Verizon, privacy, mobile phones, browsing history, personal data
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Verizon Overrides Users’ Opt-Out Preferences in Push to Collect Browsing History (Maria)

The author writes, “Verizon is automatically enrolling customers in a new version of a program that scans mobile users’ browser histories — even when those same users previously opted out of the program when it had a different name. The carrier announced changes to its ‘Verizon Selects’ program along with a new name a few days ago. ‘Verizon Custom Experience Plus is the new name of our Verizon Selects program,’ Verizon said in an FAQ. Verizon is ignoring the previous opt-out preferences for at least some customers by enrolling them in ‘Custom Experience,’ which collects browser and app-usage history but doesn’t use device location data and other personal information collected in ‘Custom Experience Plus.’”

3 Words America Forgot That Explain Gun Insanity, Vaccine Denial, Student Debt, and More (DonkeyHotey)

From The Philadelphia Inquirer: “In the middle of a crazy week signaling another long American winter of discontent, the former Montana governor Steve Bullock — that rare Democrat who could win an election in a blood-red rural state — published an op-ed in the New York Times. Bullock urged his party, which has seen its rural support plummet toward zero, to get out more and tell voters how Obamacare can save rural hospitals, or about the wonders of universal pre-K — because at the end of the day, ‘we generally all want the same things.’ Do we, though? As I read Bullock’s essay — which struck me as both nostalgic and Pollyanna-ish — I couldn’t help but wonder how his message would play in the rural Kentucky district of U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, who just sent out his 2021 Christmas card showing his entire family, including his wife and four children, posing with assault-style weapons (the Republican congressman is holding what appears to be an M60 machine gun).”

Where Are Men on the Demolition of Abortion Rights? (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “It’s been a while since I took a science class, but from what I can recall, humans do not reproduce asexually. I bring this up because we tend to talk about reproductive rights as if it’s a women’s issue. Sure, if the Supreme Court guts Roe vs. Wade next year, there will be a number of men who will not care. I could not imagine being a father or brother or son and thinking none of this has anything to do with me. But men, including many who called themselves ‘girldads,’ a viral hashtag on social media after Kobe Bryant died, should care that a patriarchal government wants to force their daughter to give birth against her will. And be not mistaken, at its core, that’s exactly what this debate is about.”

The Fox News–QAnon Rift That Maybe Revealed Tucker Carlson Asking Hunter Biden to Help His Son Get Into College (Russ)

The author writes, “According to purported email transcripts released on Telegram by QAnon-linked attorney Lin Wood to retaliate against Tucker Carlson for giving Kyle Rittenhouse a platform to criticize him, Hunter Biden wrote a letter of recommendation urging Georgetown University to admit Carlson’s son into college. What?”

Peng Shuai and the Real Goal of Chinese Censorship (Sean)

From Wired: “Most critical analysis of Chinese social media censorship focuses on the increasing number of words, phrases, or topics censored or filtered. But the function of censorship is far broader than this piecemeal approach suggests, encompassing also the destruction of online spaces and communities. Censors don’t focus solely on keywords. Organizational capacity and the ability to assemble in virtual spaces are key factors in how the party assesses political risk, and in how law enforcement in general decide how to throttle activities by groups outside of mainstream politics.”

Trump Rule Meant to Save Coal Is Forcing Plants to Close (Laura)

From E&E News: “A wastewater rule the Trump administration pushed through as a Hail Mary for struggling coal plants is now being cited as a reason some of those same units are opting to close. Environmental advocates say tough economics are also fueling those decisions. Operators at more than two dozen coal plants across the nation, including some of the largest facilities in Pennsylvania, told state regulators that a federal wastewater regulation aimed at curbing high levels of toxic chemicals like mercury, arsenic, nitrogen and selenium is playing into their decision to close by 2028 or shift to natural gas, according to an analysis of regulatory filings the Sierra Club collected and analyzed. Specifically, 21 plants are closing and six more may switch to running on gas, and their owners are blaming — to different degrees — ‘effluent limitation guidelines,’ also known as ELGs, that EPA finalized last year under the Trump administration.”

Italian Anti-Vaxxer ‘Wore Fake Arms to Appointment to Avoid the Jab’ (Dan)

The author writes, “An Italian anti-vaxxer ‘tried to avoid getting the jab by turning up to his appointment wearing prosthetic arms.’ The man, who has been identified in Italy as a local dentist, reportedly tried to hoodwink a nurse by hiding fake limbs underneath his clothes. He arrived at the vaccination centre in the Piedmont region hoping to obtain a green pass, the Covid-19 certificate Italians now need for a range of activities, including going to work. But nurse Filipa Bua knew something was up as soon as he lifted his clothes to reveal his ‘arm,’ which in reality was a prop bought off Amazon.”

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