Privacy getting taken for a ride

A ride-sharing illustration. Photo: PP77LSK, via Shutterstock)

It’s as if they can read your mind: Before customers even ask to be picked up, apps let Uber or Lyft know you’ll need them. That’s because personal data housed in smart phones tell ride-sharing companies when and where their customers most frequently need rides. It’s innovated the car-service industry, critics say, at the expense of users’ privacy.

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News

A deep dive into California’s lobbying laws

State Capitol, Sacramento. (Photo: Wikimedia)

ANALYSIS: The 2014 Legislative Session produced a number of bills that would have substantially changed the rules that affect lobbying activity. The Legislature passed legislation that would have zeroed out lobbyist gifts and lowered the gift limits for all public officials to $200, as well as eliminated gifts of golf, spa treatments and a host of perks for public officials. However, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed all these bills.

News

UC administrative staff tripled in two decades

The top of Sather Gate, UC Berkeley. (Photo: University of California)

Long story short: The University of California says the state needs to increase its investment in its public universities to stave off tuition hikes, while the state wants UC to be more creative and willing when it comes to penny-pinching. At the nine major undergraduate UC campuses (excluding UC Merced, Hastings and UC San Francisco) administrative positions have more than tripled between 1993-2013, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Opinions

Discrimination targets some health care providers

A physician flanked by the California flag. (Illustration: Niyazz, via Shutterstock).

While our state and nation continue to implement the Affordable Care Act, it is especially important that patients have access to a team of health care professionals who work together to achieve the best outcomes for their patients. Unfortunately, that is not always the case here in the Golden State.

News

Calderon prosecutors: FBI agents should be disguised in court

Federal prosecutors asked a judge to allow three FBI undercover agents to testify in disguise with the public excluded in the upcoming corruption trial of former Sen. Ronald Calderon, who is accused of taking more than $80,000 in bribes. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles said the three agents – who were at the heart of an investigation that spanned several years – would be placed at risk if they were forced to testify in public.

News

Delays, uncertainty mark state investigations of group homes

ProPublica reviewed more than 450 complaint investigations undertaken by the agency between 2009 and 2014 from roughly 50 Level 14 group homes, the residential facilities for California’s most acutely disturbed children. More than half the investigations produced “inconclusive” findings, meaning that no determination of facts was reached in cases that involved sexual abuse, physical assaults, drug use or inadequate care at the facilities.

News

Health data breaches sow confusion, frustration

An illustration depicting a person accessing data on a terminal. (Tim Foster, Capitol Weekly)

ProPublica: As the privacy officer for The Advisory Board Co., Rebecca Fayed knows a thing or two about privacy and what can happen when it’s violated. But when Fayed received a letter telling her that she, like nearly 80 million others, was the victim of a hacking attack on health insurer Anthem Inc., she couldn’t figure out why. Anthem wasn’t her insurance provider.

News

Michael Peevey’s tale of turmoil

Michael Peevey at a December meeting of the state Public Utilities Commission. (Photo: Jeff Chiu/Associated Press)

It’s almost impossible these days to see the name Michael Peevey without the word “embattled” attached to it. Peevey stepped down last December after serving two six-year terms on the California Public Utilities Commission, almost all of them as PUC president. He has been subjected to withering public criticism up and down the state for fostering a too-cozy relationship between the PUC and the utility firms he was charged with regulating, most recently Pacific Gas & Electric. “Don’t shoot, I surrender,” Peevey wryly told the commission at its December meeting, a comment that drew laughs.

News

Online gaming: Horse racing’s role heats up

"Bad Boy" (6), under jockey David Flores, wins a claiming race at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia in October 2014. (Photo: Cheryl Ann Quigley, Shutterstock)

Legalizing internet poker in California could be stopped in its tracks this session because of an intense dispute involving the thoroughbred horse racing industry. After years of diminishing attendance, declining revenue, and racetrack closures, the struggling industry sees operating Internet poker websites as a golden opportunity to build upon its already existing online presence.

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