Let's Pretend 2017 Won't Be Even Worse! Your Year-End 2016 Corporate Grab Bag

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Amazon's dumb Echo speaker, like a Siri with whom you can curl up and watch a movie and ask, "is that the guy from Mr. Holland's Opus??" is dotting the home front for the lonely and the reckless wielders of discretionary income. The voice-activated Echo may also bear witness to any crimes taking place in your humble dwellings. At least that's what Bentonville, Arkansas, law enforcement officials believe.

Last year, Victor Collins was found dead in a hot tub at the home of James Bates. Intrepid investigators determined the death to be suspicious and charged Mr. Bates with murder earlier this year. Detectives also discovered an Amazon Echo at the scene. We want to believe that the police interrogated the Echo for hours, eventually thwarted by the "snitches get glitches" code innate to personal electronic life partners. However, we find no evidence of such an interrogation. Instead law enforcement requested Amazon deliver “electronic data in the form of audio recordings, transcribed words, text records and other data” captured by the Echo.

Silly Arkansas. Amazon isn't going to compromise the autonomy of one of its precious Info-gurgitators. It's not like the Echo is one of its marginally valued white collar employees or a warehouse grunt forced to watch surveillance videos shaming his coworkers before embarking on a 12-hour shift that will net him $90.

The company said in a statement that it would not “release customer information without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us.” Mr. Smith said that officers had followed the proper procedure in seeking a search warrant from a judge based on probable cause, and that he hoped Amazon would comply and that no further steps would be necessary.

Amazon has yet to fully respond to the request, to the delight of privacy advocates. Other nerds remain skeptical that the device (with 7 microphones) actually recorded anything in the first place as the device is activated by a "wake word." So unless the poor victim yelled "Bezos!" as he was being killed, it's likely nothing was recorded to the beloved cloud.

You may remember the same privacy advocates rightly lauding Apple for not assisting the Feds in unlocking the San Bernardino killer's phone. This gave the GOP the vapors, so much so that it should be interesting to see if our new Dumb Ruling Party advances legislation that clarifies the government's right to bot info.

Amazon and Walmart gonna go ahead and exploit hip hop innovators for profit

It's Christmas Time in Hollis, Queens and...

Ah hell no. Looks like Walmart and Amazon thought they could get away with selling RUN-DMC knockoffs without the approval of the old school artists. Now Darryl McDaniels and company are suing the bastards for $50 million. When will the persecution by Big Hip Hop end?? Kids these days probably don't even know who Jam Master Jay is. How similar could the products really be?

Welp. These Corporate Persons' trademark infringement be illin. Pay up, fuckers.

Uber driver saves child, gets nice 'atta boy' from company before returning to the grind

Uber isn't the best at screening its drivers. After all, they're just a runty little app company trying to make it in this scary world of ours.

But driver Keith Avila is one of the good ones. Earlier this week, Avila saved a 16-year old girl from sex trafficking after he notified Sacramento law enforcement regarding his suspicious fare.

Avila said he picked up two women and the teen and drove them to a Holiday Inn in nearby Elk Grove, California. While in the car, the women openly talked about delivering the girl to a "John" and getting money from him. Once Avila dropped them off at the hotel, he called the police.

Good on you, Keith, a man who *shockingly* holds a second job as a photographer. And man, this is some good PR for the Company. Maybe a reward should be in order for this noble act?

A member of the Uber Safety Team reached out to Avila over the phone to congratulate him for his work, and to inform him that all three people involved in the incident have been permanently banned from Uber. In an email, an Uber representative reiterated their admiration for his quick thinking and thanked him again.

Oh shit, that lifetime ban is really going to sting once these scumbags get out of prison. The Uber ban really is the ultimate price to pay. However, as of this posting, there's no indication Uber even gave the guy a laurel and hearty handshake. "Don't worry. We've ensured you won't drive these 3 people and unknowingly facilitate their underage sex trafficking. Now get back out there and be thankful for your $12 an hour."

Maybe one of the conditions of taking all that tasty Saudi money is not using said money to reward the protection of women. We don't know. Like Uber's independent contractors, we don't work there.

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