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May 15, 2024 Big Tech Censorship/Surveillance


Artificial Intelligence Surveillance Coming to NJ’s Largest School District + More

The Defender’s Big Brother NewsWatch brings you the latest headlines related to governments’ abuse of power, including attacks on democracy, civil liberties and use of mass surveillance. The views expressed in the excerpts from other news sources do not necessarily reflect the views of The Defender.

The Defender’s Big Brother NewsWatch brings you the latest headlines.

Artificial Intelligence Surveillance Coming to NJ’s Largest School District

New Jersey 101.5 reported:

More than 7,000 surveillance cameras that can detect problems in real-time using artificial intelligence will be installed in the state’s largest school district before next September.

A $12-million contract to install the cameras at the district’s 63 schools was approved by the Newark school board at a meeting earlier this month. Funds left over from the American Rescue Plan that expire in September will cover a portion of the contract, according to district Business Administrator Valerie Wilson.

The Sayreville company that was awarded the two-year contract, Turn-Key Technologies, will also create a data warehouse for the digital camera footage. Newark plans to have the cameras installed by the end of August so they are available for the next school year, Chalkbeat Newark reported.

Cameras with capabilities for facial recognition and the ability to detect and read license plates will be placed inside and outside school buildings. School officials said that the new surveillance system will not be an invasion of privacy.

WHO Needs a Treaty? ‘One Health’ Is Already Firmly Established in America

Technocracy News reported:

While the World Health Organization has been gaslighting the world about the need for a global “Pandemic Agreement,” the Feds had already rolled out the infrastructure to support it when nobody was watching. While the United Nations and its WHO should be kicked out of New York into the Atlantic Ocean, the real problem is our own government, which has been front-running the whole operation for years. It’s called “One Health.”

Initially conceived by the World Wildlife Conversation Association in 2004, the One Health Commission (see below) was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation in 2009 with the objective of spreading the concept widely. It worked.

In 2023, not surprisingly, the CDC and the HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) conducted a study: National One Health Framework To Address Zoonotic Diseases and Advance Public Health Preparedness in the United States: A Framework for One Health Coordination and Collaboration Across Federal Agencies.” So, off to the races they went. spreading the contagion (as a bonafide fact, not!) throughout several government agencies.

Basically, One Health intends to control all facets of life: Economics, water, public policy, occupational health risks, agriculture, global trade, commerce, environmental health, ecosystems, communications, climate change and incidentally, pandemics and human health.

COVID Vaccine Mandate for NSW Health Workers Set to Be Scrapped After Three Years

Sky News reported:

The COVID-19 vaccine mandate implemented for NSW Health workers three years ago is set to be scrapped this week.

Under the current policy, all NSW Health workers are required to have received two doses of vaccine to work or be employed in connection with a NSW Health agency. In March this year, the department flagged it was reviewing the policy, with NSW Health Minister Ryan Park saying Australians needed to get “back on with life.”

“That means having a look at the measures we put in place during this period and seeing whether they still apply,” he said.

As States Loosen Childhood Vaccine Requirements, Health Experts’ Worries Grow

Stateline reported:

Louisiana Republican state Rep. Kathy Edmonston believes no one ought to be required to vaccinate their children. So, she wants schools to proactively tell parents that it’s their right under Louisiana law to seek an exemption. “It’s not the vaccine itself, it is the mandate,” Edmonston told Stateline. “The law is the law. And it already says you can opt-out if you don’t want it. If you do want it, you can go anywhere and get it.”

Although Louisiana scores among the bottom states in most health indicators, nearly 90% of kindergarten children statewide have complete vaccination records, according to data from the Louisiana Department of Health from last school year. That’s even as Louisiana maintains some of the broadest exemptions for personal, religious and moral reasons. The state only requires a written notice from parents to schools.

Edmonston has sponsored legislation that would require schools to provide parents with information about the exemptions. The bill is intended to ensure parents aren’t denied medically necessary information, she said.

Edmonston’s bill is one of dozens this session that aim to relax vaccine requirements, according to a database maintained by the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan research organization that serves lawmakers and their staffs. Most of the bills have either died in committee or failed to advance, but a few have become law.

North Carolina Bill to Curb Mask-Wearing in Protests Could Make It Illegal for Medical Reasons Too

Associated Press reported:

People wearing a mask during protests in North Carolina could face extra penalties if arrested, under proposed legislation that critics say could make it illegal to wear a mask in public as a way to protect against COVID-19 or for other health reasons.

Republicans supporters say the legislation, which passed its first committee Tuesday, was prompted in part by the recent wave of protests on universities nationwide — including at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — against Israel’s war in Gaza.

While the main thrust of the bill enhances penalties for people wearing a mask during a crime or intentionally blocking traffic during protests, most concerns centered on the health and safety exemption. According to the bill’s summary, people could no longer wear masks in public for medical reasons.

Social Media Bills Aim to Protect Kids’ Health

Politico reported:

Senate leaders are gauging support for three bills promoting children’s online safety, a Senate aide told our Rebecca Kern. The Kids Online Safety Act, which Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) sponsored, would require social media platforms to prevent the spread of harmful content, such as material related to suicide or eating disorders, on their sites.

Why it matters: Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has warned that social media might be contributing to an increase in mental illness among youth. An advisory from Murthy last year said adolescents who spend more than three hours a day on social media face double the risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes.

Assessing support, and opposition, is known as hotlining. If no one objects, a bill sponsor can call for passage by unanimous consent, avoiding the lengthy debate that accompanies other Senate legislation.

Behind the scenes: Lawmakers started additional hotlines Thursday to push forward the Children and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA 2.0) — a bill to update a 1998 children’s privacy law by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) — and the Kids Off Social Media Act — a bill to bar kids under 13 on apps by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) — according to a Senate aide, who was granted anonymity to speak about the legislative maneuvering.

Connected Cars’ Illegal Data Collection and Use Now on FTC’s ‘Radar’

Ars Technica reported:

The Federal Trade Commission’s Office of Technology has issued a warning to automakers that sell connected cars. Companies that offer such products “do not have the free license to monetize people’s information beyond purposes needed to provide their requested product or service,” it wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. Just because executives and investors want recurring revenue streams, that does not “outweigh the need for meaningful privacy safeguards,” the FTC wrote.

Based on your feedback, connected cars might be one of the least-popular modern inventions among the Ars readership. And who can blame them? Last January, a security researcher revealed that a vehicle identification number was sufficient to access remote services for multiple different makes, and yet more had APIs that were easily hackable.

Later, in 2023, the Mozilla Foundation published an extensive report examining the various automakers’ policies regarding the use of data from connected cars; the report concluded that “cars are the worst product category we have ever reviewed for privacy.”

The FTC is not taking specific action against any automaker at this point. Instead, the blog post is meant to be a warning to the industry. It says that “connected cars have been on the FTC’s radar for years,” although the agency appears to have done very little other than hold workshops in 2013 and 2018, as well as publishing guidance for consumers reminding them to wipe the data from their cars before selling them.

U.S. Lawmakers Seek $32 Billion to Keep American AI Ahead of China

Reuters reported:

A bipartisan group of senators, including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, on Wednesday called on Congress to approve $32 billion in funding for artificial intelligence research to keep the U.S. ahead of China in the powerful technology.

If China is “going to invest $50 billion, and we’re going to invest in nothing, they’ll inevitably get ahead of us. So that’s why even these investments are so important,” Schumer said Wednesday. The roadmap could help the U.S. address mounting worries about China’s advances in AI. Washington fears Beijing could use it to meddle in other countries’ elections, create bioweapons or launch muscular cyberattacks.
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