net neutrality rules and the related “Title II” classification of broadband providers as common carriers.

Democrats Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel provided bitter dissents in today’s 3-2 vote. Despite the partisan divide in government, polls show that majorities of both Democratic and Republican voters supported the rules, and net neutrality supporters protested outside the FCC headquarters before the vote.

Home Internet providers and mobile carriers will not be held by strict net neutrality rules. ISPs will be allowed to block or throttle Internet traffic, or offer priority to websites and online services in exchange for payment.  The Federal Trade Commission could punish ISPs if they make promises and then break them, but there’s no requirement that the ISPs make the promises in the first place.

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn addresses protesters outside the Federal Communication Commission building to rally against the end of net neutrality rules on December 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. / FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn addresses protesters outside the Federal Communication Commission building to rally against the end of net neutrality rules on December 14, 2017 in Washington, DC.

 

Department of Justice sues To Block At&T /Time Warner Merger

All that Power

The Justice Department sued to block the company’s AT&T’s $85.4 billion bid to buy Time Warner Inc.

 A judge will determine whether the combination of AT&T and Time Warner would give the new entity too much power in the fast-changing media landscape.

 It is assume that AT&T will surely press for a decision before April 22, the date before which the two companies can walk away without penalty.

The first major antitrust enforcement action to be brought by the Trump administration — dealt a blow to a tie-up that appeared to be sailing toward approval as recently as a month ago. That was before Makan Delrahim, was appointed to head the Justice Department’s antitrust division.

Delrahim contents that the merger would  harm American consumers enormously. Resulting in higher monthly television bills and fewer of the new, emerging innovative options that consumers are beginning to enjoy. 

The White House has traditionally stayed at arm’s length from merger reviews. Trump told reporters during his recent trip to Asia that the deal might be challenged in court.

 Time Warner and AT&T combined, could use its control over programming like CNN and HBO to harm rivals by forcing them to pay hundreds of millions of dollars more per year for the right to distribute the content, according to the 23-page complaint. The deal also would enable AT&T to impede competition from online video distributors, which would reduce choices for consumers, according to the complaint.

The government is open to dropping the lawsuit if the companies offer a proposal to fix the competitive harm from the deal, a Justice Department official said.

Currently there have been accusations that the Justice Department, driven by political meddling from the Trump White House, is pursuing a risky case that it’s bound to lose.

The Complaint

YouTube Cracking Downing On Weird Videos Targeting Children

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YouTube has new guidelines about which videos are able to make money through advertising. You need to have 10,000 total views on your channel before you can start making money off ads. You can’t make money on YouTube with hateful or incendiary content. And you can’t make a quick buck off the inappropriate use of family-friendly characters. or Pepper Pig drinks bleach.

The result has been a dip in income for some creators, who complained they had trouble knowing which videos were being demonetized and why. So today, YouTube is announcing a way for creators to understand which videos have been flagged as inappropriate for all advertisers and a way to appeal what they see as unjust advertising bans, restoring the flow of marketing money.

Age Restricted Content click here

 

They’re Now Editing Embryos Here In America

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MIT Technology Review has learned that the first known attempt at creating genetically modified human embryos in the United States has been carried out by a team of researchers in Portland, Oregon.

The experiment, led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health and Science University, involved changing the DNA of a large number of one-cell embryos with the gene-editing technique CRISPR, according to people familiar with the scientific results.

To date, three previous reports of editing human embryos were all published by scientists in China. None of the embryos were allowed to develop for more than a few days—and they claim that there was never any intention of implanting them into a womb—

Scientists claim their objective is to show that they can eradicate or correct genes that cause inherited disease, like the blood condition beta-thalassemia. The process is termed “germline engineering” because any genetically modified child would then pass the changes on to subsequent generations via their own germ cells—the egg and sperm.

Some critics say germline experiments could open the floodgates to a brave new world of “designer babies” engineered with genetic enhancements—a prospect bitterly opposed by a range of religious organizations, civil society groups, and biotech companies.The U.S. intelligence community last year called CRISPR a potential “weapon of mass destruction.”

Shoukhrat Mitalipov is the first U.S.-based scientist known to have edited the DNA of human embryos.

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A person familiar with the research says “many tens” of human IVF embryos were created for the experiment using the donated sperm of men carrying inherited disease mutations.

Mitalipov’s group appears to have overcome earlier difficulties by “getting in early” and injecting CRISPR into the eggs at the same time they were fertilized with sperm.

Tony Perry of Bath University, Successfully edited the mouse gene for coat color, changing the fur of the offspring from the expected brown to white.

Somewhat prophetically, Perry’s paper on the research, published at the end of 2014, said, “This or analogous approaches may one day enable human genome targeting or editing during very early development.”

Mitalipov was Born in Kazakhstan when it was part of the former Soviet Union. In 2007, he unveiled the world’s first cloned monkeys. Then, in 2013, he created human embryos through cloning, as a way of creating patient-specific stem cells.

His team’s move into embryo editing coincides with a report by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in February that was widely seen as providing a green light for lab research on germline modification.

The report also offered qualified support for the use of CRISPR for making gene-edited babies, but only if it were deployed for the elimination of serious diseases.

The advisory committee drew a red line at genetic enhancements—like higher intelligence. “Genome editing to enhance traits or abilities beyond ordinary health raises concerns about whether the benefits can outweigh the risks, and about fairness if available only to some people,” said Alta Charo, co-chair of the NAS’s study committee and professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

In the U.S., any effort to turn an edited IVF embryo into a baby has been blocked by Congress, which added language to the Department of Health and Human Services funding bill forbidding it from approving clinical trials of the concept.

 

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