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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on May 8th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 10 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 20, Issue 10

Political Watch May 9, 2019

State Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo) announced on April 30 that his Anti-Eavesdropping Act passed the Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee. The bill, if signed into law, would prohibit smart speaker manufacturers from storing, data mining, or selling voice recordings collected through smart speakers. “Recent revelations about how certain companies have staff that listen in to private conversations via connected smart speakers further shows why this bill is necessary to protect privacy in the home,” Cunningham said in a press release. “People shouldn’t have to sacrifice their private conversations in order to live in a modern home. I am thankful for committee Chairman Ed Chau’s support and look forward to working with him on critical privacy issues facing the state.” In the release, Cunningham cited Bloomberg reports on a team of thousands of Amazon employees and contractors around the world that listen in to, transcribe, and annotate audio recordings made via Amazon Echo. While the voice recordings analyzed by humans at Amazon do not contain any personally identifiable information, Amazon employees can easily identify a user’s home address via geographic coordinates, according to the release. Cunningham and other Republicans introduced the Anti-Eavesdropping Act earlier this year.

U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) responded on May 2 to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s decision to roll back 68 offshore oil drilling safety requirements that were imposed after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The rollbacks, according to a press release sent out by Carbajal’s office, include weakening standards for well blowout preventers and reductions in real-time well monitoring requirements. “Time and time again we’ve seen oil and gas corporations sacrifice safety in order to cut costs at the expense of worker protections, our environment, and local economies,” Carbajal said in the release. “After 11 people were killed and 4.9 million barrels of oil flooded the Gulf Coast during the Deepwater Horizon disaster, we took decisive action to ensure that this type of disaster would never happen again. Interior’s decision to roll back 68 of those requirements is a dangerous decision that places oil companies’ profits over the American people.” The final rule will go into effect 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register.

• The California Water Board is hosting a meeting on May 15, where the board will discuss Agricultural Order 4.0, a list of specific requirements adopted every three years that farmers in the region must meet. Ag Order 4.0 is still in its drafting stages, and a final order must be officially adopted by March 7, 2020. The upcoming meeting is a continuation of one held in March, where the board considered five updated conceptual options for Ag Order 4.0 that were originally presented to the board and the public in November 2018. During the time available, staff presented four options to the board and stakeholders, and the board heard comments and presentations from community members. Due to time constraints, staff did not present its last option, and the board didn’t have an opportunity to provide specific direction to staff regarding preparation of the draft order. The upcoming meeting will be held at the Central Coast Water Board Offices at 895 Aerovista Place, suite 101, in San Luis Obispo from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. The Ag Order is slated as the board’s first discussion item. μ

Weekly Poll
What do you think about Aera Energy canceling its project in Cat Canyon?

It's a victory for the environment!
It's a loss of a lot of potential jobs that are needed in North County.
I'm all for renewable energy, but we still need oil and gas.
The county should never approve another oil and gas project.

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