tech, Congress, Meta, Google, privacy, tax prep, personal data, sharing
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Tax Preparers That Shared Private Data With Meta, Google Could be Fined Billions (Maria)

The author writes, “Yesterday, Congress members revealed the results of a seven-month investigation into tax-filing companies. Lawmakers found that H&R Block, TaxAct, and TaxSlayer ‘recklessly shared’ potentially hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ sensitive personal and financial data with Google and Meta ‘for years’ in apparent violation of laws prohibiting tax preparers from sharing tax return information without customers’ consent. In a press release provided to Ars from the office of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), lawmakers alleged [there has been] a ‘massive, likely illegal breach of taxpayer privacy.’”

MyPillow Is Auctioning Off Equipment After Retailers Pull Its Products (Reader Steve)

From the Star Tribune: “MyPillow is auctioning off hundreds of pieces of equipment and subleasing manufacturing space after several shopping networks and major retailers took the company’s products off shelves. The [Minnesota]-based manufacturer recently listed more than 850 ‘surplus equipment’ items on the online auction site K-Bid. Sewing machines, industrial fabric spreaders, forklifts and even desks and chairs are up for auction. Founder and CEO Mike Lindell said MyPillow has experienced a loss in revenue and the items are no longer needed as the company consolidates its operations.”

Caution: Children at Work (Gerry)

The author writes, “Child labor is making a comeback with a vengeance. A striking number of lawmakers are undertaking concerted efforts to weaken or repeal statutes that have long prevented (or at least seriously inhibited) the possibility of exploiting children. Take a breath and consider this: the number of kids at work in the U.S. increased by 37% between 2015 and 2022. During the last two years, 14 states have either introduced or enacted legislation rolling back regulations that governed the number of hours children can be employed, lowered the restrictions on dangerous work, and legalized subminimum wages for youths.”

Justice Sotomayor’s Staff Urged Schools and Libraries to Buy Her Memoir or Kid’s Books (Al)

The author writes, “For colleges and libraries seeking a boldfaced name for a guest lecturer, few come bigger than Sonia Sotomayor, the Supreme Court justice who rose from poverty in the Bronx to the nation’s highest court. She has benefited, too — from schools’ purchases of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of the books she has written over the years. Sotomayor’s staff has often prodded public institutions that have hosted the justice to buy her memoir or children’s books, works that have earned her at least $3.7 million since she joined the court in 2009.”

How Exxon Captured a Country Without Firing a Shot (Laura)

The author writes, “Guyana is poised to become Exxon’s top global oil producer. Where the company ends and the government begins is increasingly unclear.”

This Geothermal Startup Showed Its Wells Can Be Used Like a Giant Underground Battery (DonkeyHotey)

From MIT Technology Review: “In late January, a geothermal power startup began conducting an experiment deep below the desert floor of northern Nevada. It pumped water thousands of feet underground and then held it there, watching for what would happen. Geothermal power plants work by circulating water through hot rock deep beneath the surface. In most modern plants, it resurfaces at a well head, where it’s hot enough to convert refrigerants or other fluids into vapor that cranks a turbine, generating electricity. But Houston-based Fervo Energy is testing out a new spin on the standard approach — and on that day, its engineers and executives were simply interested in generating data.” 

The Underwater Search For an Alien Meteor (Sean)

From the BBC: “The relics of the first interstellar meteor are thought to lie at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Last [month] one controversial scientist and his team claimed to have found them.”


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