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Nurse Who Lost Job Due to COVID Vaccine Requirement Unsure of Future After Mandate Enters Repeal Process

WIVB News 4 reported:

The COVID-19 vaccine requirement for healthcare workers in New York State is now in the process of being repealed, according to the Department of Health.

With the future of the requirement now in question, News 4 spoke with registered nurse Jackie Ettipio, who lost her job because of the mandate. Ettipio, who’s been a nurse for 31 years, spent most of her career at Mercy Hospital in South Buffalo and was the president of the local CWA union before she was terminated on Dec. 4, 2021.

Ettipio partially retired with some benefits, thinking the situation wouldn’t last that long and she would return to nursing. However, she eventually got another part-time job elsewhere.

“I think nurses, radiology, respiratory — I think they’re exhausted — the people who stayed I think are exhausted beyond belief because they had to pick up when we were terminated,” Ettipio said. “I think it’s a little sad too because what happened was many of us were old-timers that left, who had a lot of knowledge, who were replaced by first-year travelers. And you just don’t get that, generally, we take them under our wings and we teach them.”

Regarding whether Ettipio is considering a return to her old job if the mandate gets repealed, she said she doesn’t know.

State Officials Hope COVID Vaccine Mandate Repeal Will Relieve Staffing Crisis

NEWS 10 ABC reported:

With a healthcare staffing shortage across New York, Governor Kathy Hochul continued the declaration of a statewide disaster emergency last month. Some workers had left their jobs over the COVID vaccine requirement. Some believe repealing the mandate will help with the staffing crisis. But Stephen Hanse from the New York State Health Facilities Association says it may not encourage everyone to return.

Government officials are hoping for the vaccine mandate repeal to ease the crisis. In 2021, hospitals like Albany Medical Center lost more nurses than hired. And the New York State Department of Health announced earlier this year that by 2030, New York will have a shortage of 40,000 nurses.

But Hanse says the process will not be simple since the mandate will also have to be repealed at the federal level. “So until that process commences and is concluded, hospitals, the nursing homes, and certain assistant living home providers in New York are still required to have the vaccine,” he said.

The New York State Department of Health says effective immediately, they will stop citing providers who don’t comply with the requirements.

Schools Using Facial Recognition Creating ‘Out of Control’ Surveillance Society: Campaigners

The Epoch Times reported:

Over 60 schools are using facial recognition in what privacy campaigners say is making Britain a “surveillance society growing out of control.”

A new report on the lawless gathering of facial data, published by Big Brother Watch, reveals how schools are investing “huge sums” of money in the technology despite calls for the practice to be banned completely in the U.K.

Biometric Britain: The Expansion of Facial Recognition Surveillance” lays out in detail how some schools — along with police, retailers, and tech companies — are expanding facial recognition while the European Union is legislating to restrict its use.

Microsoft Chief Says Deep Fakes Are Biggest AI Concern

Reuters reported:

Microsoft President Brad Smith said Thursday that his biggest concern around artificial intelligence was deep fakes, realistic looking but false content.

In a speech in Washington aimed at addressing the issue of how best to regulate AI, which went from wonky to widespread with the arrival of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Smith called for steps to ensure that people know when a photo or video is real and when it is generated by AI, potentially for nefarious purposes.

“We need to take steps to protect against the alteration of legitimate content with an intent to deceive or defraud people through the use of AI.” Smith also called for licensing for the most critical forms of AI with “obligations to protect security, physical security, cybersecurity, national security.”

Smith also argued in the speech, and in a blog post issued on Thursday, that people needed to be held accountable for any problems caused by AI and he urged lawmakers to ensure that safety brakes be put on AI used to control the electric grid, water supply and other critical infrastructure so that humans remain in control.

How the Internet Dodged a Bullet at the Supreme Court

Slate reported:

The Supreme Court’s decision last fall to hear a case about one of the legal cornerstones of the internet was concerning. Nothing good, it seemed, could come from its review of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the law that protects those who maintain online forums from liability for how people use those spaces.

Advocacy groups and nonprofits submitted dozens of briefs and arguments seeking to influence the justices’ decision. During oral arguments in February, justices were encouragingly concerned about what narrowing or removing Section 230 protections would do to free expression online. Still, given its tumultuous, precedent-agnostic recent history, it seemed possible the court could, despite its stated reservations, pick apart the internet’s free-expression machinery.

Fortunately, last week the court declined to weigh in on what First Amendment scholar Jeff Kosseff has labeled “the 26 words that created the internet.” It dismissed Gonzalez v. Google in an unsigned, three-page decision that concluded that the case had “little if any, plausible claim for relief.” Emergency averted.

The most sensible step forward is a serious, nonpartisan effort to update a law that was written before social media, artificial intelligence, and other defining characteristics of online life took hold. That would be cause for real celebration.

Microsoft Says China Installed Malware in U.S. Systems in Guam

Engadget reported:

China may have conducted digital espionage against the U.S.’s Pacific interests. Microsoft and the National Security Agency (NSA) have revealed that an alleged state-sponsored Chinese hacking group, Volt Typhoon, installed surveillance malware in “critical” systems on the island of Guam and elsewhere in the U.S. The group has been operating since mid-2021 and reportedly compromised government organizations as well as communications, manufacturing, education and other sectors.

U.S. officials speaking to The New York Times believe the Guam infiltration is part of a larger Chinese intelligence collection system that includes the reported spy balloon that floated across American nuclear sites early this year. The focus on Guam is concerning as it’s home to Andersen Air Force Base, a major station that would likely be used for any U.S. answer to a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. It’s also a key hub for ships in the Pacific.

The Biden administration has stepped up efforts to protect critical infrastructure, including plans for common security requirements. The U.S. fell prey to multiple attacks on vital systems in recent years, including gas pipelines and meat suppliers. The Volt Typhoon discovery underscores the importance of tougher defenses — malware like this could compromise the U.S. military at a crucial moment.

Rubio Issues Stark AI Warning Regarding National Security: Fakes Could ‘Do Tremendous Damage’

FOXBusiness reported:

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., issued a warning on Wednesday about impending artificial intelligence threats to national security.

In an op-ed in The Washington Examiner, the Florida Republican stressed that the dangers of AI would only increase as time passes, including those from large language models like OpenAI’s chatbot ChatGPT.

He said actions from the Biden administration to create a U.S. AI content aggregator to identify AI fakes is “not enough” because of “two distinct challenges.”

First, there is a limited understanding of artificial intelligence inside government. Secondly, Rubio said institutions “would not be up to the task of effective regulation,” placing blame on Democrats and the Biden family over the Russia investigation.

People Hate QR-Code Menus. Now Restaurants Are Ditching Them.

Insider reported:

The QR-code restaurant menu may soon be a relic of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many restaurants are switching back to physical menus, in part because customers hate QR-code menus, The New York Times reported.

QR-code menus became prolific at restaurants during the pandemic, enabling customers to view menus, order, and pay and tip all at once. These digital menus rose to prominence during the pandemic for sanitary purposes, as they helped to eliminate contact between restaurant staff and customers.

The QR menus have also sparked privacy concerns around tracking customer data, Insider reported.