In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today!

[Content Note: Surveillance; civil rights violations; hostility to consent] Big Brother was watching you: "Britain's surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the US National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, secret documents reveal. GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not. In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency collected webcam imagery—including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications—from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally. Yahoo reacted furiously to the webcam interception when approached by the Guardian. The company denied any prior knowledge of the program, accusing the agencies of 'a whole new level of violation of our users' privacy.'" I don't even know what to say anymore.

[CN: War; displacement] Despite a cease-fire agreement, the situation in South Sudan continues to deteriorate. There are increasing numbers of civilian deaths and rapes, and people are fleeing their homes in search of safe refuge. "The medical aid group Doctors Without Borders said Wednesday that patients had been killed in their beds at the Teaching Hospital in Malakal. Across South Sudan, medical equipment has been looted and wards burned to the ground. In one instance, an entire hospital was destroyed." Meanwhile: I would love to know if anyone who regularly watches their local news, or any network news, has heard a fucking thing about the violence in South Sudan.

[CN: War on agency] The West Virginia House of Delegates has passed legislation "that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in the state. Doctors who performed abortions after that point would be subject to up to five years in prison, as well as fines of up to $5,000, if the bill succeeds in the state senate. Physicians would also be required to file detailed reports to the West Virginia Division of Health for each abortion they performed. The reports would include the age and race of the [patient], the method of abortion, and a 'unique medical record identifying number to enable matching the report to the patient's medical records.'" This is rank intimidation against abortion providers and patients. When the fuck will our allegedly pro-choice national Democratic leadership, including our president, MAKE THIS INTIMIDATION A NATIONAL ISSUE? For fuck's sake.

[CN: Racism; classism] Another bank has been named in a federal complaint filed by the National Fair Housing Alliance, which has found evidence of foreclosure discrimination: "When Deutsche Bank forecloses on a house in a predominantly minority neighborhood, it doesn't bother maintaining the property in the same way that it does with foreclosures in white neighborhoods. ...[NFHA] looked at Deutsche Bank-owned properties in the Washington, D.C., Memphis, and Chicago metropolitan areas and found vast differences in upkeep between mostly white and mostly non-white neighborhoods." This, of course, affects property values in the neighborhood, as well as safety, as upkeep of vacant homes is related to crime.

[CN: Misogyny] Democratic Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has signed emergency regulations "banning the shackling of incarcerated pregnant women." Good. "Shackling increases the risk of falling and injury prior to giving birth and the risk of blood clots post-partum. Restraints can interfere with medical professionals' ability to care for patients during labor, especially in emergency situations."

[CN: Homophobia] Secretary of State John Kerry says that the United States' advocacy for global LGBT civil rights is "a fight worth fighting." Cool.

[CN: Fat bias] The FDA is revamping the requirements for nutrition labels for the first time in ages. I like the idea of requiring serving sizes to reflect a more realistic serving, but I have all the mirthless laughter in the world for the GIANT CALORIES provision. "Look at this number, fatties!" You know, I read nutrition labels all the time, including the number of calories, and I am somehow still fat!

So many new planets! (Well, newly discovered planets.)

All the blubs forever over this story about a failed guide dog and the two little boys with disabilities whose lives that dog changed. ♥

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus