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Newsom Sued Over COVID ‘Misinformation’ Law That Doctors Say Tramples First Amendment Rights
A group of California physicians is suing Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration over a state law that empowers the Medical Board of California to discipline physicians who espouse opinions about COVID-19 that are not in line with the mainstream.
In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, five doctors asked a district court in California to prevent the law from taking effect and said it violates their First Amendment rights and constitutional right to due process. The doctors are represented by the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), a nonpartisan civil rights firm.
The law is set to take effect on January 1, 2023. It would allow the Medical Board of California and the Osteopathic Medical Board of California to discipline physicians who “disseminate” information about COVID that departs from the “contemporary scientific consensus.”
The doctors, who treat patients on a regular basis, say the California law violates their First Amendment rights because “it impedes their ability to communicate with their patients in the course of treatment.” The doctors are asking that the court stop the law from taking effect in January while they battle the state in court in hopes that the “unconstitutional” law ultimately be struck down.
School Closures Didn’t Reduce the Number of Child COVID Deaths, Data Indicates
The District of Columbia had the highest number of children who died with coronavirus per capita (12 deaths equating to 95 deaths per million children), even though its schools were almost completely closed for the 2020-2021 school year, with its school coronavirus policies arguably the most draconian in the nation. Wyoming, which has a nearly identical population size to DC and whose schools remained open more than any other state, had the fewest deaths per capita (zero).
Wyoming was one of only three states that, by May 2020, had not ordered schools closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 year. By contrast, very few DC students attended a significant number of hours of in-person learning even in the following school year, and DC pledged to prohibit students from returning to school this year unless they had been vaccinated, though it ultimately delayed that requirement.
Across the country, COVID was a negligible cause of child mortality, the data shows: For every child that died with COVID, nearly 50 died for other reasons.
Algorithms Quietly Run the City of DC — and Maybe Your Hometown
Washington, DC, is the home base of the most powerful government on earth. It’s also home to 690,000 people — and 29 obscure algorithms that shape their lives. City agencies use automation to screen housing applicants, predict criminal recidivism, identify food assistance fraud, determine if a high schooler is likely to drop out, inform sentencing decisions for young people and many other things.
That snapshot of semiautomated urban life comes from a new report from the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). The nonprofit spent 14 months investigating the city’s use of algorithms and found they were used across 20 agencies, with more than a third deployed in policing or criminal justice.
For many systems, city agencies would not provide full details of how their technology worked or was used. The project team concluded that the city is likely using still more algorithms that they were not able to uncover.
TSA to Continue Requiring COVID Vaccine Proof for Non-U.S. Citizens to Enter Country
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has extended its COVID-19 vaccine proof requirement for non-U.S., nonimmigrant citizens flying to enter the United States, making the United States the only western country and among the few remaining countries in the world still to require such proof for entry.
The latest TSA security directive states that effective to at least Jan. 8, 2023, aircraft operators must require each non-U.S., nonimmigrant citizen to present a paper or digital documentation for “proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” or documentation proving the person is excepted from taking the vaccine, before boarding a flight to the United States.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), being fully vaccinated means having had an accepted single-dose vaccine or a second dose of an accepted 2-dose series at least 14 days ago. A booster dose is not needed to meet the requirement.
It comes after the Biden administration in June dropped its requirement for air travelers entering the United States to test negative for COVID-19, meaning a person with the disease would still be allowed into the country, provided they have proof of vaccination.
Walt Disney Drops COVID Vaccination Mandate From Many TV Shows as Shutdown Fears Recede
Walt Disney told a string of its TV shows Friday that it will no longer require cast and crews to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as hospitalizations wane. Productions, including the first-responder drama “9-1-1,” will no longer require workers in front of and behind the camera in the most high-risk areas of their sets to be vaccinated, said people with knowledge of the matter who were not authorized to speak publicly.
The use of vaccination mandates was agreed to by unions and producers as part of the so-called Return to Work agreement last year. About a dozen shows are affected and other protocols including masking and testing will remain in place, a person close to the matter said. Disney may still require vaccines for some productions.
The Burbank-based entertainment giant is among the first major studios to remove vaccination mandates from such a large number of shows, in a sign of the declining risk of virus outbreaks that caused costly production shutdowns. Some other studios also are no longer mandating vaccinations for cast and crew.
Vaccine mandates have been controversial in some quarters of Hollywood. Some actors have strongly opposed mandatory vaccinations, sparking a rift within SAG-AFTRA.
Joe Rogan Laughs at Leftists Declaring They’ll Leave Twitter Over Lack of Censorship as Biden Gets Fact-Checked
“Have you been paying attention to Twitter, how Twitter’s now fact-checking all Biden statements?” Rogan said. “Every time Biden says something and posts it on Twitter, Twitter’s like nope, actually, that’s not true. Like this is, this is inaccurate.”
“What I cannot understand is people being like, I’m leaving Twitter because without censorship this will be the death of democracy,” Santo responded.
Social Media Users Spend Less Time and Lose Trust in Platforms When They Encounter Censorship: Study
A recent study found the majority of social media users trust an app less if they encounter censorship, and nearly a third of people who have encountered blocked or labeled content have reduced the amount of time they spend on the platform.
The First and Fourteenth Institute, a non-partisan organization that advocates for free speech, free press and due process, conducted the national research between Sept. 27 and Oct. 4 by phone and online among 1,100 people who have at least one social media account.
The research found that 49% of people with social media accounts have seen blocked or labeled content, with 53% saying such censorship causes them to trust the app less. For Facebook users specifically, 58% of those surveyed said they trust the platform less after encountering blocked or labeled content.
New Study Delves Into Censorship During COVID Era
A new scientific study published in the sociological journal Minerva details how medical professionals with views contradicting the mainstream narrative on COVID-19 were censored and suppressed. The study, titled “Censorship and Suppression of COVID-19 Heterodoxy,” also covers how medical professionals pushed back against censorship.
The study was co-authored by a group of scholars from Australia and Israel, and the Yaffa Shir-Raz of the University of Haifa, who leaked a video of an internal meeting at the ministry of health in Israel about how some findings on the relatively rare adverse effects of the Pfizer vaccine were hidden.
On Substack, Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Josh Guetzkow, one of the authors of the study, explained how the study was conducted. The study is “based on in-depth interviews with scientists and doctors around the world who have faced censorship and suppression due to their views on COVID-19.”
The summary of the report states that “the emergence of COVID-19 … led to numerous controversies over COVID-related knowledge and policy” and a “perceived threat from doctors and scientists who challenge the official position of governmental and intergovernmental health authorities.”
Beijing Marathon Returns but China Sticks to ‘Zero-COVID’
Thousands of runners took to the streets of China’s capital on Sunday for the return of the Beijing marathon after a two-year COVID-19 hiatus, even as another death blamed on China’s strict pandemic controls generated more public anger.
Authorities are trying to restore a sense of normalcy while sticking to a “zero-COVID” strategy that locks down neighborhoods when any virus cases are found and quarantines everyone arriving from overseas in hotels for seven to 10 days.
A simmering public frustration, which has grown as the rest of the world opens up, has been fueled by a series of tragic incidents — in several cases because people were denied timely care for non-COVID-19 medical emergencies.
Clearview Stole My Face and the EU Can’t Do Anything About It
Matthias Marx says his face has been stolen. The German activist’s visage is pale and wide, topped with messy, blond hair. So far, these features have been mapped and monetized by three companies without his permission. As has happened to billions of others, his face has been turned into a search term without his consent.
In 2020 Marx read about Clearview AI, a company that says it has scraped billions of photos from the internet to create a huge database of faces. By uploading a single photo, Clearview’s clients, which include law enforcement agencies, can use the company’s facial recognition technology to unearth other online photos featuring the same face.
Across Europe, millions of people’s faces are appearing in search engines operated by companies like Clearview. The region might boast the world’s strictest privacy laws, but European regulators, including in Hamburg, are struggling to enforce them.
Like other privacy activists, Marx does not believe it’s technically possible for Clearview to permanently delete a face. He believes that Clearview’s technology, which is constantly crawling the internet for faces, would simply find and catalog him all over again. Clearview did not reply to a request to comment on whether it is able to permanently delete people from its database.
Apple Says iPhone Supplies Hurt by Anti-Virus Curbs in China
The company’s announcement Sunday gave no details but said the factory operated by Foxconn in the central city of Zhengzhou is “operating at significantly reduced capacity.”
Foxconn Technology Group said earlier it imposed anti-virus measures on the factory in Zhengzhou following virus outbreaks. Apple and Foxconn previously hadn’t responded to questions about how iPhone production might be affected.
Their Children Went Viral. Now They Wish They Could Wipe Them From the Internet.
Many in the movement argue that children can’t consent to being online and that they may not have a choice in growing up in the spotlight. Publicly documenting a child’s life can pose higher safety concerns. As social media usership increases — especially on video platforms like TikTok — the potential viewership of every video is limitless. Going viral, whether intentionally or accidentally, isn’t uncommon.
Children “don’t know about the internet,” said Sarah Adams, a creator who runs the TikTok account Mom Uncharted, which posts videos about the ethics of parents’ content that revolves around children. “They don’t know about social media. They don’t know that their images are being blasted worldwide to billions of people, many of whom are predatory toward children. They don’t know that their images are going to live on forever.”