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  • Privacy, We've Got Tips and Ideas For You, Congress and Regulators, Too | NJPIRG
    from ever enacting future data security or privacy rights Perhaps the worst of these bills HR 2205 Neugebauer TX Carney DE may be approved by the generally pro bank House Financial Services Committee as early as next week Among its intentional infirmities It eliminates strong privacy rules of the FCC and replaces them with weak FTC rules because the telephone and cable industry don t like strong rules It weakens existing weak Gramm Leach Bliley Act data security rules that currently apply to financial institutions then it imposes a higher set of responsibilities on others such as merchants Such a two tiered system is unfair and can be gamed by firms with weaker responsibilities As to its purported consumer benefits the bill and others takes your existing state protections away and replaces them with weaker rights Then these rights are only triggered for breaches that cause limited financial harms and then only if the risk of harm is high enough Keep in mind that under the bill there is another ludicrous proposition the firm that was incompetent to protect your information gets to decide whether to tell you that they lost it I discuss these problems in a recent blog that explains that the latest breaches have demonstrated that consumer harms are much worse and much broader than the narrow harms described in the bill For example in addition to financial identity theft harms might include theft of medical services myriad Blue Cross breaches theft of tax refunds online tax preparer and IRS breaches and reputational harm emotional harm and physical harm as well any other financial harms from the U S OPM breach of millions of security clearance files HR 2205 eliminates state protections against these harms according to any independent expert Finally the bill sweepingly preempts and prevents any future state data security or privacy protection efforts To be clear the bill provides only a modicum of token data breach responsibilities for firms and limited protections for consumers only some of the time but includes a vast Trojan Horse provision preempting the states from virtually any future data security activities while also eliminating existing protection or redress rights to compensate or protect consumers against most if not all of those broader harms under state law Keep in mind that Congress rarely if ever completes a job but increasingly it kow tows to the demands of powerful special interests to take the states off the beat as a condition of enacting its halfway measures When new problems arise the states have shown time and time again that they can lead as first responders able to identify new threats and act quickly and innovatively to protect the public Taking away that level of state protection leaves consumers and the economy and environment as well vulnerable to to new threats 4 Tomorrow I Speak at an FTC Workshop on Deceptive Lead Generation Practices on the Internet A key part of the Internet advertising and data collection ecosystem is the non transparent

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/blogs/eds-blog/usp/privacy-weve-got-tips-and-ideas-you-congress-and-regulators-too (2016-04-29)
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  • Victory: Subway Commits to Help Save Antibiotics | NJPIRG
    people have become increasingly aware of this problem and hungry for meat raised without antibiotics Today Subway showed that it has heard its customers calls for action and rose to the occasion Our organizers were set to deliver nearly 300 000 petition signatures to Subway headquarters on Thursday many of which were collected by PIRG activists who had blanketed neighborhoods around the country since early this summer it now looks like we ll deliver a giant thank you card instead We re ecstatic that Subway will be living up to the healthy image they ve created They have more restaurants in the U S than any other chain and their announcement will put major market pressure on the meat producers to stop overusing antibiotics Public Health Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse Of Antibiotics Stop the Highway Boondoggles Democracy For The People Label GMO Foods Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Toxic Free Communities Reining in Wall Street Act Now Jobs Donate Newsroom Resources Reports Get our RSS feed Our Affiliates Our Sister c 3 Are you a student Energy Service Corps Our Federation Archives Blog Media Hits News Releases Reports Resources Results Take Action Donate JOIN US

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/blogs/blog/usp/victory-subway-commits-help-save-antibiotics (2016-04-29)
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  • NJPIRG | Standing Up To Powerful Interests
    14 next last Report NJPIRG Law Policy Center and Demos Democracy Distorted Democracy This analysis of pre election data from the Federal Election Commission FEC and other sources by New Jersey PIRG and Demos shows that outside spending in the first presidential election since Citizens United is living up to its hype new waves of outside spending have been fueled by dark money and unlimited fundraising from a small number of wealthy donors Keep Reading Report NJPIRG Law Policy Center Consumer Protection Food Total Food Recall This report is a snapshot look from January 2011 to September 2012 at recalls that were directly linked to identified incidents of foodborne illness Failures in the rules and processes that protect our food supply have led to numerous high volume recalls over the past two years that left many New Jerseyans sickened and at least 37 Americans dead And the economic costs of the illnesses caused by food products recalled over the past 21 months come to over 5 1 million in our state Keep Reading Report NJPIRG Law and Policy Center and Demos Democracy Million Dollar Megaphones The Top 5 dark money spenders on presidential election ads have reported less than 1 of their spending to the FEC which is all that is required by the agency s insufficient standards according to a new report analyzing the latest campaign filings N J PIRG and Demos report Million Dollar Megaphones Super PACs and Unlimited Outside Spending in the 2012 Elections provides a detailed analysis of Federal Election Commission FEC data and secondary sources on outside spending and Super PAC fundraising for the 2012 election cycle Keep Reading Report NJPIRG Law Policy Center Budget Food Tax Apples to Twinkies 2012 At a time when America is facing an obesity epidemic crushing debt and a weak economy billions of taxpayer dollars are subsidizing junk food ingredients In this report we find that in 2011 over 1 28 billion in taxpayer subsidies went to junk food ingredients bringing the total to a staggering 18 2 billion since 1995 To put that figure in perspective 18 2 billion is enough to buy 2 9 billion Twinkies every year 21 for every single American taxpayer Keep Reading Report NJPIRG Law Policy Center Financial Reform Remove Barriers to Low Interest Rates Congress has a rare bipartisan opportunity to put more money in Americans pockets strengthen the housing market and boost the entire economy By making it easier to refinance into today s low interest rates Congress could expand the Home Affordable Refinance Program HARP so it helps up to 13 million Americans nationwide save 35 billion In our state alone more than 402 000 families would qualify saving them about 1 67 billion in lower mortgage payments Keep Reading Pages first previous 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 next last Blog Post Consumer Protection The CFPB at Three A Child Prodigy Ed Mierzwinski The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau CFPB turned just three years old Monday July

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/home?page=9 (2016-04-29)
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  • Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average NJ Taxpayer $1,560 a Year, NJ Small Business $4,982 | NJPIRG
    I have co sponsored the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act because closing offshore tax loopholes must be a priority in order to put the public before special interests and provide a level playing field for small businesses In early April the Senate Finance Committee voted to renew two especially egregious offshore loopholes which will cost 8 billion in lost revenue over the next two years The Senate Finance Committee squandered an opportunity to stand with regular taxpayers who can t marshal armies of lawyers and lobbyists to bend the tax code to their whim Unfortunately they caved to special interest pressure said Skopec Small businesses get stuck footing the bill for corporate tax dodging as well NJPIRG s report additionally found that the average New Jersey small business would have to pay 4 982 to cover the cost of offshore tax dodging by large corporations seventh highest nationwide Offshore tax havens give large multinationals a competitive advantage over responsible small businesses which don t have subsidiaries in tax havens to reduce their tax bills As the owner of a small company working hard and struggling towards success I understand that I have to pay taxes said small business owner Jayaraman So why should big companies be allowed to avoid paying their share Taxes are used to maintain and modernize our infrastructure to educate our workforce to provide our security all things that big American companies benefit from just like we do The report recommends closing a number of offshore tax loopholes Many of these reforms are included in the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act introduced by Sen Levin in the Senate S 1533 and Rep Doggett in the House H R 1554 of which Rep Pallone is a co sponsor New Jersey can also take measures to reclaim some of

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/news/njp/offshore-tax-havens-cost-average-nj-taxpayer-1560-year-nj-small-business-4982 (2016-04-29)
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  • Report: Spirit Is Most Complained-About Airline | NJPIRG
    which the industry saw consolidation and increased crowding of seats gates runways and airways The congestion also led to complaints about excessive tarmac delays and lost or delayed baggage At the same time while airlines raised fares they also raised customer ire by adding new additional fees for checked bags seat selection and other services that used to be included in the basic fare Complaints about tarmac delays and lost baggage directly led to new rules from the Department of Transportation and an Airline Passenger Bill of Rights from Congress but crowded skies keep delays common while complaints have continued to grow Some of the report s findings include The airline that generated the most complaints per 100 000 passengers was Spirit Airlines generating approximately three times more complaints per passenger than any other airline Frontier Airlines United Airlines and American Airlines were also at the top of the rankings with complaints per 100 000 passengers steadily increasing over the past few years The airlines that generated the fewest complaints per 100 000 passengers were Southwest Airlines Alaska Airlines AirTran Airways and JetBlue Airlines Both Delta and JetBlue have generated fewer complaints per 100 000 passengers steadily since 2010 Flight problems such as delays and cancellations were the top grievance for travelers while other top complaint categories included baggage customer service and reservations ticketing boarding In many cases the relative number of complaints about flight problems tracked the airline s statistics for on time performance and baggage handling complaints Alaska Airlines at the top of the pack for on time arrivals receives some of the fewest complaints about flight problems while complaints about flight problems for United Airlines spiked from 2010 2012 while its on time performance worsened The report also studied the effect of new penalties enacted by the Department of Transportation in 2011 Complaints about baggage have dropped since 2009 while the airlines are also reporting fewer mishandled bags to the DOT This could be due to the increased penalties or the increased fees charged to passengers for checked bags In an effort to avoid fees for checked bags fewer passengers are checking bags and fewer bags are being lost or mishandled NJPIRG has shined some needed light on airline complaint statistics as well as their deficiencies that make it very difficult to be an intelligent consumer of airline services said Paul Hudson President FlyersRights org With non user friendly complaint data less consumer regulation than any other industry dwindling U S competition and protection against foreign competition domestic airlines will have less and less incentive to provide good passenger service at fair prices NJPIRG LPC made several recommendations to the DOT to improve the usefulness of the database such as establishing a searchable public database in addition to its monthly reports NJPIRG LPC also released a consumer tip sheet that explains a consumer s rights if their flights are delayed or cancelled or if their bags are lost or damaged by the airlines It s critical for

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/news/njf/report-spirit-most-complained-about-airline (2016-04-29)
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  • New Report: New Jersey Receives a “C+” in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending | NJPIRG
    access to public information to evaluate their elected officials said Chris Rogers President of the New Jersey Taxpayers Association The NJTA urges all of our elected leaders to take the necessary steps to become as transparent as possible While many states continue to improve the states that most distinguished themselves as leaders in spending transparency are those that provide access to otherwise un scrutinized areas of expenditure Six states provide public access to checkbook level data on the subsidy recipients for each of the state s most important economic development programs allowing citizens and public officials to hold subsidy recipients accountable by listing the public benefits that specific companies were expected to provide and showing the benefits they actually delivered The most transparent states similarly provide detailed information on subsidies spent through the tax code on economic development subsidies and off budget quasi public agencies Open information about the public purse is crucial for democratic and effective government said Kim It is not possible to ensure that government spending decisions are fair and efficient unless information is publicly accessible At least eight states have launched brand new transparency websites since last year s report and most made improvements that are documented in the report States that have created or improved their online transparency have typically done so with little upfront cost In fact top flight transparency websites can save money for taxpayers while also restoring public confidence in government and preventing misspending and pay to play contracts State spending transparency is a non partisan issue The report compared transparency scores with a variety of measures of which party rules the state legislative or sits in the Governor s office or how public opinion tilts in the states Neither Republican nor Democratic states tended to have higher levels of spending disclosure

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/news/njp/new-report-new-jersey-receives-%E2%80%9Cc%E2%80%9D-annual-report-transparency-government-spending-0 (2016-04-29)
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  • TODAY SUPREME COURT RULED FOR ANOTHER FLOOD OF BIG MONEY | NJPIRG
    The Supreme Court has never before struck down a federal contribution limit maintaining that these limits are constitutional because they prevent corruption and the appearance of corruption The McCutcheon ruling on top of the Citizens United ruling clearly shows that the Court s majority believes in the rights of the wealthy minority over the rights of the rest of us said Susannah Newman Coordinator for the NJ Coalition for the Overturn of Citizens United Fair elections in the United States are now history It is clear now more than ever that a Constitutional Amendment is necessary that people must rise up and reclaim their democracy No congressional candidate should be voted into office this November without going on the record vociferously in support of a Constitutional Amendment to overturn both the Citizens United and McCutcheon rulings The last thing we need right now is to increase the giving of the donors with the deepest pockets concluded Skopec It s time to amend the Constitution to overturn the Court s wrong headed decisions permitting a handful of millionaires and corporate interests to dominate our elections Resources McCutcheon Money U S PIRG and Demos report projecting the impact of today s Supreme Court decision NJPIRG the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group is a non profit non partisan public interest advocacy organization that takes on powerful interests on behalf of its members working to win concrete results for our health and well being www njpirg org Member groups of NJ for the Overturn of Citizens United include The American Dream Movement MoveOn Common Cause NJPIRG the Coalition for Peace Action NJ Citizen Action and Main Street Alliance Sierra Club BlueWave Food and Water Watch Free Speech For People the NJ Work Environment Council Working Families Alliance People for the American Way Public

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/news/njp/today-supreme-court-ruled-another-flood-big-money (2016-04-29)
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  • A New Way To Go | NJPIRG
    riders to find the best route for their trip track the progress of trains and buses in real time and even in some cases pay their fare Ridesharing A variety of new services across the country pair ordinary people with open seats in their cars with individuals who need a ride Using the Internet and smartphones to facilitate rides enables those seeking shared rides to tap a broader pool of potential matches Taxi and transportation network services New services enable people to hail taxis or livery vehicles or to arrange rides with ordinary drivers e g Lyft and Sidecar via smartphone making it easier and often less expensive to hire a ride Multi modal tools New apps and tools also enable individuals to plan trips using several modes of transportation facilitating efficient seamless door to door trips Technology enabled transportation services have the potential to change Americans transportation behaviors Technology enabled services can eliminate traditional barriers that prevent Americans from taking public transit or sharing rides and vehicles The array of new services can make it easier for households to reduce the number of vehicles they own a step that generally leads to steep reductions in driving Technology enabled services can expand the availability of transportation choices in places and markets where they are not currently available Access to mobile technology also enables riders to use their time riding on trains or waiting for buses more productively This provides shared transportation with a market advantage over driving since the use of mobile technology is increasingly understood as being incompatible with the safe operation of a car While many of these new tools are in their infancy several have already been shown to reduce vehicle ownership and driving Each carsharing vehicle replaces nine to 13 privately owned vehicles and the average carsharing participant reduces his or her driving by 27 to 56 percent About 25 percent of carsharing participants sell a vehicle after joining while another 25 percent forgo vehicle purchases they otherwise would have made A study of the Chicago transit system which gradually introduced a real time bus location information system from 2006 to 2009 found that introducing real time information increased weekday bus ridership Approximately 40 percent of bikeshare members report reducing their driving according to a 2011 2012 survey of members of four North American bikeshare services A 2013 survey of members of Washington D C s Capital Bikeshare program found that one quarter reported having reduced the number of miles they drove since joining the service Five percent of members reported having sold a personal vehicle since joining the service with 81 percent of those members reporting that joining Capital Bikeshare was a factor in the decision The total reduction in vehicle travel by Capital Bikeshare members was estimated at 4 4 million miles The cumulative impact of new transportation services on vehicle ownership likely exceeds that of the individual services By providing more choices and flexibility for individuals to meet their transportation needs these new

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/reports/njf/new-way-go (2016-04-29)
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