Posts Tagged ‘law’

The merits of the credit freeze

On Monday, I wrote about my favorite source for InfoSec and Equifax breach-related news. Today, I wanted to add some important follow-up based on yesterday’s testimony.

Brian Krebs, my favored InfoSec resource, strongly recommends individual citizens pursue a legal credit freeze over a contractual credit lock. While a credit freeze might cost you a few dollars (depending on which state you’re in), it also affords you–the individual citizen–much more robust protection than does a credit lock.

Why? Krebs quickly gets to the heart of it:

Lawmakers on today’s panel seemed content with Smith’s answer that [a credit freeze and a credit lock] were effectively the same, only that a freeze was more cumbersome and costly, whereas credit locks were free and far more consumer-friendly.

It’s not only Krebs refuting this. He explains that Consumers Union staff attorney Christina Tetreault

notes that perhaps the main reason a security freeze is the better option is that its promise to guard your credit accounts is guaranteed by law, whereas a credit lock is simply an agreement between you and the credit monitoring company.

Krebs concludes:

What’s more, placing a freeze on your file is exactly what Equifax and the other bureaus do not want you to do, because it prevents them from making money by selling your credit file to banks and others (including ID thieves) who wish to grant new lines of credit in your name. If that’s not the best reason for opting for a freeze, I don’t know what is.

On a related note, now … retired … Equifax CEO Richard Smith made clear that “the company’s customers are in fact banks and other businesses – not consumers.” With credit bureau profits deriving from companies, not individual citizens, the bureaus have very little incentive to protect individual citizens’ data. This mindset shows in Smith’s testimony.

Once upon a time, I believed it was unequivocally good that tablet computers and EpiPens (for example) were made more widely available in schools. While there are indubitably some benefits, I now understand that improving citizens’ lives was not the corporate inspiration for such moves. Rather, that inspiration is in their profit margins.

Individual citizens can only pay pennies compared to what governmental customers can.

Recall from my last post my note on how “deregulation” is really re-regulation. Basically, when corporations lobby for “deregulation,” they invoke the idea of “free markets” while (1) transferring the costs of so-called market freedom to individual citizens and (2) reaping ample profits from the transfer.* As Kate Raworth succinctly put it, “financial deregulation actually just shifts the costs and benefits of financial crisis onto a different group of people.” Namely, you and me.

Doesn’t feel very “free,” does it? It sure doesn’t to me. This is why it’s so important to understand the difference between a credit freeze and a credit lock, and to show your legislators you both know the difference and expect them to favor your protections over corporate ones in the future.

* If you’d like to read an excellent explanation on the merger between corporation and U.S. government, check out Sheldon S. Wolin’s 2008 book Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism.



Epinephrine: Saving lives, when administered

To the Honorable Ricardo Lara:

My son’s child care center does not “accept the responsibility of Nebulizer care or the administration of Epipen or similar injections.”

It refuses responsibility based on recent changes to Title 22, Division 12. It almost certainly does so with reference to the Community Care Licensing Divisions’s July 2015 Transmittal No. 15FCCH-01 ( describing administration of EpiPen as an “Incidental Medical Service” which “a licensee may choose to provide.”

Offering child care providers the choice to administer EpiPens means, conversely, they have the choice not to administer. My son’s child care providers are exercising this freedom to enroll severely food allergic kids at their centers while also choosing to withhold life-saving epinephrine from them. By this choice, they endanger the lives of the severely allergic children in their care. They do so in contravention of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Read more…

The ADA, food allergies, and one rude-ass administrator

Yesterday I wrote about how the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) applies to people with severe food allergies.

Today I had the opportunity to speak with my son’s school’s new owner. I began by calmly introducing my concern, giving a high level overview of the ADA as it applies–per the Department of Justice–to child care centers and kids with severe food allergies.

The owner quickly jumped in and explained that, because of teacher-student ratios and “mildly ill” student provisions, he’s permitted to decide whether or not to administer certain medications. He spoke in a manner Anthony would call “shouting,” but which I’d merely describe as “heated.”

I said that was inconsistent with everything I’d read on the ADA so far, since it must be construed to protect more affected individuals than fewer. Could he please point me to the provisions overriding the ADA?

“You’re not going to scare me!” he barked.

Startled, I said, “That’s good, because scaring wasn’t my intention.”

“Beside, this–” he said, thumping the school’s handbook. “–was put together by a bunch of lawyers!”  Read more…

Allergies, child care and the ADA

My sixteen-month-old son, Littler J, is severely allergic to eggs. My husband and I keep an Epipen with us at all times, and leave its twin with Littler’s child care.

My husband and I were considering moving Littler to his older brother’s school when it opens its infant room soon. Unfortunately, a sentence in the handbook provided by the school’s new owners concerned my husband.

I hadn’t actually read the sentence when my husband revisited it last week.

“This pisses me off!” Anthony exclaimed. “Can they even do this?”

He started reading the offending sentence. “‘We do not accept responsibility-‘”

I was talking with a friend. I waved him off. “Of course they can’t accept responsibility for outcomes! That’s a standard disclaimer.”

“I don’t think that’s what it says, Deb.”

I wasn’t listening.

I finished reading the sentence this morning. I immediately understood why Anthony was enraged, and unwilling to entrust Littler’s care to the school. Read more…

Contracts: making me a crappier blogger since 2006!

Stop using passive voice!

Have you ever thought this while reading my blog? I sure have!

“The experience was one to be savored,” I might write, when the truth was savored the heck out of it. So why don’t I simply write, “I savored the experience”?

Easy: work. For roughly forty hours each week, I review, revise and write contracts full of worst case scenarios. These scenarios can make non-legal people extremely uncomfortable.

“But I don’t want to offer up my first-born child if this deal goes south!” such non-legal people might say if we lived in a fantasy world. In this one, “something comes up” and meetings are rescheduled they reschedule contract review meetings until rescheduling becomes riskier than just attending the damn meeting. Read more…

Words changing lives

Rachel Platten sings that “a single word can make a heart open.”

I’ve harnessed and witnessed the power of words countless times in my life. Only last week, I read a few sentences that will have changed my whole life before long.

Words are powerful generally, but sometimes, a few words can change entire lives and history all at once.

I read such words today, and remembered why I ever wanted to be an attorney.

I wanted to be like my mom’s attorney, Bill. It’s easy to remember that.

Another large part, a part forgotten until some external circumstance jogs loose a distant sense of longing, was wanting to work the kind of word-magic that could change lives for the better. I wanted to wield my pen for a better world, for better, safer lives, for joy and for happiness. I envisioned being a lawyer as like being a superhero whose superpower was words.

Today I read the text of the U.S. Supreme Court decision on OBERGEFELL ET AL. v. HODGES, DIRECTOR, OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ET AL.

I felt like I was witnessing a superhero at work, not in the end decision but in the actual steps leading up to it. Read more…

Kill first, ask questions later: Ferguson protests explained 140 characters at a time

Many people seem to think in 140- (or fewer) character bites these days.

It’s hard to break complex news into 140-character bursts. Much is lost. But I’ll try. I want people to understand. Lives count on it.

Michael Brown and Ferguson are about more than Michael Brown or Ferguson. They are about every black man in every town in the United States.

Months of protesting have followed Michael Brown’s death. But why? He was a “thug.”

Beside, a grand jury found his killer innocent? Strange, since grand juries decide whether charges should be brought, not give verdicts.

Much was terribly wrong with this peculiar grand jury. Prosecutor McCulloch counted on the public not caring about the differences.

McCulloch seems to have counted correctly. Read more…

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