Doug Porter

Thumbnail image for The Continuing Decline of UT-San Diego

The Continuing Decline of UT-San Diego

by Doug Porter 10.29.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

 Another six month reporting period has passed and the UT-San Diego continues to lose readers, according to an analysis of data from the Alliance for Audited Media by the Reader’s Don Bauder.

How bad was it? On Sundays, the circulation declined by more than 13%,  Weekdays declined by 8.5%.  The numbers released yesterday include “digital” and “branded” editions. Branded editions for the UT include Enlace, the Spanish language weekly distributed free on weekends, Vida Latina, a Spanish-language entertainment magazine, TV and shopping guide and Enlace Extra, distributed in Tijuana and Mexicali.

As newspaper circulations have plummeted in recent years, the auditing-type people have changed the rules to sweeten the pot for publishers. Paid circulation now includes copies “sold” to non-profits for as little as 1 cent; these groups resell the papers at full price to users of their services (churches are a good example) and pocket the difference.

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Thumbnail image for DeMaio’s Mexican Ebola Terrorist Border Plan

DeMaio’s Mexican Ebola Terrorist Border Plan

by Doug Porter 10.28.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

We’re “back to the issues” in the race for the 52nd Congressional District in California.  Taking a page from the playbook once used by Gov. Pete Wilson, GOP candidate Carl DeMaio announced his five weird tricks for better border security yesterday.

“From illegal immigration to terrorism and Ebola, the reasons for securing our nation’s border have never been more clear,” he told a small group of reporters at a campaign headquarters press conference.

Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) whipped up the party base on the immigration issue via conference call hosted by TheTeaParty.net on Monday evening. DeMaio beat him to the punch by a few hours,  accusing incumbent Scott Peters of being a “rubber stamp” for the failed policies policy of the Obama administration.

There was nothing new in the GOP challenger’s plan, but at least it didn’t show up as plagiarized on any internet searches.

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Thumbnail image for Darrell Issa’s App for Ebola

Darrell Issa’s App for Ebola

by Doug Porter 10.27.2014 Culture

By Doug Porter

It’s week five of a major health crisis in the United States and there are signs the epidemic is waning. The number cases of actual Ebola now equals the number of times Rush Limbaugh has been married– four. The number of hysterical media reports and opportunist politicians playing on people’s fear of the unknown has yet to be determined.

The CDC and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs & Border Protection (CBP) is now screening at five U.S. airports that receive over 94 percent of travelers from the Ebola-affected nations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says they began actively preparing for an outbreak in March of this year, the correct protocols for treating patients were not in place at Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas when Thomas Duncan, the initial Ebola patient showed up in the emergency room. It didn’t help matters that Duncan was less than forthcoming in telling medical personnel about his potential exposure to the disease.

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Thumbnail image for Your Daily DeMaio: Insults, Excuses and Deception

Your Daily DeMaio: Insults, Excuses and Deception

by Doug Porter 10.24.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

The more we learn about the inner workings of the Carl DeMaio campaign, the more bizarre it gets. If you believe defenders of the Republican Candidate for the 52nd Congressional District, former campaign staffer Todd Bosnich has perhaps gone back in time to fabricate emails (much of which are mundane) and/or hacked Carl DeMaio’s Sony VIAO laptop.

Yesterday we learned about a fake twitter account allegedly used by DeMaio to transmit trashy blurbs about various local politicos. Then there’s the hilarious (in a sad way) and ongoing attempt by a UT-San Diego editor to justify their coverage (or lack thereof) of the steadily leaking emails purportedly from the DeMaio campaign.

City Beat columnist Dave Maass spotted an item in a emailed worklist regarding an assignment to “finish Wikipedia”, apparently directing a staffer to make favorable edits on entries related to the campaign. This sort of thing would be a big no-no, and it’s something DeMaio and/or his staff were busted (by Maass) for in 2011.

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Thumbnail image for Does It Matter Who Writes UT-San Diego’s Boorish Editorials?

Does It Matter Who Writes UT-San Diego’s Boorish Editorials?

by Doug Porter 10.23.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Denial is a long river. And yesterday it wound its way through Mission Valley after NBC7 News released a story about emails from the DeMaio campaign boasting about having composed an editorial that appeared in UT-San Diego back in December, 2013

The emails came from former staffer Todd Bosnich, who has been at the center of other recent controversies regarding the GOP candidate for the 52nd Congressional District. Bosnich says candidate DeMaio sexually harassed him. DeMaio says Bosnich is responsible for a break-in and vandalism at his headquarters.

The district attorney says there’s not enough evidence in either case to move forward with prosecution. Bosnich’s attorneys say a lawsuit is in the works. DeMaio’s campaign is vacillating between refusing to comment and denying the validity of the emails. Bosnich has granted access to his laptop computer to cyber experts who have informed reporters that the emails appear to be genuine.

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Thumbnail image for UCSD’s CHE Cafe Facing Eviction Next Week

UCSD’s CHE Cafe Facing Eviction Next Week

by Doug Porter 10.22.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

A ruling by Superior Court Judge Katherine Bacal yesterday may well mean the end of the road for the C.H.E. Cafe, a student run cooperative at UCSD.

The co-op will have five calendar days to vacate once a written order is signed by the judge and the university files a writ of possession, meaning the group could be evicted by the middle of next week.

Supporters of the C.H.E.were vague about their future plans when speaking with the news media following the court decision, saying they were considering further legal actions and promising to continue protest activity and lobbying.

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Thumbnail image for Emails Plague Congressional Candidate Carl DeMaio

Emails Plague Congressional Candidate Carl DeMaio

by Doug Porter 10.21.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Monday should have been a good day for 52nd District congressional candidate Carl DeMaio. But it wasn’t.

County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced that an inquiry into sexual harassment allegations from an ex-aide was being closed due to lack of evidence.

She also announced the investigation into a campaign office break-in that DeMaio campaign had sought to link to the ex-aide was also being closed for the same reason. The GOP candidate’s campaign was the only source for that claim, which had already served its purpose, to deflect attention away from DeMaio’s behavior.

UT-San Diego whipped out its congratulatory editorial, patting the DA on the head for getting this lurid matter settled before election day, pronouncing “throughout this flap, DeMaio has seemed far more credible than former aide Todd Bosnich.”  Voters were urged to get back to the “issues” in the campaign, namely that incumbent Scott Peters was under the influence of the evil Barack Obama.

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Thumbnail image for Looking at November 2014 California Legislative Contests in San Diego County

Looking at November 2014 California Legislative Contests in San Diego County

by Doug Porter 10.20.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Political consultants and pollsters around the country are predicting that election eve 2014 will be a long and mostly unhappy experience for Democrats.

Not so here on the left coast, where the burning issue is whether the Dems can maintain the super-majority in both houses of the state legislature. Republican predictions that the state would end up as an economic disaster under such circumstance haven’t proven to be true,  so they’ve conjured up a few new prognostications and claims… in-between fighting with each other.

2014 will be the last time the GOP will be able to leverage low turnout to win many legislative districts in the state where party registration is competitive. Declining enthusiasm for the Republican brand and increasing numbers of non-white voters for future elections don’t bode well for a party unable to muster enough unity to support candidates that could win in this election.

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Thumbnail image for Memo to Jerry Sanders & Doug Manchester: The City Council Minimum Wage Ordinance WAS the Compromise

Memo to Jerry Sanders & Doug Manchester: The City Council Minimum Wage Ordinance WAS the Compromise

by Doug Porter 10.17.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

It ain’t over ‘till it’s over.

The City Clerk certified the results of a referendum drive backed by the Chamber of Commerce and other dark money interests yesterday. They sought to delay an ordinance passed by the City Council increasing the local minimum wage and allowing for earned sick days by placing it on the June 2016 ballot.

They achieved their goal by perverting a system originally designed to protect the public from the undo influence of the Southern Pacific Railroad and other would-be oligarchs.  Hired guns from around the country were flown in and paid up to $12 per signature after other canvassers quit in droves, unable to face the public with the lies required of them to earn a living.

This was a matter of economic justice for nearly 200,000 San Diegans who would be impacted by this ordinance; for the working women who would see the wage gap shrink by 22%; for the 10,000 veterans working at or near minimum wage; and for the restaurant employees who are forced to choose between working while sick or paying the rent.

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Thumbnail image for Emails Cast Doubt on DeMaio Harassment Defense; Survey Says Voters Undecided

Emails Cast Doubt on DeMaio Harassment Defense; Survey Says Voters Undecided

by Doug Porter 10.16.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

There are new developments in the storyline about a ex-policy aide who claims congressional candidate Carl DeMaio sexually harassed him.

The ultra-conservative Washington Examiner has posted a story referring to internal DeMaio campaign emails show accuser Todd Bosnich remaining in a high level position following disclosure of the plagiarism scandal for which he was supposedly fired.

UT-San Diego and 10News released the results yesterday of a SurveyUSA poll in the wake of disclosure of the sexual harassment allegations that seems to indicate voters haven’t decided what to think about the scandal. Digging down into the polling data, there are indications suggesting independent voters are reacting negatively.

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Thumbnail image for Darrell Issa’s Latest Crusade: Proving  the EPA is Too Pro-Environment

Darrell Issa’s Latest Crusade: Proving the EPA is Too Pro-Environment

by Doug Porter 10.15.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

It’s been nearly four years since Congressman Darrell Issa assumed leadership of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and he has yet to successfully complete any of his crusades against the forces of evil in the Obama administration.

His term is coming to an end with the start of the next Congress in January, and Issa’s embarked on one final campaign to shore up his legacy: proving the Environmental Protection Agency is pro-environment.

Since 2008 Issa has been successful in garnering headlines, giving right-wing mythology enough credibility to get repeated on the evening news and ruining the lives of any federal bureaucrat foolish enough to try and stand up to his bullying.

But the sad fact is that no actual reforms have emerged out of any of his quests, mostly because he’s unable to prove the underlying premise calling for those reforms. Not that he really cares; the goals have always been to malign the current administration and to tap into the fundraising potential of those poor souls suffering from Deranged Obama Syndrome.

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Thumbnail image for Down-Ballot Races in San Diego You Need to Know About

Down-Ballot Races in San Diego You Need to Know About

by Doug Porter 10.14.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

While there is no rule saying a ballot must be filled out completely to be valid, there are four contests you should know and care about as we approach the 2014 general election.

Exhibit A is why we should care about down-ballot races is Judge Gary Kreep, who’s now lurking around Department 7 in the central courthouse, handling a full calendar of landlord-tenant disputes.

People voted for Kreep because the only thing they’d heard (if they’d heard anything at all) were rumors, spread via a suspicious robocall campaign saying his opponent was soft on crime.

So Kreep ascended to the court after defeating 30 year veteran prosecutor Garland Peed a couple years back. His margin of victory was two-fifths of 1 percent.

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The Other Congressional Races in San Diego: The 50th’s Duncan Hunter, Best Party Animal on Capitol Hill

by Doug Porter 10.14.2014 Editor's Picks

By Doug Porter

The following analysis represents my opinion. The SD Free Press editorial board may or may not agree with me. For all our articles on the upcoming election, check out our 2014 Progressive Voter’s Guide.

Green Area is the 50thI’m sure the residents of San Diego’s 50th Congressional District would be proud to know about their Congressman Duncan D. Hunter making the positive side of  Washingtonian Magazine’s Best & Worst of Congress list this year.

That’s right, Hunter came in first in the polling of Congressional staffers as “Best Party Animal” in the House of Representatives.

He was among those singled out in 2010 by the GOP leadership, according to a story appearing in Roll Call, for private conversations asking them to curb their inappropriate behavior.

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Thumbnail image for Et Tu, Carl? The Politics of Personal Destruction in San Diego

Et Tu, Carl? The Politics of Personal Destruction in San Diego

by Doug Porter 10.13.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Last week sexual harassment accusations against congressional candidate Carl DeMaio went national by way of stories in Politico.com and CNN. Today we’ll follow up on developments in this story over the weekend.

A Saturday morning fundraiser featuring house speaker John Boehner in Pacific Beach for the 52nd district GOP candidate was notable for the absence of local politicos and a handful of protesters waving “Dirty DeMaio” signs.

The irony of the counter demonstration, reminiscent of reaction in some quarters to our former mayor’s boorish behavior, was the presence of Jess Durfee.  Back in the days when Durfee headed up county Democrats it was he chose to disregard warnings about Filner from a delegation of party women.

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Thumbnail image for Prop 48: Are Casinos Coming to Your Neighborhood?

Prop 48: Are Casinos Coming to Your Neighborhood?

by Doug Porter 10.10.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

It’s funny how people who normally couldn’t be bothered to pick up a gum wrapper off the sidewalk will become environmental activists when it suits their economic interests. In this instance we have “environmental concerns” being voiced by groups who are themselves exempt from the laws.

With Prop 48 we also have people who have worked hard to give the gambling industry a better image funding ads telling people to be afraid about casinos built in their neighborhood.

California, land of opportunity, where there’s a sucker born every minute.

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Thumbnail image for DeMaio Accuser Comes Forward; Candidate Denies Sexual Harassment, Bribery Attempt Allegations

DeMaio Accuser Comes Forward; Candidate Denies Sexual Harassment, Bribery Attempt Allegations

by Doug Porter 10.09.2014 Editor's Picks

By Doug Porter

A press conference called by Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio went awry yesterday after Los Angeles Times reporter Tony Perry asked questions regarding allegations of sexual harassment made by a former campaign staffer.

DeMaio’s denial (an “absolute lie”) was the lede in a UT-San Diego story on the presser, which made it seem as though the candidate himself had raised the subject. The Republican candidate is challenging first-term Democratic representative Scott Peters in California’s 52nd district.

Politico.com has posted a story this morning that includes an interview with the accuser, who says he was offered $50,000 to sign a non-disclosure agreement prior to parting ways with the campaign. The DC-based publication also says it has obtained a copy of a never aired radio interview with 29 year old Todd Bosnich describing in “explicit detail how, over the course of more than six months of employment, DeMaio became increasingly aggressive in his sexual behavior toward him.”

There a lot more to this, and today we’ll tell you what we know. This story dates back to last spring, and takes several twists and turns along the way.

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Thumbnail image for A Very Determined Carol Kim Runs for City Council in District 6

A Very Determined Carol Kim Runs for City Council in District 6

by Doug Porter 10.09.2014 Nov 2014 Election

By Doug Porter

Meet Carol Kim. She lived in District 6 before deciding to run for City Council. Her idea of campaigning is spending 40 hours a week going door-to-door, meeting potential constituents. She’s the mother of two children; a professional whose work evaluating results for agencies could easily translate into public service as a watchdog for the public interest.

The race for city council in District 6 is an important contest for Democrats. A win by Kim gives the party an effective counterweight to the Chamber of Commerce alliance seeking domination over San Diego. The district’s voters are almost evenly divided between Democrats (33.6 percent), Republicans (31.7 percent) and Decline to State voters (29.5 percent).

The people who advocate for money as free speech for corporations; who oppose communities controlling their own destinies; and who champion an economic model making middle class taxpayers subsidize lower paid workers for highly profitable companies are lined up against Carol Kim.

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Thumbnail image for Escondido’s Proposition H – Compromise or Capitulation on Developing a Bankrupt Golf Course?

Escondido’s Proposition H – Compromise or Capitulation on Developing a Bankrupt Golf Course?

by Doug Porter 10.08.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

The email seemed like the basis for a slam-dunk story. It was an appeal to environmentalists for support in defeating Escondido’s Proposition H, a developer-sponsored initiative allowing conversion of what was previously a golf course into 430 single housing units.

Here’s a snippet from the appeal: “The developer, Michael Schlesinger, dumped raw chicken manure on the property a year after turning off the water. The manure burned the land and created a severe air pollution issue, forcing one homeowner suffering from lung cancer to evacuate his home for 5 days.”

I’d seen a bunch of emails in recent weeks from the pro-Proposition H folks and given that they were coming from a source generally known to work the right side of the aisle and the fact this was about Escondido, I assumed the worst– a cartoonish Papa Manchester character running roughshod over an oppressed community.

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Thumbnail image for Props 45 & 46: This Won’t Hurt. Much

Props 45 & 46: This Won’t Hurt. Much

by Doug Porter 10.07.2014 Government

By Doug Porter

The following analyses of Propositions 45 & 46 represent my opinions. The SD Free Press editorial board may or may not agree with me. For all our articles on the upcoming election, check out our 2014 Progressive Voter’s Guide.

There are no special interests more special than insurance companies, doctors and lawyers. Here we have two propositions involving all three groups. And there is more subterfuge going on than anybody can keep track of.

Monies from the committees supporting and opposing the different measures overlap.  There is a joint campaign committee in support of both 45 and 46. “No on 45″ funds have been transferred into the State GOP coffers and mysteriously reappeared three days later with interest.

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Thumbnail image for November 2014: California’s Top Eight Statewide Races

November 2014: California’s Top Eight Statewide Races

by Doug Porter 10.07.2014 Nov 2014 Election

By Doug Porter 

The following analyses represent my opinions. The SD Free Press editorial board may or may not agree with me. For all our articles on the upcoming election, check out our 2014 Progressive Voter’s Guide.

You’ll have to go down-ballot this year to find much excitement in the Statewide races for elective office in California. The real action is in the State Superintendent of Education and Controller contests, not exactly positions likely to stimulate passion at the polling place. 

None-the-less, I’m presenting a quick overview of the eight races, with links to the candidate websites and a few choice words of wisdom about each. If you came here looking for “unbiased” coverage, please avert your eyes: you are about to be offended.

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Thumbnail image for November 2014 Elections: When You Skip Voting It’s Not Rebellion, It’s Surrender

November 2014 Elections: When You Skip Voting It’s Not Rebellion, It’s Surrender

by Doug Porter 10.06.2014 Economy

An Introduction to SD Free Press General Election Coverage

By Doug Porter 

It’s time to get out the vote again!? For those of us who live in the City of San Diego the November general election will be our third trip to the polls this year.

As we’re learning from watching the voter-suppression efforts succeed in 22 states since 2010, your vote must mean something; otherwise they wouldn’t be trying to take it away from you. Of course, your right to vote means nothing if you don’t exercise it.

Over the next few weeks the San Diego Free Press will be presenting coverage of the candidates and issues we hope will be of interest to progressive-minded voters. While this may not be the most exciting election ever, the results of general elections have a broad impact on how we are governed and how our taxes are spent.

(The Monday thru Friday Starting Line Column will be on hiatus thru October 12th.)

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Thumbnail image for November 2014 Propositions: Jerry Brown’s One-Two Punch

November 2014 Propositions: Jerry Brown’s One-Two Punch

by Doug Porter 10.06.2014 Economy

By Doug Porter

The following analyses of Propositions 1 & 2 represent my opinions. The SD Free Press editorial board may or may not agree with me. For all our articles on the upcoming election, check out our 2014 Progressive Voter’s Guide.

Back in the middle of August the California Legislature worked up a plan to renumber a couple of propositions appearing on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Two of Gov. Jerry Brown’s legacy political projects — a multibillion-dollar bond for water needs and a constitutional amendment to enhance the state’s rainy day budget fund — dropped the ballot numbers assigned by Secretary of State Debra Bowen of Proposition 43 (water) and Proposition 44 (budget).

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Thumbnail image for One Nation Ruled by Fear: The Teabola Crisis

One Nation Ruled by Fear: The Teabola Crisis

by Doug Porter 10.03.2014 2014 June Primary

By Doug Porter

If you been keeping up with the news you’ve no doubt heard about an outbreak of a very serious disease occurring in West Africa. It’s called Ebola and is fatal in an average of about 50% of the people who are infected, according to the World Health Organization. Many news accounts say “up to” 90%, which may be a factor in the outbreaks of another disease making the rounds.

There is also an outbreak of a very serious condition in the United States. It’s called Teabola and causes irrational fear in about 90% of the people who are infected. The disease is being spread by the same media outlets and social media networks responsible for breakouts of Obama Derangement Syndrome throughout the United States.

Today we’ll take a look at both Teabola and Ebola in the media.

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Thumbnail image for Audit Says Nobody Broke Any Rules at Balboa Park Centennial Because There Weren’t Any Rules

Audit Says Nobody Broke Any Rules at Balboa Park Centennial Because There Weren’t Any Rules

by Doug Porter 10.02.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

The City Auditor’s office has released its report on the failed Balboa Park Centennial Celebration. Despite spending more than $3 million dollars between 2012 and 2014 and having nothing to show for it in the way of actual results, there was no actual wrong-doing involved. Really.

There were two substantive reports in local media. UT-San Diego’s Jeff McDonald (who did some terrific reporting on this story early on) had a terse but tough account. Voice of San Diego’s Andrew Keatts went all gonzo on it, with much more detail and a dash of irreverence thrown it.

The “no-fault” determination was reached because the terms and conditions leading up the creation of Balboa Park Celebration, Inc (BPCI) were broad and ill-defined, we’re told. The 55 page review of the group’s activities did note a failure to follow city contracting rules in hiring most of its highly paid consultants and a lack of compliance with the terms of the 2011 agreement with the city. No problema.

This was all apparently okay because the City Attorney said so. At least that was the understanding BPCI was operating under following an email exchange in March 2013.

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Thumbnail image for ‘Internet Safety Software’ Handed Out by San Diego County DA’s Office Might Not Be So Safe

‘Internet Safety Software’ Handed Out by San Diego County DA’s Office Might Not Be So Safe

by Doug Porter 10.01.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

San Diego’s County District Attorney has been distributing internet monitoring software that exposes users to the very predators, identity thieves, and bullies they claim the program protects children against, according to a story by Dave Maass posted at the Electronic Frontier Foundation Deeplinks Blog.

The free Computer Cop program featuring a photo of DA Bonnie Dumanis on the CD cover, “is actually just spyware, generally bought in bulk from a New York company that appears to do nothing but market this software to local government agencies,”according to Maass. His investigation found the program, usually branded with a department’s name,  is handed out by hundreds of law enforcement agencies around the country with the promise that using it constitutes a “first step” in protecting children online.

In addition to advocating for parents protect their children by using the software via the county website, DA Bonnie Dumanis also appears in promotional videos for the company. The EFF story also includes allegations that false endorsements from the ACLU and the Treasury Department were used in marketing materials for Computer Cop.

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