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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

How to protect yourself from the security bug Heartbleed | Emily Scarr

DO NOT rush to change your passwords on all of your favorite websites. You shouldn’t change your password on a site until the site has fixed the Heartbleed bug, or else you risk having your new password compromised. Watch for a notice on the site, but don’t click any links in emails claiming to be from the website.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection

Report: Spirit Is Most Complained-About Airline

The report, “The Unfriendly Skies: Five Years of Airline Passenger Complaints to the DOT” analyzes complaints to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division about major U.S. airlines from 2009-2013. The report found that most complaints are about delayed or canceled flights, which were the top complaint category each year and have trended upward overall.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection

The Unfriendly Skies

Consolidation in the airline industry, along with pressures created by new security rules and the recent high cost of aviation gasoline, has changed the way we fly. It seems as if every consumer has an airline travel story—how they were trapped on the tarmac, tricked by fees, missed their connection, or lost their bag.

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Media Hit | Tax

New law aims at better access to Md. government data as state gets B- for transparency .

From C to B-

Maryland received a B- when it comes to transparency on government spending, up from a C last year, according to the fifth annual report card by Maryland PIRG Foundation, released Tuesday.

“Maryland has become more transparent about where public money goes, providing citizens with the information they need to hold elected officials and recipients of public subsidies accountable,” said Emily Scarr, Maryland PIRG Foundation Director. “Unfortunately, we’re still in the middle of the pack as far as state spending transparency, not leading the way as we should be.”

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Media Hit | Tax

Report: Maryland earns slightly higher grade for online transparency

The report, called “Following the Money 2014,” ranked Maryland 23rd in the country for its spending transparency website — tied with Pennsylvania — scoring 82.5 out of a possible 100 points. This year marks the fifth year that the report has been released by U.S. PIRG.

Maryland received a grade of B- from the report’s authors in an analysis of the content on the state’s transparency website and how easy the website is to use. The grade is an improvement from last year’s grade of a C for the website.

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News Release | Higher Ed

Interest Rates for 105,027 Student Loan Borrowers in Maryland Double

 Due to Congressional inaction, the interest rates on federally subsidized student loans doubled on July 1 from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. The change will affect 105,027 students in Maryland, and in total the rate increase will hike the cost of Maryland students’ loans by $95 million. That translates into a $909 increase in debt per student, per loan.  However, because most new student loans are issued in August and September, Congress can still pass a retroactive fix. 

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Media Hit

Some TV stations rise to challenge of covering Baltimore's bloody summer

O'Doherty also pointed to a report in January by the Maryland PIRG Foundation, which self-identifies as a consumer advocate organization, that gave Baltimore a B+ in transparency.  The grades were based on the ability of city residents to be able to track budgets, contracting grants and requests for quality-of-life services on a city's website.

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Big Pharma’s Pay-for-Delay Deals Take a Hit

Big Pharma’s controversial “pay-for-delay” agreements took a hit today. In FTC v. Actavis, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the FTC’s case against the payoff keeping generic AndroGel from the market can move ahead in the lower courts.

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News Release | Higher Ed

Interest Rates for 105,027 Student Loan Borrowers in Maryland Set to Double on July 1

Baltimore, MD– Unless Congress acts, on July 1, the interest rate for 105,027 student loan borrowers in Maryland will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. According to an issue brief released today by Maryland PIRG, the rate increase would hike the cost of Maryland students’ loans by $95,469,543 million. That translates into a $909 increase in debt per student, per loan.

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News Release | Public Health, Health Care

New Report Documents a Decade of Safety Violations by Compounding Pharmacies

Baltimore, May 23 – The contaminated drug that caused last fall’s fungal meningitis outbreak and killed 55 people is just the tip of the iceberg of an industry-wide problem, according to a new report released today by Maryland PIRG. The meningitis outbreak was simply the latest and deadliest in a long line of errors and risky practices by compounding pharmacies.

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