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  1. Los Angeles movie-goers will soon be able to visit a theater for the first time in a year LA county anticipates theaters will be able to re-open next week Los Angeles theaters will be allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity next week, according to the LA Department of Public Health (via Variety). The restrictions are being lifted, almost exactly a year after they were put in place, because Los Angeles County believes it will reach the number of vaccinations required by California to move into the next phase of reopening. The movie capitol’s theater re-opening comes a few weeks after New York’s, meaning that two of the biggest movie markets will once again be uncapping their projectors. As Variety notes, this doesn’t mean that the theaters will be able to open as soon as the ban lifts — they’ve been closed for so long that they’ll have to re-hire and train staff, which could take a week or two. The theaters will also have to ensure that they can meet the safety and cleaning requirements required by California, and will have to set up a reservation system if they don’t already have one — any theater reopening will be required to have moviegoers book their seats in advance. Attendees will also be required to wear masks, and groups will have to be at least six feet apart. Theaters will also have to figure out which movies to show (a somewhat important part of the moviegoing experience), as most major releases have been pushed back to the second half of the year. The future was looking grim for movie theaters back in October, with many theater chains shutting down all their locations in the US and UK, some permanently. The picture has been looking brighter since then, with the arrival of the vaccines, and AMC said yesterday that it believes it’ll be able to weather the storm until most Americans are able to see movies again. Whether the public will rush back to movie theaters remains to be seen, as some of the year’s most anticipated films will be released side-by-side on streaming. Source: Los Angeles movie-goers will soon be able to visit a theater for the first time in a year
  2. LA wants Uber’s location data, but the ride-hailing company says it’s worried about privacy The fight between the city of Los Angeles and scooter companies over location data is heating up. On Monday, Uber filed a lawsuit against LA’s Department of Transportation (LADOT) pushing back against the requirement that scooter operators share anonymized real-time location data with the city. The suit, which was first reported by CNET but has yet to be filed in LA Superior Court, centers on LADOT’s use of a digital tool called the mobility data specification program (MDS). The department created the tool as a way to track and regulate all of the electric scooters that are operating on its streets. MDS provides the city with data on where each bike and scooter trip starts, the route each vehicle takes, and where each trip ends. LADOT has said the data won’t be shared with police without a warrant, won’t contain personal identifiers, and won’t be subject to public records requests. Naturally, MDS has proven controversial with scooter companies, which have balked over having to share location data with the city. It’s growing into a bigger problem beyond LA. Cities such as Columbus, Chattanooga, Omaha, San Jose, Seattle, Austin, and Louisville are demanding scooter companies agree to share data through MDS as a condition for operating on their streets. Uber, which owns the dockless scooter and bike company Jump, said MDS would lead to “an unprecedented level of surveillance” and vowed to stop it. It’s leaning on a recent analysis by California’s Legislative Counsel to make its argument. The counsel said MDS could violate the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which was signed into law in 2015. In August, Uber and Lyft sent a letter to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, in which the companies argued that LADOT was exceeding its authority with MDS. “While we support the creation of a global standard for data-sharing for local municipalities, it appears that certain city MDS requirements may be in violation of CalECPA,” the companies wrote. “We have repeatedly raised concerns directly with these municipalities throughout the development and implementation of MDS, and yet they continue to require the MDS as a condition of our operating permits.” In a statement, Uber said that it has exhausted its options and had “no choice” but to sue the city. A spokesperson for LADOT did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In an interview with The Verge on September 9th, LADOT director Seleta Reynolds said that the city “encoded” privacy protections into the regulations in order to give them “the force of law.” She added that it’s a “Day One job and a forever job” of city officials to make sure that the “open source tools that we build do not become tools that people can use to invade the privacy of others.” Source: Uber sues Los Angeles as the fight over scooter data escalates (via The Verge)
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