The Defender’s Big Brother NewsWatch brings you the latest headlines related to governments’ abuse of power, including attacks on democracy, civil liberties and use of mass surveillance.
Professor Sues Over CA School’s Vaccine Mandate, Says He’s ‘Naturally Immune’ to COVID
A California professor is suing his school’s officials over a COVID-19 mandate, saying that he already contracted the virus and is “naturally immune.”
Aaron Kheriaty, professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the University of California, Irvine, filed a lawsuit Aug. 18, saying he got sick with COVID-19 in July 2020.
The University of California said in July 2021 that all faculty, staff and students will be required to be vaccinated against COVID two weeks before they’re expected to be on campus for the fall semester.
Reddit Bans COVID Misinformation Forum After ‘Go Dark’ Protest
Reddit has banned a discussion forum that spreads misinformation about coronavirus and vaccines after a user rebellion over the site’s failure to tackle COVID sceptics.
The online discussion site acted after 135 Reddit communities, or subreddits, announced they had “gone dark”, a move that blocks non-members from reading or joining the page, in protest at the site’s refusal to limit discussions that propagate misleading theories about the pandemic.
Reddit initially refused to ban subreddits identified as spreading misinformation. But it bowed to pressure on Wednesday, announcing that it had kicked out r/NoNewNormal – which has 124,000 subscribers and contains posts warning against taking COVID vaccines – for breaking rules related to interfering with or harassing other subreddits. The site said r/NoNewNormal was guilty of a practice known as “brigading,” where members of one subreddit are incited to target a rival discussion group.
Majority of Companies Plan to Have COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate, Survey Finds
The number of companies requiring workers to get the shot is expected to surge over the next several months, according to data released by Wednesday by Willis Towers Watson, a multinational advisory and insurance firm.
Over half of the employers surveyed (52%) said that by the fourth quarter of 2021, they could have one or more vaccine mandate requirements in the workplace.
The Push for Vaccine Passports Ignores the Arguments Raging Around Them
Vaccinations are the high point of human reason. Devised under clinical conditions by scientists interested only in what works, they represent the mastery of the rational world over chaotic nature; and also, of course, they save lives. Vaccine passports, then, should in theory be no more than the rubber stamp of reason. So why does the policy, not to mention the discussion surrounding it, look so irrational?
In late July, shortly after nightclubs had reopened for the first time in over a year, Boris Johnson appeared to go against his previous approach – let’s call it, for brevity, “loosey goosey” – and announced a plan to make “full vaccination the condition of entry” to nightclubs and other crowded indoor events. The prime minister didn’t have the experience of Boardmasters, the Cornish festival in mid-August, which seeded so many COVID infections that the county, had it been abroad, would have been placed on the red list. Yet he did have that data by this week, when he restated this intention.
Washington Nationals VP Bob Boone Resigns Over Team’s COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement, Source Says
Washington Nationals vice president Bob Boone has informed the team that he will resign instead of complying with a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all non-uniformed employees, a source confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday.
Boone, 73, has been with the organization since 2005 and serves as a senior adviser to general manager Mike Rizzo. Boone was assistant GM and vice president of player development from 2006 to 2013.
UK Children’s Digital Privacy Code Comes Into Effect
A sweeping set of regulations governing how online services should treat children’s data have been welcomed by campaigners as they come into effect.
The Age Appropriate Design Code — which was written into law as part of the 2018 Data Protection Act, which also implemented GDPR in the UK — mandates websites and apps from Thursday to take the “best interests” of their child users into account, or face fines of up to 4% of annual global turnover.
Candace Owens Says She Was Refused COVID Test Because of Her Anti-Vaccination Stance
Last month, the right-wing conservative firebrand dubbed the vaccine as “purely evil,” tweeting that it “will never enter my arm.” She had earlier said that she was proud” to not be vaccinated against COVID-19.
However, in an Instagram Live on Wednesday, she said as an unvaccinated person, she was still prepared to be tested for COVID if an event she attended required it, although she opposed showing documentation to enter businesses.
During her video, she said that she was in Aspen, Colorado and had had “50 plus COVID tests” since the start of the pandemic and that her travel schedule meant that she had to be tested at least once every two weeks.