The US Department of Justice has filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against Google for violating antitrust laws. The suit seeks to prevent Google from monopolising internet searches, excluding results from searches and preventing free competition brought about through its domination of user search engines through agreements that see it installed as the primary search tool across the majority of platforms and devices. The Department of Justice alleges this harms competition and consumers' ability to choose by “…reducing the ability of innovative companies to develop, compete and discipline Google’s behaviour”. This lawsuit is the most significant legal challenge of a Big Tech company to take place in decades. Not since the US government went after Microsoft has a case like this been brought against a Big Tech company. Google has hit back saying the suit is “…deeply flawed” and that “People use Google because they choose to…”.
New generation smart meters could be used to switch off your electricity
Ofgem is reported to be considering changes to the Smart Energy Code that would allow energy companies to switch off an individual household’s energy supply without warning or compensation for those affected via third generation smart meters. The changes would give energy companies the right to decide if the energy network is in crisis, declare an emergency and switch off high usage electrical devices such as central heating systems and charging systems for electric vehicles in UK homes. These amendments would significantly change the role of smart meters, which currently can only send data on energy use to energy companies. There is a question mark over whether people would be forced to install the new meters or if they will be given a choice to opt out. The definition of what constitutes an emergency and when energy networks would be allowed declare an emergency has not yet been defined. Both Ofgem and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are reported to be open to legislation that would force consumers to install the new smart meters. Should these changes be approved it will further encroach on citizens basic rights and freedoms, which have already been significantly eroded by the oppressive and relentless restrictions being imposed in order to suppress the coronavirus.
Nature should be at the heart of our economies
The European Forest Institute has published a “10-point action plan for a circular bioeconomy of wellbeing”. The plan calls on governments, NGO’s, private companies, scientists and world leaders to create an integrated action to put the world on a sustainable path using the latest scientific thinking and technologies to tackle current global challenges. The plan emphasises the need to create an economy that prioritises economies, promotes sustainability and works in harmony with nature. The health and wellbeing of citizens should be put first when considering changes to land use, food production and health systems.
IHME caught red-handed distorting mask data
The Institute for Health Metrics Evaluation (IHME) is at the centre of a controversy over the data used in a recent paper on mask wearing. Its widely reported modelling study published in Nature suggested nearly 130,000 lives could be saved if virtually all (95%) Americans wore masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. However, economic historian, Phil Magness, noticed the figures the projection is based on were already out of date by the time the paper was published. The paper states 49% of Americans said they wore masks as at 21 September, but the actual rate was 68% meaning a figure of 63,000 would be a more accurate projection. At the time of writing, the IHME do not appear to have acknowledged the ‘error’ or made any amendments to the paper. Given the IHME is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is it any wonder that such poor statistical rigour is being largely ignored and swept under the carpet to the detriment of ordinary citizens who are being forced to wear masks on the basis of seriously deficient scientific practices.
Glyphosate is an endocrine disrupting chemical
A new study published in Chemosphere concludes that glyphosate meets at least eight of the 10 key characteristics of an endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC). EDC’s are chemicals that interfere with the actions of hormones in our body and that have been linked to an increased risk of adverse health effects such as cancer, fertility issues, obesity and neurological problems. Recent lawsuits against Monsanto and its parent company Bayer, have seen glyphosate, the active component in Roundup, implicated in the development of cancer and the imposition of eye wateringly high settlements. The new study vindicates those who assert glyphosate is a danger to human health and may help future plaintiffs to bring successful litigation against the maker of Roundup.