Contact l Sitemap

home industries issues reasearch weblog press

Home  » Industries » Technology & Telecommunications

Technology & Telecommunications

Technology has seeped into nearly every aspect of modern life, from the food we eat to the ways we communicate. Consequently, telecommunications and technology coprorations have gained huge power over the past two decades. Cable companies bicker with telephone monopolies over the internet; customer support for ubiquitous laptop computers is offshored from Silicon Valley to Bangalore; obsolete electronics pile up in developing world landfills, exposing children to toxic metals; and multinationals tinker with the technology of nature to make a tomato that doesn't spoil on a grocery shelf. Ubiquity, especially when it melds into the background of daily life, is perhaps the most powerful tool of corporate power.


AT&T Developed Secret Program To Help U.S. Police Mine Client Phone Records
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
October 28th, 2016
Police departments across the U.S. pay AT&T, the telecommunications giant, over one hundred thousand dollars a year for special access to telephone records of clients without first obtaining a warrant. The program is called 'Hemisphere' and the company required buyers to keep its existence secret.

Garment Factories In Burma Often Violate Labor Laws
by Richard SmallteacherCorpWatch Blog
March 28th, 2016
A new report on garment factories in Burma issued by Action Labor Rights (ALR) estimates that nearly a third of workers were required to work 60 hours or more a week, with almost two thirds reporting that they had no choice in the matter.

VimpelCom Pays $795 Million To Settle Uzbekistan Bribery Investigation
by Richard SmallteacherCorpWatch Blog
February 18th, 2016
Netherlands-based telecommunications giant VimpelCom announced today that it would pay U.S. and Dutch authorities $795 million to end an investigation into bribery in Uzbekistan. While the settlement does not reveal the recipient of the bribes, most sources point to Gulnara Karimova, daughter of the Uzbek president.

Uber Plans to Track Users Should Not Be Allowed, Says Privacy Group
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
June 22nd, 2015
A formal complaint has been filed against Uber, the car ride company, by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a non-profit advocacy group. The NGO says Uber plans to use their smart phone app to access user’s locations at all times, and to send advertisements to user’s contact lists.

Retailer SportsDirect Accused of Sweatshop Like Conditions in the UK
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
June 1st, 2015
SportsDirect, a British sports merchandise retailer, has been accused of employing workers in sweatshop like conditions by Channel Four Dispatches, a UK TV program. The broadcaster aired undercover footage shot by a reporter at the company’s Shirebrook warehouse in northern England.

UNIQLO, Japanese Fast Fashion Label, Accused of Labor Violations
by Mayu ChangCorpWatch Blog
April 13th, 2015
Chinese factories in Dongguan and Guangzhou that supply UNIQLO - a “fast fashion” label owned by Fast Retailing Co. from Japan - have been accused of endangering their workers’ lives, according to a new report from Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM), a Hong-Kong based labor rights group.

Apple Agrees To Chinese Government Security Audits, Worrying Activists
by Mayu Chang
February 11th, 2015
Apple has agreed to allow the Chinese government run security audits on the new iPhone to prove that there is no back door access for the U.S. government. However, activists say that this agreement could have the opposite effect, allowing China to broaden spying on its own people.

Indian Government Loses Major Tax Case to Vodafone
by Mayu ChangCorpWatch Blog
November 4th, 2014
Vodafone recently won a rare – but potentially very significant – victory over Indian tax authorities. The Bombay High Court dismissed the government demand for the company to pay 30 billion rupees (about $490 million) for a share transaction conducted in the offshore tax haven of Mauritius.

Fashion District Businesses Accused of Laundering Mexican Drug Money
by Richard SmallteacherCorpWatch Blog
September 30th, 2014
One thousand law enforcement officers staged an early morning raid on dozens of businesses in Los Angeles fashion district to seize $65 million allegedly derived from drug trafficking. QT Fashion, a company that imports wholesale maternity wear from China to Mexico, provided a key to the money laundering scheme.

Amazon Workers in Germany Strike for Better Pay
by Richard SmallteacherCorpWatch Blog
September 23rd, 2014
Some 2,000 German employees of Amazon, the internet retail giant, walked off their jobs this week at four sites - Bad Hersfeld, Graben, Leipzig and Rheinberg. The strike action was coordinated by Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft (United Services Union), a Berlin trade union commonly known as Ver.di.

Fast Food Workers Hold Biggest Ever Strike For Wages in U.S.
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
September 5th, 2014
Hundreds of low wage fast food workers were arrested at strikes and protests in some 100 cities around the U.S. on September 4. They were demanding that companies like Burger King, KFC, McDonald's and Wendy's pay workers a living wage of $15 an hour.

Pakistan Courts to Hear Lawsuit Against Finfisher Spy Software
by Rozali TelbisCorpWatch Blog
May 12th, 2014
A Pakistani court has set a June 5 court date to hear a lawsuit from ‘Bytes for All’ - a digital rights group - for the alleged use of FinFisher spy software by the Pakistani government. The software is manufactured by Gamma International, an Anglo-German company.

Yue Yuen Shoe Factory Backs Down After Workers Strike for Pensions
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
May 3rd, 2014
Some 40,000 workers in seven Yue Yuen shoe factories in Dongguan city, China, went on strike last month to successfully demand that their employer make pension payments required under the law.

Failed Cuban “Twitter” Project Designed By U.S. Government Contractors
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
April 8th, 2014
ZunZuneo - a now defunct social media platform similar to Twitter – was designed to undermine the Cuban government by two private contractors: Creative Associates International from Washington DC and Mobile Accord, a Denver based company. Funding was provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Fast Food Workers File Lawsuit Against McDonald’s for Alleged Wage Theft
by Fatima HansiaCorpWatch Blog
March 21st, 2014
Over 25,000 low-wage employees working at McDonald’s franchises in California, Michigan and New York are being systematically cheated of their wages, say attorneys who filed seven simultaneous lawsuits last week against McDonald’s and its franchisees for violations of labor law.

Smartphone Game Data Targeted by NSA: Angry Birds Cited
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
January 28th, 2014
Millennial Media, a Baltimore based ad company, creates “intrusive” profiles of users of smartphone applications and games like Angry Birds, according to documents leaked to the media by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Such profiles have been exploited by intelligence authorities like the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), say investigative journalists.

Cambodian Police Open Fire at Garment Workers Protest, Killing Four
by Richard SmallteacherCorpWatch Blog
January 3rd, 2014
At least four people were killed when Cambodian police opened fire on a garment workers protest in Canadia Industrial Park in Phnom Penh. The workers were demanding a minimum wage of $154 a month from employers who supply Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands as well as H&M.

Ikea France Accused of Spying on Employees
by Richard SmallteacherCorpWatch Blog
December 15th, 2013
Sûreté International – a private detective agency - was allegedly hired by Ikea France to spy on prospective and existing employees, activists from the union Force Ouvrière and even disgruntled customers.

Bumper Year for Corporate Donations Reveals Profit Motives
by Rick CohenCorpWatch Blog
September 10th, 2013
U.S. corporations gave away $18.15 billion in charitable donations in 2012 – a combination of cash, grants, and in-kind goods - up 12.2 percent in nominal terms over the previous year. A closer look reveals profit motives, notably for pharmaceutical companies and retail chain Wal-Mart.

Rival Safety Agreements for Bangladesh Garment Factories Announced
by Richard SmallteacherCorpWatch Blog
July 8th, 2013
Two rival agreements that aim to improve safety in Bangladeshi garment factories were launched this week. The European-led Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh’s Garment Industry was launched Monday while the much weaker North American led Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety was launched Wednesday.

Spinneys Lebanon Criticized for Labor Practices
by Richard SmallteacherCorpWatch Blog
May 28th, 2013
Charbel Nahas, the former Lebanese labor minister, is to appear before a court next month on charges of publishing incorrect information, slander and libel over the labor practices of Spinneys, the Dubai-based Middle Eastern supermarket chain.

H&M Responds Slowly to Bangladesh Factory Collapse Killing 1,100
by Puck LoCorpWatch Blog
May 19th, 2013
H&M (Hennes & Mauritz), a major Swedish “fast fashion” retailer, led 30 international companies this week to commit to a new $3 billion fund to improve the safety of garment factories in Bangladesh. Watchdog organizations say the companies acted only because of external pressure by activists and workers.

Benetton, Others Tied to Bangladesh Factory Disaster: 400 Killed
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
May 1st, 2013
Multinationals like Benetton have tried to distance themselves from Rana Plaza, a Bangladeshi building housing five clothing factories, that collapsed last week killing over 400. Activists argue that change will only come when workers get more political support to challenge them.

“Cyberazzi” – Data Mining Companies Investigated for Invasion of Privacy
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
January 21st, 2013
The paparazzi hide in bushes and use telephoto lenses to snap pictures of celebrities. The “cyberazzi” parachute into web browsers and sneak up behind mobile phones to spy on ordinary people. Nine such data mining companies must report what personal information they gather for sale by next week.

Walmart Faces Increased Scrutiny Over Bangladesh Sweatshop Fire
by Puck LoCorpWatch Blog
January 7th, 2013
Walmart is coming under increased scrutiny for its ties to a garment factory in Dhaka where 112 workers were trapped and killed in a fire in late November 2012. The company, which buys $1 billion in clothing a year from Bangladesh, initially tried to deny any connection.

H&M Targeted for Uzbek Cotton Allegedly Grown with Forced Labor
by Puck LoCorpWatch Blog
December 27th, 2012
Swedish company H&M, the world’s second-largest clothing retailer, is under pressure to cut ties with supplier South Korea-based Daewoo International and others that purchase cotton from Uzbekistan, where the government allegedly forces children and adults to harvest the white fiber for little or no pay.

Forever 21 Fails to Comply With Federal Sweatshop Investigation
by Puck LoCorpWatch Blog
November 30th, 2012
Clothing chain retailer Forever 21 has been sued by the U.S. government for ignoring a subpoena requesting information on how much the company’s suppliers pays the workers who make its clothes. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the salaries are well under the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

India’s Retail Sector: Ripe for the Picking
by Freny ManeckshaSpecial to CorpWatch
November 19th, 2012
A decision by the Indian government to allow foreign multinationals to invest in the country’s $500 billion retail market is expected to spell the death knell for thousands of small, family-owned shops and even threatens street hawkers, who have supplied local neighborhoods for generations.

Taiwanese Display Manufacturer Fined $500 Million for Price-Fixing
by Puck LoCorpWatch Blog
October 22nd, 2012
Taiwanese company AU Optronics and its U.S. subsidiary were fined $500 million by a U.S. judge for conspiring to artificially inflate the prices of liquid crystal display (LCD) screens in a verdict handed down last month. Two former AU Optronics executives were also given three-year prison sentences.

Bribing Mexico: Walmart Accused of Corruption
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
April 21st, 2012
Eduardo Castro-Wright, the former CEO of Walmart Stores USA, has been accused of orchestrating a $24 million bribery scheme to expand the company's presence in Mexico between 2002 and 2005. The alleged scheme involved a series of payoffs to Mexican city governments, according to an investigation by the New York Times

Greenwashing Walmart
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
April 18th, 2012
Is Walmart going green? Mike Duke, the company’s CEO, says in a new 126 page report that the company is becoming more sustainable and responsible while “building meaningful, long-term change.” Activists disagree. Walmart’s “environmental impact has only grown over the last seven years” they say in a counter-report.

Exploiting Indonesia: Adidas for London Olympics 2012
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
April 16th, 2012
Adidas, the German sportswear company, is making Olympics uniforms for the UK team at sweatshops in Tangerang city, near the main international airport of Jakarta, Indonesia. Young female workers are paid 5,000 rupiah (54 cents) an hour for a 65 hour work week, according to revelations made in the Independent newspaper.

Big Brother in Iran: With A Little Help From Chinese and European Companies
by Pratap ChatterjeeSpecial to CorpWatch
March 27th, 2012
Big Brother is watching Iranians with a little help from Chinese and European companies. Reuters revealed that ZTE Corporation had sold Tehran surveillance technology. This comes in wake of revelations late last year by Bloomberg that Creativity Software in the UK had sold the Iranians “location tracking and text-message monitoring equipment.”

AT&T Allegedly Profited From Nigerian Scam Artists
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
March 23rd, 2012
AT&T, the U.S. telecommunications giant, allegedly profited from Nigerian nationals, who claimed to be deaf, to help them order goods from U.S. stores with stolen credit cards. The U.S. government alleges that the company then passed the charges on to the taxpayer.

Dollar Stores: Top Link in the Sweatshop Chain
by Kent PatersonSpecial to CorpWatch
October 6th, 2010
A growing group of chain-store corporations that cater to America's poor with cheap goods are classifying workers as managers. By categorizing employees as salaried managers these dollar stores avoid paying overtime wages that the Fair Labor Standards Act mandates for hourly workers.

Dark Side of the Tourist Boom: Cruise Ship Controversies Cross Borders
by Kent PatersonSpecial to CorpWatch
July 9th, 2008
The Mexican Pacific resort of Zihuatanejo recently cancelled a major new cruise ship terminal, giving a victory to environmental activists and other opponents. However, Mexico remains the world’s Number One cruise ship destination; and with little regulation, allegations of onboard crime, and increasing militarization as regards security while ships are in port, the rapidly expanding industry is facing new challenges.

An Uncomfortable Spotlight in Davos
by Pratap ChatterjeeSpecial to CorpWatch
January 31st, 2008
The CEOs of three-quarters of the world's 100 largest companies have just completed an uncomfortable weekend at the tiny Swiss ski resort of Davos, while their companies' share prices nosedived on global stock markets, amid concern that the U.S. economy is staggering towards recession.

Domestic Spying, Inc.
by Tim Shorrock Special to CorpWatch
November 27th, 2007
A new U.S. intelligence institution will allow government spy agencies to conduct broad surveillance and reconnaissance inside the country for the first time. Contractors like Boeing, BAE Systems, Harris Corporation, L-3 Communications and Science Applications International Corporation are already lining up for possible work.

Intelligence in Iraq: L-3 Supplies Spy Support
by Pratap ChatterjeeSpecial to CorpWatch
August 9th, 2006
L-3 Communications, a little-known but gigantic military contractor, provides 300 contract intelligence experts to the Pentagon in Iraq to support operations ranging from interrogation to media analysis. The secretive $426.5 million operation, which is run out of Virginia, may be a recipe for disaster, say critics.
Also see related story, A Translator's Tale, by Pratap Chatterjee.

A Proxy Battle: Shareholders vs. CEOs
by Kevin KelleherSpecial to CorpWatch
June 13th, 2006
Earnest shareholder resolutions presented at company annual general meetings on everything from human rights to executive compensation are routinely shot down in flames. But shareholder resolutions may have an effect, even in defeat.

Target: Wal-Mart Lite
by Kari LydersenSpecial to CorpWatch
April 20th, 2006
Shopping in a Target store, you know you’re not in Wal-Mart. But, critics say that in terms of working conditions, sweatshop-style foreign suppliers, and effects on local retail communities, big box Target stores are very much like Wal-Mart, just in a prettier package.

Talking Back to the Ganglords
by Ted NaceGangs of America
July 18th, 2003
Computer giant Intel lost a major lawsuit against a fired employee who sent email protest letters to his former colleagues, in a court decision that is a major victory for free speech and workers' rights.

Jordan's Sweatshops: The Carrot or the Stick of US Policy?
by Aaron GlantzSpecial to CorpWatch
February 26th, 2003
While the world braces for a US war against Iraq, Washington is using its newly inked Free Trade Agreement with Jordan to open sweatshops and secure an ally in the region.

Precision Farming: The Marriage Between Agribusiness and Spy Technology
by Carmelo Ruiz-MarreroSpecial to CorpWatch
October 2nd, 2002
Precision farming: high tech corporate responsibility or agribusiness expansion? We look at the use of satellites and new technology in farming.

Williams Companies: Enron II
by Wayne MadsenSpecial to CorpWatch
February 14th, 2002
Top executives say Williams Companies faces huge losses due to deals with Enron. But a lawsuit says they were covering up the company's own Enron-like activities.

Homeland Security, Homeland Profits
by Wayne MadsenSpecial to CorpWatch
December 21st, 2001
Government spy agencies seek new ways to monitor the Internet. Civil libertarians worry about privacy while software companies stand to make billions.

Peddling the E-Ticket to the Development Train
by Sarah AndersonSpecial to CorpWatch
March 8th, 2001
As both the Democratic and Republican parties jockey to win the favor of the high-tech industry, U.S. trade officials under Clinton and now under the Bush Administration have been aggressively promoting high tech's global interests by breaking down barriers to electronic commerce.

Microsoft and Internet Development
CorpWatch
May 6th, 1998
What do computer programmers think about Microsoft's role in the development of the Internet, and the social implications of the underlying technical issues? We asked Harry Hochheiser, an Internet software developer and board member of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility for his perspective.

Defying a Microsoft World View
CorpWatch
May 6th, 1998
Audrie Krause is the founder and executive director of NetAction. When this interview took place in January 1998, Microsoft had recently agreed under threat of a contempt of court citation in the US Department of Justice antitrust lawsuit, to allow personal computer manufacturers who install Windows to remove the Internet Explorer icon from the desktop.

Noam Chomsky on Microsoft and Corporate Control of the Internet
CorpWatch
May 6th, 1998
CorpWatch's Anna Couey and Joshua Karliner caught up with Noam Chomsky by telephone at his home in the Boston area to ask him about Microsoft and Bill Gates. The following is a transcript of our far ranging conversation.

Philippine Greens Protest the Visit of Bill Gates
by Roberto VerzolaThe Philippine Greens
March 20th, 1998
A denunciation of Microsoft for pressuring the Philippine government to establish special laws and law enforcement forces to protect the corporation's software at the expense of educating Philippine students.

MITSUBISHI: The Most Environmentally Destructive Corporate Force on Earth
by Joshua KarlinerCorpWatch
December 1st, 1997
The best known, most prestigious, and largest keiretsu, is the Mitsubishi Group of companies. Given the size and reach of its diverse activities, and due to the fact that it is more heavily focused in polluting industrial sectors than other keiretsu, the Mitsubishi Group may well be the single most environmentally destructive corporate force on Earth.

Towards a Democratic Media System
CorpWatch
October 1st, 1997
Robert W. McChesney is Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Wisconsin, Madison talks about corporate control of the Internet in this CorpWatch interview.

Organizing the High Tech Industry
CorpWatch
February 10th, 1997
CorpWatch interviews John Barton, Organizing Coordinator, Building Service Division, of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and links up with other groups organizing for worker health and safety.

International Activist Profile: Ryoichi Terada
Campaign for Responsible Technology
February 10th, 1997
Ryoichi Terada, Professor of the Environment, Tsuru University, Tokyo confronts the high tech industry's ground water contamination in Japan.

The Globalization of High Tech
by Carlos PlazolaCampaign for Responsible Technology
February 10th, 1997
High-tech electronics industry representatives in the Silicon Valley are finally admitting that their facilities pose significant risks to surrounding communities (of course, they admitted this for liability and permit renewal purposes). A recent article in the San Jose Mercury News (6/18/96) described the struggle between LSI Logic and a neighboring Muslim school.

The Environmental Cost of Computers
Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition
February 10th, 1997
Here is our "clickable computer." Click on any of these four computer parts to find out their environmental impact.