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'Payday apps' and internet lenders aim to disrupt consumer finance.

A weekly look at social justice and technology, by Upturn
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November 30, 2017

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How might self-driving cars change geographic inequality? Some predict that it will bring affluent people further and further out into the suburbs. Others think that the effect might be exactly the opposite, by “extend[ing] the commuting range of blue-collar workers, service workers, and the poor.” (CityLab) — @harlanyu

When’s the last time you checked your phone? With adults checking their devices more than a hundred times a day, there’s evidence that constant distraction may be putting a drag on economic growth. (Bank Underground) — @dgrobinson

British security agencies consider algorithm to identify terror suspects. A leaked official report recommended that MI5 use smartphone and internet browsing data to predict the risk of someone committing an act of terror. (Business Insider)


Criminal Justice

A majority of the Supreme Court “seemed troubled by the government’s ability to acquire troves of digital data without a warrant.” Yesterday, the Court heard oral argument in Carpenter v. United States, one of the most important digital privacy cases in years. The case asks when, if ever, the Fourth Amendment permits warrantless law enforcement access to cell phone location data. (New York Times) — @jlkoepke

The new “writs of assistance.” The federal government increasingly demands information and data from third-party companies, like network-service providers, to the consternation of privacy advocates. But as Ian Samuel argues, this practice, where the government enlists a private party to help law enforcement, actually comports with historical precedent. According to Samuel, the best way to resist such demands isn’t through lawsuits resisting the demands, but regulation of data collection at the front end. (Fordham Law Review) — @jlkoepke

More evidence that the government is monitoring Black Lives Matter. New documents, obtained by the Center for Constitutional Rights and Color of Change in a lawsuit, reveal that the FBI has the surveillance of BLM protests on the dubious, blanket assumption that such protests “could invite violent reaction.” (Al Jazeera)


Internet lenders are serving people that banks won’t touch, with interest rates resembling those of credit cards, not payday loans. But these companies are “not just meeting a demand, but creating one, encouraging shoppers to buy and spend more.” (Racked) — @aaronkbr


"Payday apps" are giving a growing group of workers near-instant access to their wages. Immediate payment is popular among workers, but “economists say it is unclear whether [these] smaller, more frequent paychecks will help U.S. households under financial strain.” (WSJ) — @aaronkbr

How job surveillance is transforming trucking in America. Vox covers Cornell professor Karen Levy’s research about the gradual adoption of technology and automation within the trucking industry in a video series about the future of work. (Vox) — @mbogen

An Australian electrician used guerilla tactics to fight workplace surveillance: He wrapped his company-issue digital tablet inside a foil bag of cheese curls, creating a “faraday cage” that blocked the GPS signal. After more than a hundred rounds of secret daytime golf, he’s out of a job … and has switched to driving for Uber. (Ars Technica) — @dgrobinson

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