Health Advocate or Big Brother? Companies Weigh Requiring Vaccines.

The New York Times reported:

As American companies prepare to bring large numbers of workers back to the office in the coming months, executives are facing one of their most delicate pandemic-related decisions: Should they require employees to be vaccinated?

Take the case of United Airlines. In January, the chief executive, Scott Kirby, indicated at a company town hall that he wanted to require all of his roughly 96,000 employees to get coronavirus vaccines once they became widely available.

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Mr. Kirby said, before urging other corporations to follow suit.

It has been four months. No major airlines have made a similar pledge — and United Airlines is waffling.

Lawsuit Claims Feds Directed Facebook to Censor Vaccine Misinformation

Courthouse News reported:

In a lawsuit claiming Facebook conspired with the federal government to squelch an anti-vaccine group’s speech, a federal judge on Wednesday questioned whether the state can work with private companies to combat misinformation without violating the First Amendment.

Senior U.S. District Judge Susan Illston oversees a lawsuit brought by Children’s Health Defense (CHD), a Georgia nonprofit founded by vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr. The group publishes information about supposed harms associated with vaccines and 5G wireless networks, which critics have denounced as conspiracy theories and misinformation.

Facebook Oversight Board Is Pawn in Social Media Giant’s War on Free Speech

The Defender reported:

Facebook, which owns Instagram, is aggressively engaged in censorship. So in order to clean up its image, Facebook created an Oversight Board, which the social media giant describes as “independent, empowered, accessible and transparent.”

In theory, the Oversight Board has the power to reverse any decision by Facebook to censor posts by Facebook and Instagram users.

In reality, Facebook has total control over a user’s ability to appeal to the Oversight Board.

Russell Brand on Vaccine Passports: Is It Really a Good Idea to Let Big Tech Dictate Everyday Freedoms?

The Defender reported:

No matter where you are in the world, vaccine passports are being discussed as a way to prove you’ve been vaccinated against COVID.

Big Tech companies are rushing to develop proof-of-vaccination technologies. And airlines, cruise ships, stadiums and other businesses are considering — or already using — vaccine passports to exclude the unvaccinated.

In the video below, “Vaccine Passports: THIS Is Where it Leads,” Russell Brand questions whether it’s a good idea to let Big Tech and Big Government dictate which everyday freedoms we can enjoy.

Are we “further empowering massive centralized authorities that we have good reason to distrust?” asks Brand. “The institutions that have the power to carry this out have not behaved in a way that engenders trust, up until now.”

Major Cruise Ship Company May Avoid Florida if State Doesn’t Permit COVID-19 Vaccination Checks, CEO Says

CNN reported:

Florida’s new law prohibiting businesses from asking whether employees or customers have been vaccinated against COVID-19 may take a toll on its cruise business.

The CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. said Thursday it could cause the company to suspend Florida departures and move its ships elsewhere.

“At the end of the day, cruise ships have motors, propellers and rudders, and God forbid we can’t operate in the state of Florida for whatever reason, then there are other states that we do operate from, and we can operate from the Caribbean for a ship that otherwise would have gone to Florida,” CEO Frank Del Rio said during the company’s quarterly earnings call.

Facebook Tells Billions of WhatsApp Users: Let Us Share Your Data … or Else

Common Dreams reported:

A coalition of more than three dozen social justice, labor and digital rights organizations launched a campaign May 3 aimed at stopping Facebook from further rolling back privacy protections on WhatsApp, a messaging service that billions of people worldwide use to send encrypted messages to family members, friends and colleagues.

After purchasing WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg vowed that the service would “operate completely autonomously” and that Facebook would “absolutely not” change the way the app uses personal data.

But in 2016, Facebook rolled out what it characterized as a routine terms and conditions update that gave the tech behemoth access to WhatsApp users’ account information, phone numbers, IP addresses, browser details and other data unless users opted out within a 30-day window.

Germany Ponders New Freedoms for the Fully Vaccinated

CNN reported:

Germany is considering new plans to give extra rights and freedoms to people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The proposed changes to the existing pandemic rules would involve lifting certain social contact and movement restrictions. Inoculated and recovered people will no longer need a negative test if they want to go shopping, to the hairdresser or to visit a botanical garden, according to examples laid out by the German justice ministry.

A Bill Aims to Stop Abusers Stalking Ex-Partners. U.S. Telecom Firms Are Lobbying Against It.

The Guardian reported:

The top lobby group for the U.S. wireless industry is quietly seeking to weaken proposed legislation that has been designed to protect victims of domestic violence by allowing them to remove themselves from family phone plans.

Companies including Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T Wireless are seeking to protect themselves from possible future liability and enforcement in the event that they do not adequately comply with the new proposed legislation. Advocates say the bill would help prevent abusers from surveilling and stalking their victims after leaving the relationship.

Telecom Giants Spent Millions on Secret Campaign to Influence FCC’s Repeal of Net Neutrality Rules

Common Dreams reported:

The New York Attorney General’s Office released a report Thursday showing that major U.S. telecom companies pumped millions of dollars into a “secret campaign” that flooded the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with millions of fake comments in an attempt to influence the agency’s 2017 repeal of net neutrality protections.

The product of a multi-year investigation, the new report details an industry-backed effort to create the appearance of “widespread grassroots support” for then-FCC chair Ajit Pai’s broadly unpopular repeal of net neutrality rules.

“In 2017, the nation’s largest broadband companies funded a secret campaign to generate millions of comments to the FCC. Many of these comments provided ‘cover’ for the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality rules,” the investigation found. “To help generate these comments, the broadband industry engaged commercial lead generators that used prizes — like gift cards and sweepstakes entries — to lure consumers to their websites and join the campaign.”

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