On February 11, Donald Trump Jr. sat in front of his computer for a video deposition. He swore to tell the truth. But documents and a video obtained by Mother Jones — and recent legal filings — indicate that his testimony on key points was not accurate. The matter at hand was a lawsuit filed in 2020 against Donald Trump’s inauguration committee and the Trump Organization by Karl Racine, the attorney general of Washington, DC. The suit claims that the inauguration committee misused charitable funds to enrich the Trump family. As the attorney general put it, the lawsuit “alleges that the Inaugural Committee, a nonprofit corporation, coordinated with the Trump family to grossly overpay for event space in the Trump International Hotel. The Committee also improperly used non-profit funds to throw a private party [at the Trump Hotel] for the Trump family costing several hundred thousand dollars.” In short, the attorney general has accused the Trump clan and its company of major grifting, and he is looking to recover the amounts paid to the Trump Hotel so he can direct those funds to real charitable purposes.
Our high-tech overlords are redefining the word “buy” when it comes to online purchases of digital content from them. Class action lawsuits are challenging the two most valuable companies in the world on this point. Tim De Chant reports in Ars Technica: Apple is facing two class-action lawsuits over the meaning of the words “rent” and “buy.” In the first suit, lead plaintiff David Andino argues that Apple’s definition of the two words is deceptive since the company can terminate people’s Apple IDs and, along with them, access to content they purchased using the “buy” button. Thus, Andino is arguing that Apple allows consumers to rent content rather than purchase it outright. If he had known that his access could be cut off at any time, he says he would have not spent as much on iTunes content. “Just like Best Buy cannot come into a person’s home to repossess the movie DVD that such person purchased from it, [Apple] should not be able to remove digital content from its customers’ Purchased folders,” the suit says. Apple countered by arguing that “no reasonable consumer would believe” that content purchased through iTunes would be available on the platform indefinitely.
New iOS will restrict what data apps can share with third parties. Apple Inc. rolled out a software update for its mobile devices on Monday that gives users the option of stopping apps from tracking their location and sharing other identifying information with third parties. The Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant launched the latest version of its operating software, iOS 14.5, to the more than one billion people with iPhones around the world, including Canada, starting Monday morning. While the upgrade contains a number of changes, one of the biggest is the addition of a beefed up privacy requirement the company is calling App Tracking Transparency, which any app that “collects data about end users and shares it with other companies for purposes of tracking across apps and websites” must abide by. Services such as Facebook and others currently have the ability to track users on mobile devices in order to learn more about them to target advertisements and other location-based services to them. In some instances, the tracking is in place even if the user is not actively using the app in question.
The intersection where George Floyd died in May of 2020 has become an ad hoc memorial and autonomous zone. George Floyd Square, The Guardian reported in March, has purportedly become “a symbol of resistance – and healing.” “The sign on a barricade on a once-unassuming street in Minneapolis reads: ‘You’re now entering the free state of George Floyd,’” Amudalat Ajasa wrote. “A small rectangle of city blocks features murals, flowers, candles and tributes in the place where Floyd, a Black man, died under the knee of a white police officer last May, sparking the biggest US civil rights uprising since the 1960s. “On maps, it’s the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue. To activists and community members, it’s George Floyd Square.” To business owners in George Floyd Square, it’s been a nightmare. Crime is up. Business owners say they’ve lost three-fourths of their business. Things have gotten so bad that community activist Alicia Smith has set up a GoFundMe page on behalf of an area business group known as the 38th Street Black Business Collective. The sad irony is that most of these businesses are black-owned, according to the New York Post.
U.S. taxi and limousine services are seeing a boom in business from customers seeking to enter Canada by land to avoid a restriction on international travel that applies only to air traffic. While both Canadian land and air travellers are required to take a test within three days of departure, and again on arrival, only those flying to Canada must spend up to three days of the country’s 14-day required quarantine period in a hotel. That has led to a surge of calls for taxi and limousine services from Canadians who fly through U.S. airports in states like New York and then cross over the land border, representatives of four companies told Reuters. “They call from six in the morning to 12 at night,” John Arnet, general manager of 716 Limousine in Buffalo, N.Y. said. “We’ve had so many requests for border crossings that we’re turning them down.” The company now does more business driving Canadians to their homes in Ontario than with U.S. clients. A taxi trip across the border can cost around US$200 or US$250 compared with a three-day hotel stay of more than $961, Canadian travel insurance broker Martin Firestone said.
Ramesh Shrestha doesn’t worry about a robot replacing his job because in some ways — one already has. Shrestha, a supervisor for commercial cleaning company Ultra Shine, has a robot named Bob as a coworker at the Westmount Centre shopping mall in Edmonton. Bob robotically swivels around the mall’s food court and stops for curious shoppers as he scrubs the floors every day. Unlike the humans who used to do this job, Bob never tires or suffers from back pain. The robot has not replaced any of Ultra Shine’s employees. The company actually has been expanding, and data from Statistics Canada shows a similar story has been playing out for years at other businesses across the country.