Wednesday, April 23, 2008

BREVITAS

In a 7-0 ruling, the New Jersey Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling and found that Internet service providers must protect user information and a valid subpoena is needed before the providers can disclose private data about subscribers. "We now hold that citizens have a reasonable expectation of privacy, protected by Article I, Paragraph 7, of the New Jersey Constitution, in the subscriber information they provide to Internet service providers - just as New Jersey citizens have a privacy interest in their bank records stored by banks and telephone billing records kept by phone companies," the court ruled.

Bolivia's President Evo Morales carried his national reform plans to the United Nations, telling a meeting of world indigenous peoples to be wary of transnational corporations and industrialists. Bolivia's first elected indigenous leader denounced such companies as 'exploiters' of his country's natural resources, which he said belong to Bolivians. . . He said there were only $300 million in oil and gas revenues in 2006 when he took office, and he has been able to raise the amount to nearly $2 billion this year to distribute them to Bolivians. - Irish Sun

Working from home would treat the planet better, according to the American Electronics Association.. . . If everyone who could perform a job remotely did so just 1.6 days per week, $4.5 billion worth of fuel would be spared. That would prevent the release of 26 billion pounds of CO2 each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Nearly half of workers commute more than 20 miles total every weekday, according to a 2006 study by the University of Maryland. Some 45 million people work remotely, according to the Telework Coalition. . . . Various studies show that telecommuting helps to lure attractive employees, prevents them from burning out, and saves companies money. The American Electronics Association promotes telework for potentially bringng parents, retirees and other with scheduling constraints back into the workforce as baby boomers retire. . . The makers of Cisco's WebEx, Google's apps, and others push telecommuting as a "green" practice. - ABC News

Yale University economist Robert Shiller, pioneer of Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home-price index, said there's a good chance housing prices will fall further than the 30% drop in the historic depression of the 1930s. Home prices nationwide already have dropped 15% since their peak in 2006, he said. "I think there is a scenario that they could be down substantially more," Mr. Shiller said during a speech at the New Haven Lawn Club. Mr. Shiller, who admitted he has a reputation for being bearish, said real estate cycles typically take years to correct. Home prices rose about 85% from 1997 to 2006 adjusted for inflation, the biggest national housing boom in U.S. history, Mr. Shiller said. "Basically we're in uncharted territory," he said. "It seems we have developed a speculative culture about housing that never existed on a national basis before." Many people became convinced that housing prices would increase 10% annually, a notion Mr. Shiller called crazy. - Wall Street Journal

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