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Jun 08, 2022

New Missouri Law Protects Doctors Who Prescribe Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine + More

New Missouri Law Protects Doctors Who Prescribe Off-Label Drugs Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported:

A new law in Missouri prohibits pharmacists from questioning doctors who prescribe the controversial off-label drugs ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine for patients. The measure, which goes into effect in August, was signed Tuesday by Gov. Mike Parson after it was approved by the Legislature in May.

Under the law, state medical licensing boards would be prohibited from punishing or taking away the medical licenses of doctors who “lawfully” prescribe the two drugs, which became unproven alternatives to treating COVID-19 among people who opposed vaccinations.

The law also bars pharmacists from contacting a doctor or patient “to dispute the efficacy of ivermectin tablets or hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets for human use” unless the doctor or patient asks about the drugs’ effectiveness.

Family Sues Meta, Blames Instagram for Daughter’s Eating Disorder and Self-Harm

NBC News reported:

A preteen girl’s “addictive” use of Instagram resulted in an eating disorder, self-harm and thoughts of suicide over several years, according to a lawsuit against the platform’s parent company, Meta.

The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California late Monday, heavily cites the Facebook Papers, a trove of internal Meta research documents leaked last fall that revealed that the tech giant knew Instagram was worsening body image and other mental health issues among teenage girls in particular.

The case was filed on behalf of Alexis Spence, who was able to create her first Instagram account at the age of 11 without her parents’ knowledge and in violation of the platform’s minimum age requirement of 13.

The complaint alleges that Instagram’s artificial intelligence engine almost immediately steered the then-fifth grader into an echo chamber of content glorifying anorexia and self-cutting, and systematically fostered her addiction to using the app. The lawsuit was filed by the Social Media Victims Law Center, a Seattle-based group that advocates for families of teens harmed online.

CUNY Faculty Union Suing School Over ‘Double Standard’ COVID Vaccine Mandate

New York Post reported:

Faculty and staff at the City University of New York are suing the school over its COVID-19 vaccine mandate — claiming the policy isn’t fair because it doesn’t apply to all employees.

The union representing CUNY’s professors said it was forced to sue after urging the administration “for months” to expand the vaccine requirement, a spokesperson told The Post.

While custodians, campus security workers and cafeteria staffers who decline to get vaccinated can keep their jobs, other CUNY employees without medical or religious exemptions may face discipline up to and including their termination, court documents suggest.

The lawsuit comes as the governor appears poised to loosen COVID-19 protocols for state workers, according to a memo from the Office of Employee Relations announcing it would lift the testing requirement for unvaccinated employees starting Tuesday, The Times Union reported.

New York MTA Is Lifting COVID-Testing Rule for Unvaccinated Workers

Bloomberg reported:

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which oversees the city’s bus, subway and commuter train systems, will join state agencies that are lifting the weekly COVID-19 testing requirements for unvaccinated transit workers starting Tuesday.

State employees were notified Friday that the mandate was being lifted, said Erin McCarthy, a spokesperson for New York State’s Office of Employee Relations.

The MTA, the largest mass-transit provider in the U.S., since October has been mandating unvaccinated workers be tested weekly. Of the system’s 67,000-person workforce, 77% are currently vaccinated according to spokesperson Tim Minton.

U.S. CDC Removes Mask Recommendation From Monkeypox Travel Notice to Avoid Confusion

Reuters reported:

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Tuesday it had removed a mask recommendation from its monkeypox travel notice to avoid “confusion” over the disease, which primarily spreads through direct contact.

The agency had earlier suggested that travelers wear masks as it can help protect against “many diseases, including monkeypox.”

As per the CDC’s website, while the disease spreads primarily through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs, or body fluids, “it also can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact.”

Cyberattack on a Mass.-Based Medical Imaging Company May Have Affected Millions

The Boston Globe via MSN reported:

A cyberattack on Shields Health Care Group Inc. may have compromised the identity and medical information of approximately 2 million people, the imaging and outpatient surgical center company disclosed.

Shields said the compromised data could include full names, social security numbers, dates of birth, home addresses, provider information, diagnoses, billing information, insurance numbers and information, medical record numbers, patient IDs, and other medical or treatment information.

Shields said it is still conducting a review of the impacted data, and didn’t have evidence that any of the information from the incident was used to commit identity theft or fraud.

Are Social Media Platforms Like Railroads? The Future of Facebook and Twitter Could Depend on the Answer

CNN Business reported:

Services like Facebook and Twitter could change radically for millions of Americans in the coming years depending on how the courts decide one hotly debated question: Should social media platforms be regulated like railroads?

It’s a question that’s gotten increased attention lately as a number of states, including Texas and Florida, have passed laws to that effect. Though they have been temporarily blocked amid ongoing legal challenges, the laws propose a fundamental rethinking of social media’s legal status that could expose big swaths of the internet to government regulation.

The new laws would force large social media platforms to host a much wider range of content than they currently allow, including content that may otherwise violate their terms of service, under threat of lawsuits.

Instagram’s ‘Sensitive Content’ Controls Will Soon Filter All Recommended Content

TechCrunch reported:

Last year, Instagram added a way for users to filter some kinds of “sensitive” content out of the Explore tab. Now, Instagram is expanding that setting, letting users turn off that content in recommendations throughout the app.

The expanded content controls will soon apply to search, Reels, hashtag pages, “accounts you might follow” and in-feed suggested posts. Instagram says the changes will roll out to all users within the coming weeks.

Rather than letting users mute certain content topics, Instagram’s controls only have three settings, one that shows you less of this bucket of content, the standard-setting and an option to see more sensitive content. Instagram users under the age of 18 won’t be able to opt for the latter setting.

IRS Warns of Ongoing COVID Fraud, Urges Americans to Be Wary of Fake Emails and Phone Calls

FOX Business reported:

The IRS is urging Americans to stay vigilant about sketchy emails and out-of-the-blue phone calls from people who are promising stimulus payments or other benefits, warning that criminals continue to use the coronavirus pandemic as a way to steal personal information.

The latest warning comes as various federal agencies try to crack down on fraud related to the more than $5 trillion in COVID-19 relief spending since the beginning of the pandemic.

“Scammers continue using the pandemic as a device to scare or confuse potential victims into handing over their hard-earned money or personal information,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a bulletin on Monday. “I urge everyone to be leery of suspicious calls, texts and emails promising benefits that don’t exist.”

Jun 07, 2022

CDC Says You Should Wear a Mask While Traveling — for Monkeypox + More

CDC Says You Should Wear a Mask While Traveling — for Monkeypox

Gizmodo reported:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is stepping up its guidance concerning monkeypox. While the risk of monkeypox is still thought to be low for the general public, the agency is now warning people to take more precautions while traveling. These precautions include avoiding contact with visibly sick people as well as wearing a mask.

The CDC changed its language over the weekend. As detailed in its travel notice concerning monkeypox, it now considers the situation to be a level 2 alert, which merits some enhanced precautions. The highest level is 3, which recommends against any non-essential travel to affected areas.

Monkeypox is thought to be native to rodents, and up until recently, it has only occasionally caused human outbreaks in parts of Africa where it may be endemic. This year, however, there have been around 1,000 cases confirmed or suspected in more than two dozen countries, including the United States. Many of these cases have had no recent travel history to Africa, suggesting that the virus is spreading locally between people.

Monkeypox Offers New Cause for Contact Tracing

Axios reported:

With 31 monkeypox cases confirmed in 12 states and the District of Columbia and growing concern about community spread, federal and state public health officials are turning to a frayed page in the pandemic playbook: Using contact tracing to track exposure risk.

Why it matters: Contact tracing proved an ineffective tool for an airborne virus like COVID-19 with a short incubation period, but monkeypox is different.

Driving the news: Officials are turning to contact tracing in the hopes that identifying close, high-risk contacts of infected people will prevent further spread of the virus.

  • “Health departments should be capable of doing contact tracing — the only thing that concerns me is the public reaction to it,” Richard Garfein, an epidemiologist at the University of California San Diego School of Public Health, told Axios.
  • If close contacts of people who test positive are too crisis-fatigued or suspicious to pick up the phone when a public health worker calls, contact tracing will become less effective, Garfein added.

Oracle Quietly Closes $28B Deal To Buy Electronic Health Records Company Cerner

TechCrunch reported:

At the end of last year, just before Christmas, Oracle made a big move when it announced it was acquiring electronic health records company Cerner for $28 billion, thrusting it quickly into the top enterprise deal for 2021, just under the wire.

Today, the company announced it has closed the deal, effective tomorrow.

The announcement was anticlimactic in a way, full of corporate financial speak: “Oracle Corporation (NYSE: ORCL) announced that a majority of the outstanding shares (the “Shares”) of Cerner Corporation (Nasdaq: CERN) were validly tendered, and the other conditions to the tender offer have been satisfied or waived. The deal will close on June 8, 2022,” the company wrote in statement.

Will Anti-Abortionists Use ‘Uterus Surveillance’ Against Women in the U.S.?

The Guardian reported:

If you are looking for a cheerful column that will make you giggle and distract you from everything that is wrong with the world, click away now. This week I have nothing but doom, gloom and data trackers for you. If you are hoping to sink into a well of existential despair, maybe let out a few screams into the void, then you’ve come to the right place.

Here goes: the U.S. Supreme Court, as you are no doubt aware, is expected to overturn Roe v Wade and the federal right to an abortion very soon. At least 13 Republican-led states have “trigger laws” in place, which means that the moment Roe is overruled, abortion will be fully or partly banned. Other states will follow suit. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research organisation, 26 states are certain or likely to ban abortion when Roe falls.

Perhaps you are the glass half-full sort. Perhaps you are thinking: “Well, at least people can travel to a state where abortion is legal.” Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. There are the obvious logistical and financial constraints, for one thing. Then there’s the fact that we live in a world of mass surveillance: pretty much everything we do these days leaves a digital footprint – one that anti-abortion extremists will not hesitate to weaponise. One Democratic senator has described the potential of new technology to track down and punish anyone who might even be thinking of having an abortion as “uterus surveillance.” Expect to see a big rise in this, not least because some anti-abortion states are providing financial incentives to snitch on your fellow citizens. Texas, for example, has passed “bounty hunter” laws promising at least $10,000 to individuals who help enforce the abortion ban by successfully suing an abortion provider.

Fertility and Period Apps Can Be Weaponized in a Post-Roe World

WIRED reported:

When the draft of the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade was leaked to the public in early May, Elizabeth C. McLaughlin kicked off a social media storm. The founder of the Gaia Leadership Project, a company that trains women leaders and entrepreneurs, tweeted: “If you are using an online period tracker or tracking your cycles through your phone, get off it and delete your data. Now.” It had never occured to many women, until then, that their data could be weaponized against them. But experts that spoke to WIRED say that fertility and period-tracking apps — along with the myriad other data trails that users leave behind — could be a rich source of data for law enforcement looking to punish women if abortion is outlawed or criminalized.

“If there’s an app out there that’s collecting health data, it will soon be a target,” says Albert Fox Cahn, executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP). “One of the sad ironies of this is that people who are actively trying to get pregnant will have a harder time using the technology to do it for fear of how that technology might be used against them in a court of law.”

Fertility and period-tracking apps vary, but most allow users to manually enter when their periods start and end, whether they use birth control, the length of their cycle, and their moods. Some allow users to track their periods as well as pregnancy. Many apps also allow users to sign in with their Google or Facebook accounts. Some also collect geolocation data.

Apple Just Killed the Password — For Real This Time

WIRED reported:

Your passwords are terrible. Year after year, the most popular passwords leaked in data breaches are 123456, 123456789, and 12345 — “qwerty” and “password” come close behind — and using these weak passwords leaves you vulnerable to all sorts of hacking. Weak and repeated passwords are one of the most significant risks to your online life.

For years, we’ve been promised a more secure, password-free future, but it seems like 2022 will actually be the year that millions of people start to move away from passwords. At Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) yesterday, the company announced it will launch passwordless logins across Macs, iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs around September of this year. Instead of using passwords, you will be able to log in to websites and apps using “Passkeys” with iOS 16 and macOS Ventura. It’s the first major real-world shift to password elimination.

So how does it work? Passkeys replace your tired old passwords by creating new digital keys using Touch ID or Face ID, Apple’s vice president of internet technologies, Darin Adler, explained at WWDC. When you are creating an online account with a website, you can use a Passkey instead of a password. “To create a Passkey, just use Touch ID or Face ID to authenticate, and you’re done,” Adler said.

Technocracy’s High Tech War Is Just As Effective as Rockets, Bullets, Tanks

Technocracy News reported:

The object of war is to kill or maim as many people as possible, by whatever means. However, outright killing is often less efficient than wounding because more of the enemy’s resources are consumed in caring for the wounded than burying dead bodies. The overall goal of war is to conquer and subdue a people. In the process of conquering, the enemy must be psychologically and physically broken to the point that they give up their will to fight and their will to assert self-determination.

The current pandemic war has all the markings of more traditional militaristic war except that it is still unrecognized by those who are under attack. It is the perfect stealth war. History is full of examples of stealth attacks that were extremely successful. The victims never saw the attackers until it was too late to resist.

In today’s war, the entire health system has been weaponized and turned into a giant Trojan horse. Obey, obey, obey it cries. Humiliate yourself by donning a face mask, by staying home and retreating from normal society. Mutilate yourself by giving up your job, closing your business, injecting harmful substances into your body.

Our Country Moves Closer to a Federal Privacy Law, and I Move Closer to Losing My Mind

Gizmodo reported:

After years of fizzled talks and stalled negotiations on a federal data privacy bill, House and Senate committee leaders finally set aside enough of their differences to release a draft of a new bipartisan tech privacy bill this past Friday.

The legislation, called the “American Data Privacy and Protection Act,” is being spearheaded by House Energy and Commerce Chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee.

And at least from a brief reading of the 10-pager outlining the bill’s basics, it looks pretty good! Upon a deeper reading though, the thing is … well, it’s not pretty good, or even remotely good. It carves out exemptions for bad bosses and law enforcement officials, while letting data brokers continue buying and selling vast amounts of our personal data with impunity.

Big Tech Calls for Biden Administration To Let Foreign Workers’ Adult Kids Stay in the U.S.

CNN Business reported:

A backlog of U.S. green card applications has Silicon Valley giants calling on the Biden administration for new measures to keep adult children of high-skilled immigrant workers from being deported.

Tech titans led by Google (GOOG) and including Amazon (AMZN), IBM (IBM), Salesforce (CRM), Twitter (TWTR) and Uber (UBER) sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security on Monday urging the agency to extend the immigration benefits of green card applicants to the applicants’ children who are turning 21. Those children should be allowed to stay in the U.S. and be eligible to work, the letter said.

“The children of many long-term nonimmigrant workers face tremendous obstacles staying united with their families in the U.S. due to the ever-growing immigrant visa backlogs and archaic rules that punish them for merely growing up,” the letter read.

Jun 06, 2022

Special Olympics Drops COVID Vaccine Mandate After Florida Threatens $27.5 Million Fine + More

Special Olympics Drops COVID Vaccine Mandate After Florida Threatens $27.5 Million Fine

New York Daily News reported:

The Special Olympics dropped a planned COVID vaccine mandate for this month’s USA Games in Florida.

Florida has outlawed vaccine mandates and threatened to fine the nonprofit $27.5 million. According to Florida’s health department, the Special Olympics would have violated the law 5,500 times if it checked every participant’s vaccine status.

“Delegates who were registered for the Games but were unable to participate due to the prior vaccine requirement, now have the option to attend,” Special Olympics International said in a Friday press release.

Free-Speech Group Will Spend Millions to Promote First Amendment Cases

Politico reported:

An advocacy group that has spent more than two decades fighting for free expression on college campuses is broadening its efforts to fight so-called cancel culture and other perceived threats to free speech across American society.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is renaming itself the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression and keeping the “FIRE” acronym as it launches a drive to promote greater acceptance of a diversity of views in the workplace, pop culture and elsewhere. Part of the push may challenge the American Civil Liberties Union’s primacy as a defender of free speech.

The group’s president, Greg Lukianoff, said FIRE has raised $28.5 million for a planned three-year, $75 million litigation, opinion research and public education campaign aimed at boosting and solidifying support for free-speech values.

The new initiative includes $10 million in planned national cable and billboard advertising featuring activists on both ends of the political spectrum extolling the virtues of free speech, officials said.

NY Governor Urged to Support Bill Protecting Vaccine Privacy

Associated Press reported:

Privacy advocates are urging New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to affix her signature on a bill that would protect sensitive information gathered from people being vaccinated against COVID-19.

Advocates say the unfettered sharing of information could be misused by a raft of entities, including law enforcement who the New York Civil Liberties Union suggests could use that data in criminal proceedings.

Vaccine clinics collect a host of personal information, including addresses, phone numbers, insurance information and medical history. Those seeking vaccines are also asked to produce legal identification and, in some cases, been asked to provide Social Security numbers.

The Kids Aren’t Alright Online

Mashable reported:

Most of the deadliest mass shootings that have occurred in the past few years were committed by men who were 21 or younger and who documented aspects of their violent behavior online.

These dynamics suggest that too many young people, whether they’re participants in or witnesses of repugnant behavior, feel utterly lost about what ethical behavior and respectful treatment looks like on platforms that are often stripped of humanizing context. And even when they can personally live by these values, they may not know how to demand the same from their peers and the platforms that host them.

They need and deserve thoughtful guidance about how to shape their online lives that goes far beyond protecting themselves from catfishing or bullying. They should learn how to know when digital tools and platforms are contributing to someone else’s dehumanization, how to understand the mechanics that manipulate their world view, how those experiences are connected to the broader culture, and how to talk about or draw attention to them.

The Top 10 Creepiest & Most Dystopian Things Pushed by the World Economic Forum

ZeroHedge reported:

When one talks about the “global elite,” one usually refers to a small group of wealthy and powerful individuals who operate beyond national borders. Through various organizations, these non-elected individuals gather in semi-secrecy to decide policies they want to see applied on a global level.

A simple look at the list of attendees at these meetings reveals the organization’s incredible reach and influence. The biggest names in media, politics, business, science, technology, and finance are represented at the WEF.

Throughout the years, people at the WEF have said some highly disturbing things, none of which garnered proper media attention. In fact, when one pieces together the topics championed by the WEF, an overarching theme emerges: The total control of humanity using media, science, and technology while reshaping democracies to form a global government.

Beijing to Allow Indoor Dining, Further Easing COVID Curbs

Reuters reported:

Beijing will further relax COVID-19 curbs by allowing indoor dining, as China’s capital steadily returns to normal with inflections falling, state media said on Sunday.

Beijing and the commercial hub Shanghai have been returning to normal in recent days after two months of painful lockdowns to crush outbreaks of the Omicron variant.

Dine-in service in Beijing will resume on Monday, except for the Fengtai district and some parts of the Changping district, the Beijing Daily said. Restaurants and bars have been restricted to takeaway since early May.

Hohmann: How Technocrats Use Cities to Create Digital Slaves

Technocracy News reported:

The Rutherford Institute, a Charlottesville, Virginia-based civil liberties organization, has sent a letter to the City of Houston, Texas, requesting it revoke a recently adopted ordinance that forces private businesses to spy on Americans and make the surveillance footage available to police.

Cities are engaging in these types of devious maneuvers all across America, Canada, Europe and the rest of the formerly free world. They are, unknowingly, taking baby steps toward building a globalized police state that will fit seamlessly into the beast system being developed by the World Economic Forum and its network of politicians, entertainers, false religious leaders, nonprofits and corporate cronies.

You never hear about these under-the-radar maneuvers that are happening at the local level by clueless local politicians who actually think they are doing a good thing, in the name of fighting crime. Everyone wants safer cities, right?

The U.S. Government May Finally Be Close to Making a Proper Online Privacy Bill

TechRadar reported:

The U.S. government may actually have made a proper online privacy bill following reports that new data privacy legislation is close to being established, one with bipartisan support, as well as support from consumer rights advocates.

It’s still not signed into law, but if it does succeed, users will be allowed to opt out of targeted advertisement, and sue companies selling their data unlawfully.

The biggest stumbling block between the Democrats and the Republicans was whether federal law should preempt state laws. Republicans support this idea, saying anything else would make for a compliance nightmare for businesses. The Democrats, on the other hand, want consumers to be able to sue businesses playing with their customers’ data too much.

The proposed legislation finds a compromise between the two, The Washington Post says. There would be a limit on how and when people could sue internet companies, and some measures that would supersede state digital privacy laws.

Elon Musk Says He Can Cancel Twitter Deal Because the Company Is ‘Actively Resisting’ His Efforts to Study Fake Accounts

Insider reported:

Elon Musk may be ready to walk away from his deal to buy Twitter after accusing the social network of stonewalling negotiations, according to a letter sent by his lawyers Monday. The saga’s latest kerfuffle revolves around Musk’s determination to understand how much of Twitter’s userbase is made up of bots, rather than actual human beings.

Unsatisfied with Twitter’s own figures (the company has said bots make up less than 5% of its users), the Tesla and SpaceX CEO has sought data from the social network to conduct his own analysis using random samples of users.

He says the company has refused, accusing it of violating their original agreement, in which he waived the usual due diligence that usually accompanies such buyouts.

Musk said the alleged stonewalling gives him the right to walk away from the deal entirely.

Twitter shares were down roughly 3.7% in early trading following the regulatory disclosure.

Jun 03, 2022

The Supreme Court Is Building Its Own Surveillance State + More

The Supreme Court Is Building Its Own Surveillance State

Wired reported:

Following the leak of a draft opinion striking down abortion rights, the Supreme Court’s police force (the Marshal’s Office) launched an unprecedented probe to uncover who leaked the decision. Already, authorities have demanded phone records, signed affidavits, and law clerks’ devices.

The scrutiny is so intense that many onlookers have suggested that clerks retain attorneys to protect their rights. While it’s unclear how broad the cellphone searches are, or the exact language of clerks’ affidavits, the intrusive probe reveals a disturbing about-face from the Supreme Court, and particularly Chief Justice John Roberts, on surveillance powers.

The searches are invasive — but apparently lawful. Clerks have been asked to turn over devices, but the phones haven’t been seized. And the affidavits are reportedly voluntary. But the reality is that clerks’ consent is coerced, prompted by the fear that they’ll be wrongly suspected of leaking the draft if they invoke their rights.

Judge Invalidates St. Paul Employee Vaccine Mandate

Associated Press reported:

A judge has invalidated a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for St. Paul’s unionized city employees.

The Pioneer Press reported that Ramsey County Judge Leonardo Castro ruled Thursday that the city improperly imposed the mandate without negotiating with the employee unions.

The judge called the mandate an unfair labor practice. Castro wrote that city officials did what they thought was right in the face of the pandemic but the mandate is intrusive and requires employees to “forfeit their bodily autonomy in the name of maintaining their livelihood.”

Graduation Season a Time for Student Freedom, Not Censorship

Fox News reported:

When our Nation’s Founding Fathers wrote the Establishment Clause into the Bill of Rights, they envisioned it as a protective device — a means of safeguarding citizens from a federally-mandated religion. In just over two hundred years, it has instead become a weapon often wielded by government bureaucrats to stamp out any vestige of religion from our public life. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito even warned that religious liberty is “fast becoming a disfavored right.”

Among the most likely to brandish the Establishment Clause are school districts. Instead of cultivating conversations and curiosity, district officials are quick to quash any conversation that dare mention the Divine.

This time of year is particularly ripe for censorship. Instead of embracing the private speech of their brightest students, districts claim that the “separation of church and state” requires the government to rid graduation ceremonies of religious expression. Because the Constitution requires the opposite, First Liberty Institute often represents valedictorians who face censorship by school officials.

Alameda County Reinstates Mask Mandate Amid California Surge

Associated Press reported:

Northern California’s Alameda County said Thursday it will reinstate an indoor mask policy as COVID-19 hospitalizations steadily increase in the nation’s most populous state.

The county with 1.7 million residents just across the bay from San Francisco will require face coverings in most indoor settings starting Friday at midnight.

While some school districts and universities have reinstated mask rules, Alameda is the first county to do so.

Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks Texas’s Social Media Moderation Law

CNN Business reported:

The Supreme Court of the United States temporarily blocked a sweeping Texas law on Tuesday that restricts the ability of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to moderate content on their platforms. By a 5-4 vote, the justices granted an emergency request from the tech industry to block a lower court order that would have allowed the law to take hold, pending legal challenges.

The Supreme Court order is a loss for Texas. The state argued that its law, HB 20, which prohibits large social media firms from blocking, banning or demoting posts or accounts, does not violate the First Amendment.

The majority did not explain its thinking and Liberal Justice Elena Kagan did not lay out her own reasoning for her vote to allow the law to remain in place.

Google Settles Lawsuit With Illinois Residents for $100M. Here’s How to Get Your Money

Rockford Register Star reported:

Illinois residents are eligible to receive part of a $100 million class-action settlement involving another tech giant.

As with the class-action complaint against Snapchat, Google was accused of violating the Biometric Information Privacy Act regarding its use of a face regrouping tool in the Google Photos app.

Google used the tool to sort faces it spots in photographs by similarity. However, according to the suit, the company did not receive consent from millions of users before using the technology.

What each claimant will be paid isn’t known although a similar settlement involving Facebook saw 1.6 million users receive between $200 and $400. Payment amounts will depend on the number and validity of claims.

Internal Documents Show Amazon’s Dystopian System for Tracking Workers Every Minute of Their Shifts

Vice reported:

Infamously, Amazon punishes and sometimes fires warehouse workers who it believes are wasting time at work. A new filing obtained by Motherboard gives detailed insight into how Amazon tracks and records every minute of “time off task” (which it calls TOT) with radio-frequency handheld scanners that warehouse associates use to track customer packages.

Examples and sample spreadsheets provided in the documents show Amazon tracking, down to the minute, the amount of time individual workers spent in the bathroom and infractions such as “talking to another Amazon associate,” going to the wrong floor of a warehouse, and, as an example, an unaccounted for 11-minute period where a worker “does not remember” what they were doing.

The documents provide new clarity about a much-talked-about but until now opaque process that is used to surveil, discipline, and sometimes terminate Amazon warehouse workers around the United States.

Musk’s Twitter Deal Faces Backlash From Advocacy Groups That Are Seeking to Block It

CNBC reported:

A dozen advocacy groups are launching a new campaign Friday aimed at blocking Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s $44 billion purchase of Twitter, warning he will degrade important safeguards on the platform if he’s allowed to take control.

The Stop the Deal campaign, shared exclusively with CNBC, includes plans to put pressure on government agencies to review the acquisition, persuade Tesla stockholders to take action against it ask advertisers to pull spending from the platform.

It highlights concerns that many progressives have shared about how Musk’s acquisition and plans for a more open platform could allow for more rampant hate and harassment on the platform.

Met Police Profiling Children ‘on a Large Scale,’ Documents Show

The Guardian reported:

Metropolitan police documents say the force has been collecting “children’s personal data” from social media sites as part of a project to carry out “profiling on a large scale.”

The Met says the scheme, known as Project Alpha, helps fight serious violence, with the intelligence gathered identifying offenders and securing the removal of videos glorifying stabbings and shootings from platforms such as YouTube.

The unit, comprising more than 30 staff and launched in 2019 with Home Office funding, scours social media sites looking at drill music videos and other content.

A Met document, seen by the Guardian, says the project “will carry out profiling on a large scale,” with males aged 15 to 21 a focus of the project. After questioning, the force said both of these were a mistake.

FDA Warns DNA Sequencing Machines Could Be Hacked

Bloomberg reported:

U.S. regulators warned healthcare providers about a cybersecurity risk with some Illumina Inc. DNA-sequencing machines that could compromise patient data.

Several of Illumina’s next-generation machines have a software vulnerability that could allow an unauthorized user to take control of the system remotely and alter settings or data, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in a letter Thursday. While there have been no reports of this happening, it’s possible that a hacker could alter a patient’s clinical diagnosis or gain access to sensitive genetic information.

Illumina has a near monopoly on the genetic-sequencing market and its machines are used for both research and in medical practice. The company said it has developed a software patch for the vulnerability and is working on a permanent fix.