Brannan Introduces Bill Prohibiting Unauthorized Sale Of Personal Data
City Councilman Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach) yesterday introduced a landmark bill, Int 1632, which would prohibit telecommunications companies and mobile apps from sharing and selling a consumer’s geolocation data collected within New York City.
The bill, the first of its kind in the nation, would allow the city to fine telecommunications and mobile app companies up to $10,000 a day for sharing just one individual’s data. The measure comes in wake of disturbing findings that major telecommunications companies are frequently selling a user’s location data to third parties without their consent. Telecommunications companies usually do not prominently disclose this practice, burying disclosure under wordy and vague privacy policies.
“We’re seeing major telecommunications companies cashing in on the average working person’s private location data,” Brannan said. “A person can sign up for cell service and their data can end up in the hands of five different companies and shady geo-locating entities. It’s Big Brother Big Business, and if we don’t act, it’s going to get worse.”
Having been introduced to the Council, the bill will now go to committee hearings before it can go to a vote on the Council floor.
Ortiz Decries Trump’s Proposed Cuts To Food Stamp
Assistant Assembly Speaker Félix W. Ortiz (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) yesterday decried the Trump administration proposed rule that would limit Americans’ access to food stamps, reportedly removing more than 3 million people from the federal program.
The plan would eliminate automatic enrollment in food stamps for poor families who receive welfare benefits. Currently, 43 states allow families who qualify for the federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program, or TANF, to automatically receive food-stamp benefits, a link that the U.S. Department of Agriculture wants to sever.
The Reuters news agency reported that ending that practice would cut food-stamp spending by $2.5 billion per year.
“President Trump is making food stamps and the needy victims again by attempting to prohibit state governments from automatically signing up people for benefits. This President is trying to unravel every safety net we have, one by one. Today’s proposal will badly hurt those that need it most and will prevent them from helping their families,” said Ortiz.
“Let’s hope that Congress and the courts will step in and stop this President from unraveling important programs that go back to President Franklin Roosevelt, a New Yorker who knew how to set an example and make progress.”
Nadler Supports House Resolution Against BDS Movement Targeting Israel
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Borough Park, Kensington, parts of Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, Red Hook, Sunset Park, Midwood & Manhattan) yesterday delivered a floor statement in support of H.Res. 246, a resolution opposing efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel.
“This Resolution, modeled on legislation passed by the New York City Council, is fully consistent with the First Amendment and affirms the rights of those who support the Global BDS movement to voice their opinions. But, importantly, it also puts Congress on record rejecting this misguided and deceptive movement that is neither progressive in its conduct nor pro-peace in its ultimate mission,” said Nadler.
“BDS proponents advocate for a complete boycott of Israeli businesses, individuals, and institutions—including academic institutions, which are supposed to be bastions of intellectual freedom—hypocritically seeking to deny all Israeli citizens the same rights and freedoms that BDS supporters claim that they themselves are denied.
“Not only does the movement, at times, invoke anti-Semitic tropes and seemingly promote violence, it unfairly blames one party in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and does nothing to promote direct negotiations to achieve a two-state solution, which is the only path to a fair peace.
“In fact, the founder of the movement, when asked whether BDS would end when Palestinians are able to establish their own state, flatly says “no.” That tells you everything you need to know. Instead of promoting peace and a two-state solution, the mission of BDS is clear: to delegitimize Israel, regardless of its policies or conduct, and to deny the Jewish people—and only the Jewish people—the right of national self-determination,” he added.
Speaker Johnson On Anniversary Of James E. Davis’ Death
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) yesterday paid tribute to former Brooklyn City Council Member James E. Davis, who was assassinated at City Hall 16 years ago yesterday.
“Today, the Council honored James’s memory in a moment of silence and recommitted ourselves to fighting against all forms of violence. His death was a terrifying reminder that gun violence can occur at any place and any time and to any person,” said Johnson.
“At the Council, we remember James today and on many days. The Council Member’s Lounge, where we gather for everything from budget negotiations to holiday parties, bears his name. The Lounge also has a plaque in his honor. He will always live on in the hearts of his family, friends, former colleagues and here in City Hall, the place where he worked to improve the lives of his constituents,” he added.
Cornegy Addresses Minority Mental Health With “Bed-Stuy Sings the Blues”
City Council Member Robert Cornegy Jr. (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights) on Saturday is presenting an event titled ‘Bed-Stuy Sing the Blues: A Tribute to Billie Holiday” to focus on the potential of jazz music to decrease stress, anxiety, and improve mental health.
“Bed-Stuy Sings the Blues” will host a panel discussion including psychiatric clinicians from Interfaith Medical Center, professionals from The National Alliance on Mental Illness and New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and feature live performances from the Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium, and students from the Noel Pointer Foundation.
“We need to increase access to culturally competent and compassionate mental health care, and our office is thinking creatively about how to raise awareness and make change in the community,” said Cornegy.
This event ties Cornegy’s vision of mobilizing the community to eradicate the stigma behind mental health treatment in minority communities; while promoting and providing services to increase access to mental health care resulting in overall wellness throughout the community.
The event is slated for 2-4 p.m., this Saturday, July 27 in the New Community Dance Space lat Bed-Stuy’s Restoration Plaza, 1360 Fulton Street in Bed-Stuy.
Clarke, Myrie, Richardson Decry Con Ed on Power Outages
U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke, State Sen. Zellnor Myrie and Assemblywoman Diana Richardson – all of whom represent Central Brooklyn – yesterday decried how all or parts of these neighborhoods were without power due to the Con Edison outage.
“My office and I are fully aware of the electrical power outages from Con Edison that have been taking place in Brooklyn since over the weekend, and we are continuing to closely monitor the situation. According to Con Edison, 2,700 Brooklyn residents currently remain without power, most of whom should expect to see their power restored by tonight. Once power is fully restored, I will be scheduling a meeting with Con Edison to discuss how we can prevent a similar situation from happening in our communities again,” said Clarke.
“All Brooklyn residents deserve 100% reliable electricity, especially during the hot summer months when electricity is critical to protecting our communities from the dangerous heat. This is especially concerning to me as climate change continues to increase the number of extreme heat days that we experience each year. I look forward to meeting with Con Edison to figure out a sustainable path forward,” she added.
Myrie and Richardson were in Flatbush yesterday to call on Con-Ed to explain continued power outages in Brooklyn that are endangering vulnerable Brooklynites.
“While Con-Ed assures us that the outages are over, there are elderly people in buildings like the one right behind me who are trapped in their apartments because their elevators do not work,” said Myrie. “There are people who are suffering and whose lives are in danger because their medical devices cannot be powered. This is an emergency, it is unacceptable, and it must be addressed now.”
“It is a crying shame, and I dare to put it on the record that if the if the demographics of this community were different, the response would have been different,” said Richardson. “This is a miscarriage of justice for the Central Brooklyn community, and we are asking Con-Edison and the city for a coordinated response to happen immediately.”
Reynoso Applauds DCA For Releasing Bushwick Arts & Cultural Affairs Inventory
City Council member Antonio Reynoso (D-Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Bushwick) yesterday lauded the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) for releasing a Neighborhood Arts and Cultural Inventory for Bushwick.
The report was created as a part of DCA’s Building Community Capacity program (BCC), which takes a collaborative and comprehensive approach to community arts development in targeted low-income areas. The publication will be used as a resource for future BCC projects in Bushwick.
A partnership between community development organization El Puente and arts nonprofit The Bushwick Starr received over $80,000 in funding to participate in this first phase of the BCC program. The team employed a number of data-gathering techniques to produce snapshots reflective of the role of arts and culture in the community, as experienced and reported by community members themselves.
Among other findings, the team discovered a strong desire among residents for cultural offerings accessible to families and multi-generational audiences. The emergence of word-of-mouth as a primary information source offers opportunities for both formal and informal cultural venues and events to build a more solid base within the community.
“The DCA’s release of the Neighborhood Arts and Cultural Inventory for Bushwick, Brooklyn aims to highlight the neighborhood’s rich cultural heritage and thriving creative arts community. Local groups El Puente and Bushwick Starr conducted meaningful outreach and, in collaboration with DCLA, compiled demographical data to not only catalog Bushwick’s longstanding and newer arts offerings, but also to express the realities of rising costs of living and the hindrance that this can pose to accessing and participating with these assets, “ said Reynoso.
“The spirit and voices of Bushwick are captured in this report, and I am proud of the recommendations produced by El Puente, Bushwick Starr, and the DCLA to preserve and increase access for all residents,” he added.