Uber and Postmates Rush to Block California Freelancer Law

· Andrew Orr · Link

Assembly Bill 5, known as the California Freelancer Law, goes into effect January 1, 2020. The law says that workers must be classified as employees instead of contractors, under certain conditions. Companies like Uber and Postmates are rushing to block the law.

As employees, drivers would be protected by minimum wage and overtime rules and would be eligible for workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance. The companies would have to pay half of their payroll taxes for Medicare and Social Security.

Postmates said it was seeking to delay the law from taking effect to gain time to figure out a compromise so that its workers would not be classified as full-time employees.

Drivers aren’t the only people affected. Freelance journalists in California are being laid off because the law says they can only maintain their status as independent contractors if they submit no more than 35 pieces per year.

Facebook Thinks California Privacy Law Doesn’t Apply To It

· Andrew Orr · Link

The California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) goes into effect January 1. Despite it being state-created it’s expected to affect all Americans. Some companies have been following Microsoft’s example and plan to voluntarily apply it to all states. Facebook however, disagrees (to no one’s surprise).

Facebook is taking a different tack for its web tracker, Pixel. Pixel’s name comes from its physical appearance on a website that installs it: literally, one square pixel. But behind that pixel is a code that that installs cookies on your browser, allowing it to track your activity across the internet.

Facebook provides this code to businesses free of charge, and those businesses can then purchase ads based off the information that Pixel collects…According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook will claim that it doesn’t sell the data that its web trackers collect; it simply provides a service to businesses and websites that install Pixel on their sites. Because of this, it believes its web trackers are exempt from CCPA’s regulations…

California Governor Signs AB5 Bill Into Law Protecting Gig Workers

· Andrew Orr · Link

AB5 is a bill that could one day give full employee status to gig workers from companies like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash. Today, California’s governor signed it into law.

While a major victory for the organized labor movement in California and in the U.S. broadly, the passing of AB5 is by no means a guarantee drivers in the state will become employees. Drivers or individual cities will need to challenge these businesses in court to apply the aforementioned ABC test, and Uber has already adopted an offensive posture in that regard, claiming that drivers are not core to the company’s business model—one of the stipulations of the ABC test.

Drivers in a ride-sharing company are not core to Uber’s business model. Wow.

Amazon Has a Mole in the California State Assembly

· Andrew Orr · Link

Perhaps using the word “mole” is hyperbole. But it’s deeply concerning that California Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin is actively trying to kill California’s privacy act that would impede companies like Amazon Ring, when her husband is the COO for Ring.

Like other companies that collect vast amounts of consumer data, Ring — and its parent company, Amazon — has a financial stake in the details of California’s groundbreaking data-privacy law. Industry groups, including those representing Amazon, have been scrambling to change the law before it takes effect Jan. 1.

“We can talk about this later,”Jacqui Irwin said, side-stepping questions about a potential conflict outside her office last week. “It’s a little bit offensive there.”

Apple Gets Permit to Test Self Driving Cars on California Roads

· Jeff Gamet · News

Apple gets permit to test autonomous driving cars on California roads

Apple now has a permit to test drive autonomous vehicles on public roads in California, which is a pretty clear sign the company is still doing something with its not so secret car project dubbed Titan.