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Is Public Debate of Trade Agreements Against the Public Interest? 219

onproton writes The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), currently being negotiated in secret, has been subject to numerous draft leaks that indicate these talks are potentially harmful to everything from public health to internet freedom. So why isn't the public involved, and why are the terms of the agreement being debated behind closed doors? According to New Zealand's current Trade Minister, Tim Groser, full disclosure of what is being discussed would likely lead to "public debate on an ill-informed basis before the deal has been done." Leaving one to question how revealing the full context and scope of the agreement talks would lead to an increase in misinformation rather than clarity.

California May Waive Environmental Rules For Tesla 327

cartechboy writes: We all know Tesla is working on its Gigafactory, and it has yet to announce officially where it will be. But the automaker did announce a shortlist of possible locations, and California wasn't on it. The state has quickly been trying to lure Tesla to get back into contention. Now the state may waive environmental rules which would normally make construction of such a large manufacturing facility more difficult. Apparently, Governor Jerry Brown's office is currently negotiating an incentive package for Tesla that would waive certain parts of the nearly half-century-old California Environmental Quality Act. Not only that, but state officials are reportedly considering letting Tesla begin construction and perform damage mitigation later, along with limiting lawsuits that could slow down the project. Let's not forget some massive tax breaks, to the tune of $500 million. Is California stepping out of bounds here?

Australian Government Censors Draft Snooping Laws 150

coolstoryhansel writes "Stating that release of the draft legislation is not in the public interest [PDF] because it would prejudice decision making processes already in train, the Attorney General's Department has denied the release of the draft laws that would see wide-scale dragnet surveillance implemented along with an expansion of law enforcement powers for the purposes of 'national security'. Serkowski, speaking for the Pirate Party who lodged the FOI request labelled the Department response as 'disgraceful and troubling' saying the decision is 'completely trashing any semblance or notion of transparency or participative democratic process of policy development.'"

FCC Commissioner Leaves To Become Lobbyist 309

An anonymous reader writes "Meredith Attwell Baker, one of the FCC Commissioners, is leaving the FCC to become a lobbyist for Comcast-NBC, just four months after approving their merger deal. She refused to put any significant conditions on the merger, saying that the deal would 'bring exciting benefits to consumers that outweigh potential harms.' Comcast has released an official statement saying that, 'Meredith's executive branch and business experience along with her exceptional relationships in Washington bring Comcast and NBCUniversal the perfect combination of skills.'"

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