The Too-Much-Plastic Edition Friday, December 27, 2019

Giving The Gift Of Surveillance, by Alex Kingsbury, New York Times

What to make of all the new data-gobbling devices given by the millions? I’d say cast them into the sea, but there’s far too much plastic there as it is.

I reached out to some of the dozens of technology experts, government officials, lawyers, privacy professionals and several others who have served as a sort of informal brain trust since the Privacy Project started in April.

Enhance Your File Search With Alfred, by Rosemary Orchard, The Sweet Setup

Many people use Alfred to search for files on their Mac and to launch applications, but these functions barely scratch the surface of this great app! Today I’m going to show you how to make the most out of the files integration in Alfred.

Self-Checkout In France Sets Off Battle Over A Day Of Rest, by Liz Alderman, New York Times

French labor rules prohibit most shops from employing workers past 1 p.m. on Sundays. But as e-commerce and online giants like Amazon usher in an era of round-the-clock spending, retailers are amping up the use of automated cashiers to help them compete.

The move has caused an outcry in France, where Sundays are traditionally a rest day for workers and families. While self-checkout machines are often used alongside cashiers, labor unions say that tilting toward fully cashierless operations threatens the French way of life by encouraging American-style consumerism and automation, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

Publishers Determined To Kill Electronic Books, by Howard Oakley, Eclectic Light Company

What amazes me about all this is that the many penalties and drawbacks of eBooks aren’t the result of the medium itself, but have been cunningly devised and implemented by eBook publishers. It’s almost as if they don’t want us to license eBooks in the first place. Or have they just become so greedy that they think they’ll win either way?

California Is Rewriting The Rules Of The Internet. Businesses Are Scrambling To Keep Up, by Sam Dean, Los Angeles Times

A sweeping new law that aims to rewrite the rules of the internet in California is set to go into effect on Jan. 1.

Most businesses with a website and customers in California — which is to say most large businesses in the nation — must follow the new regime, which is supposed to make online life more transparent and less creepy for users.

The only problem: Nobody’s sure how the new rules work.