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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

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Twitter Reports Record High Government Demands for Account Info + More • Children’s Health Defense



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Twitter Reports Record High Government Demands for Account Info

The Hill reported:

Twitter reported on Thursday that it received record numbers of government legal demands targeting journalists from July to December of last year.

The tech giant reported an increase of 103% in overall legal demands related to verified journalists and news outlets, such as requests to remove content or court orders. It received a total of 47,572 demands regarding 198,931 accounts. About a quarter of those demands, 11,460, were made by governments, 20% of which were from the U.S. government.

Twitter also received about 11,500 requests for information about accounts during the reporting period, a 7% drop from the previous six months.

The highest percentage of information requests coming from governments originated from the U.S. government, according to the report.

Amazon’s Dangerous Ambition to Dominate Healthcare

TIME reported:

Patient privacy has been inviolable since the time of Hippocrates, in 400 BC. That may be about to end. Last week Amazon announced it is going to acquire One Medical, a healthcare provider with over 700,000 patients.

Big Tech has flirted with healthcare for years. Amazon’s direct entry into primary healthcare is a turning point. It will increase the perils of surveillance capitalism, with implications for everyone.

Amazon knows our guilty pleasures, what we buy, what pills we buy, and what we watch and read and listen to. Its devices listen in our homes and peep out of our (Amazon Ring) doorbells. Amazon’s “Kuiper” satellites will soon connect our Internet.

Recent scandals revealed that Amazon uses the data collected for supposedly innocent reasons in ways that betray our trust. Amazon staff say there are no limits on how Amazon uses this data internally. According to Amazon’s former head of information security: “We have no idea where our fucking data is.”

Los Angeles County Avoids New Mask Rule as COVID Stabilizes

Associated Press reported:

Los Angeles County dropped a plan to impose a universal indoor mask mandate this week as COVID-19 infections and rates of hospitalizations have stabilized, a top health official said Thursday.

On Thursday, Health director Barbara Ferrer said the county managed to dodge the imposition of the broad mask rule. The county remains at the “high” CDC level of community transmission, but it could drop to “medium” in the coming weeks.

Ferrer made the announcement during a briefing at which she displayed flat and declining data graphs. She said transmission has dropped steadily since July 23, “potentially signaling the beginning of a downward trend in cases.” Hospitalizations are also down.

Benintendi Won’t Say Whether Will Get Vaccinated With Yanks

Associated Press reported:

Andrew Benintendi wouldn’t say whether he will get vaccinated for COVID-19 now that he’s with the first-place New York Yankees rather than the last-place Kansas City Royals.

He was among 10 Royals who missed a four-game series at Toronto from July 14-17 because he was not vaccinated and could not enter Canada. He lost $186,813 of the $8.5 million salary.

The Yankees have a three-game series at Toronto from Sept. 26-28.

Benintendi had not yet discussed the issue with his new team. “We’ll cross that bridge if and when we have to but I have not had that conversation,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

Biden Ditches Mask at Meeting, Deviating From CDC COVID Guidance

Bloomberg reported:

President Joe Biden resumed in-person public events a day after ending his COVID isolation, deviating from federal health guidance that people recovering from the disease wear a mask for 10 days.

Biden attended a briefing Thursday afternoon indoors with several aides, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, as well as Marriott International CEO Tony Capuano. He entered with a mask but took it off and distanced himself from others in the room.

Hong Kong on COVID Tracing App: Security Flaws? What Security Flaws?

Gizmodo reported:

New research claims that Hong Kong’s COVID-19 contact tracing app has a host of security problems that could expose sensitive user data. The city’s response: We don’t know what you guys are talking about.

The Hong Kong government launched the LeaveHomeSafe app in November of 2020 to help track and combat the pandemic. Available for iOS and Android, the app collects information on a user’s location as they travel around the city, culling the data from barcode scans at local restaurants.

That might seem pretty innocuous, but given the political turmoil in the city over the past several years, Hong Kong residents aren’t the most trusting these days. The app quickly became a subject of controversy, when local residents began expressing concerns that the app might actually be a tool of government surveillance.

In May, the crowdfunded journalism non-profit FactWire reverse engineered the app and found evidence of a facial detection module inside the code. However, it could not be determined whether the module was actually being used or not.

Majority of Democratic, Republican Voters Support Key Antitrust Bills: Poll

The Hill reported:

A new poll found overwhelming support from voters in both parties for two key antitrust bills that are facing a dwindling deadline to pass this year.

Asked about the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, a bipartisan bill that would limit tech giants from preferencing their own products and services over rivals’, nearly 73% of respondents said they lean towards supporting the bill.

Asked about the Open App Markets Act, a bill that targets dominant app stores, more than 74% of respondents said they would lean toward supporting the legislation.

The Online Ad Market Is in Decline and It’s Dragging Down Tech Giants With It

CNN Business reported:

Much of contemporary Silicon Valley was built on advertising dollars. That dependence made even the most powerful companies look at least somewhat vulnerable this week after reporting their latest earnings results.

“We seem to have entered an economic downturn that will have a broad impact on the digital advertising business,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg told analysts at the start of the company’s earnings call on Wednesday. “It’s always hard to predict how deep or how long these cycles will be, but I’d say that the situation seems worse than it did a quarter ago.”

Shares of Meta were down around 7% from the start of this week as of Friday morning. Snap shares fell more than 25% after it reported earnings last week.



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