‘No Vaccine Passports Act’ Bill Introduced in Senate
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.
Epoch Times reported:
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced Friday he’s introducing a Senate bill to ban vaccine passports.
In recent weeks, several states have moved to ban the potential use of a vaccine passport system. Cruz’s bill marks the first time a ban has been introduced in the Senate.
“Listen, I think vaccines are terrific. I’ve had the vaccine myself,” Cruz said in a Fox News interview, calling the measure the “No Vaccine Passports Act.” “I think it’s given us a lot of freedom, but I think there’s a real potential for government overreach, and I don’t believe anyone should be forced to take the vaccine. It should be your personal choice. You should make the choice based on your health, based on the decisions you want.”
The Guardian reported:
Plans to make COVID documents a requirement of entry to mass events are likely to be dropped as the government grapples with how it can safely lift the final set of restrictions in England within weeks.
Ministers have been investigating making coronavirus status certificates compulsory in some settings for months, following the lead of Israel, which introduced a “green pass” for people to demonstrate their low-risk of having or transmitting the disease …
But the Guardian has been told that status documents, which would display proof of vaccination, a recent negative test result, or antibodies, are unlikely to be introduced ahead of 21 June – the final stage of Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown when all legal limits on social contact are due to be scrapped.
The Guardian reported:
Hundreds of anti-vaccine passport protesters invaded the Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush on Saturday evening at the culmination of a mass march that drew many thousands and snaked miles through central and west London.
There were tussles with police who tried to block access through one entrance to the shopping centre at about 6pm, before protesters quickly realised that another door just yards away was unguarded.
Mass public surveillance is becoming a threat in everyday life, with big tech corporations digitally tracking our every move. For incarcerated people, surveillance is even more intrusive.
In the last year, the New York City Department of Corrections (DOC) illegally recorded more than 1,500 privileged calls between people incarcerated in its jails and their attorneys. Many of these illegal recordings were turned over to prosecutors.
This blatant constitutional violation has critical and disproportionate impacts. Three-quarters of people incarcerated in New York City jails are awaiting trial and many are held solely because they cannot afford bail. More than 90% are Black and Brown, thanks to discriminatory police and prosecution practices and the fact that the U.S.’s criminal legal system is constructed on a foundation of white supremacy.
The Guardian reported:
After a year of “Zoom University”, colleges and universities are looking at the COVID-19 vaccine as the key to normalcy in the fall. But as with all things COVID in the U.S., it’s unlikely they will get there without some fights.
Over 400 institutions have announced vaccine mandates for the fall semester, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, with some schools telling students they will not be able to return to campus without the vaccination.
Policies vary from school to school. Some universities, like the University of Michigan, are requiring only students who are living in campus dorms to be vaccinated, though many others are requiring all students on campus to be vaccinated.
Amazon has had its sights set on the smart home ever since Alexa came along — but now the online megaretailer is thinking bigger, and envisioning entire smart neighborhoods. First announced in 2019, the effort is called Amazon Sidewalk, and it uses a small fraction of your home’s Wi-Fi bandwidth to pass wireless low-energy Bluetooth and 900MHz radio signals between compatible devices across far greater distances than Wi-Fi is capable of on its own — in some cases, as far as half a mile, Amazon says.
You’ll share that bandwidth with your neighbors, creating a sort of network of networks that any Sidewalk-compatible device can take advantage of. Along with making sure things like outdoor smart lights and smart garage door openers stay connected when your Wi-Fi can’t quite reach them, that’ll help things like Tile trackers stay in touch if you drop your wallet while you’re out on a walk, or if your dog hops the fence.
Big post-pandemic news: The Hollywood Bowl is switching to 100% capacity for its reopening in July. Previously, the Bowl planned to open at two-thirds capacity.
It’s also removing vaccination requirements. The state only recommends — but isn’t requiring — proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for large outdoor venues once California fully reopens on June 15.
The New York Times reported:
The internet is a fossil machine. It preserves our thoughts, our political positions, our jokes, our photos, our triumphs and our mistakes in silicon amber, just waiting to be dug up. And that has led to a kind of modern sport: Find an outrageous piece of a person’s past that can be weaponized, put it on display for all to see and hope for the worst.
The most surprising thing, though, is that this is still happening.
The Jerusalem Post reported:
Israel will lift almost all the remaining coronavirus restrictions starting on June 1, the Health Ministry announced Sunday night. The number of active cases in Israel has dropped to 500, compared with 88,000 at the peak of the pandemic, it said.
In light of the significant drop in morbidity, Health Ministry Yuli Edelstein said the ministry would not seek to renew regulations that require businesses and venues to operate either under the Green Pass or the Purple Standard systems, which are due to expire on May 31.
The question of whether to eliminate the obligation to wear a mask indoors is currently being debated by experts and officials. A decision is expected within the next few days or weeks.
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