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Fed-Up NYC Parents Demand City Hall Meeting Over Toddler Mask Mandates
Fed-up parents tired of the Adams administration blowing them off over the city’s prolonged toddler mask mandate have called on the mayor to address their concerns by next week.
More than 200 fuming parents of toddlers signed on to a letter sent to city officials Thursday requesting a sit-down with Adams and Health Commissioner Ashwin Vassan by May 17.
“We write this letter because our hundreds of phone calls and emails, and our direct requests for meetings, have gone unanswered,” reads the missive, obtained by The Post.
“We want to review the city’s analysis of how the benefits of covering the faces of babies who are still in diapers outweigh the harms,” read the letter. “We want to know why our young children continue to be masked even as every other resident of this city is given the option to unmask, regardless of vaccination status.”
Lawmakers Fail to Reverse Gov. Edwards’ Decision to Add COVID Vaccine to School Shots List
Come August, most high schoolers in Louisiana will have to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or submit a written exemption to attend school, after an effort among lawmakers to reverse the rule by Gov. John Bel Edwards fell apart Wednesday.
The Democratic governor’s decision last year to add the COVID-19 jab to the school shots list caused a stir among lawmakers, though at the time, they could do little more than ask Edwards to stand down. He didn’t budge. So, opponents tried a different strategy: a legislative resolution.
Authored by House Health & Welfare Committee Chair Larry Bagley, House Concurrent Resolution 3 would’ve repealed Edwards’ rule in its entirety. It passed the House and needed only to win approval in the Senate to go into effect.
But following a tense hearing Wednesday, the Senate Health & Welfare Committee voted 4-3 to reject the resolution, keeping Edwards’ rule alive.
How Privacy Fears Have Put Renewed Focus on the Potential ‘Chilling Effects’ of Facebook’s Smart Glasses
Flicking through the paper or listening to the radio over the past month, you might have encountered an awareness campaign for smart glasses promoted by Facebook, or Meta, as the company has rechristened itself. On its website, Facebook bills the new device as “an authentic way to capture photos and video, share your adventures, and listen to music or take phone calls”.
According to Facebook, smart glasses allow you to “easily record the world as you see it”, using in-built cameras and voice command controls. The glasses are “designed with privacy in mind”, using an LED in the frames that light up “to let people nearby know when you’re taking a photo or video”.
Not everyone is satisfied with this explanation. The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) and its Italian counterpart, the Garante, last year issued a statement expressing concerns about the product. They pointed out that in contrast, when it comes to smartphones, “it is generally the case that the camera or the phone is visible as the device by which recording is happening”, making people aware they are being recorded.
They argued that the effectiveness of the smart glasses’ LED in notifying individuals that they are being recorded had not been proven.
Maine’s Largest City Reinstates Public School Mask Mandates
On Thursday, school kids in Maine’s largest city had to put masks back on while indoors and on buses after Superintendent Xavier Botana notified the school district of the change earlier this week. Students had temporarily stopped wearing masks in March.
McMaster University Wins Court Decision Over Student Vaccine Mandates
An Ontario court decision that vindicated a process that saw four devout Christian students kicked out of their university classes over vaccinations may provide a blueprint for future mandates, according to a health law expert.
This ruling, the first on the merits of vaccine mandate policies in Ontario courts, focused on McMaster University’s decision-making process when it rejected vaccine exemption requests from the students.
The decision, released on April 29, comes at a time when many mandatory vaccine policies are ending across Canada. Yet, others remain in place, such as federal mandates for air travel.
Eastside Firefighters Dismissed Over Vaccine Mandate Push to Get Jobs Back
Anger, confusion and concern erupted during a Thursday evening meeting of the Eastside Fire and Rescue’s board of directors as firefighters who lost their jobs over the COVID-19 vaccine mandate joined a roomful of supporters to speak out during public comment and demand that accommodations be granted.
The former firefighters said public safety is at stake because of the staffing cuts as they vowed to mount a legal challenge to win back their jobs.
According to officials, 14 veteran firefighters were let go because they refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Joe Rogan Calls Trudeau ‘Creepy F****** Dictator’ Over Trucker Protests
Controversial podcaster Joe Rogan, once a fan of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said on the Thursday episode of The Joe Rogan Experience that Trudeau’s handling of the trucker protest earlier this year made him change his mind about the “creepy f****** dictator.”
Rogan spoke to Concordia University professor Gad Saad about Canada and how his views on the prime minister had changed as a result of the three-week protest that shut down central Ottawa. The truckers were protesting against a COVID-19 vaccine mandate and occupied the center of the Canadian capital from January 28 until the demonstration was broken up by police on February 20.
“But just the way he labeled those truckers as racist for no reason, the people that were protesting against mandates, he decided that they were misogynists and racists,” he went on.
“The way he did it. He just cast a pejorative label on them with no evidence, with no provocation, it was just like ‘I’m going to label them this so that I can impose laws to stop them from doing what is essentially a peaceful protest,'” Rogan said.
Elon Musk Criticizes Pitch by ‘Disinformation Czar’ to Allow Verified Twitter Accounts to Edit Others’ Tweets
The head of the Biden administration’s new Disinformation Governance Board pitched the idea of allowing verified accounts to “edit” Twitter and add context to others’ tweets, roiling Tesla CEO Elon Musk, whose $44 billion bid for the social media platform was accepted last month.
Musk called the idea “disconcerting” on Thursday evening, then followed that up about 30 minutes later by tweeting, “Don’t Diss Information.”
The Tesla CEO has pitched several potential changes to Twitter since his bid was accepted by the board last month, including reversing former President Trump’s ban, open-sourcing the platform’s algorithm, adding a slight fee for government accounts and generally promoting free speech on what he has called the “de facto public square.”
Employers Are Being Warned That the Use of Algorithms and AI Technology in Hiring Could Violate the Americans With Disabilities Act
The use of algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) technology in hiring workers could risk violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers have been warned.
Increasing use of algorithms and AI tools by employers during hiring processes, in performance monitoring, and in determining pay or promotions, could result in discrimination against people with disabilities, the Department of Justice and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said in a joint statement Thursday, warning it would be a violation of the act.
EEOC chair Charlotte Burrows said last year that about 83% of employers and 90% of Fortune 500 companies use automated tools in their hiring processes, Bloomberg Law reported.
The DOJ and EEOC said that people whose disabilities would not affect their ability to do the job could be screened out by the use of algorithms and AI technology in the hiring process. Facial and voice analysis technologies may rule out qualified people with autism or speech impairments, the departments said, while personality tests could screen out those with mild mental disabilities.
Musk Says $44 Billion Twitter Deal on Hold Over Fake Account Data
Elon Musk tweeted on Friday that his $44-billion cash deal for Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) is “temporarily on hold” while he waits for the social media company to provide data on the proportion of its fake accounts.
Twitter shares initially fell more than 20% in premarket trading, but after Tesla CEO Musk sent a second tweet saying he remained committed to the deal they regained some ground. The stock was off 12% in heavy volume ahead of the market open as investors fretted over the takeover.
Spam or fake accounts are designed to manipulate or artificially boost activity on services like Twitter. Some are tied to improve commercial results, while others are designed to create an impression that something or someone is more popular.
U.S. Cities Are Backing off Banning Facial Recognition as Crime Rises
Facial recognition is making a comeback in the United States as bans to thwart the technology and curb racial bias in policing come under threat amid a surge in crime and increased lobbying from developers.
Virginia in July will eliminate its prohibition on local police use of facial recognition a year after approving it, and California and the city of New Orleans as soon as this month could be next to hit the undo button.
Janelle Monáe: ‘Erasure Is Happening Right Under Our Noses’
Four years after releasing the studio album “Dirty Computer” — a pop opus about love and rebellion in a dystopian future — Janelle Monáe has followed up with a new science fiction book set in the same world. On Thursday, the singer and actor spoke with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour about the unsettling parallels between the bestselling anthology and the current state of politics in the U.S.
Across five short stories, the protagonists of Monáe’s “The Memory Librarian” rebel against a eugenicist society in the not-too-distant future that uses surveillance to root out citizens who are “dirty computers” and wipe their minds. Monáe’s book and album, as well as an accompanying short film, all advocate using love as a rebellious act in the face of oppression while celebrating the beauty of diversity.
“(‘The Memory Librarian’) deals with this totalitarian society literally taking people’s memories away from them, and giving them new identities so that they can manipulate and control them,” Monáe explained to Amanpour.
‘Less Is More’ Comes to Big Data
The likely demise of Roe v. Wade is putting a new spotlight on privacy rights and personal data. But even as some big tech companies are beginning to try to limit how much data their existing products collect, the industry keeps rolling out new waves of devices and services that scoop up even more personal info.
Any trove of data will sooner or later end up at the other end of a request, or order, to be shared with law enforcement. The newest generation of gear, including autonomous vehicles and always-on cameras, could provide the state with a persistent and omnipresent method of surveillance.
The machine learning algorithms that underlie everything from search engines to speech recognition only work when trained on mountains of data, creating another incentive for companies to build info stockpiles.
“Not only will more data be collected but exponentially more,” says Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future. “It’s inevitable that mountains of additional data being collected will be abused.”