• chevron_right

    X sues Calif. to avoid revealing how it makes “controversial” content decisions / ArsTechnica · Friday, 8 September - 21:45

X sues Calif. to avoid revealing how it makes “controversial” content decisions

Enlarge (credit: Bloomberg / Contributor | Bloomberg )

Today, Elon Musk's X Corp. sued to block California's content moderation law, AB 587. In its complaint, filed a US district court in California, X Corp. is seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction stopping California Attorney General Robert Bonta from enforcing the law.

AB 587 passed in September 2022, requiring social media platforms to submit a "terms of service report" semi-annually to California's attorney general, providing "a detailed description of content moderation practices used" and "information about whether, and if so how, the social media company defines and moderates" hate speech or racism, extremism or radicalization, disinformation or misinformation, harassment, and foreign political interference. Under the law, social media platforms must also provide information and statistics on any content moderation actions taken in those categories.

In X's complaint, the company accused California of trying to dictate X's terms of service and compel "controversial disclosures about how X Corp. moderates content on its platform."

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • chevron_right

    COVID-19 vaccines will be added to immunization list required for CA students / ArsTechnica · Friday, 1 October, 2021 - 22:00

California Gov. Gavin Newsom talks with 7th grade students at James Denman Middle School on October 01, 2021 in San Francisco, California.

Enlarge / California Gov. Gavin Newsom talks with 7th grade students at James Denman Middle School on October 01, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (credit: Getty | Justin Sullivan )

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday announced that the state will add COVID-19 vaccines to the list of immunizations students are required to get to attend in-person public and private schools.

California is the first state to announce such plans. COVID-19 vaccines will join the ranks of vaccine for measles, mumps, polio, hepatitis B, pertussis, tetanus, and chicken pox, which are already required for school attendance.

The mandate isn't immediate. The requirement will not kick in until the vaccine is fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration for school aged children. As such, the requirement will be phased in by grade groups—grades 7 through 12 and K-6—and begin at the start of the school term following full FDA approval.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • chevron_right

    California DMV gives Cruise and Waymo OK to charge for rides / ArsTechnica · Friday, 1 October, 2021 - 19:26

A Cruise robotaxi test vehicle in San Francisco.

Enlarge / A Cruise robotaxi test vehicle in San Francisco. (credit: Cruise)

The autonomous vehicle developers Cruise and Waymo both got a little closer to running true driverless robotaxi services in and around San Francisco. In May, both Waymo and Cruise applied to the California Department of Motor Vehicles for deployment permits (as opposed to the testing permits that have allowed non-commercial operations). On Thursday, the DMV issued autonomous deployment permits to both companies, which is a necessary step if the robotaxis are to charge passengers for their rides.

San Franciscans might have to be night owls to catch a Cruise; the DMV's authorization gives Cruise permission to operate on surface streets within a geofenced area of San Francisco between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am. Cruise's autonomous vehicles are allowed to operate in light rain and light fog, but they aren't allowed to exceed 30 mph (48 km/h).

Waymo is allowed to operate over a wider area; the DMV's authorization is "within parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties." These robotaxis are also trusted to cope with light rain and light fog and are approved for speeds of up to 65 mph (105 km/h).

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • chevron_right

    Biden DOJ halts Trump admin lawsuit against Calif. net neutrality rules / ArsTechnica · Monday, 8 February, 2021 - 22:32 · 1 minute

An Ethernet cable and fiber optic wires.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Rafe Swan)

The Biden administration has abandoned a Trump-era lawsuit that sought to block California's net neutrality law. In a court filing today, the US Department of Justice said it "hereby gives notice of its voluntary dismissal of this case." Shortly after, the court announced that the case is "dismissed in its entirety" and "all pending motions in this action are denied as moot."

The case began when Trump's DOJ sued California in September 2018 in US District Court for the Eastern District of California, trying to block a state net neutrality law similar to the US net neutrality law repealed by the Ajit Pai-led FCC . Though Pai's FCC lost an attempt to impose a blanket, nationwide preemption of any state net neutrality law, the US government's lawsuit against the California law was moving forward in the final months of the Trump administration.

The Biden DOJ's voluntary dismissal of the case puts an end to that. "I am pleased that the Department of Justice has withdrawn this lawsuit," FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said today. "When the FCC, over my objection, rolled back its net neutrality policies, states like California sought to fill the void with their own laws. By taking this step, Washington is listening to the American people, who overwhelmingly support an open Internet, and is charting a course to once again make net neutrality the law of the land."

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • chevron_right

    Frontier agrees to fiber-network expansion in plan to exit bankruptcy / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 6 January, 2021 - 20:40

A Frontier Communications service van parked in front of a building.

Enlarge / A Frontier Communications van. (credit: Getty Images | jetcityimage )

Frontier Communications has agreed to expand its fiber-to-the-premises network and improve its poor service quality as part of a bankruptcy settlement in California. Frontier committed to deploy fiber to 350,000 homes and businesses within six years on a schedule that would require the first 100,000 by the end of 2022, 250,000 by the end of 2024, and the full 350,000 by year-end 2026.

The settlement , filed in late December, is pending approval by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Frontier agreed to the terms with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), a union that represents Frontier employees; The Utility Reform Network (TURN), a consumer-advocacy group; and Cal Advocates, the public advocate office at CPUC.

To ensure that Frontier doesn't build only in wealthy areas, the 350,000-location deployment must include 150,000 customer locations where Frontier estimates it would receive less than a 20 percent "internal rate of return." For those 150,000 locations, Frontier will have to consult with the CWA, TURN, Cal Advocates, and tribal government leaders "to discuss the potential areas for deployment, including tribal lands and tribal communities," the settlement said.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • chevron_right

    By 2035, new trucks and cars sold in California must be emissions-free / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 23 September, 2020 - 21:26 · 1 minute

The words Mad Gas 2035 are printed in a Mad Max Fury Road typeface.

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images )

On Wednesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order requiring that all new passenger cars and trucks sold in the state from 2035 be zero-emissions vehicles. Additionally, all drayage trucks—the ones that move containers around at places like the Port of Los Angeles —must also go emissions free by this date, as well as off-road vehicles and equipment. Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles get an extra decade to comply, but by 2045 these too must ditch internal combustion engines.

Although this is the first such ICE ban in the United States, Governor Newsom is following in the footsteps of policymakers in Europe, China, and elsewhere. In 2016, Paris, Madrid, Athens, and Mexico City announced bans on new diesel vehicles from 2025. The same year, Germany's Bundesrat voted to outlaw new ICE vehicles from 2030 , although this was not a binding resolution.

The following year, France announced that new ICE vehicles would be banned from 2040 . The UK also picked 2040 as the end of new gasoline and diesel vehicles within its borders, a timeline that in February was brought forward by five years to 2035 , then this past Monday it was brought forward another five years, to 2030 . And China is also phasing out internal combustion vehicles , albeit over a longer timeline .

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • chevron_right

    The fight over the fight for California’s privacy future / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 23 September, 2020 - 09:25

The fight over the fight for California’s privacy future

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

When state Senator Bob Hertzberg learned that an ambitious privacy initiative had gotten enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in California, he knew he had to act quickly.

“My objective,” he says, “was to get the damn thing off the ballot.”

It was the spring of 2018. Facebook’s emerging Cambridge Analytica scandal had cast a harsh light on the tech giants’ data-gathering practices, spurring calls for more consumer privacy protections. The initiative was the brainchild of Alastair Mactaggart, a wealthy San Francisco real estate developer, who had the idea in the shower in 2015 and funded the effort out of pocket. Mactaggart enlisted his neighbor Rick Arney and Mary Stone Ross, a former CIA analyst and lawyer, to help craft the ballot measure. None had any background in data privacy or, for that matter, anything related to the tech industry.

Read 38 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • chevron_right

    California considers state-brand drugs to fight “greedy pharmaceutical companies” / ArsTechnica · Friday, 10 January, 2020 - 16:45

A close up of Newsom

Enlarge / California Governor Gavin Newsom. (credit: Getty | AGUSTIN PAULLIER )

California could become the first state to introduce its own brand of generic prescription drugs in an effort to drag down stratospheric healthcare costs.

The plan for state-branded drugs is part of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget proposal, which he is expected to unveil Friday, January 10.

“A trip to the doctor’s office, pharmacy or hospital shouldn’t cost a month’s pay,” Newsom said in a statement. “The cost of healthcare is just too damn high, and California is fighting back.”

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments