‘COVID-19, Surveillance and the Future of Baltimore’ with Maya Rockeymoore Cummings (Ep. 230)
Maya Rockeymoore Cummings–Candidate for Maryland’s 7th Congressional District–joined Joe Miller to discuss COVID-19, surveillance and the future of Baltimore.
Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings (@MayaforCongress) is President and CEO of Global Policy Solutions, a certified B Corporation and mission-driven strategy firm, dedicated to helping community-based, philanthropic, academic, governmental, and corporate organizations achieve strategic objectives. The firm specializes in coalition building, public policy analysis and research, program development, project management, and government relations.
Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings previously served as the chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, Vice President of Research and Programs at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Senior Resident Scholar at the National Urban League, Chief of Staff to former Congressman Charles Rangel, Professional Staff on the House Ways and Means Committee, and as a CBCF Legislative Fellow in the office of former Congressman Melvin Watt among other positions.
A noted speaker and author, Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings’ areas of expertise include health, social insurance, economic security, education, technology, women’s issues and youth civic participation. She is the author of The Political Action Handbook: A How to Guide for the Hip-Hop Generation and co-editor of Strengthening Community: Social Insurance in a Diverse America among many other articles and chapters. Her frequent speaking engagements have included invitations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Economic Policy Institute, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Congressional Progressive Caucus, Drexel University, Women Donors Network, National Association of Black Journalists, and Grantmakers in Aging among many other organizations. She has been quoted extensively in publications such as the Washington Post and New York Times and has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, and C-SPAN among other news outlets.
The recipient of many awards, including the Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellowship, she announced a run for Congress in Maryland’s 7th Congressional District in November 2019 to succeed her late husband Congressman Elijah E. Cummings.
Calls to the State of New York’s domestic violence hotline increased 30% in April, according to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Abusers are using the pandemic to justify keeping their victims isolated and have intensified the nature of their abuse from psychological or financial, to physical. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is open 24/7 and can be reached at 800-799-SAFE. 800-799-SAFE. That’s 800-799-7233. 800-799-7233. You can also text LOVEIS to 22522. That’s LOVEIS to 22522. Otherwise, you can log in to thehotline.org. That’s thehotline.org.
Senator Ron Wyden and California Representative Anna Eshoo introduced a bill on Wednesday to stop the alarming spread of child sexual abuse material online. The Invest in Child Safety Act aims to invest $5bn to quadruple the number of FBI investigators focused on online child abuse and exploitation (from 30 to 120) and expand the capacity of state and local governments to investigate and prosecute the offenders and counsel the victims of online child abuse. The money would also help fund the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, create a White House oversight office, and require tech companies to keep evidence of online abuse for at least 6 months instead of 3. This new effort comes amidst a broader effort by lawmakers to limit Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which indemnifies tech companies for hosting content posted by third parties.
Invoking California Assembly Bill 5, which requires companies to treat workers as employees if they control how workers perform tasks of if the work is routine, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and a coalition of city officials sued Uber and Lyft for misclassifying its workers as independent contractors. The bill took effect on January 1 but so far the companies have pushed back on compliance. The New York Times reports that Uber has even gone as far as saying they’re not required to pay their drivers as employees because technology is its core business, not ridesharing. The lawsuit also claims the companies’ noncompliance is harming other businesses who have begun implementing the law.
Calling Amazon “chickenshit”, Tim Bray, a prominent Senior Engineer and VP at Amazon resigned “in dismay” in an open letter on his blog after the company fired employee organizers protesting the company’s treatment of warehouse workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The workers went on strike, along with workers from Target, FedEx, Whole Foods, and Instacart, to protest their employers’ weak efforts to protect them from the virus. At Amazon specifically, at least 75 employees across half the company’s 110 warehouses, have fallen ill.
Uber announced plans to lay off some 14% of its workforce, or 3,700 employees, as demand for ridesharing has dropped during the coronavirus pandemic. Most of the layoffs will come from the CommOps and Recruiting teams. An internal memo suggested that more layoffs may be looming to as much as 20% of the current workforce, according to The Information.
Airbnb has also announced plans to lay off approximately 25 percent of its workforce, or about 1,900 employees.
Tumblr, founded in 2007, announced just the other day that it will remove all posts that violate its hate speech policy. Better late than never.
Twitter dragged some so-called researchers at Harrisburg University in Pennsylvania after the university posted a link claiming they’d discovered a facial recognition method capable of detecting criminality with “80% accuracy and no racial bias”. One of researchers is a former NYPD police officer. The University pulled down the link. The paper will still be released but it’s doubtful to withstand scrutiny since many say 80% accuracy isn’t high enough for the technology to be considered bias-free.