You've no doubt heard about the massive security breach at Target, where hackers may have stolen personal information from 110 million people; similar though smaller data breaches have also recently occurred at Michaels and Nieman Marcus. How do thieves do this? Well, when you use your credit or debit card at a department store, you use a card reader, and this card reader stores (and encrypts) the data on your credit or debit card for a short while, but thieves use malware that "scrapes" that data from the card reader. All is not lost, though: in other countries, credit and debit cards use embedded microchips, rather than magnetic stripes (which technology is decades old). American retailers and manufacturers have balked at the idea, though, because of the cost of upgrading credit and debit cards and the point-of-sale devices that read them. And yet corporations are flush with profits right now, and surely they don't want another wave of bad PR visited upon them (indeed, Target has already decided to upgrade its readers). So Consumers Union helps you tell American corporations to make our credit and debit cards safe again.
Meanwhile, Sum of Us helps you tell PNC Bank to stop funding corporations that use mountaintop removal mining. "Mountaintop removal" is, of course, a bit of a euphemism: coal corporations blow the tops off of mountains so they can get to the coal goodness below (because it's easier and needs fewer employees than strip-mining, why else?), and in the process they dump toxic carcinogens and heavy metals into the water table of the good folks living in the valleys below, so that kids in Appalachian coal mining areas have much higher incidences of birth defects and rather shorter life spans (not to mention blood-red water coming out of their tap). PNC Bank lends these coal corporations money, and though they said in 2010 they wouldn't fund individual mountaintop removal projects or lend to coal corporations who primarily use mountaintop removal mining, coal corporations have evaded these requirements and continue to get PNC cash. But there's hope: about 25% of PNC shareholders voted last April to call on PNC to look more critically at its coal funding, and as you know, getting 25% of shareholders to agree on something is actually a pretty big deal. So we can get this done.