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U.S. University Announces It Will Fine, Cut Internet Access to Unvaccinated Students

The Hill reported

A university in Connecticut implemented a new policy requiring students to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or lose access to the school Wi-Fi network and face other penalties.

Quinnipiac University issued the new regulations to students via email explaining it will apply a weekly fee of up to $2,275 per semester for unvaccinated students, mandatory weekly COVID-19 tests and loss of access to campus network and WiFi.

The email detailing these penalties was sent to roughly 600 students who had not submitted any proof of vaccination. Less than 10,000 students attend Quinnipiac, per a university spokesperson.

Biden to Require Nursing Homes Get Staff Vaccinated or Lose Federal Funds

CNN reported:

President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that he is directing all nursing homes to require their staff be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to continue receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding.

Biden said he is directing the Department of Health and Human Services to draw up new regulations making employee vaccination a condition for nursing homes to participate in Medicare and Medicaid. The decision on nursing home staff represents a significant escalation in Biden’s campaign to get Americans vaccinated and the tools he is willing to use, marking the first time he has threatened to withhold federal funds in order to get people vaccinated.

Washington State Sets Highest Bar Yet for School Vaccine Mandates

The New York Times reported:

All teachers and school personnel in Washington State — including coaches, bus drivers and volunteers — will need to be fully vaccinated as a condition of employment, under a new policy announced by Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday. The requirement applies to staff regardless of the type of school in which they work: public, charter or private.

The policy is the strictest vaccine mandate imposed to date by any state for teachers and other staff members in schools, allowing for only a few exceptions. School staff must be vaccinated by Oct. 18 or face possible dismissal.

Culver City Unified to Require Students 12 And Older to Get COVID Vaccine

CBS Los Angeles via MSN reported

The Culver City Unified School District is believed to be the first in California to mandate its students ages 12 and older get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The district announced this week that all eligible students and staff will be required to get vaccinated.

“We are mandating vaccines for all eligible staff and students,” the district wrote in a letter to parents Tuesday evening. “We will begin gathering vaccine status data immediately.”

A New Resource for Fighting Vaccine Misinformation

Scientific American reported:

We are aware that people who are unvaccinated have different reasons and concerns for their decision. Some have medical conditions, for example, that preclude getting immunized; others come from underserved communities and wish to be vaccinated but have limited access.

At the same time, we also know that health misinformation and conspiracy theories about COVID are rampant. They do real damage and endanger public health. They have been linked to a decreased likelihood of following public health advice, such as wearing masks, and can influence health decisions, such as intent to get COVID vaccines.

Local Police Department Sues Over ‘Unlawful’ Vaccine Mandate

Newsweek reported:

City officials met on Friday and voted 6 to 1 on an ordinance that requires all of the city’s approximately 4,500 employees to provide proof of vaccination, this includes the 750 employees of the police force.

Of these 4,500, the city estimates that about 1,000 are unvaccinated, according to City Manager Michael Ortega’s memorandum. Those who do not will face a five-day suspension unless they have previously noted religious or medical exemptions.

However, if at least 750 unvaccinated employees get vaccinated before August 20 the ordinance will not go into effect.

The lawsuit, which was filed Monday in the Pima County Superior Court, lists the city of Tucson, Mayor Regina Romero, City Manager Michael Ortega, and six council members as defendants. The complaint states that the new mandate breaks the contract the city has with the union and claims the decision made Friday goes against labor agreements made between them and the city.

Senators Challenge TikTok’s ‘Alarming’ Plan to Collect Users’ Voice and Face Biometrics

TechCrunch reported:

TikTok’s plans to collect biometric identifiers from its users has prompted concern among U.S. lawmakers, who are demanding the company reveal exactly what information it collects and what it plans to do with that data.

In a letter sent earlier this month addressed to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune, (R-SD) say they are “alarmed” by the recent change to TikTok’s privacy policy, which allows the company to “automatically collect biometric data, including certain physical and behavioral characteristics from video content posted by its users.”

More Than 90 Policy Groups Call for Apple to Abandon Plan to Scan Images on iPhones

The Independent reported:

Apple has been urged to drop its plans to scan iPhones for child sexual abuse material, in a new open letter signed by more than 90 policy and rights groups.

Earlier this month, the company announced that it would add a feature to the iPhone that scanned images for known child sexual abuse material, or CSAM, when they were uploaded to its servers, and alert the company if it was found. It also said that phones would use artificial intelligence to spot when children were exchanging pictures that appeared to feature nudity, and alert their parents.

Apple has said that the feature is required in the face of the vast amount of abuse imagery that circulates online. It has said it is built with privacy in mind, including tools that ensure the analysis happens on users’ phones rather than in the cloud.

But privacy activists and security experts have raised concerns that the feature could be misused. It could be used to scan for other kinds of images, experts have suggested, alongside other potential problems.

Facebook Launches VR Remote Work App, Calling It a Step to the ‘Metaverse’

Reuters reported:

Facebook Inc on Thursday launched a test of a new virtual-reality remote work app where users of the company’s Oculus Quest 2 headsets can hold meetings as avatar versions of themselves.

The beta test of Facebook‘s Horizon Workrooms app comes as many companies continue to work from home after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down physical workspaces and as a new variant is sweeping across the globe.

Facebook sees its latest launch as an early step toward building the futuristic “metaverse” that CEO Mark Zuckerberg has touted in recent weeks.

Data In The Dark: How Big Tech Secretly Secured $800 Million in Tax Breaks for Data Centers

Forbes reported

Columbus City council member Emmanuel Remy listened intently as the lawyer on his computer screen argued why the company he represented was entitled to a big tax break. During the virtual council meeting in March, the attorney said the company intended to build a data center on a 500-acre site just south of Ohio’s capital city, which, when complete, would employ 20 people full time. In return, the company wanted $54 million in tax incentives.

“This is like the new manufacturing,” the lawyer, Scott Ziance, told the elected officials. In particular, Ziance emphasized the benefit to the community in construction jobs as the facility was being built.

The company Ziance represented wasn’t Amazon, Microsoft or Facebook, but a Delaware-registered shell company called Magellan Enterprises LLC. It was Magellan’s undisclosed parent, one of the biggest technology companies in the world, that Ziance said had a track record of working “collaboratively” with cities — and wanted the tax breaks in exchange for jobs the data center would bring. “You’ll be very proud to have this company and its parent in your community,” he said.